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Packing for a cruise with a Tamrac Evolution 8

When we take short cruises, 7 days or less, we sometimes take two 25" rolling suitcases, one convertible backpack/rolling suitcase (which my wife carries), and this Tamrac Evolution 8 Bag. This bag is convertible from a backpack to either left or right side sling bag.

Tamrac Evolution 8 Backpack Overview

Tamrac 5788 Evolution 8

Style: Backpack/Sling
Size: 8.8 x 12.5 x 19 inches
Weight Empty: 4.3 lbs
Weight Full (when I'm done): 20 lbs
Claimed laptop size: 15.6" screen
Actual laptop size: 14" screen
Material: nylon
Colors: Black, Brown/Tan
Accessories: Rain Cover
Cat. Numbers: 5788
Manufactured: China
Street Price: $150


When fully loaded with my gear, the Tamrac Evolution 8 is a bit on the heavy side - about 20lbs. This is too heavy for use as a sling bag. If you off-load some of the contents of the bag, such as the laptop, and everything in the "rucksack" upper compartment the bag should be light enough for day use. For this reason I use this bag as a "transport" bag to the ship. Once aboard and in our stateroom, the bag usually stays there for the week. When I take photos, I just grab the gear out of the bag I think I might need for the walk-abouts around the ship.

When we go ashore for an excursion, I have a small Tamrac Digital Zoom 4 that I pack empty in my rolling suitcase. When empty, it doesn't take up much space as I can "crush" it flat. I use that bag to pack whatever gear I want to take ashore. The bag is small enough so that I don't end up loading myself down like a pack-mule for the day. It forces me to pack light.

My Packing Video


The little organizers shown in my video review include a Think Tank Peewee Pixel Pocket Rocket, Cable Management 10, and Cable Management 20 bags. When you purchase one of these little bags, you get three neat little bungie cords for securing your cables. Not a big deal, but a cool way to organize your cables.




Conclusion: This is a nice idea in a camera bag, however it might not be quite the right size for you, Tamrac makes three versions of this bag; the Evolution 6 (5786), Evolution 8 (5788), and Evolution 9 (5789). Some photographers prefer the larger bag; however, even though I am a big guy, I found the Evolution 8 in the "sling-position" (using just a single strap), was pretty hard on the shoulder for significant periods of time. It balanced the load fine when used as a backpack with two straps. I suspect though that this would be an issue regardless of brand sling bag you used.