For years I’ve had a lighting bag. It’s a big canvas Domke F1X; its size and drab green colour lets it be mistaken for a duffel bag. But these days I’ve been doing a lot of location sound recording and no location product photography, so it was time to switch and make it into a sound bag.
The F1X isn’t ideal for the purpose. A black bag would hide cables and 'stealth' mics better than the green does, and its metal buckles and clips are just as noisy as the velcro that holds its pockets closed. But tape and heat-shrink tubing can help with that, and the green is utilitarian and hides dirt. And it’s so very nice to finally have a bag that can hold everything.
The DomkeKong easily carries both of my Sony audio recorders, headphones, shock mount with its grip bar and plastic tripod attached, the big Gorillapod Focus, and my stereo omni mics with their battery box. There’s still space left over inside for a my silent Nikon V1 and its two spare lenses; a better camera can go in one of the side pockets where it’s instantly accessible. Whichever audio recorder I’m actively using can be carried in the other side pocket, and the shock mount can hook into it as well. Because of the breadth of the F1X I can reach into the end pockets on either side even when I’m carrying the bag behind me.
There are other pockets that are only accessible when the bag is open. These carry spring clamps, multitool, a roll of tape, wired remote for both recorders, contact mic, mono omni mic, emergency earphones, flashlight, and business cards. There’s also lots of room for my wallet, phone, keys, and all of the other things that I need to carry when I’m out for the day. The great thing is that sound equipment is bulky but light: camera gear can make this bag too heavy to lift, but I can walk with my entire sound kit for hours. I suppose there’s also something to be said for preferring small gear, and not having too much of it.
I do enjoy being able to tuck a camera and audio recorder in my jacket pockets and head out for a day. But the peak recording season is short in Toronto, and it’s good to be ready for opportunities as they arise.