Tamrac Evolution 9 Review

The section in the top of the bag easily swallows the mouse for the laptop and mains chargers for both laptop and phone with plenty of room to spare.

Alternatively, you can obviously use the top section for anything you like such as a packed lunch or for extra kit when the occasion calls for it.

As you can see here I took an extra (gripped) body into the studio with a lens attached, a blower and another lens in its case.

At the back of the top section there is another elasticated, netted section for yet more storage!

On the inside of the flap for the top section is a zipped pocket which has a clear plastic window to help you easily see what is on the inside for quick reference.

In this case I have used the space to keep a manual and a cleaning cloth ( this is the one that came with my laptop to clean the screen, so keep it here as all other items for the laptop are here too).


Ease of access…

So now we get to the part that is probably the most important for most of us out of a camera bag and that is the access to the camera and lenses!

As mentioned before, both of the side access panels are the same size to allow easy access to the camera on one side and lenses on the other. What I didn’t mention is that on the inside of the flap on each of these pockets are 3 more pockets!

Two of these pockets are smaller and probably best suited for memory cards and the larger one is perfect for either a lens cap, a cloth or a most frequently used filter.

All 3 of these pockets have a piece of velcro to secure them down and a red tab to pull for easy access to them. Very useful and very typical of the attention to detail that you will find throughout all of Tamracs’ bags.

As soon as you open the main side access panel (the one on the side you have chosen to store your camera!) the camera is instantly accessible. There is room here height wise to easily accommodate my K-5 with both grip and 16-50 lens attached.

My bag is organised in such a way that once the camera is removed I can peel back the right hand (velcroed) panel to access my 60-250 and Metz 58 flash gun.

These are here for a couple of reasons, the main one being that this is the heaviest lens in the bag so is more comfortable to have the weight near the bottom and that this is the most frequently used lens in the bag when the 16-50 is not in use.

Both this lens and the flash gun would not fit vertically in this compartment so they have to be stored horizontally in the bag, organising them in this way works very well in everyday use.

To help prevent damage there is a panel separating them which can also be used vertically.

Behind the left hand panel is the newly acquired A* 200m Macro which I am sure I will be using very often come spring time! Again this lens needs to be stored horizontally and fits very well here.

You can also see, like on the right hand side, that I have a flash gun here above the 200mm lens. Unfortunately it cannot be accessed from here as the ring flash comes in 2 parts and they are attached by a cable.

The best way to access the ring flash is via the large access panel on the front of the bag. From here, not only is it easy to access the ring flash but is also another way to access the main flash gun.

Depending on how you work one way may be easier for you than another, but having the flexibility here does give you plenty of choice.

Of course if you don’t plan to use longer lenses or flash guns then you can arrange the velcro panels in any combination of vertically or horizontally to accommodate your chosen kit.

From the other side panel I have easy access to another couple of lenses. In this case both the 10-17 Fisheye and 100mm WR Macro lenses are stored in their carry cases to stop the kit from scratching against each other. Also visible is the Ring Flash with adaptor for the 100mm Macro.

As with the top compartment front panel, the panel on the bottom compartment also has a zipped pocket with a clear plastic window. In here is where I would normally keep my lens cleaning cloths, separate from other cloths to avoid any possible cross contamination.

These are also colour coded so I can keep separate cloths for glass cleaning distinct from the ones that I would use to clean contacts on either lenses or cameras.

Should you use the tripod foot pocket on the front of this flap to carry either a monopod or a tripod (this would have to be a small tripod compared to the main one I use!), then this would need to be removed before you gain access to here.

When not in use, the tripod foot pocket is kept closed with a velcro catch.


So…What can I fit in here?…

This bag may not look like it but is quite the cavernous beast! The layout is very versatile and the amount of pockets both internal and external is quite extraordinary. You should be able to find a home for just about anything!

To give you an idea of how much kit I can fit in here, the list of the main kit you have seen so far includes:-

  • 17″ MacBook Pro
  • Pentax K-7 with grip
  • DA 10-17 Fisheye lens
  • DA* 16-50 lens
  • DA* 60-250 lens
  • DA* 55 Lens
  • DFA 100 Macro WR lens
  • A* 200mm macro lens
  • Pentax AF 160 ring flash
  • Metz 58 flash gun
  • iPhone
  • Cloths, blower etc.

That’s quite a lot of kit! Not to mention that I also had my gripped Pentax K-5 in there to take all the pictures with and there was still room in the top compartment and pockets for even more!


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  • Jay

    Just a word of thanks, Danny. I have looked high and low for some of the answers you have provided and it was certainly worth the effort. I am in good shape, but at 72, some of my parts (body) don’t hold up as well as they once did. Running around with a heavy shoulder bag, a bag for the I-Book, occassionaly audio gear plus a suitcase during extended travel has lost its charm. In the airport and train station as well as the field, the Evolution 9 appears to be the best possible solution.

    Besides answering questions you gave me excellent ideas on setting up the bag.

    You write very well and the images supported the words perfectly. And speaking of images, I had never seen your work before. It is truly remarkable.

    Again, my sincere thanks.


    • Many thanks for the kind words Jay, they are very warmly received.

      Sometimes I feel that I may have made this review too long but like yourself couldn’t find a thorough review of the 9 as the 8 had been out for a while and it felt like the 9 had been overlooked, so thought that needed rectifying! Glad it has been of help to you, good to know it’s worth the effort.

      Just hope I can be in as good shape as yourself if I make 72!

      Take care


  • Charles


    Thank you very much for taking the time to write this review, it was incredibly helpful in making my decision to buy this bag.



  • You’re welcome!

  • Denis BOSQUET

    Hi Danny,
    Thank you for this very informative review. It comes very handy as I am in the process of replacing my 2 year old Lowepro Slingshot 202AW bag which has become to small and does not accommodate my laptop.
    After much research I have retained the Tamrack Evolution bag as being the most suitable for my application.
    I am still however hesitating between Evolution 8 and 9.
    My laptop is 14″ Toshiba which is obviously much smaller than your 17″ and does not require such a large compartment.
    I have tested Evolution 8 and been able to fit all my current kit with a limited spare space.
    I am tempted by Evolution 9 as it provides spare capacity for my ever expending lens kit. unfortunately it is not available in photo shops near me. (I live in Australia).
    My main concern is that Evolution 9 may not be accepted as carry on baggage by certain airlines as it is 50 mm thicker than Evolution8.
    From my calculations it would appear that on Evolution 9 bottom section is 20mm deeper internally which would make laptop section 40 mm thicker.
    Have you tried flying with your Evolution 9 as carry on luggage?
    Thank you for your advice.

    • Hi Denis

      Have only been on one flight with this bag, from UK to Barcelona with Easyjet and had no problems using it as my only carry on luggage. Obviously this is airline dependant and when I travelled my bag wasn’t weighed so YMMV as they say!



  • zoe

    excellent review. I have a question though. I’m gonna get a gaming notebook soon in a 17 inch form factor, probably an alienware m17x r4. can it fit in this bag? if it can’t, what bag can you suggest?

    • Hi Zoe

      Have an Alienware 17″ laptop here and can confirm that it is way too thick to fit!



  • Nirmal

    Hello Danny,

    Great article! I was confused between the expedition 8x and the evolution 9. I had my DSLR, 3 lenses and my 17″ MBP to carry and was searching for the right bag. Your review found me the answer and I ordered this bag right after I finished reading. Thanks for taking the time. Much appreciated!

    Take care.


  • Hey Danny! Thanks for the writeup. *VERY* useful. I need a new camera/laptop bag for air travel. Specifically, something that I know will fit under the seat in front of me.

    I am considering the Evolution 9 and the Fastpack 350. I know the E9 will hold more gear. Any feedback on how well it fits under an airline seat? Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks!

    • Hi Patrick, sorry haven’t tried it under a seat, but had no problems taking it on an Easyjet flight and putting in the overhead locker.


  • Kenyatta Gibbs

    Hi Danny. This is an excellent review, and I wish there were more of this calibre around. You have answered all my questions and some I did not know I had, like removing the middle panel to make a single compartment rucksack. Thanks

  • Bill Martheleur

    Thanks for the great review of the tamarac evolution 9. I have a d7000 nikon plus the mbd11 grip. I usually use the 18-105 zoom, however i have a 35 mm prime, a 11-16 Tokina, and a Nikon 105 micro. Also like to carry my ipad. I like to leave the grip on most of the time and am wondering if the 8 or 9 is best for me? Thanks

    • Hi Bill

      The straight answer is, I’m not sure! When trying out the 6, it definately would not take a gripped body I remember that but cannot remember if the 8 was ok or not! Off the top of my head, I think it was a tight fit, so best try before you buy if you can.

      One thing I can confirm if it helps is that an iPad does fit under the large front access panel which is good if you want to carry both a laptop and an iPad.

  • Stephanie

    Hi, I have a question.
    The waist strap that we see in your pictures are included with the bag, right? It would be my first time getting a Tamrac bag, and I want to make it does have a waist belt, as I will be walking long distances with it.
    Thank you very much,

    • Hi Stephanie

      Just had to get the bag and check as I forgot all about them!

      Yes, I can confirm they are definately there and attached to the bag, can also confirm that when you don’t want to use them, they are very easily hidden away!


  • Hi Danny,

    I am late on considering this to buy, but better late than never. I was wondering if you could answer few questions to help me make up my mind:
    1. Can I access my Pentax k-5 IIs with Pentax 300 mm lens on from side portal?
    2. Since I will carry the above plus a Pentax K-50, a Pentax medium range zoom and 1.4xTC (no laptop), can I tuck in a light rain jacket and a rain pant somewhere? I am thinking perhaps jacket or a pant only, but am not sure.

    Best regards,


    • Hi Suhail

      1. Yes! There’s plenty of room with the DA*60-250mm attached on a K-3 from the side.
      2. The K-50, zoom & extender should also fit in the main camera compartment (I get in a K-5 gripped, K-3 Gripped, 60-250, 16-50, 12-24, 100mm WR Macro in there!) so you should be able to easily fit light rain cover clothing in too, possibly both in the laptop slot, leaving the top for lunch!



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