Tamrac Evolution 9 Review


There is one more thing!…


In true tradition I’ve saved the best til last! This bag has one major party trick left to play and one that is hugely beneficial if you have a long, long lens. It fits a 600mm lens!

Yup, you heard it right I can fit my big lens in here! How I hear you ask?

Well, first thing you need to do, obviously, is to take all your kit out and put it somewhere safe then start that lovely process of fiddling with the velcro!

Starting with the bottom compartment, taking out all of the velcro panels leaves you with a very large space.

You can probably think of other uses for using the bag in this way that may well save you buying yet another bag, but for now, lets get the big lens in there!

To do this you need to remove the middle panel that separates the top and bottom compartments which is also held in with velcro. Once this is removed you will have a completely open bag from top to bottom in which to fit your long lens.

This is absolutely ideal for me as it gives me the flexibility to go out on a shoot when I know that all I am going to need is the long lens on the monopod without the bulk and weight of the larger bag or other kit.

There is one very slight issue here though and that is the camera will not fit in the bag whilst attached to the lens. Now normally I wouldn’t do this even in the Expedition 9X, I’m just paranoid about damage in transit with all that weight in there!

There is obviously plenty of room left in the bag to store the camera safely so this is not an issue, but those few extra seconds needed to setup may be a small concern to some.

Overview…


This for me has to be the ideal bag (for now!). It can carry almost all of my kit, be a laptop bag for work, has weather protection and is very, very versatile. It also means that when the others have found new homes, that I will only have 2 camera bags which helps to make for a happy home!

If you are not familiar with Pentax kit and the sizes of the cameras and lenses, then the specifications of the bag from the Tamrac website are as follows:

External Dimensions:  W 33cm  x D 28cm  x H 50cm

Bottom Compartment Internally: W 28cm x D 17cm x H 25cm

Top Compartment Internally:  W 25cm x D 17cm x H 21cm

Weight: 2268g

Street price around £140- £150.

Links: Official TAMRAC website.

See also:-
Gitzo GT5562GTS Review
Wimberley WH-200 Review

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21 comments

  • 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.

    Jay.

    • 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

      Danny.

  • Charles

    Danny,

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

    Cheers,

    Charles

  • 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.
    Denis

    • 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!

      Regards

      Danny.

  • 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!

      Regards

      Danny.

  • 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.

    Cheers,
    nirmal

  • 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.

      Danny.

  • 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,
    Stephanie

    • 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!

      Danny.

  • 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,

    Suhail

    • 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!

      Regards

      Danny

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