Gear Review: Mop Top Backpack from Barber Shop

The Mop Top Backpack from Barber Shop is a high-end backpack handcrafted of leather and canvas in Italy.  This bag has a stylish look you are not going to find in many camera bags, but has become popular among a few bag designers over the last few years.  I got the brown and tan version, but it also comes in blue and brown or all black.

I thought this bag would be perfect for some street photography so I took it down to the strip for a long evening of shooting.

To me, the most surprising thing about this bag is that it is insanely comfortable.  I tried to figure it out and couldn’t see anything too special beyond the padded leather straps, but the way they fit is very comfortable.  There was no waist strap and the chest strap was annoying enough to attach that I would never use it.  Normally, that would be disappointing to me, but this is not a bag you are going to take on a hiking trip so the belt strap would probably just be in the way for normal use.

The bag is separated into two main compartments.  The top half is mostly just an open area with a couple small pouches and access to the laptop compartment.  My 15.6 inch laptop fit nicely, but I could see it being a pain to get in and out of a full bag when you are going through an airport.  You access this portion of the bag by pressing two levers to open the top flap and then using the zipper.  The zippers are average, nothing special, but also not cheap.  The top compartment is perfect for carrying anything larger like extra clothes, lunch or whatever you need.

I thought the blue and brown option was pretty cool looking too.

The lower portion of the bag has a half-circle zipper, which then kind of pulls out for access to your camera gear.  You are not going to fit a lot of camera gear in here.  I fit my X-T1 with two lenses, 3 filters and some miscellaneous items.  Anything more or bigger than that and it is going to have to go in the top of the bag.  It was not difficult to get the gear out, but it also was not the most convenient.  The camera fit nicely, but my camera strap was in the way as there was no extra room.  There is also no clear place to put a tripod.  Each side has a fairly deep pocket that you can stick one leg of a small tripod down, but without straps, it isn’t very secure.  I tried putting a tripod on the top of the bag under the flap.  It seemed to work pretty well until the tripod fell out.

Overall, this is a really nice bag for someone that is not necessarily a serious photographer, but likes to have a camera and some basic gear with them.  I am not going to be taking this bag hiking or on a photography trip, but I think it is great for going around town or doing things where you have a decent amount of non-photography items you have to be carrying and you also want your camera.  If that is what you need in a camera bag and you want some high-quality Italian materials and a more sophisticated look, this is the one for you.

The Mop Top can be picked up at the Barbershop Bags website for 450 Euros ($505 as of June 2017).  You can also check out some of their other bags on Amazon.

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