December 19, 2012

Review ~ Jo Totes Camera Bag

I've been researching camera bags for the past few months, and found tons of reviews for Jo Totes. Obviously I'd heard of them before... they sponsor a lot of the blogs that I read, and are generally a respected brand.

The problem is, just because a bunch of people are talking about a product like it's the best thing since sliced bread, doesn't mean it lives up to the hype. I can imagine that it's easy to overlook flaws sometimes when you're getting sponsored by a company. Don't get me wrong, I'm not opposed to sponsored reviews at all! I've definitely done them on this blog (and always for products that I love!) But for this purchase, I was in hyper-critical mode and reeeally wanted to make certain it would be worth it. I'm very stingy and hate getting ripped off!!

And well, I needed a camera bag bad. So I went forward in my pursuit of the Betsy. Rest assured, this is not a sponsored review... However, I am so completely and deeply in love with this bag, that I wanted to write something in order to help people who might be in the market for one.

Jo Totes Camera Bag

I was really lucky to get this as an early Christmas gift :) As soon as I saw it, I knew was ready to toss aside my actual purse and start using this for my everyday needs.

First of all, the bag itself is very lightweight. Not only that, but it manages to distribute the weight of the contents evenly. Long walks with a bag loaded down with stuff are totally manageable. And dare I say... easy! This is especially important to this New Yorker, who lugs everything everywhere, and for long periods of time.

To see if I could do it: I fit a 13" Macbook pro + cable, a book, two journals, Canon T2i (prime lens attached), my makeup bag, plus a few other little things. It all fit, and the 20-minute walk was easy! Without my Macbook, it's positively a breeze.

Second thing- I am so much more motivated to take photos again. This should be a no-brainer. It is a camera bag, right? But I didn't realize just how unmotivated I was to bring my camera anywhere before, since it was just one more thing to carry. I'm already noticing how having my camera everywhere I go allows me to frequently pull it out and snap whenever I feel the whim. Making me feel more creative and productive. Which makes me feel a lot happier in general :)

Now for the design. It's made of faux leather, but doesn't look fake at all, and I can tell it's a material that will hold up well. My bag needs to be able to take some abuse, so this is ideal for me. Oh and also... this bag is big. Usually, that would be a hassle (the bigger the bag, the more stuff you carry, the more back pain...) But see #1 for the explanation of why that's not a problem :)

The mustard color is lovely- suitable for all seasons, in my opinion. Great color for fall, but also cheery enough for summer and spring!

There are also customized dividers, which are amazing. I only ended up using one of them, seeing as I just need one section to divide my camera. The rest of the space, I use for my other various things.

The only complaint is that it's a little difficult to maneuver right now. I got into a good system with my last purse, where I could just reach into the pockets and immediately grab my metro card, keys, anything I needed. The Betsy is pretty deep. I fit so much stuff in there, and everything is all packed in- it's especially hard to grab my camera with ease. But keep in mind that I'm using it as a purse- not just a camera bag. I'm thinking with some practice, I'll get into a better grove with it.

All in all, I'm really happy with the bag. I'm in the honeymoon phase where every time I see it, I smile. Matt got mine from the Jo Totes site, but if you're extra broke, there's always ebay... a way I frequently get stuff I can't afford on the cheap :P

Hope this helped!

Jo Totes Betsy Camera Bag


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  1. Thanks so much for doing this review! I have been looking for a camera bag for ages, and have liked the designs that JoTotes has, but hadn't seen any reviews that felt REAL to me. Plus, you got my favourite model in my favourite colour! Glad it's working out for you, I am going to have to put this on my birthday wish list (if I don't find some 1/2" foam to make my own bag first!)


  2. fab outfit, your blog is just lovely :) x

  3. WOW that is a lot to get in to this bag! I need to get a camera bag, this one is probably too big for my needs but all things you are carrying in it that is amazing. I work at a magazine and have been on shoots (I am not a photographer) and can't imagine a photographer pulling all that out of this bag!

    Ali of:

  4. Oh my! I adore that bag! I have heard a lot of good things about Jo Totes, but I always wondered if people were reviewing them honestly or just going along with the hype.. I'm glad you really liked it!

  5. I have this exact bag and it's great! I'm constantly getting stopped in the street by people wanting to know where it's from. I'm like you, it's a camera-hand-bag :)

  6. I love the colour of that bag! Definatly would brighten my day!

  7. Pretty color, I want a camera bag, and for me the material is fine, i prefer false than a real animal :P

  8. Ooh I LOVE it! And it looks great on you.

    Can't wait to see all the photos now you're more motivate to bring the camera bag with you :)

  9. The colour is gorgeous!

  10. Ooh, thanks for sharing your review! I have a Jo Totes bag on my list, since ONA bags are $300+, which is ridiculous. Glad you ended up loving it!

    Lovely Llorys

  11. you lucky lady, that bag is gorgeous and so bright and sunny just like you! xx

  12. I'm glad you went with the Jo Totes! I'm in love with mine too :)

  13. I got the Betsy in Chocolate on QVC and I love it! QVC makes it affordable because they break up the $109 into three monthly payments. Ebay is also a great place to get stuff you can't afford to pay full price on.


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