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Think Tank Retrospective Bag Review

This summer I was looking for a more discrete camera bag for travel, exploring cities, and photo-walking. I ended up picking up the Think Tank Retrospective 10 and 30. They have served me well for a year now.

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Here are my findings after using them.

  • They are pretty discrete.
  • Both easily fit ‘under the seat in front of you’, so you can carry them on the plane.
  • Actually, either one passes as your personal item according to carry on rules. I’ve never had a problem carrying on my Retrospective along with a roller bag.
  • I feel like they might be something Indiana Jones would use if he was into photography.
  • The 10 fits my iPad in the front pocket and the 30 fits it in the back, making them both viable travel companions.
  • The shoulder strap is super comfortable.
  • The ‘stuff’ organizer is really well thought out.
  • I think it is cool that my bag has Velcro silencers.
  • The front pocket(s) can easily hold my GoLite Gortex jacket and some snacks.
  • Yes, you can put a bunch of stuff in these bags. That being said, be honest with yourself, just because you can fit it in doesn’t mean you are going to enjoy carrying it for a full day. No matter how comfortable the strap, more gear means more weight. More weight means less fun.
  • Also, be aware they are soft sided bag. They do a good job protecting gear from most stuff, but if you drop if off a building, there are no guarantees.
  • Because they are soft sided bags, they kind of collapses on themselves a bit, so you might end up digging around for stuff if you have them packed to the brim. But we don’t want to do that because more stuff equals more weight, and more weight equals less fun!
  • My Think Tank Retrospective 10

Here is a look at my ‘street kit’. This is the kit I carry around when I’m out about exploring cities, photo walking, etc. I carry the second body for portraits.

Think Tank Retrospective 10 Review

If I’m only carrying a single body, but I want the best image quality/versatility I can manage, this is what I carry. All of it fits nicely inside and is pretty easy to work out of.

Think Tank Retrospective 10 Review

Think Tank Retrospective 10 Review

My Think Tank Retrospective 30

Here is a quick size comparison of the Think Tank Retrospective 10 and 30

Think Tank Retrospective 10 / 30 size comparison

Here is a look at what I like to call my storytelling kit. It is also my primary travel companion. It actually powered the entire series I did about ‘The Strand – A Southern California Icon’. I took it along with me for a 30 mile cruiser bike ride from Hermosa Beach to Venice Beach. You can find all the images here.

Think Tank Retrospective Gear

Think Tank Retrospective Gear

Because the 30 has two smaller front pockets, and I like to keep my iPad in a super cool case, I store it safely in the back pocket. If you are looking for a totally cool case for your iPad, you can find one here at Even if you’re not, just visit the site and explore around for a good laugh.

Saddle Back Leather iPad Case

Saddle Back Leather iPad Case

Need to be quiet? Just put them both in stealth mode!

Think Tank Retrospective 10 Review

Here Are A Few Photos Of It In The Wild

Think Tank Retrospective 30

Here I have an entire Lee Foundation System and 3 Singh-Ray filters packed in the front right pocket.

Relaxing in La Jolla

Think Tank Retrospective 30

Trusty sunrise companion.


If I could only choose one bag, it would be the 30. It isn’t much bigger in size, but it does make packing/accessing your gear a bit easier if you are rocking a two body kit. However, if you only have one body and a spare lens or two, the 10 is fine. I’m 5’9″ and both bags fit me pretty good.

If this review helped you, please use this this link or my affiliate code on checkout (434). If you purchase more than $50 worth of gear, you will get to choose a free accessory/bag at checkout.


  1. phototrope says:

    Came across your brilliant website. You seem to be using the exact two items that I have narrowed down my search on: the ThinkTank retrospective 30 and the gitzo traveller tripod. I have one question: Is there any way of fitting the traveller tripod into the retrospective 30? Would love to here from you.
    Keep up the great write-ups

  2. Thanks! There really isn’t a way to fit it in. I just throw my tripod over the shoulder and call it good. TT 30 on one shoulder and a tripod on the other. Hope that helps.

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