I have a continuing problem with camera bags. I really prefer to just leave the house with a single camera and no bag at all, and most of my cameras do not even have straps. I like the feel of a camera in my hand, and not dangling from my neck. But going bagless and carefree doesn't work when traveling or carrying multiple cameras. The typical backpack style made by LowePro at right, is a decent choice. I've crammed up to four cameras in there, and they all stay fairly well protected. Maybe I'm weird, but when I'm walking around a city, I don't like to look like a typical tourist with all the photo gear in tow, and so I really want a bag that doesn't scream camera bag!
With that in mind, I got a messenger bag from Manhattan Portage. I like the way I can walk with it slung across my back, but then quickly swing it around front without having to take it off like you must do with a back pack. I can also keep books and notebooks in this that would not fit into a dedicated camera bag. The biggest negative about this bag is camera protection. Everything just bangs around inside for the most part, so while it looks good on the streets, it isn't very practical.
The bag I always seem to go with in a pinch is my 15 year old North Face day pack.This bag has been everywhere with me, and I really find it hard to believe it has held up so well with all the abuse it has received over the years and many miles. It has the same camera protection issues as the messenger bag, everything just gets piled up inside, but it is so broken in and weathered, that it doesn't even whisper the fact that it contains high priced equipment. There is certainly no perfect solution to carrying photo equipment, and if you ask a dozen photographers about this, you will get a dozen different answers.
I would love to hear what readers use for their own gear... comments are welcome.