Billingham Stowaway Compact vs. Stowaway Pola Bag

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Billingham Stowaway Compact vs. Stowaway Pola:

Ever since I wrote my Billingham Stowaway Compact review a couple of years ago, from time to time, I would get emails asking me how this bag compares to the Stowaway Pola.  Since I actually have both bags in my hands right now (I recently reviewed the Stowaway Pola), I thought it would be a great idea to write up a quick comparison between the two.  By the way, for more info on these two bags, you can refer back to my Stowaway Compact and Stowaway Pola reviews.

Billingham Stowaway Compact and Stowaway Pola Capacity:

First off, both bags can surprisingly hold a lot considering their size.  For instance, I can fit a Leica M camera with lens in the smaller Stowaway Compact.  With that, I can even include a small flash or an extra lens.  But instead of just telling you what I can fit into these two bags, I’m just going to post a few pics demonstrating how a Fuji X-E1 (IR converted) with the XF 18-55mm kit zoom attached would fit into both bags.  I would say that the Fuji is about average in terms of size for a mirrorless camera and it’s close in size to the Leica M bodies.  I’m using the XF 18-55mm because while it’s a compact zoom when compared to maybe a DSLR zoom with the same specs, it’s still relatively bulky when compared to some of the other fixed focal length Fuji lenses or even M lenses.  So, if both these bags can fit this camera with this lens, then it should have no problems fitting smaller systems or even Leica cameras with their compact lenses.  In the first set of pics, I have the X-E1 on top of the bags to give you an idea of how much interior space it would take up:

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↑ Billingham Stowaway Compact.

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↑ Billingham Stowaway Pola.

The second set of pics will show you how each bag appears when the X-E1 with kit zoom is in the bags:

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↑ Billingham Stowaway Compact.

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↑ Billingham Stowaway Pola.

Here are side profile pictures of the bags with the camera and lens in them:

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↑ Billingham Stowaway Compact.

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↑ Billingham Stowaway Pola.

The last set of pics should demonstrate how the X-E1 with kit lens compares in size to both bags:

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↑ Billingham Stowaway Compact.

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↑ Billingham Stowaway Pola.

As I said before, both bags can hold quite a lot for their sizes.  When I go fishing, I usually end up bringing a lot of fishing gear.  I still want to bring my camera but even something like my M Combination bag, which is also compact, is something that is just going to be annoying to lug around.  Instead, I take the Billingham Stowaway Compact because it fits my X-E2 with the XF 18-55mm or the Zeiss Touit 12mm.  But as you’ll notice in the side profile pics, the camera with the kit lens (and even with the 12mm Zeiss attached) will make the bag bulge out.  Plus, it’s harder to pull the camera out whereas with the increase size of the Stowaway Pola, it’s a much easier procedure.  If both these issues bother you, you’ll probably be better off with the Stowaway Pola.

The Billingham Stowaway Pola won’t feel as small as the Stowaway Compact but if you’re using these bags with interchangeable lens cameras like the Fuji X Series or the Leica M Series, you might want the extra room to make things a bit easier for you.  Obviously, if you’re using a pancake lens, a Fuji XF 18mm or wide to middle range M lenses, you might be perfectly fine with the Stowaway Compact.  I can fit an M body with a 50mm lens and a flash or another lens pretty comfortably in the Compact (The extra piece of gear wrapped).  My old Fuji X100 fit perfectly in the Compact.

I hope this post helps anyone who is considering one of these bags.  If you have any questions, you can always leave a comment or send me an email.  Both bags are excellent, and if you want to read more about them, please feel free to take a look at my Billingham Stowaway Compact Review and Billingham Stowaway Pola Review.  If you are considering purchasing one, and my comparison or/and my reviews helped you decide, please help support me by purchasing from one of the links below.  Thank you!

Billingham Stowaway Compact at Amazon

Billingham Stowaway Pola at Amazon

Billingham Stowaway Compact at Adorama

Billingham Stowaway Pola at Adorama

6 comments… add one

  • Marco

    Hey Patrick!

    Informative and succinct comparison!

    While I like carrying as little and as small as possible (hence, why I’ve always preferred rangefinder form camera systems over SLR), I agree that it’s possible to go too far and pick a bag that’s too small. I’ve made that mistake before in attempting to use a bag that was just a touch too small, and it makes it far more difficult to pull the camera out and then to store it away again.

    A bit more room than the absolute minimum works out well for me. Makes it easier for using the bag in the field, rather than just being used for storage or transport.

    Out of your two bags, the Compact would probably be large enough for my go-to, single camera and lens – an X-Pro1 with the tiny 18mm lens. That’s a pretty small set-up, and as you said, the Compact will easily carry that, plus a touch of extra room.

    Best regards, Marco

    • Patrick

      Hi Marco!

      Thanks and I appreciate you taking the time to read it! You’re definitely right; an X-Pro1 with the XF 18mm would fit great in the Compact. Thanks for visiting!

      Best,

      Patrick

  • Paul

    Hi Patrick,
    Thanks for posting this informative comparison. I have 2 cameras: Leica D-Lux 109, and Olympus E-M10, with kit zoom (pancake style), 12mm, 17mm and 45mm prime lenses. I guess for the Leica, the Stowaway is a good option. What would you recommend for the Olympus set up?

    Best regards,
    Paul

    • Patrick

      Hi Paul,

      Thanks for taking the time to read it! You might need a bigger bag for the D-Lux and Olympus set up. Have you considered the Hadley Small? Let me know what you think,

      All the best,

      Patrick

  • Paul

    Hi Patrick,
    Thanks. A combination of the Stowaway Compact and Hadley Small would have me covered! I will check this out and let you know how I get on

    Cheers
    Paul

    • Patrick

      Hey Paul,

      Sure, definitely let me know what you think. I also reviewed the Hadley Small along with a few others that you might be interest in if you want to check it out:

      http://findingrange.com/other-reviews/

      If you get the Hadley Small, you won’t need the Compact because the Small will pretty much fit it all unless you want a smaller bag for when you decide to bring less.

      Best regards,

      Patrick

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