Billingham AVEA 7 And AVEA 8 End Pockets Review

Billingham AVEA 7 And AVEA 8 End Pockets Review:

If you owned a Billingham bag, and really like it but wish it had just a little more space, there are two options you have: you can buy a new bag (but you may not want to, if you really like the one you’re currently using) or you could turn to their end pockets.  Depending on the model of bag that you own, you have a choice between quite a few models.  Two examples are the AVEA 3 or AVEA 5.  You can also get the Delta end pockets.  Recently, Billingham released new ones called the AVEA 7 and AVEA 8, which I’ve had the pleasure of using for quite some time already.  Here’s what I have to say about them.

Billingham AVEA 7 And AVEA 8 End Pockets Build Quality:

I think what I love the most about these end pockets , is the overall quality of them, which is exactly what we have come to expect from Billingham.  There are no surprises here.  I don’t have the US prices yet but on Billingham’s website the AVEA 7 goes for £50, and the AVEA 8 goes for £51.67.  These not cheap but then again, you’re paying for top tier products that will last.  Like the bags, the AVEA pockets have top grain leather, metal press studs, and stitch work that is pretty much perfect.

↑ The Billingham AVEA 7 (left), and the AVEA 8 (right).

In my opinion, Billingham products are always worth the money, and I’m not just saying this as a reviewer.  I’ve owned their products for decades even before I had this blog!  I’ve owned and reviewed nearly the entire range of Billingham bags, and there hasn’t been one where they messed up on or that was inferior in terms of quality.  These days, we live in a world where some (not all) manufacturers try to find ways to cut cost; it’s great to see that Billingham has not only been consistently manufacturing top quality bags but has also in ways, improved upon them over the years.

Getting back to the new Billingham AVEA 7 and AVEA 8, you’re also able to get these end pockets in a range of different colors and materials.  Color wise, there are actually a ton to choose from now…honestly, too many to list here, so you’ll definitely find an end pocket that will match your existing bag.  Materials wise, you can get the end pockets in the traditional canvas or Billingham’s FibreNyte material.

↑ The Billingham Hadley One with both AVEA pouches attached.

↑ The Billingham F-Stop 1.4 with both AVEA end pockets attached.  According to the compatibility chart (which is below), the AVEA 8 isn’t suppose to be attached to the F-Stop 1.4.  I did this just to show you the size of it versus the AVEA 7.

↑ Here’s a closer view.

Here are the differences between the traditional canvas and FibreNyte: the canvas is slightly softer but the FibreNyte is lighter, more durable, and more fade resistant.  I actually like both materials, and for a long time, I would pick my bag base on color rather than material.  But nowadays, the color choices have expanded significantly, so I go for the FibreNyte.  The two examples in this review are made of FibreNyte.  I have a few FibreNyte bags, and they’ve held up extremely well over the years.  The canvas bags hold up well too; I have a Hadley that’s over 20 years old that I still use regularly.

↑ Here’s a close up of the AVEA 8 attached to my Hadley One.

No matter which material you end up choosing, know that like the bags, the AVEA pockets are designed to handle whatever Mother Nature has in store.  Rain, sleet, snow, heat, and freezing temps are just a few conditions that shouldn’t be a problem.  There are three layers of waterproofing, so when the weather gets really nasty out, you’ll still have the peace of mind that your gear is extremely well-protected.  I’ve had puddles form on top of my Billingham bags without anything soaking through.

↑ Here’s a close up of the AVEA 7 attached to my Hadley One.

It’s also worth mentioning that like the bags, the Billingham AVEA 7 and AVEA 8 end pockets have great padding.  So, you can put things in their that are a little more fragile like your camera or even a lens.  Whatever you put in the AVEA pockets will be well-protected.  There’s a flap with a press stud enclosure, and also a draw string enclosure for even more protection.  Inside the compartment, there is a small back pocket as well where you can slid thinner items in.

↑ There’s a rear slip pocket inside each AVEA end pocket.

On the back of each end pocket, there are two leather straps with press studs, which are used to attach to your chosen bag.  You simply pass the two leather tabs through the shoulder sling’s leather reinforcement patch on the side of your bag, and then secure them with the press studs.  It’s quick and easy.  The press studs are also heavy duty, so the pouches will not come off accidentally.

↑ The back of each AVEA end pocket has straps, which are used to attach the bags.

Billingham AVEA 7 And AVEA 8 End Pockets; Which Pouch is Best For You?:

Now, let’s talk about which one might be best for you.  What surprised me the most was what I was actually able to fit in these AVEA end pockets.  Let’s take a look at the AVEA 7 first.  It’s definitely not as big as the AVEA 8 but it does fit my Pen-F with pancake zoom lens attached.  That’s not bad at all considering the end pocket really doesn’t feel that large.

↑ The AVEA 7 is surprisingly spacious.  I was able to pack an Olympus Pen-F with pancake zoom attached in it.

↑ Here you can see the Pen-F fits great in the AVEA 7.

↑ Here’s another camera (film one this time) that I was able to get into the AVEA 7.

↑ The film camera I had slides in perfectly.

The AVEA 8 was the most surprising to me.  At first, I tried my Leica M6 TTL Millennium with the 35mm Summicron ASPH.  It fit great.  Then I tried my M3 with a 50mm Summicron, which fit as well.  But what was most surprising to me was that my M6 with a 50mm Summilux ASPH fit in the AVEA 8.

↑ I first tried to pack my Leica M6 TTL Millennium and 35mm Summicron ASPH into the AVEA 8.

↑ The M6 fit with the 35mm Summicron ASPH.  I also had no issues with a 50mm Summicron attached to an M3.  So, I decided to try my M6 with my 50mm Summilux ASPH attached, and guess what?  It fits.

↑ Here’s another photo of the AVEA 8 with my M6 and 50mm Summilux ASPH attached.

Right now, I use the AVEA 8 with my Hadley One.  It’s been a great match with it; in the main compartment, I can put my Leica SL with lens on one side, and non-photographic items on the other side (the Hadley One’s main compartment can be split into two separate sections essentially.  For more details, check out my review of it).  Now, I also have the AVEA 8 to carry some extra photographic items.

As for the AVEA 7, I use it with my F-Stop 1.4 bag.  The AVEA 7 has actually been EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for for a long time now.  I shoot mostly portrait/fashion and boudoir these days, so I’m usually on a location, which is why my go-to bag is the Billingham 307 (for those interested, I reviewed it as well).  It’s funny because while it’s one of the largest bags that Billingham currently makes, it has actually turned out to be my “everyday” bag for the past year.  I pack my Leica SL and all its lenses in there.  However, there are times when I go out to shoot street portraits, and in those cases, my main bag for the SL is the Billingham F-Stop 1.4.

↑ The AVEA 7 really compliments the F-Stop 1.4 bag quite well.

I usually like to set up the inside compartment of the F-Stop 1.4, so that I have the camera lying on its side, and one space for an extra lens.  With the new AVEA 7, I can now bring an extra M lens.  I often bring gear with me to review during my shoots, so if I do get something new to review, I can carry it in the AVEA 7 as well.  The AVEA 7 is also not huge, so it doesn’t make the F-Stop 1.4 feel that much larger.  On a side note, for those who are interested in the Hadley size, you should also take a look at the F-Stop 1.4.  I’ve been using it for years, and I love it.  It’s not as popular as the Hadley Pro but it’s definitely my favorite of the two.

↑ Here’s a bit of a side view of the AVEA 7 attached to my F-Stop 1.4.

Main Differences Between the Billingham AVEA 3, AVEA 5, AVEA 7, And AVEA 8:

I reviewed the AVEA 3 and AVEA 5 end pockets a while back (review here) but I don’t have those pockets anymore, so I couldn’t really do a side by side comparison with all four.  However, here are some of the main differences that Billingham as noted.

Firstly, the AVEA end pockets fit different bags.  Check below to see what fits what.  I’ve also include my reviews of each bag, just in case you want to know more about them:

Hadley Digital – AVEA 3, AVEA 5, AVEA 7 (Hadley Digital Review)

Hadley Small Pro – AVEA 7 (Hadley Small Pro Review)

Hadley Pro – AVEA 3, AVEA 5, AVEA 7, AVEA 8 (Hadley Pro Review)

Hadley One – AVEA 7, AVEA 8 (Hadley One Review)

Hadley Large Pro – AVEA 3, AVEA 5, AVEA 7, AVEA 8

S2 – AVEA 3, AVEA 5 (S2 Review)

S3 – AVEA 3, AVEA 5 (S3 Review)

S4 – AVEA 3, AVEA 5, AVEA 7 (S4 Review)

L2 – AVEA 3, AVEA 5, AVEA 7

f2.8 – AVEA 3, AVEA 5, AVEA 7

f1.4 – AVEA 3, AVEA 5, AVEA 7 (f1.4 Review)

25 Rucksack – AVEA 3, AVEA 5, AVEA 7, AVEA 8 (25 Rucksack Review)

Leica M Combo’ Bag – AVEA 3, AVEA 5 (Leica M Combo’ Review)

SL Bag – AVEA 3, AVEA 5

It’s worth noting that since the AVEA 3 and AVEA 5 were designed first, they didn’t fit as well with the newer bags like the Hadley One and Hadley Small Pro.  The AVEA 7 and AVEA 8 end pockets fit these bags better because they have thinner leather straps on their back.  The AVEA 7 and AVEA 8 also sit lower on the bags that they fit, which help them avoid getting in the way of the removable shoulder slings on newer bags like the Hadley One and the Hadley Small Pro.

There are other differences as well.  For one, the AVEA 3 and AVEA 5 have slightly thicker padding.  Because of the slightly thinner padding of the AVEA 7 and AVEA 8, they are more flexible, allowing you to fit more awkwardly shaped items inside.  The AVEA 7 is also larger than the AVEA 3 while the AVEA 8 is larger than the AVEA 5.  Lastly, the rear slip pocket inside the main compartment of the AVEA 3 and AVEA 5 goes all the way down to the bottom while in the AVEA 7 and AVEA 8, it goes a little less than half way down the end pocket.

Billingham AVEA 7 End Pocket Specs:

External Dimensions: W130mm (5″) (measured at the top) x D90mm (3½”) x H180mm (7″)

Internal Dimensions: W100mm (4″) (measured at the top) x D60mm (2⅜”) x H150mm (6″)

Capacity: 0.5 litres (0.02 feet³)

Weight: 0.13Kg (0.29lbs)

Please note that this pocket does narrow towards the base.

Rear Internal Pocket:  W90mm (2½”) x D Nominal x H80mm (3⅛”)

Billingham AVEA 8 End Pocket Specs:

External Dimensions: W165mm (6½”) (measured at the top) x D95mm (3¾”) x H200mm (7⅞”)

Internal Dimensions: W125mm (5″) (measured at the top) x D80mm (3⅛”) x H180mm (7″)

Capacity: 1.1 litres (0.04 feet³)

Weight: 0.17Kg (0.37lbs)

Please note that this pocket does narrow towards the base.

Rear Internal Pocket:  W110mm (4⅜”) x D Nominal x H100mm (4″)

Billingham AVEA 7 And AVEA 8 End Pockets Verdict:

If you’re looking for more room but don’t want to change your bag, the AVEA 7 and AVEA 8 end pockets by Billingham are a great option.  I love the AVEA end pockets for several reasons.  First off, while there are other companies that also make end pockets for their bags, not every one of those pockets are made as well or offer as much protection as the bags that they are designed to attach too.  The AVEA bags are different; they offer the same quality and protection as Billingham bags.  Billingham has really gotten manufacturing bags of the highest quality down to a science, and they essentially put all that knowledge, tech, and craftsmanship into these end pockets.  So, you can have the same peace of mind using these as you would using their bags.

I also love the fact that I don’t have to buy a new bag.  For instance, I love my F-Stop 1.4 bag.  It’s been the absolute perfect bag for my SL when I’m walking around, and getting a larger bag just doesn’t appeal to me.  With the AVEA 7, I can choose to increase my carrying capacity but for the days when I don’t need that extra space, I can simply remove it.

Bottom line is, if you currently own Billingham bags and need extra room, please take a look at these!  If you love your Billingham bag, you will not be disappointed by the AVEA 7 and AVEA 8.  I highly recommend them!

For more info, check out Billingham’s page on their end pockets!

2 comments… add one
  • Dane

    Very nice thorough review. I love my ONA bag but I don’t want to keep opening the main flap to put back my light meter. The side pockets are way to tight so these (or something)might actually work for me.

    Dane

    • Patrick

      Thanks Dane!

      Yeah, these little pockets are really useful. I am still currently using the AVEA 7 with the F-Stop 1.4, and I love it. If ONA doesn’t have them, maybe check Domke.

      Best,

      Patrick

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