Comfortable Sling Packs? Do they exist?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by sapple, Aug 29, 2013.

  1. sapple

    sapple TPF Noob!

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    Hello World,

    I am trying to find a good camera bag that will work well for hiking. I am looking for something that will hold my Nikon D5200 plus 3 lenses not attached to the body, lens cleaning kit things, some batteries, and a charger. I am looking for something where I can access the camera without having to take off the bag itself, and I am looking for something that can hold a small tripod. I bought a sling bag from an obscure chinese company that looked to be able to do all of this. And indeed it can. However, upon recently receiving the bag I found it pretty uncomfortable. When I go hiking (which is when I use my camera the most) I will hike for a minimum of 5 hours. So the camera bag must be comfortable during that entire trip.

    Does a sling bag exist that is comfortable for that long and also can meet my other requirements? If not, can anyone suggest a backpack that can do all of those things? I do not want something that is huge which is why I was looking at sling bags to begin with. Thank you for any suggestions.


     
  2. BenjaminJ

    BenjaminJ TPF Noob!

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    Check out lowerpro slings. They are top of the line bags.
     
  3. Gavjenks

    Gavjenks TPF Noob!

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    Cotton Carrier Lite belt system : AvidMaxOutfitters.com

    I love this thing. They also sell a lens bag that attaches to the belt and could probably hold 3 lenses. All the weight is carried on your hips, which is the best place to carry weight, you barely feel a 5 pound camera + huge lens at all.

    Dunno about the tripod, though. a narrow sling for that over your shoulder?
     
  4. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    You won't get a comfy sling bag for hiking with more extensive camera gear. Sling bags put all the weight on one shoulder, at some point that shoulder is going to get tired; plus the lay of the bag means that if you're moving around in more rugged terrain you might feel it slipping a lot more; its more stable than a shoulder bag would be, however a shoulder bag does at least let you swap shoulders easily.


    Personally for hiking and quick access I'd suggest a photographers vest.
    That gives you hte ability to carry varied gear easily with the weight well distributed around your body whilst letting you have quick access when you need it. A regular rucksack with a good harness is also another option; giving you good support for travel though it will slow in gaining access (there are a few reverse entry bags that give the impression they can give standing access, but in practical terms they are not much if any faster than a normal pack).

    Check out The Vest Guy who also does custom vests as well as the large and varied established range.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2013
  5. Whiskeyjack

    Whiskeyjack TPF Noob!

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    I'll have to say... I have a Lowepro sling and I hate it if it's got that much gear in it. Makes my neck/shoulder/back ache. I LOVE my Tamarac backpack and my Lowepro Flipside 400.
     
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  6. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Sling style bags are meant for day-tripping without much gear. For hiking, you should be looking for a backpack style bag with double shoulder supports or a top loader that rides on your chest. Either style will provide you much more support and hands free than a sling style bag. This from an owner of all three style bags.
     
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  7. sapple

    sapple TPF Noob!

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    That unfortunately sounds like what I was expecting. I was hoping it was just the bag I purchased. I am now looking seriously at the Case Logic Kilowatt 101, the Tamrac Evolution 6, and the Lowpro Flipside sport 15L. I am somewhat dubious though about the Flipsides claim that you can access the camera while standing by turning the camera bag around to hang off your waist.

    I don't think the camera vests are for me. I like to carry a minimum of 2 lenses with me and I plan to buy a 55-300mm lens in the not too distant future. I will want to be able to carry that around as well, plus the vests make no tolerances for my tripod except just carrying a separate tripod bag which I am trying to avoid.
     
  8. Gavjenks

    Gavjenks TPF Noob!

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    You could always just use a vest/belt system, and then engineer a simple little connector thing yourself to hook the tripod onto the vest/belt (ideally two points to avoid swinging). Would only require about 8" of webbing and one or two snap closures or rivet buttons.
     
  9. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    From what I've seen the flipsides can work, but often as not you have to sit down to get inside with the bag resting on your lap (otherwise you run out of hands to hold the bag and the gear). It's also somewhat difficult to flip around unless you're wearing light clothes and using light gear - again heavier setups and it becomes rather difficult to use.

    About the only bonus they offer is that the back part that goes against you isn't placed on the ground and is instead kept clean when you put the bag down to get inside.
     
  10. sm4him

    sm4him In memoriam Supporting Member

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    ^THIS.
    I have a couple of LowePro sling bags, and I like them well enough. The small one (102, I think? Can't remember and didn't bring it today) is my "everyday" bag that I usually bring to work with me. It looks small, but I can get my gripped D7000 with a 70-300 lens, plus my 100mm macro lens, 50mm and 18-55 kit lens and still have room for little accessories, like extra cards, remote shutter trigger, batteries, etc.
    And up until a month ago, I used it on hikes as well, along with a fanny pack, in which I usually carry some waters and a flash if I anticipate possibly wanting one.
    But my sister gave me a photography vest for my bday last month, and I LOVE that thing--it has made all the difference on all-day ventures! Well, that and the new Keen hiking boots I just sprang for.


    Last weekend, I spent over 8 hours hiking around at a nearby refuge. I carried my D7000 with the Sigma 150-500 around my neck (next purchase: Black Rapid strap!), the 18-55 and 100mm macro lens in the vest, along with all manner of other accessories (including my Kindle Fire, which fit nicely in the back flap meant for guidebooks). Then I carried several water bottles in my fanny pack, and slung my monopod case around my shoulder. I was not sore or fatigued at all after a full day, like I always was with the sling pack.
    If I wanted more lenses, or my tripod, I'd probably just use my standard backpack and put them in it. My standard pack has the waist belt to help keep the weight more evenly distributed. I figure three lenses is all I'm EVER really going to want INSTANT access to on a hike and the vest works great for that.
     

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