The humble camera sling bag has seen a massive resurgence in popularity recently. Everyone from amateurs to professionals seem to be favouring these unique, one-shouldered carrying solutions.
Maybe it’s due to the fact that more and more photographers are down-sizing their gear with mirrorless camera systems that are more compact than ever before.
Or perhaps you’re looking for that perfect in-between of camera backpack portability with camera messenger bag accessibility.
Being able to go from carrying all your gear on your back (with both your hands free), to accessing it with just one quick ‘pull and swing’ of the bag around your body, is a really efficient way to move and shoot.
Whatever the reason, I thought it was high time to investigate the best camera sling bags on the market in 2021.
Check out my favourites below, and leave a comment if you agree with the choices.
Best Camera Sling Bag in 2021
Image Product Features Peak Design Everyday Sling 5LOUR #1 CHOICE
- Multiple Pockets
- Great Value
View Price → Lowepro Passport Sling IIIMOST VERSATILE
- Expandable Capacity
View Price → Peak Design Everyday Sling 10LTOP-RATED
- Unique Dividers
- Quick-release Strap
- Expandable Capacity
View Price → Altura Photo Camera Sling BackpackBEST BUDGET
- Great Value
- Quick-access Opening
- Multiple Pockets
- Padded Strap
View Price → Lowepro Slingshot Edge 250 AWBEST FOR LARGER LOADS
- Spacious Interior
- Quick-access Opening
- Multiple Pockets
- Pocket Strap
View Price →
1. Peak Design Everyday Sling 10L
Dimensions: 15.8 x 9.1 x 5.5″ (401 x 231 x 139 mm) Weight: 680.39 g (1.5 lb / 24 oz)
When I do engagement shoots, one of the biggest issues is finding a bag that’s big enough to house a couple of lenses and some spare batteries, but not be so big as to be cumbersome. I also need something that will stay out of the way like a backpack, but have the accessibility of a messenger bag.
One of the camera sling bags that helped solve the problem is the Peak Design Everyday Sling 10L. I’ve now integrated it into the wedding day, using it in conjunction with my rolling camera bag which houses the bulk of my gear.
The size of the Peak Design Everyday Sling 10L is quite deceptive, looking quite small in pictures but actually offering tardis-like carrying capacity.
You can squeeze in one pro-sized camera body and 1-3 lenses or any other miscellaneous equipment, and compression straps allow it to expand to hold extra gear in the front pocket as required.
Like all Peak Design’s bags, innovative Flexfold compartment dividers keep your gear organised on the inside, bending at the middle to secure smaller items, or provide a ledge on which to stack two items on top of each other.
Inside the main compartment, there’s a zippered pocket with 5 stretchy compartments to store spare batteries, memory cards or cables, as well as a padded sleeve for a tablet or 12″ Macbook Retina. It also has a spacious pocket on the front of the bag that you can store other items for quick access in.
The straps and buckles on the front of the Peak Design Everyday Sling 10L can be extended to secure a small tripod or monopod. It doesn’t have a way to secure it at either end, but if you can tighten the straps enough, it’s pretty secure (depending on the weight of the tripod of course).
One of the best features of this camera sling bag is the strap. It has a one-handed quick-pull adjustment buckle that you can use to lengthen the strap with one hand. It requires very little effort to quickly lengthen the strap, swing it around your body, then stow or take out your camera.
The ends of the strap can be tucked away into side recessed pockets, and the Everyday Sling 10L can also be worn as a hip (fanny/bum) bag. I gave this a go but found it a little odd to have such a large bag attached to my waist. I imagine it is most useful though for when you ride a bike.
Design-wise, the Peak Design Everyday Sling 10L looks great and is highly functional to boot. I own the Ash version because of the leather brown accents which I love, but I secretly want the newly released black version too! The most popular colour to date seems to be the Charcoal version, with its red accents – see all the colours here.
The weatherproof 400D nylon canvas shell fabric used for the Everyday Sling is durable and feels great. Zippers are all weatherproof too.
Tightening the compression straps collapse the bag completely, so it’s easily packable into another bag – this is what I do when travelling on holiday, stuffing it into a larger suitcase to remove and use when I arrive at the destination.
Probably one of the biggest issues with the Everyday Sling 10L for most people is that it’s a little steep in terms of pricing compared to some of the other best camera sling bags in this review.
Personally, I feel that this is justified by its features and looks – there really is no other camera sling bag on the market like it.
All in all, the Everyday Sling 10L is one of the best camera sling bags of the year and I highly recommend it.
(You can check out the Peak Design Everyday Sling 10L Review if you’d like to learn more about this great product.)
2. Altura Photo Camera Sling Backpack
Dimensions: 17 x 8.1 x 6.4″ (431.8 x 205.74 x 162.6 mm) Weight: 589.67 g (1.3 lb / 20.8 oz)
Despite its rather confusing name, the Altura Sling Backpack is a camera sling bag through and through, in that it offers just one shoulder strap with which to carry your gear.
For those who are perhaps more active with their shoots, the Altura Sling Backpack also offers a quick-release chest strap to provide a more secure fastening to your body. This stops the bag from swinging around while cycling, hiking over mixed terrain, or running.
A nice touch is that you can tuck the chest strap away into a hidden pocket at the base of the bag when not in use.
The Altura Sling Backpack offers two main access points – one via a ‘side door’, which allows you to grab your camera or lens easily while the bag is still attached to your body (by sliding it around to your front).
The other access point is a cavernous front door, which can be customised with velcro dividers to fit a large DSLR camera and up to 3 lenses or other accessories. The internal dimensions are 10.2″ high, 8″ wide and 5″ deep – one of the biggest in its class.
Near the top of the Altura Sling Backpack, there’s also a small zippered pocket which is perfect for smaller accessories such as flash triggers, spare batteries or a set of keys.
There’s also a mesh (see-through) pocket on the inner side of the front door flap, which is handy for memory cards, cleaning cloths and the like. It’s good how this pocket has a ‘flap’ at the top (see video), which prevents items from sliding out when you fold the door flap back. Inside the top zippered pocket there’s another one of these mesh pockets too.
A great feature of the Altura Sling Backpack is the strap with clips on the front. At first glance it seems to be there to provide more security to the zippered front door, to prevent it accidentally opening.
When fastened, however, it also means that the front flap can only open half way (see video below), stopping all your gear from falling out when you try and retrieve an item while the bag is still on your back. It opens up just far enough to be able to easily remove or stow your camera, then you can unclip the straps and open the flap further to remove other items of gear.
On the side, the Altura Sling Backpack features an additional strap and elasticated ‘pocket’, allowing you to carry a small travel tripod or thin water bottle.
During the review, I preferred to keep it empty to aid with the overall balance of the bag while carrying, although you could use the waist strap to off-set it slightly.
In terms of its design, the exterior is nice and simple with a mostly black design and grey centre strap. The purple highlighting of the inside adds a touch of jazz and helps you easily identify the presence of your gear in low light.
The Altura Sling Backpack is also nice and light and functions well as a camera sling bag even when fully loaded, as it stays fairly well-balanced in terms of its weight distribution. The padding on the back of the bag is a nice touch – something you surprisingly don’t see on all camera sling bags.
It has to be said that one of the biggest reasons for the enormous popularity of the Altura Sling Backpack is its affordable price. At under $30, you’re getting a fully-featured camera sling bag with multiple storage and carry options, innovative features, understated looks and high quality.
Small design features like the padding next to the quick release clip to prevent rubbing on your hip, the top grab handle and the see-through mesh zippered pockets for at-a-glance gear confirmation all add up to a very well thought out bag at a price point to suit any wallet.
3. Lowepro Passport Sling III
Dimensions: 17.3 x 5.7 x 16.1″ (439.42 x 144.78 x 408.94 mm) Weight: 476.27 g (1.05 lb / 16.8 oz)
The Lowepro Passport Sling III is an enormously popular camera sling bag, that actually has legions of non-photographer fans too. Comfortable, stylish, lightweight, and an innovative figure-hugging design make this the bag that I’ve decided to take travelling with me this year.
This sling bag has a surprisingly large amount of storage space which is usefully dispersed across the front, rear and inside. The front and back of the bag have a few ‘open’ pockets that can store small non-valuable items which you may need to access quickly – things like spare batteries, lens cloths, notepads and the like.
While most camera sling bags offer exterior pockets that are zippered or at least hook-and-looped, the Lowepro Passport Sling III has taken the somewhat braver route of leaving them open. I actually really like this, as the pockets serve more like the pockets on your jacket or jeans, being easy to slip your hands in and out to retrieve items quickly.
The more I used the Lowepro Passport Sling III, the more I used these exterior pockets to carry things I’d usually leave in my jeans pockets – lip cream, chewing gum, a train pass, tissues, etc. Having nothing in my jeans pockets was very freeing 🙂
Inside the bag, it’s very spacious with lots of compartments for various gadgets. There are a few adjustable partitions there for your camera, as well as your lenses and other small pieces of equipment.
There’s also a padded partition for your tablet or small notebook computer – this being one of the updated features of the VIII model of the bag. I’m not quite sure why there’ve been 8 (VIII) iterations of this bag, but I’d like to think they’ve perfected it with this one!!
In the inside wall, there’s a partially concealed mesh compartment that you can use to store your phone, passport, and other documents, as well as a convenient little hook for your keys.
One great feature of the Lowepro Passport Sling III that makes it ideal for travel is a side zip which runs along the length of the underside of the bag – one quick zip and the inside expands considerably – check out the video review below where the owner easily stashes a bottle of wine, mini umbrella and a box of crisps away inside!
Whilst most camera sling bags I’ve come across incorporate a somewhat rigid design, the Lowepro Passport Sling III takes on a more form-fitting approach, with its kidney-shaped contouring.
This is one of the big reasons for its popularity, and the main reason why I’ve decided to take this bag on holiday with me instead of any of the others I now own.
Wearing the Lowepro Passport Sling III on the side of your body actually feels more like a messenger bag, but with the contoured edge allowing you to quickly slide it back around and up your back, transforming it into a camera sling bag.
Made out of water-resistant nylon, the bag feels strong while remaining very lightweight. Zippers are excellent quality and feature cord grab loops, making it easy to open and close even when you’re wearing gloves.
During this review, I found that the sheen of the fabric gives it the added benefit of being extra ‘slippy’, making the transition from side to back very smooth and quick, even when the bag is fully loaded.
If you wear leather jackets or even nylon quilted jackets, you may find that with some sling bags, the material used actually prevents it from being slid around your body easily, since it sticks slightly – thankfully this isn’t the case with the Lowepro Passport Sling III.
All in all, I’m a big fan of the Lowepro Passport Sling III. While having a semi-rigid camera sling bag like the Peak Design Everyday Sling series and several others is nice, I’m growing much more accustomed to the benefits of this collapsible design.
The padded interior dividers provide ample security for your gear, while at the same time, the bag is still able to ‘bend’ around your body when partially empty – I love this.
Overall, another highly recommended camera sling bag. Available in stealthy all black (my choice), or a fashionable grey with orange accents – the only problem you’ll have is deciding on the colour 😉
4. LowePro Slingshot Edge 250 AW
Dimensions: 13 x 19.3 x 11″ (330.2 x 490.22 x 279.4 mm) Weight: 798.32 g (1.05 lb / 28.16 oz)
Moving on to something a little more heavy-duty, the LowePro Slingshot Edge is slightly larger than the camera sling bags mentioned previously, almost to the point of it looking like a small backpack.
Instead of opening up to the front, the LowePro Slingshot Edge opens up at the back (where the strap is located). You can still easily shift the bag to the front and gain access to the main storage compartment, although it’s not quite as simple as the front-opening bags. Inside, there’s plenty of room for your DLSR camera and 2-3 lenses, depending on their size.
The front has a small quick-access pocket for miscellaneous accessories like batteries or memory cards and also features a handy key leash.
Included with the LowePro Slingshot Edge are two utility straps that feed through the two small holes on the front of the pack, for a way to attach a tripod, a monopod, an umbrella, walking stick, etc.
On the side, there’s another hole to attach the utility strap, and an elasticated ‘pocket’. By tucking a leg of your tripod into the pocket, you can secure the upper portion with the strap for a nice, secure alternative way to carry it. The elasticated pocket also doubles as a way to carry a small water bottle.
Inside the upper area, there’s a ‘suspended’ pocket space which you can use to store a tablet, or a small laptop, plus another space to store headphones, a small camera, or anything else you need frequent access to. There’s also a zippered mesh pocket for batteries, filters, and other smaller items.
A neat feature of the LowePro Slingshot Edge is hidden away in a small compartment on the back of the bag. Just unzip it and you have a weather-resistant covering for your bag which can save your gear from a sudden downpour – this is a common design feature in the LowePro AW range (AW= All Weather).
The rear padding is ample and well-designed, featuring narrow spacing in the padding presumably to help with grip on your back, and perhaps to provide some ventilation in warmer climates too.
As for the strap itself, the contoured, padded design provides a great fit – LowePro has obviously used all its experience when creating some amazing backpacks in the design of the strap.
If you’re cycling, running, or need some extra stability, there’s an additional strap which attaches from your hip to the front of the main strap, preventing the LowePro Slingshot Edge from swinging across your body.
Then there’s the grab handle on the top of the bag, which has a nice grippy rubberised handle covering the canvas material used inside it.
This bag can definitely withstand a lot of abuse – being a LowePro product, it’s extremely durable and well made.
Aesthetically speaking it may not be to everyone’s taste, but it’s still an excellent bag for people who go hiking a lot for shoots, if you want to travel light but still have ample storage space to carry your camera gear safely.
5. Peak Design Everyday Sling 5L
Dimensions: 4.3 x 12.2 x 7.5″ (109.22 x 309.88 x 190.5 mm) Weight: 498.95 g (1.1 lb / 17.6 oz)
If you love the idea of the Everyday Sling 10L but you wished it was more compact, this 5L version is the answer to your prayers. It’s a more minimalist option if you’ve got a smaller camera gear collection, or need something dedicated to carrying your drone.
Despite its size, the Peak Design Everyday Sling 5L has a surprisingly large carrying capacity. First off, it has a small zippered compartment on the front which you can use to store a spare camera strap, phones, chargers and other smaller items.
Inside the main compartment, there’s another zipper compartment, which includes stretchy pockets that can expand to fit batteries, SD cards, and other small items. Organization options are always well-thought-out and plentiful on Peak Design bags.
As for the inside, the 5L version of the Everyday Sling can be set up similarly to the 10L, with a middle compartment for your camera, and two Flexfold dividers for lenses and other equipment. These can be folded inwards for more security if you’re only looking to carry a camera with a single, large lens.
The main pocket also has a separate compartment for an iPad Mini or similar sized tablet, although it has to be said that when the bag is fully loaded, it’s a little hard to slide the tablet in and out.
I’m currently using mine to carry a Mavic Pro drone, controller and spare battery – the fit is so perfect it’s almost as if they based the dimensions of the bag on the Mavic when making it!
The Peak Design Everyday Sling 5L is also a great size for use when travelling, whether carrying a camera or not. I used mine while travelling in Europe recently to carry a water bottle, map, spare battery pack and point and shoot camera, and still had space to spare.
As for camera gear, you can fit a DSLR body with lens attached, or a smaller mirrorless camera and a couple of lenses, depending on their size of course.
The rear strap has a slightly different placement from the 10L, as it’s on top of the bag rather than on the rear. This doesn’t really affect how the bag feels when carried at all, and I appreciate the addition of another grab handle even on a bag this small.
The 5L version doesn’t have the straps on the front for a tripod like its bigger brother, but it does have an attachment point on the side for other smaller items. Peak Design hope that you’ll use it to attach their innovative Capture Clip, but securing a small camera to the outside of this miniature bag seems a little odd to me!
A neat design touch on the Peak Design Everyday Sling 5L is that the main zipper tag can be opened up and closed around the attachment point to act as a theft-deterrent. It’s a little fiddly to be using every time, but it’s nice to know you have that option when walking in unfamiliar streets.
The strap has the same easy-adjust feature as the 10L but tightening is done via a small fabric loop instead of the buckle. It can also be altered slightly to allow it to be worn as a waist bag (fanny/bum bag) which helps if you’re on a bike.
Similar to the 10L version, the strap features a rotating fastener where it meets the bag, meaning that it can pivot around in all angles when in use. This all helps to ensure the bag stays close to your back, even when you’re moving fast – just be sure to really tighten up the strap to stop it from bouncing.
The fabric of the Peak Design Everyday Sling 5L is like the 10L – water-resistant enough to keep your gear safe during light showers, but you wouldn’t want to be out in a downpour too long.
It also shares the same awesome minimalist design as its big brother, but with even simpler detailing. Unlike the 10L you only get two choices for the colour scheme – ash or black.
I’m a big fan of the all-black line of Peak Design products, with all the elements of the bag in the same shade of black – buckles, zippers, everything. The inside pale yellow colour with the various Peak Design signature accents on the mini pockets looks great too. Having a lighter colour interior also helps you find items in low light.
The Peak Design Everyday Sling 5L is so much more than just a compact version of the 10L. It’s incredibly versatile, has awesome storage space, and is perfect for everything from a small mirrorless camera system (see examples) to your everyday carry essentials.
The price is definitely in the ‘premium’ category, but for that, you’re getting a good looking, well-designed camera sling bag that’s functional, durable and from a trusted brand.
6. AmazonBasics Camera Sling Bag
Dimensions: 10.3 x 7.9 x 6.1″ (261.62 x 200.66 x 154.94 mm) Weight: 648.64 g (1.43 lb / 22.88 oz)
It seems like Amazon have one of its own-brand ‘Basics’ products in every niche on its site, gobbling up the sales of smaller manufacturers, by creating a competing produced to sell at a hugely reduced price.
It’s a common practice to reverse engineer all the features used on other competing products to create something that’s on par, if not better, and that’s what Amazon seems to have done with the AmazonBasics Camera Sling Bag.
At the heart of the design is a contoured, padded strap which is nice and thick to evenly distribute the weight across your shoulder and down your front. The inclusion of a padded waist belt is a nice touch and means that the bag can be worn while hiking, walking fast or cycling.
Undoing the waist belt to swing the AmazonBasics Camera Sling Bag around to your front is quick and easy with the quick release clip which can be unfastened simply with one hand.
The front strap seems to have been influenced by the design of the Altura Sling Backpack to name but one, in that keeping it fastened helps to prevent the main flap from opening too far when the bag is around the front of your body.
This also means that the bag’s internals are separated into two different ‘stages’, with the first stage opening to allow access to your camera, and the second stage (with the strap undone), opening fully to reveal your lenses.
There’s also a handy see-thru zippered pocket for memory cards built into the main flap.
On the inside, padded dividers can be configured using velcro fastenings to adjust for bigger camera bodies and lenses. I was able to fit a Nikon D850 body with 85mm f/1.4 lens attached and still have room for a 35mm f/1.8 next to it.
Opening the AmazonBasics Camera Sling Bag via the top pocket gives you access to another fairly roomy compartment, easily big enough to fit another prime lens, video mic, flashes or similar size gadgets. On the side is an elasticated mesh pocket, useful for spare batteries, cables etc.
The bag’s external tripod-securing system offers a hands-free way to keep a compact tripod or monopod firmly attached.
I’m not a big fan of attaching too much bulk to the outside of a camera sling bag – all that weight quickly adds up, and it’s not ideal to be supported on only one shoulder. This said it’s good to have the option if you have something small and lightweight like the Gorillapod.
There’s also side and front zippered pockets which you can use to store smaller, non-valuable items.
As with all the AmazonBasics range, the appearance is… well, basic! Thankfully they chose a non-offensive all-black colour scheme for their products, but many of them including the AmazonBasics Camera Sling Bag feature a rather garish orange interior.
I’m not a huge fan of the shade of orange but can appreciate that some may love it, and I have to admit that it’s a good way to discern your gear from the insides of the bag when working in low light.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of the AmazonBasics Camera Sling Bag and the number one reason for its huge popularity is its price. At under $30 (see the latest price by clicking the button below), it’s a great competitor to the Altura mentioned above – most of the decision boils down to which one is better looking to you.
It’s good to know there are affordable camera sling bags on offer in 2021, and I have to say that this offering from Amazon is a great option.
7. Lowepro Slingshot 202
Dimensions: 10 x 9.8 x 17.7″ (254 x 248.92 x 449.58 mm) Weight: 861.83 g (1.9 lb / 30.4 oz)
You’ll notice that LowePro is mentioned a lot in this round up of the best camera sling bags of the year. The LowePro Slingshot 202 is a good example of why – lots of small design elements add up to create a useful, functional and durable product.
Using padded velcro dividers, you’re able to create 5 compartments for a camera body with lens attached, some smaller lenses (such as primes or pancake lenses), filters, flashes, and other equipment.
The main compartment has a microfiber cloth attached and tucked away, which can be pulled out to act as a handy lens cloth, or as an extra layer of protection for the rear LCD screen of your camera – a nice touch I haven’t seen on any other camera sling bag.
The LowePro Slingshot 202 uses a similar front strap system as some of the other sling bags mentioned here, whereby you open the front main flap in two separate stages – the first to access your camera with lens attached, and the second to access other items of gear.
On the inside of the flap are two memory card pockets, and there are other small elasticated and zippered pockets in another compartment at the top of the bag.
One neat feature is an elasticated strip of material on the ‘shelf’ of the upper pocket, which serves as a way to secure smaller items such as portable drives from bouncing around during transit.
The pockets on the front of the LowePro Slingshot 202 are designed in a way that when you have the bag in ‘sling’ mode (i.e. at the front of your body), smaller items can’t slip out. This is a simple design element but shows that thought has gone into designing a bag that functions especially well as a sling.
At the side of the bag, there’s a hidden ‘pouch’ that can be expanded to hold the foot of a tripod or monopod, with the straps above it securing the rest of the bulk. Most camera sling bags that offer this carry option have the pouch constantly on display – not a negative per se, but having it tucked away on the LowePro Slingshot 202 helps to maintain a more svelte silhouette.
As with the other Slingshot bags, there a neatly hidden all-weather cover tucked away at the bottom, which can be expanded and stretched over the LowePro Slingshot 202 in sudden downpours.
Being a LowePro product, the actual carrying system of the Slingshot is excellent – the strap is padded both in the main portion of the strap that comes into contact with your shoulder and the front of your body, as well as near the quick-release buckle, which would otherwise rub into your side.
There’s no additional waist strap like some of the other camera sling bags in this review, but the LowePro Slingshot 202 still felt well-balanced on my back, even when fully loaded.
All around the front of the bag are SlipLock attachment loops (basically elasticated pieces of fabric), that allow the attachment of other LowePro Street & Field accessories, whether slid underneath or clipped on with some kind of additional carabiner. I found myself using the front one to clip on a ballpoint pen.
The aesthetics of the LowePro Slingshot 202 aren’t for everyone, and I have to say I’m not a massive fan of its slightly-nerdy appearance… I am rather picky though and know several photographer friends that are happy owners of the Slingshot, and actually like the way it looks – clearly a subjective thing.
Looks aside, this is one camera sling bag that’s built to last a lifetime, with useful design features not seen on other bags, and an all-weather cover that will ensure you’ll be able to travel with it everywhere.
8. Pacsafe Camsafe V18
Dimensions: 11 x 21.3 x 5.9″ (279.4 x 541.02 x 149.86 mm) Weight: 948.01 g (2.09 lb / 33.44 oz)
If you’ve ever shot at a very busy street, you’ll know the uneasy feeling when you’re walking around with really expensive camera equipment on your back.
The Pacsafe Camsafe V18 is a unique product from a company that specialises in making it a hard time for pickpockets and thieves to have their way with your prized possessions! (See another popular Pacsafe bag here.)
At the core of the bag is the lightweight, concealed eXomesh Slashguard stainless steel wire mesh, which is actually embedded into fabric, helping to protect against slash-and-run theft.
If you’ve ever heard horror stories of motorbike gangs who carry knives with which to slash the straps of unsuspecting women’s handbags, you’ll know how useful it’d be to have a bag with this kind of built-in protection.
It’s not just the lightweight body of the Pacsafe Camsafe V18 that’s been reinforced either – the strap itself has been reinforced with similar wire, to prevent a knife from slashing through it.
On the front pocket, small clips allow you to fasten the zipper pulls to the bag itself, preventing someone from quickly opening the pocket while the bag is on your back.
Another innovative feature is the RFIDsafe Blocking Material, which has been built into one of the internal pockets to help protect IDs and credit cards from hacker scanning.
This may seem a little overkill on a camera sling bag, but Pacsafe is clearly thinking that the end-user will be using the Pacsafe Camsafe V18 for far more than just the odd photo shoot.
The way the bag has been styled lends itself more to a fully-fledged travel sling bag, especially with the addition of the button-fastenable upper grab handle.
The front pocket houses a zippered, mesh compartment, a wallet-sized slide-in pocket and three pens sleeves. There’s also a clip for attaching your keys.
The main pocket features a modular, removable camera compartment which holds your DLSR and extra gear, while the rest of the roomy zippered compartment gives you space for other items.
As with the other camera sling bags in this review, the internal modular components can be removed completely, for you to carry more over-sized items and clothing. The reason I like the design of the Pacsafe Camsafe V18 in particular, however, is the way that it can collapse around itself when devoid of the modular components (as opposed to remaining rigid).
Another neat touch is the rear luggage handle sleeve, that allows you to attach the Pacsafe Camsafe V18 to a rolling camera bag or suitcase – this is a design feature sometimes seen on backpacks or messenger bags, but rarely on a camera sling bag.
This touch and the numerous anti-theft devices built into the Pacsafe Camsafe V18 indicate that it’s been designed more for travel than perhaps any of the other bags in this review.
If you’re a worried-traveller, or simply want to take better care of your expensive camera gear while walking outside, this is definitely the investment you need to make.
Available in all-black or olive with yellow accents, Pacsafe has created a truly unique product that will pay for itself many times over in personal security.
9. Qipi Sling Bag
Dimensions: 16.7 x 9.8 x 4.3″ (424.18 x 248.92 x 109.22 mm) Weight: 771.11 g (1.7 lb / 27.2 oz)
This is one odd-looking camera sling bag! I didn’t quite understand its enormous popularity, so I ordered one to see what all the fuss was about…
The main compartment on the Qipi Sling Bag is pretty spacious and opens up all the way to the other side allowing you to easily pack your gear in before you set out. It has space for a camera body with a small lens attached, and 3 customizeable compartments for your flash, alternate lens, and other equipment.
On the inside of the main flap, a large velcro mesh pocket is useful for storing all manner of smaller items – I prefer to stow lighter items such as notes, lens cloths or cables here since anything heavier causes the flap to fall open rather abruptly when opening the bag whilst it’s on your shoulder.
Up at the top, there’s one small slide-in pocket and another velcro mesh pocket for storing things like memory cards and spare batteries. Behind it, there’s a much larger pocket, which you can use to store an external drive or portable backup battery.
On the front of the Qipi Sling Bag, there’s another pocket, featuring smaller compartments sized appropriately for batteries, pens and the like.
It also has a designated travel tripod holder pocket on the side of the bag with straps and buckles that you can adjust accordingly.
There’s also a smaller stabilizing strap to help keeps the Qipi Sling Bag secure, so it doesn’t swing around when you’re walking.
My two favourite features of this rather unusual looking bag are concealed away – one in a pocket on the side of the bag, concealing a rainproof cover, and the other on the actual front strap, in the form of a slide-in phone pocket.
Having a small pocket on the front strap is actually incredibly useful, and I’m surprised more camera sling bag manufacturers haven’t implemented one. It’s nice to have a place to stow your phone for quick access, without having to slide the bag around to your front to dig into one of the pockets.
The purple interior of the Qipi Sling Bag won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but it’s hard to argue with a such a well-thought-out sling bag, at such an attractive price – click the button below to see if it’s still on sale for under 30 bucks!
Camera Sling Bag Buyer’s Guide
Camera sling bags are meant to be the perfect alternative to bulky camera backpacks and side-heavy messenger bags.
Due to their smaller dimensions and the fact that the weight is largely placed on one side of the body, we’re forced to carry less gear, which encourages us to make our gear selection more efficient.
All the above camera sling bags met or exceeded the following criteria:
1. Lightweight construction
2. Comfortable shoulder strap and back panel
3. Shift easily from chest to back and vice versa
4. Good organization for camera gear and other small items
5. Allow freedom to move
6. Good value for money
If it’s not already obvious, using a camera sling over one of the many other styles of bag available on the market has a few key advantages.
Being able to go from carrying to usage in one quick ‘swing’ of the camera sling bag around the body is incredibly useful, and having it to use as a kind of ‘ledge’ for your gear (whien in front of your body) allows for even easier (and safer) lens changes.
While some photographers will use their camera sling bag as their sole carrying device, most will use it either in conjunction with a larger camera roller bag (for example) or as a reduced-gear pack for shorter shoots.
Personally, I have a selection of small bags which I tend to rotate depending on where I’m travelling, or what I’m shooting, and commonly I use a camera sling bag to carry one camera body with a lens attached, plus another lens and a spare battery.
I also keep a Think Tank Turnstyle 20 (reviewed here) in the car with backup gear, and use a Peak Design Everyday Sling 5L (reviewed here) for my Mavic Pro Platinum drone + controller, and sometimes for my Sony a7III and 35mm lens too.
Since examining so many other great slings for this review, I’ve actually purchased a couple more to add to this rotation!
Due to their low price and high functionality, you’ll no doubt find many different uses for camera sling bags too. Let’s take a closer look at some of the best.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best sling bag?
For carrying camera gear, our favourite sling bag is the Peak Design Everyday Sling 10L. It keeps your gear organized and is deceptively spacious for its size. It’s also really fast and easy to adjust using the quick-pull adjustment buckle.
What is the difference between sling bag and crossbody bag?
The terms crossbody bag and sling bag are more or less used interchangeably. “Crossbody” refers to the fact that the strap of the bag runs diagonally across the torso (shoulder to hip). Because this type of bag “slings” across the body in a way that makes it easy to spin around and access, it’s also referred to as a sling bag.
What are sling bags for?
Sling camera bags are for carrying your camera gear in a way that makes accessing it easy and fast. With a sling bag you can quickly shift the bag from the back of your body to the front, without having to remove it as you would a backpack.
What should you carry in a sling bag?
Your key pieces of kit should go in a sling camera bag. Just bear in mind that it may not have the same capacity or ability to store as many smaller accessories as a large size backpack. This can be a good thing – it keeps you selective about what you choose to take on your photography adventures!
Best Camera Sling Bags | Final Words
As you can see, there’s a whole host of great options if you’re a fan of the sling bag style of carrying camera gear.
I’m always surprised at the number of photographers I meet with bulging messenger-style camera bags, who’ve never tried out a sling bag.
I’d advise against stuffing a camera sling bag with all your gear, as no matter how well designed the bag, using only one shoulder to carry all that weight can get rather uncomfortable quickly. It also can wreak havoc over the long term with your body.
However, lightly filling your sling bag with one or two lenses and your camera can be an immensely freeing experience and forces you to really think about your gear choices. I’m a fan of just one camera+one lens, and using the extra space of my sling bag to hold other lightweight travel items instead.
Having both your hands-free like you’re carrying a backpack, but also having super-fast access to your gear, as if you’re using a messenger bag, makes the camera sling bag a great best-of-both-worlds carrying option.
Due to the affordable nature of camera sling bags, it’s within most budgets to own one along with your other main camera bag. Or you can be like me and own a few 🙂
Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post may contain affiliate links.