Looking for a full access sling bag!

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by DanS, Aug 5, 2016.

  1. DanS

    DanS Mu-43 Veteran

    393
    Mar 8, 2016
    Central IL
    Right now I have two bags, a little Lowepro ex 120 shoulder, and a Lowepro photo classic 300 aw.

    The 120 is good for a body and 2 small/medium sized lenses. I use it as a caring case, for when I go to visit family and friends and might have the opportunity to take some shots. It's slightly awkward to get in & out of, so I just empty it's contents into pockets and leave it behind when actually shooting.

    The 300 has enough space for anything I might ever buy, and is what I use when i'm going out for a dedicated shooting session. I like it a lot, but its a backpack, and like any backpack you have to take it off and sit it down to access your gear.

    Thus, I've been looking for something to fill the niche between minimalist, & everything but the kitchen sink. To sum up what I'm looking for, I want:
    • space for a body, 4 or 5 lenses, a tripod/mono-pod, and a handful of accessories like extra batteries, cards, & filters.
    • a semi-rigid bag with dividers to protect my gear.
    • access to everything quickly without having to take the bag off.
    So basically I'm looking for a sling, but I'm finding it really hard to meet the last two criteria. It seems most slings are either backpacks with a side pocket that less you access "some" of your gear quickly, or a wide open bag that offers no protection or organization.

    The best thing I've found so far is the Mountainsmith Descent, but even it would require some jury rigging to hold a tripod.


    Can you guys recommend anything else, or is this my best bet?
     
  2. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    Hi, my E-M1 came with a Dolica sling bag and Tripod... the bag can hold a tripod externally, supposedly with a cover for the spikes.
    I've never used it, but I'd be happy to try it with my body and an assortment of lenses, if you let me know which ones you'd like me to try (see my sig below).

    It's quite cheap now (was $40 or more originally):
    https://www.amazon.com/Dolica-SB-015RD-Sling-Backpack-DSLR/dp/B009M3UQ5K

    Barry
     
  3. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Peak design is launching a new Sling. Have to go through Kickstarter and wait, but it looks outstanding and along the lines of what you are after:
    The Everyday Backpack, Tote, and Sling
     
  4. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    I have this and can confirm its very well made and has tank like protection.

    Photo-Recon™

    Here is a decent video review of it:
     
  5. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Have a look at the older (now discontinued, as far as I can tell) F-stop sling bags. They're on clearance sale via the F-Stop website, the Mobile Sling or Brooklyn Sling (depending on your aesthetic) seem to tick a lot of the right boxes: full access to contents via side zippers, internal dividers, but again, no real solution for your monopod. All the F-stop bags I own (Satori, Loka, Guru mountain series backpacks, and Bandon Millar series messenger bag) are very nicely made.

    Cheap, too, while supplies last:

    Clearance - Product
     
  6. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    I wish they could fix their supply problem.
     
  7. DanS

    DanS Mu-43 Veteran

    393
    Mar 8, 2016
    Central IL
    Barry,

    I'd be interested to hear if you can fit the body + one of these combos in, and thank you!

    1. 12-40mm Pro
    2. 40-150mm Pro

    1. 12-40mm Pro
    2. 40-150mm R
    3. 17mm f1.8
    4. 45mm f1.8

    How hard is it to access the top section of the bag while still having it on?


    I like the backpacks, they are as big or bigger than my 300,and can be used just like a sling. But like you said, the wait and price are nothing to sneeze at.

    Yea, i didn't even notice a way i could jury-rig something.
     
  8. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    In reference to the Photo Recon, it is pretty easy from what I remember but I always dropped my camera with the telephoto in that end. It's simple to unzip, you will just have to reach in blind and grab the camera, bit should be pretty simple. It is also fully open top to bottom (you put the dividers where you want) so you can technically reach what's in the top thru the side access.

    I would check to see how easy it is but it is currently strapped to a frame as part of my build the perfect bag experiment: FrankinPack
     
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  9. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
    That's a fairly heavy kit for a slingbag, so you want something that has a well-padded, wide, and comfortable strap. You might consider the ThinkTank TurnStyle 20. The F-Stop slings on clearance are also worth a look, if you can wait for them to get to you. Took a brief look at the Peak Design Everyday Sling. It looks good, but the strap appears too narrow and insufficiently padded for the load you're likely to put in it. It's also kinda big. I have a Case Logic CPL-107 sling, but it's too small for your kit. Case Logic makes some other slings. LowePro makes several slings as well. I have one of their old Slingshot models and I didn't care for the design of the camera access flap. But, they've sold that design for years, so others must like it.
     
  10. DanS

    DanS Mu-43 Veteran

    393
    Mar 8, 2016
    Central IL
    Thanks, and holly hell that thing looks complicated.
     
  11. DanS

    DanS Mu-43 Veteran

    393
    Mar 8, 2016
    Central IL
  12. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    Yes, either way:
    a. 12-40 on E-M1 in main pouch, 40-150Pro w hood & MC-14 in side pocket.

    or

    b. 40-150Pro w hood on E-M1 in main pouch, 12-40 in side pocket.
    The MC-14 has to go in another pocket... it (with caps) fits well enough in the small side pocket, which is padded.
    The tripod foot on the 40-150Pro needs to be rotated towards the body grip (5 seconds)

    My PD Slide sling strap, PD Clutch, and Arca plate fit too, if I wrap the Slide around the lens.
    Also, 2 primes (such as 17/1.8 + 48/1.8 back-to-back with caps glued) or 1 small zoom (e.g. 40-150R without hood) will fit in the bottom of the main pouch in a soda cozy or lens pouch with the 12-40mm on-body.

    There is a removable (velcro) hammock support contraption in the main pouch, it fits over the 12-40mm fine, or over the 40-150Pro without the hood.
    Removing the hammock allows the body+40-150Pro+hood to fit in the main pouch.

    No problem to fit these and even more lenses, but you'll need to add a divider from another bag (or use soda cozies or lens pouches) to keep them from rubbing each other, as there are only the 2 big pockets.
    One lens the size of the MC-14 could fit in the small padded pocket. I know the 9mm BCL will fit there (and it's smaller than the MC-14 with caps), but I'm guessing some of the pancake primes would fit as well.

    There's also 3 more (4 total) small pockets with good places to put at least 3 batteries (and 2 more if you don't put the MC-14 in there), plus memory card holders, maps, a large cell phone, etc. Filters can go in there too, but they won't really be padded.
    The E-M1's flash can fit in the same location I mentioned for the MC-14.

    And a tripod can hang on the outside (as pictured on Amazon)

    (As I've never used this bag before) I'm quite surprised at how roomy it is.

    I'm not used to sling bags (and I don't like carrying a lot of weight on my shoulders), but...
    a. there is plenty of shoulder padding if you wear it like this (worn on the left shoulder):
    Dolica-SB015RD-C.

    b. if you swing it around, then the 1.5" unpadded strap is on your left shoulder, but you can access everything easily. Like this:
    SB-015RD_AContent._V386323975_.

    If you have the belt strap on, the bag won't swing quite all the way around, but is still partially accessible, and the belt has a quick-release latch.

    If you try to wear it on your right shoulder, things don't work out nearly as well.

    I'm 6'4" (~193cm) and 220lbs (100kg), with a 37" waist and a bit of a beer belly.
    The shoulder strap still has ~6 more inches of adjustment, and the belt about 2.5 inches.
    If you have a big gut, the belt might not fit. Perhaps an extension could be found.

    If you wear it on your back/behind your shoulder, the main compartment is pretty well protected from pilfering if you put the zipper handles against your body. However, the lens compartment and most of the small pockets would be pilferable.

    The weight with the E-M1, 12-40, and 40-150Pro in the bag is not bad and the padded strap seems comfortable, but I don't think I'd like to wear it in front with the unpadded strap for very long with this much weight in it.

    Adding a 4lb tripod (the one the kit included + its bag) changes the balance considerably and is no longer comfortable to me.

    Barry
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2016
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Clint
    The ThinkTank Turn Style 10 can hold both those combos with accessories, however the 40-150 Pro could not be mounted to the camera while in the bag. I've had a 12-40 mounted to E-M1 with BOEM plate, 50-200mm with tripod foot and m4/3 adapter, 75mm, and a FL-600R with extra miscellaneous gear in the bag. Very comfortable, small size, weighing in at 1lb - less weight than most sling bags. The TurnStyle 20 would give you room to spare.

    However neither have a way to hold a mono/tripod. I use a Police Baton holder for my monopod or a small travel tripod when using the TurnStyle. I've had several sling bags and a monopod/tripod mounted to the bag just seems to get in the way a lot.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
    That's what I'd expect. Hanging a tripod from a sling bag would get in the way. How about using a carabiner or a belt clip and hanging it from a belt? I've hung a monopod from a bag strap and belt clip. Tripods would be more of a burden.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. DanS

    DanS Mu-43 Veteran

    393
    Mar 8, 2016
    Central IL
    Thanks for the very informative write up Barry, this bag is definitely a contender. How bad is the balance issue? is it just annoying, or is it unwieldy? My globetrotter is 4.7 lbs, so it's not exactly light, by I've been looking to get A Sirui p-326, or Oden ctm-2500 monopod, when i don't need the flexibility of my tripod.


    That's a no go with my current tripod do to its weight, but might be acceptable with one of the monopods I'm looking to get.


    What do you guys think of this Case Logic?


    While it has some wasted space in my opinion, it does have a servicable tripod/monopod mount. It can be used as a backback or a left/right sling, so I might be able to wear it like a backpack but use it at-least partially like a sling.
     
  16. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    I'm not sure... I have a back injury so I'm very sensitive to such things, but definitely the bag no longer hugs my back well with the tripod on it, and I had to tighten up the strap adjustments but it still didn't feel very comfortable.
    The tripod hangs on the front (back) of the bag; istm hanging from the bottom would be much better balanced but it might rub one's back or hip.
     
  17. JYPfoto

    JYPfoto Mu-43 Veteran

    269
    Aug 27, 2013
    Take a look at the older Kata 3N1 bags. Can wear as a sling, a backpack, has quick access, and should fit a decent amount of gear. Matt Granger posted a video of the 20 where he was able to fit the Nikon Holy Trinity of glass in the bag. Because it's discontinued you can often find a good deal online. I picked up the 10 which I linked below for $40 in eBay.

    3N1-10 DL Sling Backpack | Kata Bags
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. ripgriffith

    ripgriffith Mu-43 Regular

    35
    May 28, 2015
    I second the Kata 3n1 bags. I've used them (and the Vanguard copy), primarily because they allow you to use them either left or right shoulder, or if your gear is really heavy, in a cross-strap configuration. IIRC, they come in 3 sizes, and they are really well made. KT-PL-3N1-25-01. KT-PL-3N1-25-03.
     
  19. DanS

    DanS Mu-43 Veteran

    393
    Mar 8, 2016
    Central IL
    Thanks for pointing this out, I've never heard of this brand before.
     
  20. JYPfoto

    JYPfoto Mu-43 Veteran

    269
    Aug 27, 2013
    They were bought out by Manfrotto, but I prefer the older Kata brand. When looking at the 3N1 line, there's the original 3N1 and the newer 3N1 DL series. I prefer the look of the DL series myself.