AS AN OUTDOOR photographer, I often get asked what system I use to lug around all my camera gear when I’m out on a long-distance hike. The issue is, of course, that you’re already lugging around a tent, sleeping gear, clothes, a week’s worth of food, booze and three kilos of chocolate, so there’s no room left for another smaller camera pack. That said, you don’t want to be stuck with a tiny bag that only holds a single lens and body.
Enter Lowepro’s Slingshot. I’ve been using the 200 for more than five years now and it’s still in great condition despite the beatings it’s taken. It holds a body (or two) and three to four lenses, plus other assorted goodies. A cross between a messenger bag and a small camera backpack, its true advantage is its sleek, low-profile design. This allows it to be slid into and out of your larger hiking pack with ease, as opposed to most camera bags of similar capacity that are too squat for easy removal.
It has other advantages as well, especially when you’re travelling to poorer countries; it doesn’t look particularly camera-baggy, which means it attracts less attention. And with the single strap design, if you find yourself in crowds or dodgy areas, it takes less than a second to swing it round to your front where you can keep an eye on it. What’s more, you can then access all your gear. In fact you never need to take the Slingshot off to access anything, just swing it to the front, unzip and you’re in. Seriously, it takes less than second.
The single carry strap, however, is not ideal for whole day outings. But since we’re talking about using it inside a larger pack here, that’s not an issue. And it’ll comfortably work for an hour or so for those times you want to ditch your main pack and head off in search of different subject matter, or a better vantage point for your piccy.
Lowepro’s since updated the Slingshot 200 to the Slingshot 202, but there’s essentially no difference.