Picking between the best camera sling bags for your photography and travel requirements can be a headache given the vast number of products, brands and styles on the market.
If you’ve got a lot of expensive gear to carry around, then you want to ensure that you invest in quality.
But first of all, you need to decide on the style that you want, and one of the most practical options to consider are the best camera sling bags.
These versatile bags are perfect for keeping your gear safe and secure while providing easy access to your different lenses or to fresh batteries or memory cards.
To help you to purchase the best photography equipment, whether you are an amateur, a budding enthusiast or even a professional, here’s our guide to the best camera sling bags on sale right now!
Top 5 Best Camera Sling Bags
Table of Contents
|Altura Photo Camera Sling Backpack Bag
-Quick Access Side Door
-Tight Fit for Big Lenses
-Adjustable Padded Dividers
-Padded Sling Strap
|AmazonBasics Camera Sling Bag
-Ergonomic Padded Sling Strap
-External Tripod Securing System
-Two Built in Memory Card Holders
-Removable Internal Dividers
|MindShift Gear PhotoCross 13 Sling Bag
-Easy Rotation for Access
-Padded Pocket for Laptop or Tablet
|Case Logic DSS-101 Luminosity CSC/DSLR Sling
-Dedicated Tablet Pocket
-Zippered Top Compartment
-Compact Monopod or Tripod Attachment
|Lowepro Passport Sling III - A Protective Sling Bag
-Removable Camera Insert
-Adjustable Shoulder Strap
-Cradlefit System Tablet Pocket
Quick Answer: Best Camera Sling Bags
- Best For Larger Loads Camera Sling Bag: Lowep ro Slingshot Edge 250 AW
- Best Budget Camera Sling Bag: AmazonBasics Camera Sling Bag
- Best Mid-Range Camera Sling Bag: Vanguard Alta Rise 43 Sling Bag for DSLR
- Best Waterproof Camera Sling Bag: MindShift Gear PhotoCross 13 Sling Bag
- Best Lightweight Camera Sling Bag: Manfrotto Pro Light Fasttrack-8 Camera Sling Bag
- Best Hiking Camera Sling Bag: Tenba Solstice 10L Sling Bag
- Best Versatile Camera Sling Bag: Lowepro Passport Sling III – A Protective Sling Bag
How to Choose a Camera Sling Bag
The Benefits of a Camera Sling Bag
There a multitude of different styles on the market when it comes to camera bags, and traditionally, it’s been the large backpacks that are often seen as the best choice for a photographer.
These are popular because they can fit a large amount of equipment and provide great support to the back when hiking or spending a long time on your feet shooting.
The alternative is usually billed as the messenger bag, the classic shoulder bag that can be slung around quickly and that offers a casual style and is easy to access if you need to change lenses quickly.
What’s often overlooked though, are the best camera sling bags, even though they offer a great midway point between a full-on rucksack and a messenger bag and have plenty of awesome benefits for photographers.
Camera sling bags look like a more traditional rucksack, but with one big exception, they only have one shoulder strap.
While they are smaller than big camera bags with two shoulder straps, they offer you the advantage of easy access and security, as just like a messenger bag, you can easily sling it around to your front to get to your equipment quickly.
They are as accessible as a messenger bag but they are much bigger than a messenger bag too.
The best camera sling bags are perfect for photographers who are looking to carry around their camera and a few spare lenses, as well as perhaps a tripod and a water bottle.
They aren’t designed for long hikes, however, and won’t be able to store as much equipment as a camera rucksack could. They are, however, the perfect option for many photographers.
As already mentioned, the size of the best camera sling bags will be the biggest consideration for photographers.
Their unique design means that although they have the capacity to carry more equipment than a messenger bag, they can’t fit as much as a rucksack.
Saying that though, camera sling bags offer ample room for anyone with a few lenses and a DSLR, and you can purchase sling bags in various sizes too.
The largest will give you enough room for most of your equipment but you may struggle to add in extras such as a coat or the day’s lunch, or even a laptop.
For this reason, they aren’t necessarily the best for long term travel although they will almost certainly fit within the overhead compartment of an airplane and be comfortable to take on buses and trains.
Smaller, lighter sling bags are perfect for those photographers who love to be minimal though, and they offer you the functionality of a backpack while allowing you to cut down on weight and bulk.
If you’re heading out for the day to shoot the city and only need one or two spare lenses then sling bags make for the ultimate day pack.
The best camera sling bags will be made from durable, weatherproof and long-lasting material, and from the start, you are better off investing in better quality than skimping on costs – if you want your bag to last that is.
Cheaper bags will be made from less durable materials, and if you are going on long journeys or potentially over-packing the bag every now and then, then you run the risk of the cheap material splitting at a time when you really don’t need such a hindrance.
While a high-quality sling bag will be weatherproof you might want to pay out more for a sling bag that’s completely waterproof. Even with high-quality sling bags, you should always check this before purchasing because a higher price doesn’t always equate to higher quality – depending on where you are going or how adventurous your photography is,
Increasingly you can purchase dry bag style slings that allow you to totally seal your gear inside, just in case you have to cross a river or if you’re going island hopping!
At the very least, make sure your camera bag can keep off a light shower without your gear inside getting wet and damaged, and always ensure that there’s either a rain cover included or built-in, or a way for you to attach one to the outside.
Due to their design and style, the best camera sling bags will, of course, have only one shoulder strap. That’s the idea of the design, as it allows you to quickly sling the bag around and grab whatever equipment you need from your pockets or from the interior.
That’s a big plus but the downside is that you have all the weight on one shoulder, which isn’t ideal for hiking, and which means you’ll want to limit what you actually hold inside the bag in terms of weight.
While it’s perfect for walking around the city or for shoots that don’t involve too much uphill hiking or intense trekking, it’s not the best set up for adventure photographers.
But while the shoulder is the primary strap on the bag there are many more straps to consider too. Some sling bags come with additional straps on the outside, usually the back of the pack itself, which allows you to attach extra equipment such as a tripod or even just a jumper, for quick access, or if the inside of full.
Sling bags don’t however generally come with chest or waist straps as their design limits this, which again is another reason why one shoulder ends up taking the brunt of the weight when you are out walking.
Layout and Padding
When choosing the best camera sling bags you will also want to factor in just how exactly the interior of the bag is laid out and how much padding there is.
The padding is a big consideration, as with lots of expensive lenses and cameras you want to be certain that your gear isn’t going to get broken easily. You want to know that you can drop your sling bag or knock it against a rock or two and that your equipment won’t feel a thing.
Investing in a sling bag with excellent padding is important because in the long run, it’s going to protect your gear, give you more peace of mind and ultimately, save you from having to buy new gear when something gets damaged.
Many camera bags, including the best camera sling bags, come with a practical interior layout system that utilizes the padding to make sure your gear is both protected and organized.
Not only will you have great padding but you can rearrange the padding into a system that suits your particular photography equipment. You can store lenses so that they are easy to reach and you can store your camera itself so it’s well protected when you are on the move.
These interior systems are completely removable too, meaning that if one day you just want your bag to be totally empty, then you can easily make the space available inside.
How many pockets you have and what they can be used for is also a big factor when it comes to choosing the best camera sling bags.
Because they are smaller than more traditional two shoulder strap rucksacks, sling bags won’t have as much pocket space, but that’s not a problem if you use the space wisely.
If you have a tripod to carry with you on shoots then many sling bags will have a dedicated tripod slot, which often is found on the outside for easy access.
You might also want to check if your chosen bag has a water bottle pocket or a mesh pouch on the outside, as this can be a deal-breaker for many photographers, especially if you need the bag for adventurous pursuits or simply for long days out shooting – especially in summer.
On the inside, you want to check before you buy that that the bag has plenty of interior pockets. The best camera sling bags will have excellent organization and that means separate compartments for storing memory cards, batteries and anything else that you might require as a photographer.
You will need those separate pockets to keep your fresh batteries from the old batteries and to allow you to easily and quickly access what you need, while you on the move and taking photographs.
Best Camera Sling Bag Recommendations
Altura Photo Camera Sling Backpack Bag
This lightweight, durable camera backpack is ready for all your daily escapades! Adjustable, padded dividers allow you to customize the main compartment to the various combinations of cameras and lenses you might pick to accompany you on your daily adventures.
The top compartment above it holds flashes and other accessories, while the zippered interior pockets in both compartments keep batteries and cards safe and sound. It even has a tripod holder on the side.
The soft, padded, cross-body strap wears comfortably and can be rotated to bring the bag to the front of the body. This and the zippered side opening allows you quick and easy access to your travel companions without removing the bag.
- Quick Access Side Door
- Tight Fit for Big Lenses
- Adjustable Padded Dividers
- Padded Sling Strap
- Accessory Storage
Check Altura Photo Camera Sling Backpack Bag price at Amazon
AmazonBasics Camera Sling Bag
Whether sight seeing, road tripping, or enjoying an urban hike or nature walk, the AmazonBasics Camera Sling Bag keeps your gear within reach and ready for action. Enjoy quick access, extra storage space, and useful organization—there’s even space for a tripod.
The sling bag’s main compartment accommodates one DSLR camera with an attached standard zoom lens and one or two extra lenses or accessories.
The main compartment opens in two stages for more secure storage. The first stage provides access to the camera, while the second stage offers access to the additional lenses or accessories. The bag’s internal dividers can be removed if desired.
- Ergonomic Padded Sling Strap
- Stash Pocket
- External Tripod Securing System
- Two Built in Memory Card Holders
- Removable Internal Dividers
Check AmazonBasics Camera Sling Bag price at Amazon
MindShift Gear PhotoCross 13 Sling Bag
Adventure photographers need a camera bag that’s as tough as they are. With its rugged materials and faceted design, the MindShift PhotoCross 13 sling camera bag will protect your gear from another punishing trip into the wild.
The PhotoCross is built to withstand the elements, yet comfortable enough to wear on long days in the field. This camera sling bag stays out of the way when you’re scrambling but offers quick access to your gear when you’re ready to take the shot.
- Easy Rotation for Access
- Abrasion Resistance
- Padded Pocket for Laptop or Tablet
- Waist Belt
Check MindShift Gear PhotoCross 13 Sling Bag price at Amazon
Case Logic Luminosity CSC/DSLR Sling
The Case Logic DSS-101 Luminosity CSC/DSLR Sling is a functional yet compact camera sling sporty enough for the trails and streamlined for the city.
Adjustable divider walls and blue interior make it a breeze to customize and organize your compact system camera or compact DSLR along with 1-2 lenses or flash and accessories.
Dedicated compartments are sized to fit an iPad and internal memory cards. Sling design allows you to quickly access all contents of the bag without taking it off.
The comfort of a thickly padded mesh back panel and shoulder strap offer ergonomic support in each wearable position. Taken together, these features make this compact camera sling a must-have for on-the-go photographers.
- Dedicated Tablet Pocket
- Zippered Top Compartment
- Compact Monopod or Tripod Attachment
- Ergonomic Construction
- Weather Hood
Check Case Logic Luminosity CSC/DSLR Sling price at Amazon
Lowepro Passport Sling III-A Protective Sling Bag
Find space for your camera, tablet or laptop and personal devices with the discreet and protective Passport series.
Designed for traveling photographers, the Passport Messenger, Passport Backpack and Passport Sling all feature a fully removable camera compartment to conveniently turn from camera case into day-pack.
Keep all vital equipment close to hand with this easy access series. Tall side pockets on the Backpack and a front organizer system in the Messenger make it easy to store quick-grab essentials, whilst secure fastenings keep everything safe whilst traveling.
Ideal for daily travel and city photographers, the Passport series offers a stylish solution to camera storage that is airline-friendly.
Both the Backpack and Messenger are designed to fit a CSC camera or compact DSLR, additional lenses or flash and memory. Interior pockets add additional space to store memory cards and personal belongings.
- Impact Resistant
- Removable Camera Insert
- Expandable Compartment
- Adjustable Shoulder Strap
- Cradlefit System Tablet Pocket
Check Lowepro Passport Sling III – A Protective Sling Bag price at Amazon
Not finding what you are looking for? Check out our favorite places to go shopping for travel gear.
- Shop Columbia: The industry leader in outdoor apparel and products; You can find anything from great jackets, gloves, hats, shirts and travel pants.
- Shop REI: They offer some of the best outdoor gear around. We love REI since they have a year Love it or hate it no questions guarantee.
- Shop Moosejaw: Has a huge selection of outdoor gear at killer prices.
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