A little over a week ago, my Peak Design sling bag arrived in the mail. After finally giving in and ordering the bag, and also having a chance to look at it in person when one of my friends received theirs, I was super excited to have one of my own. Unfortunately, it sat there for a few days because I was too busy to use it. Since then, I've been able to take it on a few outings and can finally offer some thoughts (and suggestions) on it. Whenever I initially do research on a bag, I'm always interested in what actually fits in it, and whether the type of compartments it offers will work for me. So if you're thinking of possibly getting the sling, I thought I'd offer you a look into how I packed mine for a portrait shoot.
By the way, if you're on the fence about the ash color combo, get it. The leather accents are lovely against the light grey material.
What's In My Bag (from left to right, top to bottom):
- 50 1.2
- 28 1.8
- 24-70 2.8
- Manfrotto Pixi mini tripod
- CF/SD card case
- Pouch with eye drops, make-up, gum, etc.
- Canon 5d Mark III
- Peak Design slide strap
- Lens cloth
- Anker battery pack
- resusable bag
- extra Peak Design anchors
- carabiner for attaching things if I need to
- Canon rc-1 remote
- back up battery for my G7x (which was also in my bag, but I used it to take the photos)
- back up battery for my 5d
- hand lotion
- lip balm
The sling comes with two of their flexfold dividers. They were evenly spaced when I first got the bag, but I decided to move the dividers a little to the left to accommodate the size of my lenses, and also to leave more room to the right for my camera body. When I have the bag carried messenger style in front of me, this is my view of it when it is laying against my body. This layout is what initially drew me to this bag. It is so convenient to just unzip the flap and take out whatever I need from that compartment.
Here are some of my things inside the zipped compartment on the top flap. I love how everything can have its own place, and things that I frequently reach for are easily accessible. The zipper also gives me peace of mind that my stuff won't just fall out.
The flexfold dividers are amazing. Unlike my beloved Shootsac, they allow me to safely stack smaller lenses. On the far left, I have my 50 1.2 at the bottom, and with a simple fold of the divider, I am able to stack the 28mm right on top without the lenses touching. My 24-70 fits snugly right next to it. To the right is my 5d and my slide strap. I find it a lot easier to store the strap separately when transporting my gear since the cushioned part of the strap doesn't fold as easily.
In the expandable zipped compartment of the sling, I put my cardholder, battery back, reusable bag, and mini tripod.
Here are my thoughts on the sling:
Design (4.5 out of 5 stars): If you've ever seen the promo videos made by Peak Design for the sling bag, it works pretty much the way they depict it. I find the organization and storage to be the sling's most appealing attribute. The accessibility is a big plus for me as I'm kind of a hoarder when it comes to carrying stuff. Aesthetically, I like the bag, but I do wish the bag would lay more comfortably when carried messenger style. I know that it wasn't made to be carried that way, but it would be a huge upgrade to somehow alter its design to accommodate messenger-style carry. Last, but not least, I do wish the bag was about an inch narrower in length. Some reviews stated that Peak Design made the sling longer so that it could accommodate a 13-inch laptop, but if the goal of the sling is to carry less, why are they even trying to accommodate a laptop? I would've been happy if it just fit my iPad mini.
Comfort (4 out of 5 stars): One of the recurring criticisms that I've read about the sling is the lack of cushion in the shoulder strap. I tend to agree with this sentiment. I carried the sling for about 6 hours, and after a few hours, I began to feel the strain on my left shoulder. Granted, I know this bag is intended for light carry of gear, but I just wanted to report how long I could stand to have the sling on my shoulder before it began to get uncomfortable. To be fair, I do feel that carrying less gear, or carrying it for a shorter amount of time, would have made it more comfortable. I also think that had I not needed quick access to my gear, I have the option of using my Everyday Backpack instead (which could easily last 6 hours without getting uncomfortable).
Quality (4.5 out of 5 stars): Not unlike the 20L Everyday Backpack, I could tell from my initial unboxing that the sling was well-made. They've managed to somehow make the bag light, but sturdy enough to adequately protect your gear. The custom hardware is top notch, and the Kodra water repellent material really does repel water. However, I do have to note that the black material they use underneath the cushioned part of the strap feels like it will not stand the test of time. I know this because the same (or similar) material is used to line the straps of the Everyday Backpack, and I've already noticed some wear and tear on it. I think it's far too soon for these bags to have wear and tear, and I'm really hoping it doesn't get any worse.
Overall, I'm really happy I got the sling. It'll be a great bag to use for portrait shoots or for when I just want to do a casual photo outing. I may even venture out and try to use it as a replacement for my Shootsac. After having had more than my fair share of lens accidents this year, it really couldn't hurt! :)