Camera slings tend to be love it/hate it affairs, but they do allow for quick working. Can the Moment Lens Rugged Camera Sling convert the sling sceptics?
Moment Rugged Camera Sling. Image: Moment.
Camera bags are one of those things that really are personal preference. Quite often they are something we just put up with. I don’t think I’ve met anyone who actually ‘likes’ lugging hefty bits of kit up mountains and hills. Slings are certainly an area which splits opinion. They are usually seen as a quick way to take camera equipment around town, with the ability to easily access lens and the camera itself by swinging the bag around to your front.
However slings get a bad press a lot of the time because of the way they put a lot of weight onto one shoulder. Plus they don’t always have enough room for the kit that you need, so a lot of people fall back on the good old backpack.
Moment Lens decided the sling was due for a design overhaul, to address the issues that users object to. What it came up with was the Rugged Sling, a bag designed for more than just the urban environment.
The Rugged Sling comes in two versions, 6 litre and 10 litre. The bag reviewed here is the 10 litre model.
Moment Rugged Camera Sling features and build quality
The Moment Rugged Camera Sling is very nicely built. The material looks and feels very high quality, and like it will last. It has a nice texture/patterning, which is the sort of attention to design detail that I really love about Moment’s products. The main compartment and external pocket are protected by waterproof YKK zips, so you don’t have to worry about your gear if you get caught in a downpour.
Inside there is the main area for your camera body and lenses, a pocket that will take a small laptop or tablet, and a pocket in the bag’s opening lid that has pockets for batteries, ands will take cables, charge accessories, or any other small, but essential bits and pieces.
The external pocket is slimline, but will take things like a few cables, white balance cards, or maybe filters that you want fast access to without needing to open the main bag. With a bit of thought and time experimenting it is actually quite amazing what you can fit into the bag.
On the bottom of the bag are two extra straps. These allow a compact tripod to be leashed to the bag, which is a nice and useful touch.
The main sling strap offers a lot of adjustment, and another nice touch is that it contains a magnet, making it easy to click the strap together with one hand. Unlike a lot of other sling bags though, the Moment Rugged Camera Sling has a smaller secondary stabilising strap that comes under your other arm to give the bag extra support and to prevent all the weight going through one side.
Using the camera sling
I have to admit that I was skeptical of the camera sling a little at first. Especially given that I was going to put a Panasonic S1H in it. Hardly a lightweight camera of its type. The Moment Rugged Camera Sling is generally designed to carry one camera body with lens and then a another general purpose lens. I managed to fit the camera body with the 24-105mm zoom attached, and then either a Panasonic S Pro 50mm or S Pro 16-35mm lens (without the hoods). I also managed to fit a Ninja V in the laptop sleeve area, and spare batteries for the Ninja V and S1H, along with cables, lens cloths, HDMI cable, and two Moment Lens Peter McKinnon Edition VNDs.
L series lenses are not compact, and neither is the S1H camera, so it was a pretty stern test of the bag to see what it was like carrying a heavier load. While you can fit general purpose lenses into it, you won’t manage to fit a telephoto such as a 70-200mm in there along with the camera body. Though if you take the moveable compartment dividers out, you might fit it in there attached to the camera with no other lenses.
In addition to the camera weight I used the tripod leashes to hang a lightweight Manfrotto BeFree Live carbon video tripod. Not a tripod you would generally take for professional use, but for ultra lightweight backpacking it makes things easy.
When I tried the sling with all this loaded into and onto it at home I thought it would really dig into my shoulder. However once I got into the outdoors and adjusted the straps correctly it was actually a lot more comfortable than I was expecting. I was on the upper echelon of the sort of weight you’d want to carry in it, so with a lighter weight camera and lenses it will be a lot more comfortable.
Moving the sling around my body to get to the camera was quick and easy. Although maybe a little unwieldy with the tripod attached. But this does mean that you can get to both the camera and the tripod when you need them.
For fast moving there is a definite appeal to the Moment Rugged Camera Sling. It also has uses for people who want to transport lightweight drones into the wilderness. I can see it being very useful for camera users in an urban environment where you might not want to be putting your camera gear down, or messing around with a backpack in the middle of a busy street. But for quick assignments or trips out into the country where I don’t want to carry lots of kit, I can see myself finding the Rugged Camera Sling quite useful, and another option to take out with me.
It’s very well built and thought out although at $149.99 it isn’t the most inexpensive option ($99 for the 6L version). However for that money you get a very high quality product backed by a lifetime warranty. I really like it.