While we like to focus on bags that can swallow a lot of gear – say, for your morning commute or business trip – sometimes you want something that’s more compact and purpose-built for a task. Even if that task is to protect something while it’s in your giant bag. To that end, we’ve recently spent some time with the Hex Ranger Camera Mini Sling and a matching DSLR strap.
Now, do note the “mini” in the name of the Hex Ranger Camera Mini Sling. This is not the bag you pick when you want to load up on a bunch of lenses. In fact, with my Canon DSLR, I found I had to store the body and the lens separately in the bag. Which worked for me, as it sort of freed things up. Pick the lens you want for the outing, and off you go.
I used this bag when my oldest and I took a trip. For the road trip portion, the camera and lens was in the sling inside of another bag. When it was time to get out and do some hiking, the camera came out and was put together, and then I clipped the sling on more as a waist pack. Why? Well, we were hiking, so it gave me a solid spot to throw some snacks and the car keys into. I suppose if you really needed a different lens, once you’re out of the car and have the camera assembled, then you could put a second lens into the sling.
Myself, I just like the simplicity of “here’s what I’m using”. Perhaps a mirrorless body might give you more options, but it works just fine for a DSLR. As with most camera bags, you’ve got dividers that you can move around and put where you need them with hook-and-loop fasteners. In short, make it what you need it. Inside that main compartment, you’ve got a zippered pocket that you can slip some cables or a memory card into. On the front of the bag, you’ve got two more zippered compartments. The larger one has several pockets set to hold small bits (say, some spare batteries), while the smaller front pocket is the perfect size to slip your phone into.
There’s one more hidden pocket on the Hex Ranger Camera Mini Sling. If you check out where the strap comes out of the right side of the bag, there’s hook-and-loop closing up a pocket there that you could stash some coins or a key. On the outside of the bag, you’ve of course got the large strap that allows the bag to go over your shoulder or around your waist. There’s a grab handle at the top as well, and there are four cinch straps as well. Those help compact the bag, but you can also use them to hang other things, say, a lightweight tripod or umbrella.
While they have a few patterns available, our sample of the Hex Ranger Camera Mini Sling came in in their Glacier Camo pattern, and in that same box we had a strap with that same pattern. Much like the bag, the Hex Ranger Camera Strap is a study in slimming down. It’s not as wide as some camera straps I’ve had, but it has some airy padding that makes up for it (so long as you’re not hauling some massive lens). I figure, if you’re going to use a bag from Hex, why not also have a strap that coordinates with it? On those hikes where I tested out the sling, the strap was also in use, and I found it comfortable and it got the job done.
Both of the items we tested from Hex are on their entry-level when it comes to camera gear. The Mini Sling is available for $69.95 (with other slings and backpacks going for more) in a few different patterns, and the strap is also quite affordable at $44.95, also in other patterns. They’ve got a wide variety of options out there from Hex, so you can find a bag that fits your carry needs, and size it to the camera you’re rocking. Check out the full collection over at hexbrand.com
Details from Hex
Mini Sling – $69.95
- Exterior Construction
- The all-new Ranger Camera Mini Sling is constructed in premium, water-resistant 900D Poly. Genuine YKK zippers with custom metal pulls for strength and a consistent experience.
- The Sling features a fold-out bottom panel that can be folded out of the way or completely removed to allow the bag to be packed flat for travel. Once at your destination, simply fold out the bottom and the bag returns to a structured, protective camera bag.
- Camera Storage
- The Ranger Camera Mini Sling features a padded and fleece-lined, multi-use main compartment with configurable and removable partitions to store all of your camera gear. Zippered mesh accessory pockets throughout the internal portion of the bag help organize smaller accessories and cables.
- Streamlined Design
- This small, lightweight sling is designed to streamline the storage of Mirrorless and smaller DSLR essentials. The EVA padding will protect your gear with flexibility to organize your kit with the padded, adjustable, and fold-away dividers.
- Phone Storage
- The front of the bag has a faux-fur lined zippered pocket to hold your phone or a pair of sunglasses.
Camera Strap – $44.95
- Water-resistant ballistic nylon
- EVA foam padded
- Airmesh backing for breathability
- Aluminum D-Ring buckles
- Hypalon connectors rated to hold 80 lbs each
- HEX molded rubber logo label
- Adjustable length