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Gear & Apps

Top 5 Sling Bags for Your Day Trip Adventures Under $100

By Anthony Thurston on March 27th 2015

We all love the big roller bags for carrying our entire kit to the job, or for traveling long distances. But let’s get real, you are not going to take a roller bag, let alone your entire kit, on a day trip to a local state park, or a photo walk down the streets of your city.

So, we all need a good, small bag; something that you can put a camera, maybe an extra lens or two, and some accessories for those day trips where you don’t need everything. Today, we are going to be going over the best options for sling bags for your day trip adventures, so that unlike me, you don’t have to buy a ton of bags to find the right one.

These bags are in no particular order, just these are the top 5 options, in my opinion.

LowePro Transit Sling 150 AW

lowepro-sling

Currently, this is my go to bag for day trips. It allows me to fit my Sony A7 II with a lens attached, as well as one or two extra lenses, and some important accessories (extra batteries, extra memory cards, my tablet, etc).

My biggest complaint with this bag, in particular, is that you have to put a rain cover on it to protect your gear fully from the weather. I live in the Pacific Northwest; torrential downpours (i.e. rain) is the cost of living in this beautiful region. Having to put an extra rain cover on can be annoying. That said, I love everything else about the LowePro Transit Sling 150 AW as a day trip bag. It’s under $60 at B&H too, so it’s also a great fit for your wallet.

Just as a side note, if you prefer to carry more with you than I do on day trips, you could go with the larger Transit Sling 250 AW, which is essentially the same, just fits more stuff.

Ruggard Triumph 55 Sling Bag

ruggard-55

This is another great option for those of you looking for a day trip bag, or for shoots when you don’t need to haul your entire kit. The Ruggard Triump 55 is a larger bag than the LowePro that I just mentioned, but if you have a big DSLR and big DSLR lenses, then this may be a better option for you.

This bag allows for a DSLR with a grip (so many bags fail at this), two lenses and two speedlights. I would think this should be more than enough room for a day trip, or bare bones shoot in a locations where it’s hard to bring a full kit.

At $79 on B&H, it’s still a great value, too.

Think Tank Photo TurnStyle 10 Sling

think-tank

Think Tank is known for their amazing roller bags, but they also make some great sling bags as well. This, being my favorite from the bunch that they offer, allows you to carry a good amount of gear, but still has a great stylish look to it.

It doesn’t necessarily look like a camera bag either, so you won’t stick out in a crowd as the guy with a camera bag. To the casual pedestrian, it’s just a sling backpack. This is especially important if you are going on a day trip to somewhere that you may have to worry about someone trying to steal your bag/gear.

You can pick one of these up for under $90 too, so we are still under the $100 mark!

Case Logic Luminosity Compact

case-logic

This Case Logic bag is a great option. It allows for a DSLR, a couple of lenses, and several other accessories. I personally prefer the LowePro bag I mentioned above, but if this is more your style, they offer similar feature sets.

This bag is also under $60, making it a great deal for those of you who are budget minded.

Kata KT DL-3N1-22 Sling Backpack

kata

Now this is a serious day pack for someone going out on maybe a more extreme sort of day trip. The Kata KT DL-3N1-22 (isn’t that a mouthful!) is a great option for those wanting to carry a good bit of gear, but still be able to take advantage of the size/weight savings that a sling bag gives you over a roller bag or a huge backpack.

It has the look of a good outdoor bag, and as mentioned, allows you to carry all the gear you will need for your rock climbing or outdoor photo shoot. It’s also currently on sale, after a cool $40 instant savings you can get this bag for under $60; it normally retails for just under $100.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this list has helped point you in the right direction in your day trip bag search. If sling bags are not your thing, stay tuned over the next couple weeks for some more bag posts featuring my favorite options in other categories as well.

In the mean time, if you already own a sling, what kind is it? Leave a comment below with your favorite camera bags for day trips!

Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Nick Viton

    sling bags are for me

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  2. robert garfinkle

    i have a receipt from them. could have been on sale. but 229 beats 271.

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  3. robert garfinkle

    ok, on but off topic – but I mention it, as it’s price is so low for what it is…

    if ya need a bit more room, maybe to fit the DSLR that has a battery grip / pack attached, and very comfortably, go with this puppy:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/672936-REG/Lowepro_LP36145_PEU_Pro_Runner_450_AW.html

    it’s about $150.00 @ B&H but you wont regret it… wolf has it for $271.00 (they live in fantasy land…)

    yes, it’s big, but, will give you so much room – 2 cams and a bucketload of lenses…

    I have a D810 with the MBD12 and I’m telling you, not many bags have the depth to accommodate the hardware

    inventory in my Pro Runner –

    1. D810 / MBD12 / Nikon 20mm f1.8- attached – fit’s perfectly, can allow a 300mm to 500mm and fit perfectly too…
    2. Nikon 105mm f2.8 Micro
    3. Nikon 85mm f1.8
    4. Nikon 50mm f1.8
    5. SB700
    6. 6 AA battery holders – packed w / lithium
    7. Cleaning cloths, lens pen kit, bulb, extra SD / CF cards…
    8. Nikon WR-A10 WIRELESS REMOTE CONTROLLER SET
    9. Various filters
    10. four or five more slots for lenses and or a couple lenses and another pro body etc…
    11. and can accommodate my honkin’ carbon fiber tripod etc.
    12. I can still fit storage (cards, drives, etc…) as well if needed

    Previously I’ve had 2 tamrack pro bags, 2 tenbas, and 1 calumet bag – they have all not been enough to warehouse everything… yet the Pro Runner 450 rocks – so, if you toss a few bucks more and don’t mind the size, then this is an option…

    just sayin :)

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    • J D

      Not sure where you got the $150US from. Its $229US the B&H site right now and putting it through the checkout makes it $344.97US which is $435CAN. Its a nice looking bag though.

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    • Eric Sharpe

      For me, the problem with a bag that big is that I will fill it up. Then I will hate the weight of the bag on my back, and mostly likely never use it.

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    • robert garfinkle

      notably, and funny…

      if the bag gets filled up and I put it in the front seat, it sets off the seatbelt warning thingy – its so dang heavy… I have to couple the seatbelt to get it to stop dinging… annoying…

      now that’s a bag… :)

      remember: click it or ticket!!!

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  4. Steve VanSickle

    I hate the Kata bag mentioned here, and I love it. Kata was recently acquired by Manfrotto, but they’ve revamped most of the Kata bags and kept the spirit of them. I use their Advanced Tri Backpack Large when I need to lug a 70-200mm with me, and that’s the one lens that doesn’t play nicely with the KT DL-3N1-22

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    • Steve VanSickle

      *have* I HAVE the Kata bag, and love it.

      Passing spell-check doesn’t mean it makes sense XD

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  5. Bill Veik

    I don’t know what made me think of this idea……when I was looking for a bag for carrying photo and computer stuff, I acquired a heavy-duty style hiking bag off Craigslist for 30 bucks. But for the times I did not need all my gear, or leaving the computer stuff behind, it was way overkill, and heavy.

    I spotted the Amazon Basics backpack. When looking at it, it occurred to me that its total dimensions match the insides of the heavy backpack if you removed the dividers. I ordered the Amazon backpack, and inserted it into the larger backpack as a substitute for its dividers.

    A 4-day trip to Columbus was covered by my rolling suitcase/duffel combo, holding clothes, personals, and laptop. Camera gear in the Amazon backpack, removed from the heavy pack to make it light. 1 rolling bag, 1 bag on shoulders. that’s it. More clothes means laptop bag goes on my shoulder, or stuff goes into heavy backpack, and Amazon backpack goes inside.

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    • adam sanford

      A multipurpose pack (photo gear and personal items in one sack) is a great play if you can keep the personal food/drinks well segregated from your gear. Many bags have juggled this balance inefficiently, but if you frequently are in this position, I’d check out GuraGear’s Uinta bags.

      Pricey as hell, but light, strong, and exceptionally well made:
      http://www.guragear.com/uinta/

      I have their Kiboko 22L butterfly style bag for when I shoot landscapes and have to pack the kitchen sink. It’s spectacularly well made and has heat/breathability well designed for. Love that bag.

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  6. J. Dennis Thomas

    I use a German military bag that fits a camera insert. Cost me about $40 altogether and nobody thinks it’s got a computer and camera gear in it.

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    • adam sanford

      This. +1

      I recently grabbed an army-navy ammo bag and retrofit it with leftover bag inserts that I wasn’t using. Holds my 5D3 + a small zoom (24-70 f/4) or a fast standard prime. Love it. Further, when I’m on walkabout or at social events, it doesn’t scream ‘photographer’. It’s just a bag.

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    • J. Dennis Thomas

      I also have a small two compartment French Foreign Legion water proof canvas ammo bag from the French-Indochina war that perfectly fits two Leicas, one with a 50 and one with a 35. Or one Leica with lens and the other compartment holds 2 or 3 more lenses and a couple of batteries.

      I use a military rifle case for a light/background stand holder. It has a molle system on it so I have a few small pouches that hold my Speedlights.

      I’m all about the military surplus. It’s cheaper and better made than camera bags.

      I was sponsored by NaneuPro bags for a while and they had a military look, but they didn’t stand up to touring. I still have one that I use to stash my unused gear in, but it doesn’t go anywhere.

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    • Thomas Horton

      Great idea. If you want a bag for your camera that does not look like a camera bag, why would anyone buy such a bag from a camera bag manufacturer??

      The insert idea is fantastic. That allows you to change your bag to match the environment.

      I too like military surplus. They hold up, are inexpensive, and tend to blend in well depending on the location.

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    • J D

      I like the military surplus idea too but those item seem to be “trendy” now as the cost reflects that. I found an awesome messenger bag that was milsurp and the guy wanted almost $100 for it.

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    • J. Dennis Thomas

      I don’t know if they’re “trendy” or not, but I’ve been using military bags to carry things for 3 decades now.

      The higher prices also reflect the scarcity of the items. I used to buy WWII and Viet Nam war era clothes and bags cheaply. Now I can barely find find Nam era gear and if I can get WWII stuff it’s very expensive. On the other hand thanks to Bush and Obama’s never-ending war in the Middle-East, there’s a ton of Gulf War stuff out there. I prefer vintage gear, but the newer stuff is more affordable.

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  7. J D

    For walking around downtown with just a camera and lens, I can use this. I bought a GoPro off eBay and this was part of the deal. Fits all my GoPro stuff with room for a camera and lens attached. https://www.goincase.com/shop/bags/incase-sling-pack-for-gopro/

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  8. jon bilson

    What I just bought:

    Petrol PD333 D-SLR Sling Bag
    2 compartments
    Tripod attachment
    $39.99
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?N=10746552&InitialSearch=yes&sts=pi

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  9. Greg Silver

    I have the Lowepro Urban Photo Sling 250 and absolutely love it. When it’s on my back I barely feel it. I keep my camera, 3 lenses, extra SD cards, iPad and wireless keyboard and some odds and ends all in there with room to spare. Very easy to swing around to grab my camera. I highly recommend!!

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  10. Nick DiGiallonardo

    Great options here. I have the Case Logic SLR Camera Sling which is great for carrying some of the smaller lenses like primes or standard zooms, a couple flashes and it comes with an attached rain cover as well (gotta love the PNW) Most of your interchangeable gear goes into the side pocket and I just swing the bag around my body to access the side pocket so I don’t have to constantly take my bag off, open it, then put it back on. The one gripe I do have about the bag is that it won’t fit a 70-200 2.8 no matter what.

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  11. adam sanford

    Too many bags are huge black coffins of ballistic nylon and half-inch thick padding. Boo.

    +1 on Kata. They make very nice ultralight bags, which I prefer.

    That said, my go-to day/walkaround bag remains a basic laptop satchel with a Tenba photo insert in it. It will hold my 5D3 + lens and 2-3 other lens/flash items, and I can yank it out if I need my bag to be a non-photo bag for other uses.

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  12. Rieshawn Williams

    I am feeling the Lowepro bag but questioning if I need it. :-)

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