Andy Westlake tests the Hawkesmill Borough neck strap

Hawkesmill Borough neck strap at a glance:

I can read your thoughts right now – ‘£115 for a camera strap? Don’t be ridiculous!’ But hear me out, because this might not necessarily be as crazy as it sounds.

Hawkesmill is a relatively young English company that specialises in ‘ultra-premium’ camera bags and straps. Its philosophy is that everything it makes should last a lifetime, rather than be thrown away or worn out after a few years. Obviously we can’t realistically test such a claim, but I can certainly agree with the sentiment.

The Borough, for example, is a simply made strap with a 40mm-wide neckpad that makes it suitable for carrying heavy cameras, including high-end DSLRs. It’s available in black or brown and made from Horween Chromexcel leather, which Hawkesmill claims is completely colour-fast and won’t mark your clothes. It’s certainly beautifully supple, with a soft suede finish on the underside. A pair of buckles allows the strap’s length to be adjusted from 90cm-130cm, and all the joints are riveted for strength, rather than sewn.

Quick and easy

The strap fits to the camera using a pair of buckled loops, making it quick and easy to fit and remove. I was worried that the thin part of the strap might be too thin (it’s just 8mm wide), but in practice I’ve found that it bears the weight of a Nikon D500 and 70-200mm f/4 lens with ease. And that wide neck strap spreads the load remarkably well.

Of course, with companies such as 1901 Fotografi and 4V Design making high-quality leather straps at somewhat lower prices, the Borough still counts as an extravagance in anyone’s book. However, it’s also one of the best-looking and most comfortable straps I’ve ever had the pleasure of using. If you have to carry a heavy camera for extended periods and image is important to you (and this sounds like a lot of wedding photographers, for example), then it might not be quite such a mad idea after all.

Hawkesmill borough neck strap

The Borough strap has a 40mm wide neckpad

SCORE: 5 out of 5