Convenient, accessible and secure, sling bags are becoming the go-to option for more and more travelling photographers. Jon Stapley rounds up the best

Manfrotto Brio-10 Stile Plus Sling

Price: Around £49.95
Website: www.manfrotto.co.uk

The Manfrotto Brio-10 Stile Plus sling features a protective removable holder for a smaller camera, which can be fixed to the bag’s main interior via Velcro flaps. Designed to take a mirrorless camera with an attached zoom lens and one additional lens, the insert’s plastic shell ensures that the equipment won’t get jostled by other items in the bag’s main pocket.

An additional pocket provides space for an 11in laptop. While the main pocket has ample space (36x23x14cm), the lack of dividers and padding mean we wouldn’t recommend using it for higher-spec gear or kit that can’t take a knock or two. This bag is a better option for mirrorless or compact users who will be able to make use of the insert.

Score: 4 out of 5

Kata 3N1-10

Price: Around £72
Website: www.katabags.co.uk

The ‘3N1′ of this bag’s name refers to its triple functionality.With two straps that can be stored away in a rear pocket, it can be used as a left-shoulder sling, a right-shoulder sling or converted into a full backpack with both straps crossing the user’s chest in an ‘X’ position.

The bag features a spacious bottom pocket with Velcro modular dividers, additional zip pockets on the sides and a top pocket with useful compartments for smaller accessories. Kata has designed the bag to take a DSLR with mid-range zoom lens, and this arrangement should leave space left over in the bottom pocket for extra lenses or a flash unit.

Score: 4 out of 5

Lowepro Transit Sling 250 AW

Price: RRP £82
Website: www.lowepro.com/intl

The Lowepro Transit Sling 250 AW is a brand-new release. Velcro dividers in the bag’s main pocket attach to the inner lining of the flap and allow it to be opened just halfway, if so desired, giving access to the top half of the pocket only. This is a nicely convenient little bit of extra security, allowing photographers to grab any loose items they may need out of the top of the bag while keeping camera gear in the lower half hidden from prying eyes.

The Transit Sling also features a quick-access side pocket. Spacious enough for pro kit without being overly bulky, this bag a worthy recipient of our Best in the Group award.

Score: 5 out of 5 – Best in group

ThinkTank Sling-O-Matic 30

Price: Around £155
Website: www.snapperstuff.com

Although the Sling-O-Matic’s rectangular shape is initially somewhat offputting, it’s actually key to the bag’s most innovative feature. The strap is affixed to a set of steel rails on the top of the bag that allow it to slide onto the opposite side, thus allowing the user to transfer which shoulder he or she wears it on.

It’s a nice idea, although it requires the bag to be symmetrical and therefore necessitates the boxy shape that makes it a little uncomfortable to carry. However, it does have 28x41x14cm of interior room to play with and space for a 15in laptop.

Score: 4 out of 5

Vanguard UP-Rise II 43

Price: Around £79.99
Website: www.vanguardworld.co.uk

The UP-Rise II 43 is Vanguard’s largest sling bag that can take a pro-sized DSLR with space for several smaller lenses and accessories. The main pocket is accessed via the front, but the bag also features a quick-access opening on the side, which is secured with zips, Velcro and a newly designed quick-open plastic buckle. We were quite impressed with this buckle – it felt very secure when closed, but sprang easily open when required.

We were comfortably sure that there would be no danger of the quick-access pocket working itself open accidentally. Comfortable and practical, this is a great product that should suit any photographer.

Score: 5 out of 5

Tamrac Jazz 76

Price: Around £34.99
Website: www.tamrac.co.uk

The smallest bag on test, the Jazz 76 from Tamrac is ideal for photographers with a lighter load. Users of compact and mirrorless cameras should find the 19x11x20cm bottom pocket amply sized for their needs, with an additional top pocket for storage of miscellaneous small accessories, and a mesh pocket for memory cards and batteries. Velcro dividers in the bottom pocket allow the user to divide the space up appropriately.

The bag sits very comfortably – its strap is thin but decently padded, and it is unlikely anyone would load it to the point where it becomes uncomfortable. Compact and convenient, this is a great option for light travellers.

Score: 4 out of 5

  • waiyin kok

    I use the Manfroto Brio 10 . Have no problem with carrying Canon M5III plus my 24mmL and 100mm L lenses.
    Just use the protective lens inserts I have from my Billingham’s bag

    The compact size is just right and the less prominent look like a camera bag is very handy