Compagnon Element Camera Sling Bag Review
The search for the best camera sling bag is never-ending, and I’m constantly adding new ones to my collection. They’re an ideal solution for those times where a backpack just isn’t necessary!
From humble beginnings, Compagnon have grown to become a brand with a small yet skilled team and a proven track record for developing high-quality camera bags for every type of photographer.
Their latest range took 14 months of ground-up development and was funded by a Kickstarter campaign that reached its goal after a very short 14 hours!
Constructed from highly durable X-Pac fabric and arriving in three different varieties, the Element Line features a 30L backpack and two sling bags (15L and 11L).
Featured in this article is the smallest of the three – a small yet mighty sling bag known as the Compagnon Element Sling 11.
Compagnon Element Sling 11 Specs
- Lightweight and very durable build
- Expandable roll top pocket
- Comfortable strap and padded body
- Numerous exterior carry options
- The zippers can be hard to access when using the side pockets
- The roll top interior access zipper can get in the way of the main compartment zippers
Interior Dimensions: 26 x 19 x 10 cm (10.2 x 7.5 x 3.9″)
Volume: 11L combined (6L main compartment + 5L roll top)
Weight: 0.75kg (1.5lbs)
Colour Options: Desert Brown or Volcano Black
Main Exterior Material: Waterproof X-Pac VX21 Fabric and Durable Nylons
Interior Materials: Grey P/F 150D lining with Velex wrapped EVA padding
– Magnetic Fidlock® V-buckle
– YKK Aquaguard® Zippers
– Padded tablet compartment (up to 11″ in size)
– Tripod carry
– Two external mesh side pockets
– 4x buckle cargo straps
– Seatbelt strap with shoulder pad
1 x Shoulder strap
1 x Velcro foldable divider
2 x Velcro dividers with small pockets
1 x Velcro memory card holder
The Compagnon Element Sling is a compact and lightweight camera sling bag built from highly durable, waterproof, and racing sailboat grade 4 layer X-Pac VX21 Fabric.
While their other ranges feature bull leather, the Element Sling 11 features a vegan-friendly selection of high-grade durable materials ranging from 420D Nylon, 1680D PE, Hypalon, AirMesh, Spandex and even features a seatbelt shoulder strap.
The main body is surrounded by soft EVA padding that features a soft Velex coating, and if you require extra storage the roll top lid can be easily expanded to provide up to 5L of extra storage space.
It’s available in two distinct colour varieties for the sleek and subtle daily commute or the stylish adventurous outdoors.
Proudly featuring multiple exterior cargo straps, a magnetic Fidlock® V-buckle and water repellent YKK Aquaguard® Zippers, the Element Sling 11 may be relatively small in size, but it’s definitely ready for an adventure.
Build & Appearance
The Sling 11 definitely looks the part and is most certainly ready to hit the road and take off on an adventure to pretty much anywhere.
Stylish and featuring lightweight and very durable ingredients, the Sling 11 is one that’s built to last and not hurt animals in the process.
Featuring world-famous marine-grade X-Pac fabrics, it doesn’t matter what the sky throws at you; the Element series will protect your gear.
Whether you’re after something dark and sleek, or stylish and proud, either colour allows you to look the part and adventure in confidence.
The Volcano Black will blend to any situation but will stand out once noticed, and the Desert Brown, though more on the outdoor-adventure side, is still nice enough to suit any other requirement.
From roaming the streets to roaming the woodlands, I found that the Element Sling 11 could comfortably cope with any adventure I took it on.
Not to mention that if you find yourself picking up extra treasures along the way, the built-in roll top section will expand the carrying capacity from 6L to a total of 11L.
The main compartment of the Sling 11 is surrounded by padding on all edges excluding the roll top area which contains a soft lid to separate the compartments.
Along the base of the bag is an ultra-rugged 1680D PE material to add an extra level of protection from the elements. You can place the Element Sling down with confidence that it won’t absorb anything to affect the quality of the bag nor at the sacrifice of your gear.
Every piece of the exterior and interior of this bag has been carefully considered to maximise its longevity and its usefulness while in partnership with yourself and your gear.
Everything ranging from the stitching and the materials to the buckles and the YKK Aquaguard® Zippers.
One of the more noticeable features of the Element Sling 11 is the roll top containing an optional 5L of additional storage capacity. This is a great feature to include on a small sling bag!
Who doesn’t benefit from the option of an extra 80% of storage capacity?
Tightly rolling up out of the way when you don’t need it, all it takes is a quick flick of the magnetic Fidlock® V-buckle to be able to unravel it and gain the additional storage space.
The strap containing the buckle has more than enough length to allow you to buckle the roll top closed regardless of how full it is.
The Sling 11’s roll top contains a velcro seal if you so desire, or you can opt to tuck away the velcro and close the lid upon itself for a much quieter use.
You’ll also find two stretchable side pockets for bottles, travel mugs, wet items or for quick access to other items that you don’t wish to store on the inside of the bag.
Found on both short sides of the bag and underneath are a total of 4 x cargo straps with buckles attached for easier use. These allow you to attach a tripod or your small dog with ease and take them wherever you may roam.
Featuring a soft and smooth seatbelt shoulder strap with a comfortable anti-slip pad resting on your shoulder, the Element Sling 11 will support the fully loaded weight and much more very comfortably.
On the body side of the Element Sling 11 is a very decent amount of padding wrapped in a nice airmesh material with channels to help disperse heat and keep you cool.
I do appreciate the amount of padding they’ve included as I often find myself needing a pillow mid-adventure.
The Element Sling 11 comes with three dividers and an extra SD card holder with velcro backing to attach to any of the soft lining within the main compartment or to the dividers.
You’ll find a full-width front pocket with a wide zipper mesh pocket and two smaller mesh pouches inside. These are great for maintaining those smaller loose items or storing lens caps and filters.
Placed discretely along the base of the Sling 11 is a hidden extra pocket for stowing important items that you wish to keep from the other more accessible pockets.
Found inside the roll top compartment is another pocket discretely placed where prying eyes shouldn’t be able to see.
Fortunately, the exterior and pockets of the Element Sling have been built with soft and malleable materials, none of which have been stitched too tightly. This allows for extra or bulkier items to simply bulge out the pockets, and therefore the bag itself has less restriction on what goes where.
Another great feature of the roll top is the base which doubles as a lid dividing both compartments.
Containing a dual-layered zipper, Compagnon provided access to the main compartment through the roll top or the base of the roll top through the bottom (once the bag has been opened).
Being a 6L sling bag you normally would not expect to be able to pack too much into it, however, with the added roll top providing you with 5L of extra storage you’ll be surprised how much you can stuff into the 11-litre Compagnon Element.
Whether you’re planning an aerial adventure hanging off the bottom of your DJI Mavic Pro, or you’re a mirrorless shooter sneaking up on unsuspecting subjects, you’ll find that the Sling 11 should be a great match with your kit.
As you’ll see below I have prepared two different setups without making use of the roll top.
In my mirrorless camera setup I packed:
- Sony a7 III
- Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8
- Samyang AF 35mm f/1.4 FE
- HOYA Filters
- A tripod
- Plus extra bits (USB battery pack, SSD Hard drive, etc)
Followed by my drone set up:
- DJI Mavic Pro drone
- DJI Mavic Pro controller
- 2x DJI Mavic Pro batteries
- DJI Mavic Pro battery charger
- Polar Pro lens filters
- A tripod (yeah I forgot to remove it)
- Plus extra bits
When utilising the roll top you gain an extra 5L of storage capacity – handy for throwing in a nice thick hoodie or a light change of clothes, board shorts, windbreaker or whatever else you may need.
The jacket pictured below was definitely the max capacity that I could fit in there; I could barely even close the roll top… So that should give you an idea of capacity I hope!
If you’re extra ambitious you’ll find that you can actually pack both of the aforementioned kits into the Sling 11 (excluding a few larger items), but be mindful that since you’re using the roll top, there’s no extra padding inside or below that compartment.
Both the Sony a7 III and DJI Mavic Pro will fit in the roll top individually, however, the extra items you want to pack will need to be dropped on top of them if they don’t fit in the inside zipper pocket.
Ease of Use/Comfort
Overall the Sling 11 is a great bag to use and wear. It’s comfortable and most of the time it’s quite simple to access everything you need to.
Being a smaller sling bag, there are always compromises to be made when trying to maximise the features.
However, in most cases all of these have been very well considered. The roll top is very easy to use and while accessing it on the move I never feel worried that my items will spill out onto the street.
The shoulder pad is quite comfortable to wear for long periods and doesn’t ever move out of its set position without your conscious input. The buckles, clips, and zipper pulls are all easy to find and comfortable to use as well.
The little annoyances I’ve found tend to be random combinations of factors, although I wouldn’t call them deal-breakers by any means.
For example, it can be finicky opening the main compartment of the bag while utilising the side pockets with a drink bottle:
Depending on how large the bottle or item is, you may find access to the zippers a bit of a problem. The soft nature of the bag means the bottle squishes up close to the roll top causing a speed bump of sorts for your fingers when pulling a zipper!
But my solution is to keep the zippers in the middle of the bag instead of off to either side. This will provide enough slack and access for your items without squeezing past any blockages.
Another annoying zipper is the one on the inside, between the roll top and main compartment. It sometimes finds itself poking through the edges of the main compartment zipper rail, which gets annoying when closing up the bag!
Value for Money
Rolling in just shy of US$160 the Element Sling 11 isn’t the cheapest sling bag out there, but where it warrants the extra value is its expandability.
Where other sling bags may be 6L and sized the same, or 10L and larger in size, the Element Sling 11 can be very easily almost doubled in size without sacrificing too much bulk when it’s not required.
Not to mention that every piece of material on this bag has been specifically chosen for its durable properties and to balance the weight to keep it nice and light from the get-go.
The build quality and care that has gone into Compagnon’s entire line up is definitely something to appreciate.
Each Compagnon product comes with a standard 2-year warranty and the option for repairs after that time expires.
It’s a well-sized, comfortable, and very useful sling bag. I applaud Compagnon and the result that they’ve achieved with their new Element series of bags!
Compagnon Element Sling 11 Review | Conclusion
The Element Sling 11 is definitely more utilitarian than a fashion piece; it’s more on the “Function > Form” spectrum and that’s definitely not a bad thing at all. If they sacrificed usability for aesthetics they would probably be doing this bag a disservice.
It’s a fantastic little carry solution for my camera gear and suits daily errands with the expandable roll top for the extra goodies I pick up along the way.
Proudly being a fine piece of German design and engineering, the Sling 11 takes a worthy place within my collection, and I don’t see myself letting go of it too soon.
Now to decide what to remove from my collection to keep my wife happy. I definitely am collecting too many bags now!
Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post may contain affiliate links.