Having the right size camera bag for every occasion is something that I strive to achieve. I don’t always want to be carrying more capacity than required.
This usually means I’ll end up using a range of products from different brands to suit my differing capacity needs.
Protect your gear in style with premium fabrics and a wide range of capacities, built to last a lifetime.
However, upon discovering Hex Brand, it seems like they’ve gone and filled quite a healthy range of capacity needs with their great camera bag lineup!
Built with style and great quality, they’re definitely a brand looking to stand out and stick around with a long-lasting functional lineup of gear.
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Who is HEX Brand?
Designed in the U.S.A., HEX products bring together an epic combination of style, practicality, and durability. The team at HEX come with a long history in the fashion industry and, as such, call upon that strong past to develop their range into something unique.
With this mission in mind, looking at the range of HEX products, I can see where that starts to show. With plenty of variety, including straps, cross-body, sling bags, and backpack options, each of their products are available in a range of styles to suit what you like.
If you prefer something understated, you can opt for a clean black design. Or, if you want to stand out or match it with your lifestyle, there’s a range of patterns with varying colours to choose from.
Relatively lightweight for their size, each bag features a water-resistant ballistic nylon and Cordura exterior, comes with YKK Zippers, and has been stuffed with a healthy level of EVA padding.
All of this is designed with adventurous photographers in mind, but perfectly suitable for the everyday user or commuter as well.
All of the bags reviewed within this article feature the same level of build quality, materials, and consideration within their design. It goes without question – they’re all part of the same family.
Ranger Cross Body
Weight: 175g (0.375 lbs)
The Ranger Cross Body bag is the runt of the family: small, light, and heavily padded. An ideal companion for sporty types loaded up with action cameras or the adventurous ones equipped with a small-bodied camera (ie, smaller than Sony a7 III).
It’s sized well to be a quick grab-and-go bag for all the everyday essentials (and a small camera) or packed within a larger bag for later.
It comes equipped with a removable surplus-grade nylon webbing shoulder strap with enough length to comfortably throw it over large puffer jackets.
Those with pocket cameras (such as the Sony RX100 series) will appreciate the L-shaped divider included, as they can safely drop in their camera along with numerous other daily items and accessories.
It also features the standard issue EVA padding on all sides to withstand sudden impacts against supermarket shelves or brushes against trees on your more intrepid adventures.
On the front, you’ll find a neat little pocket with mesh pouches for smaller items, and there’s a discrete magnetic pocket on the back for quick access.
Do you have a fully loaded backpack and need just a little bit more storage? Are you not yet at the cargo pants stage of life? Grab the Ranger Cross Body bag for that stylish extra 1.5L of pocket space!
Priced at just under AU$75 (around USD$50), the Ranger Cross Body is the extra storage for your larger set-up or the great little companion to your everyday needs.
Padded, durable, light, and handy!
Ranger Mini Sling
Weight: 362g (0.8lbs)
Again, for those wild ones running about with action cameras or with small camera systems, it sits nice and tightly against your person so it should feel rather secure to use.
Being the second smallest in HEX Brand’s range, it’s for the discerning few that may not need much while out and about. It’s small enough to not get in the way, but large enough to fit all the essentials.
Drop in your small camera, wallet, keys, and a few other nick-nacks and have a great time!
Compatible with small mirrorless or fixed lens cameras, action cameras, DJI Mini drones, and more, you can use it as a convenient slim everyday sling, lens bag, or small camera bag for the lighter on-the-go days.
Although, it did not fit my Sony a7 III with the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 attached. Maybe with a small lens I could place it lens down or angled.
On the front, you’ll find a couple of additional pockets. The main one comes with a few little extra pouches to hold items such as memory cards, cables, keys, and batteries.
The wings of the main strap have tiny velcro pockets for storing cash, memory cards, or other small items.
On the very face is a super soft padded faux-fur lined pocket for your phone or sunglasses, protecting them from scratches in the other compartments.
The main compartment features heavy padding and a couple of included removable dividers. Within the lid is a small zipper pouch for the extra loose items you need to secure.
I found the cargo straps on the base too small to attach my tripod, however, you’d probably fit a Peak Design tripod or a mini tripod just fine.
They didn’t have a lot of slack in them but it was just enough to secure a metal water bottle to the bottom.
For those travellers among us, the base panel can be folded out or removed to allow the Ranger Mini Sling to squish flat for easy packing within larger bags. Stow it away for the travel part, and grab it when you leave the hotel.
It has compression straps on the sides which allow you to maintain a smaller profile should you require it. With this in mind though, this makes it a fairly soft sling bag. I believe it could do with a bit of firmer structuring in the build.
I didn’t have the same complaints about the internal dividers as the Ranger Sling V2 on this bag (more to come further down).
Coming in at just under AU$105 (around USD$70), the Ranger Mini Sling is handy for the simpler times out – for example, light-load adventures where you may need to be a little more nimble or just heading out with mates.
Ranger Sling V2
Weight: 589g (1.3lbs)
Tablet Carry: iPad Mini sized (ie: 8″ – 9″)
I feel the Ranger Sling V2 will probably suit more people with its great mid-range size and capacity.
8L is great for a sling bag: it’s not too small for large-size DSLR cameras (it fits my Canon 5D Mark III with 24-70mm f/2.8 attached), and not too large for those with smaller-bodied gear and lenses.
Featuring numerous accessible accessory pockets both on the front and body side of the sling, cargo straps along the base, and a convenient boxy shape, the Ranger Sling V2 is a great bag to take on adventures.
It’s got a soft faux-fur lined pocket on the front for storing sunglasses and phones safely and a larger quick-access pocket with huge capacity. It contains two layers of small pouches for organising your small loose items, including batteries, keys, cables, and much more.
On the body side of the Ranger Sling V2 is a 10″ soft faux-fur lined pocket designed for slim digital devices such as small to mid-size tablets or eBooks readers (maxing out at around 9″ in size).
Built within the wings on the strap are small and very discrete velcro stash pockets. Great for stuff like cash, memory cards, little love letters or a photo of your kids, dog, or neighbour.
Similarly to the Ranger Mini Sling, the base panel can be folded out or removed to allow the Ranger Sling V2 to be flat-packed into a larger bag. This makes it great for travel and use upon arriving at your destination.
The cargo straps on the bottom have a good amount of slack on them and happily hold a tripod in place. (Probably a yoga mat too, but I don’t do yoga so I wouldn’t know for sure.)
There’s also a small zipper pouch contained within the heavily padded lid.
Speaking of the lid, I feel that it could have been a bit larger to create more of an opening over the main compartment. It feels a little tight on the short sides and I wish the zipper ran right around the edges instead.
The Ranger Sling V2 is priced just under AU$150 (around USD$100), which is great value given the amount of padding and high-quality materials used in the build.
It features a great capacity and is relatively lightweight given the size too.
What I appreciate about the soft build is that it can be compressed to the size you need using the compression straps on the side. The soft build also means you can jam it chock full of gear and still secure it closed.
However, as with the Ranger Mini Sling, it could do with a bit of firmer structuring in the build as it’s a fairly soft sling bag.
Unfortunately, I found the dividers kept letting go as the shape of the bag shifts a lot when moving around. Just taking it off my back was enough for my gear inside to shift a lot.
I gave up on relying on the dividers and was careful about what I placed in the main compartment instead.
If you’re an owner of the original Ranger Sling, the updates are a hideaway rain fly, double buckle strap for more sizing options, and increased padding on the top lid and shoulder pad.
Back Loader V2 Backpack
Weight: 1.47kg (3.25 lbs)
Laptop Capacity: up to 15″ Macbook
Tablet Carry: iPad Mini (8″ – 9″)
Now to put it simply, the Back Loader V2 backpack is fantastic.
The shape and design don’t look like a typical camera backpack, so it comes with a level of discreteness while travelling in places where you may be a target, but it also fits in with the usual commute or adventurous travels.
I also appreciate the slim profile – it’s not large and bulky like others out there while still holding a decent amount of gear!
It has a convenient boxy shape which allows you to easily configure the main clamshell-style compartment with ease and maximise every corner.
You’ll find a quick access lid at the top for grabbing your camera without opening the whole bag, and a large accessories pocket on the front.
On one side is a mesh adjustable bottle pocket and on the other are a pair of cargo straps for attaching a tripod. However, I feel that there was a missed opportunity here. You could easily have placed two bottle pockets along with the cargo straps!
Bottle pockets are always helpful, great for storing wet items or quick access bits and pieces, two water bottles for longer adventures, or as another way of stabilising the tripod while utilising the side cargo straps.
In saying that, the bottle pocket that is included is rather tight and I could only fit this 500ml metal bottle instead of my usual 1L size.
The front flap has a stylish yet utilitarian metal clasp holding it shut. Flick it open and lift the flap, and you’ll find the faux-fur-lined laptop pocket.
This pocket is perfectly rectangular and runs the full width and height of the backpack itself, so it’s not restricted by fancy design at all.
I managed to squeeze in my 15.6″ Slim Gaming Laptop but couldn’t close the zippers. However, that’s not a problem because of the front flap that secures closed over the top of it.
My 14″ work laptop fell low into the pocket with plenty of room to spare.
Placed right at the front of the bag is your accessories pocket, featuring numerous internal organisational pouches and zips.
In addition to that, the faux-fur lined tablet pocket can be found on the very front as well – much in line with the rest of HEX Brand’s line-up.
The body side panel features a ton of padding for comfort and is your main access point to your gear. On the inside of the back panel are three large pockets for stowing extra items.
HEX equip the Back Loader V2 backpack with nine small dividers along with two full-length dividers, providing ample opportunity to configure the main compartment how you need it.
The dividers are very thick, so will certainly be up to the task of protecting your gear. However, I feel they could get away with using thin dividers should there someday be a V3.
HEX Brand have priced the Back Loader V2 backpack at just under AU$300 (around USD$200), which for some may be a bit of coin. However, you’re getting a pretty well-equipped camera backpack for that price tag.
Relatively lightweight and very durable, the Back Loader V2 backpack certainly is a great piece of carry.
HEX Brand Camera Bags Review | Conclusion
It would seem that HEX Brand have gone in head first with its lineup of camera carry solutions, creating a wonderful range of products all featuring the same level of consideration, materials, and build quality.
Owning one gives a great indication of what the rest of the lineup is like, should you decide you need a different style or capacity down the line. If you can trust one, you can trust the rest of the range. No surprises there.
They look great and function reasonably well. I feel that the slings could do with a little more structuring on the inside as they tend to sag, but that could just be a trade-off for the packability that HEX Brand offer.
The Back Loader V2 backpack is certainly my pick of the bunch, along with the Ranger Mini Sling for its packable and small-carry day-to-day convenience.