I’m always on the search for the best camera sling bags because they’re really handy for a multitude of reasons.
They’re generally small, lightweight, and cater equally well to everyday carry or to more purposeful days out in the field.
But I often find that the small size and lightweight nature of sling bags has a downside: they can be missing a few handy features that I tend to like having.
Developed by a small London-based startup known as Instinct, the Pro Camera Sling Bag was funded through a very successful Kickstarter campaign.
The Pro Camera Sling Bag promises a number of things and fortunately doesn’t go overboard trying to pack too much into its nice lightweight design.
Available in two varieties of weatherproof exterior materials, I opted for the lighter and more durable (albeit more expensive) X-Pac Pro Camera Sling Bag as the one to join my collection.
Table of Contents
Instinct Pro Camera Sling Bag Specs
- The two stretchable outside pockets!
- Tripod carry on a sling!
- Very lightweight and comfortable to wear
- Lots of little inside pockets for small items
- I’m not too fond of the included interior dividers
- The inside zipper pouch being separated into two instead of running full width
- The smaller inside pockets are rather tight; using stretchable materials would suit them better
Weight: 0.78kg (1.71lbs)
Colour Option: Black
Exterior Materials: Weatherproof 420D Nylon Fabric with PU Laminated coating and CoolMax® moisture-wicking fabric
Interior Materials: Grey 210D polyester fabric
Weight: 0.53kg (1.16lbs)
Colour Options: Black or White
Exterior Materials: Weatherproof X-Pac Fabric and CoolMax® moisture-wicking fabric
Interior Materials: Orange 210D polyester fabric
– Weatherproof Build
– YKK Stormguard® Zippers (water resistant)
– High density EVA Foam padding
– Anti-theft Zipper System
– Tripod carry
– 2 external mesh side pouches
– Detachable shoulder strap (options as a camera strap)
– Multiple smaller interior pockets and compartments
– 3 carry options (Waist/Shoulder/Sling)
– 1x Shoulder Strap
– 2x Padded Dividers
– 2x Extra Strap Attachments
The Instinct Pro Camera Sling Bag comes in two varieties, the standard 420D Nylon model and an extra-lightweight X-Pac model.
Both feature soft-touch rip-stop 210D polyester interiors and come packaged with two thick removable EVA padded dividers.
The back of the Pro Camera Sling Bag, top grab handle, and the shoulder strap are not only nicely padded but are wrapped in CoolMax® moisture-wicking fabric that’s very soft and helps moisture to evaporate and keep you comfortable while using the bag.
The bag features a completely weatherproof build from the highly durable exterior materials right down to the YKK Stormguard® Zippers.
Whichever exterior materials you select the Instinct Pro Camera Sling Bag is built to last and will endure the elements (probably) longer than you can!
Build & Appearance
Built for daily use and ready to cope with the elements, the Instinct Pro Camera Sling Bag is sleek, lightweight, and comfortable to wear. It can pack up out of the way while also being able to swallow a bunch of gear for an adventurous day out in the field.
It’s simple, tidy and in no way a busy-looking sling bag.
The 420D Pro Camera Sling Bag features Korean made 420D High Density Nylon Fabric with 0.03 mm PU laminated coating, which gives it a beautiful matte black shine while also resisting the elements.
The DWR layer combined with the aforementioned PU Laminated coating forms a waterproof and tear-resistant outer shell.
But if you want to go tougher and lighter, I recommend selecting the extra durable X-Pac Pro Camera Sling Bag just as I did.
Available in either white or black, the waterproof X-Pac Fabric is a US-made 4-layered fabric developed by a German-based company specialising in fabrics for marine and sailing purposes.
X-Pac Fabric is known for its comparatively high tear resistance, lightweight properties, waterproof rating and durability. So if your bags tend to endure a rather tough life, or you wish to be prepared for just about anything (other than taking it swimming), then you should definitely consider the X-Pac Pro Camera Sling Bag.
When it comes to sling bags, I don’t tend to expect an entire catalogue of exterior features.
In fact, most of the time I don’t expect there to even be a pocket for a drink bottle or travel mug. However, much to my joy the X-Pac Pro Camera Sling Bag features not just one bottle pocket, but two mesh bottle pockets!
That’s something I genuinely find useful, especially on days out in the field, or really just even for normal day-to-day use.
You’ll also find two expandable cargo straps wrapping around the side pockets which can help fasten gear into place.
Stitched to the base of the X-Pac Pro Camera Sling Bag you’ll find another pair of cargo straps that can be easily loosened so you can slide a tripod through.
Do bear in mind that these do not detach in any way – and at times their limitation of length made it a bit fiddly to attach my tripod. Perhaps in the next update they could at least be partially detachable or have some extra length added to them.
Speaking of detachable, the shoulder strap included with both variations of the Pro Camera Sling Bag can actually be quickly removed and re-positioned allowing you to swiftly change your carry style.
Whether you prefer over the shoulder, secured across the body, or hooked up around the waist, you can easily change the style of the Pro Camera Sling Bag to suit your preference.
Not to mention that when combined with the included extra strap attachments, the shoulder strap can also be connected to your camera of choice!
Found on the front of the Pro Camera Sling Bag is a large, easily accessible pocket also featuring the same YKK Stormguard® Zippers used on the main compartment. This pocket features a number of interior pockets for stowing smaller items.
Both main zippers also feature Hypalon pulls. The main one can be unhooked and locked around the cargo strap or front pocket zipper pull as an added measure of security.
The inside materials of the Instinct X-Pac Pro are a soft-touch rip-stop 210D polyester fabric and included in the package are a pair of EVA padded flexible dividers wrapped in a soft and fluffy material.
Both of the padded dividers also feature a convenient built-in accessory pocket large enough to contain an unruly lens cap, battery, or rolled up cables.
The point of difference between the interiors in the two variations of the Pro Camera Sling Bag are the colours that they come with.
The 420D variation features a clean grey interior and the X-Pac Pro features a bold and bright orange interior.
Hidden amongst all of that wild glowing orange madness is a full width zipper pocket which opens to an oddly divided interior pocket.
Generally, I would have expected a full width inside pocket with smaller pouches built into it, however the entire compartment has been halved in width.
This is fine for keeping those smaller goodies just where you left them, but if you have lengthy items such as pens, glasses, or a trendy vape stick to use while loitering, they’re best left to the zipper pocket on the front.
The front pocket features a few more thoughtful options for small items including a couple of memory card pouches, pen holders, and a couple of other gear pockets for things such as cables, batteries, lens filters, and more.
They can be pretty tight depending on what you’re stuffing into them, so stretchable material would be appreciated in a future iteration – but the consideration is there!
You’ll also find a padded tablet pouch built into the back of the main compartment which will happily store an 11″ tablet.
If you’re gearing up for a day out with the X-Pac Pro Camera Sling Bag, you’ll be pleased to know that you should be able to fit a good amount of kit into this tough little number.
Instinct mention that you’re able to fit a camera and lens along with a DJI Mavic Pro into the X-Pac Pro.
With my body and lens set up, however, it means I’d need to leave my controller behind or stuff it into one of the side mesh pockets, which isn’t particularly ideal when it comes to how delicate the controller sticks can be…
But hey, they didn’t lie, it just didn’t work out ideally for me!
Without the camera, the X-Pac Pro Camera Sling Bag was large enough to fit my DJI Mavic Pro and controller inside along with an array of other items:
- 2x spare batteries
- Polar Pro Lens Filters
- 2x pens for no reason at all
- Multiple SD cards which don’t fit the drone
- A Samsung Tablet that I never use
- An empty coffee cup
- A water bottle
- Portable battery pack
- 2 charger cables
…and still had room for more small goodies!
When it comes to my camera gear, I could fit the Sony a7 III with the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 equipped (lens pointed down) and squeeze the Samyang AF 35mm f/1.4 FE off to the side, but it was a bit tight for comfort.
With the lenses separate and the body dropped into the middle of the pack, it all fit nicely. Although this is a pain if I need to access the camera quickly for a photo, but it’s manageable and I can only use one lens at a time anyway.
In regards to how much I could fit along with the two lenses, well, I managed to fit everything non-drone specific from the list above into the bag plus a couple of full-size lens filters and other bits and bobs.
There was still a nice amount of space left in the front pocket for extra cables, batteries, or maybe some protein bars to munch on after a hard day of sitting by the water or getting lost in a local park.
There are even small slots inside the pockets that’ll fit up to 8 SD cards in their tiny little cases. Wild.
Ease of Use/Comfort
To keep it nice and short, the X-Pac Pro Camera Sling Bag is a very comfortable bag to wear.
The shoulder strap materials stretch nicely and support the weight very well.
When loaded up, the strap will stretch a little more to help cushion the weight, and the back of the bag itself rests softly against the body.
Another quality of life consideration that I would like to throw into the ring would be if the main compartment opened a little wider. Having a wider opening compartment would help in removing my camera and extra gear a tad easier.
If you remove the interior dividers and compress the base of the X-Pac Pro, then tighten up the cargo straps along the bottom, it will contract the bag and make it much more slender for a nicer slimmer day carry!
All in all, I’m pretty happy with how comfortable and simple the bag is to use. Everything is where it should be and nothing is fussy or fiddly.
The X-Pac Pro Camera Sling Bag is a great bag to use daily!
Value for Money
Personally, I consider the X-Pac Pro Camera Sling Bag to be a very reasonably priced bag, especially considering how lightweight and durable it is.
I think it’s great value for money, especially compared to other similar bags available from a variety of brands.
There are certain things about it which I wouldn’t mind seeing updated in future iterations, but considering this is the second product from a very young company, I have to say they’ve done a great job producing a really nice sling bag!
So don’t get me wrong, these updates I’m suggesting do not hinder the usage or performance of the bag; I just feel as though they could make it even better.
Instinct Pro Camera Sling Bag Review | Conclusion
All in all, this is a great bag and is truly great value as well with all things considered.
It’s by no means perfect, but it doesn’t pretend to be either. It’s a welcome addition to my already expansive camera bag collection.
This is one that will probably end up replacing a smaller variation in my collection but that may only happen once my wife decides to step in and “de-clutter” the apartment.
I certainly look forward to what Chris and his team at Instinct are working on next – they certainly have proven themselves with the X-Pac Pro Camera Sling Bag!