Think Tank Urban Access Review
Given that I predominantly shoot with a Fujifilm mirrorless system, I’m always on the hunt for a great bag that securely holds that gear.
However, in a lot of cases, camera bag manufacturers are still stuck in the day of the DSLR. Their bags are big, bulky and your precious mirrorless camera gear tends to roll around inside them.
Fortunately for myself and many other mirrorless system photographers, some bag manufacturers are finally moving into the new age.
As a result, they’re finally learning to provide us mirrorless users with products that are designed to fit our gear.
Think Tank is one such company and they’ve released the Urban Access 8 Sling specifically for the mirrorless market.
The 8 Sling is named as such because it will comfortably hold an 8″ tablet (see below for dimensions).
Further to this, this sleek and stylish camera sling bag will hold a decent amount of gear including several lenses plus accessories.
Thanks to sensible design choices and fabric selection, the bag is exceptionally well made and makes a very comfortable everyday carry bag.
The beauty of carrying mirrorless camera equipment is that it’s incredibly light compared to many of its DSLR counterparts.
The Think Tank Urban Access 8 Sling matches that with a very light build of its own. As a result, you can carry this bag full of gear and you’ll hardly notice the weight you have on board.
Think Tank Urban Access 8 Sling Specs
- Sleek design
- Gear protection
- Perfect for mirrorless systems
- Lack of weather sealing
- Use of rain cover
- 500D 2-tone poly tech-weave
- YKK® RC fuse zippers
- 190T seam-sealed rain cover
- Internal dimensions: 7.5” W x 13.2” H x 4.3” D (19 x 33.5 x 11 cm)
- Exterior dimensions: 7.9” W x 14.6” H x 5.1” D (20 x 37 x 13 cm)
- 8” tablet pocket: 6.5” W x 8.5” H x 0.8” D (16.5 x 21.5 x 2 cm)
- Weight: 1.3 lbs. (0.6 kg) including all accessories
Build & Appearance
As mentioned, the Think Tank Urban Access 8 Sling is made from incredibly durable and sturdy materials both inside and out.
There is a suitable amount of padding in the necessary areas and the use of quality plastics and metal for hardware is evident. The bag has a durable and firm outer shell that helps it to keep its overall shape.
The 8 Sling is very robust and it would take some serious effort to damage or tear any of the fabrics – inside or out.
The sling style makes this a great bag for someone who is on the move, cycling or travelling with a smaller camera system.
There are nice little design features everywhere on and in this bag that make it look like a very stylish EDC (Everyday Carry) or just a very stylish and compact camera bag.
The slate grey colour is also a great look and the lighter interior colour makes recognising gear easier too.
In terms of gear protection, it has several adjustable and removable padded inserts that allow you to tailor the interior to suit your specific gear.
All of the zippers on the 8 Sling glide smoothly; however, they are not the weather sealing kind. I feel like this is a missed opportunity by Think Tank despite them including a rain cover.
The padded carry strap is very broad ensuring that the overall load is spread across the whole shoulder rather than digging in due to a thin strip.
Thanks to a clever design solution, the point where the shoulder strap attaches to the bag can be altered so that you can wear the bag on either shoulder.
This is great for user choice as well as a means to battle fatigue in just one shoulder.
Overall, the Think Tank Urban Access 8 Sling is a great looking and well-designed bag that will carry your gear safely and securely all day long.
The front of the Think Tank Urban Acess 8 Sling has a fairly minimal design as it only features the one pocket that runs all the way to the bottom of the bag.
Access is via a fold-down flap that has a small Think Tank badge and a magnetised clip to keep it shut. While the pocket looks narrow, it expands to offer quite a deep space to carry personal items such as a wallet or even a small water bottle.
Each side of the bag is identical in that they feature a large zip that travels around three out of four edges of the side panel. These two panels provide access to your gear inside the bag and make it incredibly easy to remove and replace your camera and lenses without interference.
These side access panels are well lined and each features a zippered pocket with two gusseted areas and an SD cardholder.
Flip over to the rear of the 8 Sling and you’re greeted with a ribbed and padded back support.
To one side of this is a zippered compartment that runs the entire length of the bag. This is the promoted pocket to hold an 8″ tablet – however, you could use it for storing a passport and travel documents securely.
At the base of the bag, you’ll find two strong nylon loops with a waist support strap attached to them. This support strap has a centre buckle and is fully adjustable. The entire strap is also completely removable.
Fixed to the top of the bag is a small nylon carry handle for a quick grab and go. Just below this is where the main shoulder strap is attached securely to the bag.
As mentioned earlier, the shoulder strap is very broad and well-padded and tapers down to an attachment point at the base of the bag.
The main shoulder strap of the 8 Sling is adjustable so you can set the length that suits you best.
It also features a large plastic buckle so that you can remove the bag from across your body without having to lift it over your head.
The base of the bag is where the shoulder strap attaches to a thick nylon strap via a metal swivel buckle.
With the use of velcro, you can have the swivel buckle on the left or right side of the bag depending on how you like to carry your slings.
Thanks to the camera access panels being on both sides of the 8 Sling, there is a great degree of flexibility to how you wear the bag.
There are two more features worth mentioning and the first is the included packing straps that allow you to attach other gear or perhaps a jacket to the bag.
The second is the stowed rain cover that pulls out and over the bag to provide weather protection when out in the elements.
Personally, I feel that the days of slip-on rain covers is over. Material design and manufacturing processes are well and truly capable of producing weather-resistant materials without the need for rain-coats.
I know that this could well result in a higher price – however, for convenience sake I would prefer it.
While the exterior of the Think Tank Urban Access 8 Sling features all of the pockets and hardware, the interior of the bag only features a single cavity for the storage of your camera gear.
The front and back walls are lined with soft velcro-attracted material to allow for the two main compartment dividers to be placed.
Alternatively, if you were carrying a single camera with a large zoom you could remove the dividers all together.
Included with these two dividers are three smaller padded blue dividers. These only have velcro flaps at the one end and the point of these is to form smaller mid-way walls that allow you to stack smaller lenses on top of one another.
This is especially appreciated when operating with a smaller mirrorless system such as the Fujifilm one.
The material used on the inside of the front and back pockets, as well as the inside of the two access panels, is supple and soft. The same material is used to line the two pockets on top of the two access panels.
Finally, the use of velcro on this bag is pretty minimal, so being able to quickly set up your dividers to suit the camera gear you need for that day is easy.
Also, as mentioned earlier, the Urban Access 8 Sling makes for a great everyday carry bag, so you could remove all dividers and load up with any gear you need.
The Think Tank Urban Access 8 Sling is able to carry a decent amount of mirrorless gear. In fact, depending on the size of your camera and lenses, you can really load this bag up to the max.
That said, you need to consider weight versus user comfort versus how long you intend to carry your gear.
From the perspective of a Fujifilm user, this bag could easily hold a Fujifilm X-T30 or X-T3 with a small lens such as the Fujifilm XF 23mm f/2 attached.
It would also comfortably carry another three of the small Fujifilm lenses or two of the mid-size lenses.
Of course, what kit would be complete without some basic cleaning gear, spare batteries and memory cards?
Alternatively, as I mentioned earlier, you could remove all of the dividers from the bag and place something like a Sony Alpha A7R IV with a Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 lens.
Here’s my gear list:
- Fujifilm X-T3
- Fujifilm XF 23mm f/2
- Fujifilm XF 50mm f/2
- Fujifilm XF 16mm f/2.8
- Cleaning Kit
Ease of Use/Comfort
Think Tank have developed the 8 Sling as a bag that has truly considered user comfort as a priority.
The well-padded and ventilated back support provides great comfort, especially when you have the bag slung across your back with the waist straps also attached.
This way, the bag hugs tight to your body ensuring that if you’re on the move it doesn’t bounce around.
What’s also great about this setup is that you can remove the waist strap if you deem it unnecessary for your use.
The broad and well-padded shoulder strap is perfect for this kind of bag as you’re relying on only a single strap to spread the weight.
Again, the clever adjustable main strap can be shifted from side to side so that you can set the bag to your preferred shoulder or swap to prevent fatigue.
The adjustable component of the shoulder strap provides a lot of length, which is especially helpful for people with a bigger frame.
Any excess strap can be rolled up out of the way thanks to some well-placed velcro.
To access the main compartment and your gear, you slide the whole of the 8 Sling around on the shoulder strap.
The beauty of this bag is that regardless of which direction you slide, there is an access panel on each side. The zippers on these panels glide smoothly and provide little resistance.
The more you load up the bag, the less comfortable it’s going to be but that’s true of any bag no matter the brand.
Keeping in mind that this is a small sling, common sense should prevail to ensure that the bag is not overloaded.
Value for Money
Take a moment to add up all the value points raised here about the Think Tank Urban Access 8 Sling.
Take into account the stylish design elements, the use of quality fabrics and hardware and of course the ingenuity in developing a comfortable sling bag.
But also consider just how well-matched a bag like this is for a photographer who wants to safely and comfortably carry their mirrorless gear.
Add to that the flexibility of the main storage solutions and throw in a pinch of wonder at the nice little extra details and features.
The final outcome is a camera bag of great benefit, and when you realise that it retails for around US$120 (see latest price below), you will agree that it’s fantastic value for money.
Think Tank Urban Access 8 Sling Review | Conclusion
There’s a huge range of camera bags on the market and finding the right one can be a time-consuming process – especially when you think you’ve found a fantastic bag only to discover that your gear is not effectively supported or secure.
There’s nothing worse than carrying a bag and literally being able to hear and feel your gear rolling around inside.
The Think Tank Urban Access 8 Sling is a fantastic and compact solution to meeting your EDC needs or, more importantly, carrying your amazing mirrorless camera gear.
You can be sure that with this bag your gear will be snug and secure thanks to the flexibility of the divider systems inside the bag.
Plus, if you’re anything like me and love to carry all the knick-knacks of the trade, there are plenty of storage solutions for that stuff too.
Slings like the Urban Access 8 are especially great as travels bags and would be a perfect buy for the photo-traveller.
A bag like this provides a great deal of security as you can carry it comfortably on your back for long periods of time. But more importantly, when security is a concern, you can swing the bag to your front and hug it to deter and prevent any unnecessary theft.
Above all else, the Urban Access 8 Sling is a fantastic bag solution and, as mentioned above, one that provides a great deal of flexibility.
So no matter what gear you want to take out on the day, you can quickly format your dividers just right for that adventure.
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.