With the right bag and a little ingenuity, the sky’s the limit!
When asked to think about photography and gear, you will likely not jump to minimalism. Like jumbo-shrimp or being clearly confused, minimalistic-photography is a bittersweet oxymoron. As an example, I rely on a large travel bag such as the LOWEPRO Runner RL X450 AW II bag as my go-to travel camera setup. The hardshell case, combined with rolling wheels and convertible backpack straps, housed the gear I needed for my 2020 Imaging USA experience in Nashville, TN. However, there were other times that I did not want to roll the larger bag around or to carry a bulky backpack. When I want an everyday carry option that grants faster access with less bulk, I have enjoyed Hex bags.
Weighing in at a reasonable 10.47-ounces, the glacier camouflage-colored Hex Ranger Crossbody Camera bag should only add a modest amount of weight to your gear setup. The USA designed bag was built with the same durable Cordura and ballistic nylon materials as other members of the Hex Ranger family of bags, such as the HEX RANGER GLACIER CAMO DSLR MINI SLING BAG that I reviewed previously. The Mini Sling bag perfectly housed my Canon EOS 80D camera, my (current) favorite lens, my Pelican Memory cardholder, my Pro Max size iPhone, batteries/charger, and several smaller accessories. Although perfect for portability, I missed the extra room that may have come with the larger Camo Glacier DSLR Sling V2. For example, I wanted to add my Godox V1 flash, my MindShift Filter Nest Mini, and a small tripod to my everyday carry setup. Although the Godox came with a large adjustable case with a belt loop, it did have any administrative space for the charger, the mini stand, or the USB cable. I was able to add my thinkTANK battery bag to the Mini Sling bag and some generic filters. When combined, the two bags allowed me to carry my essentials.
Anyone who has been bitten by the man-bag, murse, tactical-bag bug knows that each bag has some advantages and disadvantages. No matter how perfect a bag seems, you will always find one with a feature you want. The Hex Ranger Crossbody Camera Bag measured 6 1/2 inches wide by 8 3/4 inches tall by 2 1/4 inches thick and was divided into three compartments. The outer glacier-camouflage color was visibly appealing, and the stitching was clean and professional. Along the lower right of the front panel, you will find a rubberized black patch with a red inscription (HEX, Lot No.HB1020 Registered Trademark DT8919, Designed in the USA). I loved the patch’s make/material but felt it slightly detracted from the overall flow of the bag. The grey-green stitches along the front zipper, the bag’s side, the top zipper, and the back pouch were only slightly visible against the background nylon. The side/bottom sections that abutted the back/front were stitched to create a hidden/inverse seam. It appeared as if the side/bottom panel wrapped around and the back/front were attached. The junction sections were sewed together inside the bag, and nylon was draped over the sections and sewed together again. If you were looking for a durable, well-built bag to house your camera and gear, look no further.
The front compartment was accessed through a 5 7/8 inches long YKK zipper, with HEX-etched black zipper-pull, located 2 1/4 inches from the top of the bag. Although smooth, the zipper action, combined with the metal on metal clank, was not designed for stealth. The front compartment opened into a full-sized 8 inches tall by 5 7/8 inches wide compartment. Within the compartment, you will find a full-sized outer section and dual red-mesh administrative pouches. Each pouch measured roughly 2 1/2 inches tall by 2 1/2 inches wide and had an elastic loop at the top. These pouches were perfect for batteries or smaller objects. I placed a Tile into one of the pouches in case I needed to find the bag. I wish they would have included a key-keeper ring that extended into the bag because the pouch would have been perfect for your phone-wallet-keys (thanks, Adam Sandler). As an aside, the front pouch did extend above the level of the zipper.
The main pouch was accessed by opening the 10-inches long YKK zipper with a single black zipper pull. Like the zipper on the front panel, you will find the HEX name etched into the metallic surface’s front/back and a hexagonal cutout. If I were going to design version 2.0 of this bag, I would include a black paracord pull or a rubberized coating to the zipper-pulls. If desired, you can roll the front/back top edges over to better access the felt-lined compartment. Within the main section, the company included a padded Velcro divider to customize the compartment. This section proved perfectly sized to fit my Godox flash and tripod. Although too small for a Nintendo Switch, my 9-year-old son realized that the compartment was perfectly sized to fit his Nintendo 3DS, charger, and game cartridges. Although this was not the intended purpose, the bag did gain new life and added functionality when considering it as an on-the-go 3DS carrier. I loved the ability to adjust the divider and found it quite securely affixed to the felt lining. In fact, to move the section, I had to cup the Velcro in my hand to avoid any contact with the bag. Once affixed, it was secure and did not move unless forcefully removed.
The third and final pouch could be found on the back of the bag. The 5 7/8 inches wide by 5 3/4 inches tall compartment remained open, except for a 1 1/4 inch magnetic section along the top. The inner pocket was lined by black nylon on one side and by glacier-camo nylon on the other. By design, this hidden compartment was not easily accessible. The pouch was perfect for my lens filters and accommodated my small Write in the Rain Notebook. I could repurpose the pouch to store a wallet, a coin purse, or any other semi-flat object. For firearm enthusiasts, you could use this as a small hidden EDC pouch. I can attest that a Ruger LCP or Taurus .380 will fit perfectly into the pouch, and the magnetic lock will close behind the grip. Although not intended as a firearm bag, this may be an option for someone looking for a multi-purpose bag.
You will find two 7/8 inches wide by 5/8 inches tall nylon loops with plastic loops inside of them just above the back pocket. Affixed to each side, you will find a plastic/metal carabiner-style clamp on a 360-degree swivel. Each of the swivel arms was attached to a 2 inches wide by 7/8 inches tall plastic nylon buckle, which housed the nylon shoulder strap. To adjust strap the 1 1/2 inches wide shoulder strap, grab the adjustment loop and shorten/lengthen the strap to the desired level. The nylon webbing, combined with the durable buckle hardware, was designed with longevity in mind. I do not suspect that the bag will wear out anytime soon. Although its original design was for point-and-shoot, POV, and action cameras like GoPro’s, the bag will fit various interests/needs. The bag was designed with quality materials for a premium experience.