A great bag for quick shoots. 

I’ve always enjoyed taking pictures. I remember one of the first times I held a ‘real’ camera that wasn’t a point-and-shoot. I felt so grown-up. There is something about the sound of an SLR camera that just makes photography seem more real. Until just a few years ago, I didn’t have a DSLR to use as my own. Now, I regularly use a Canon 70D and have a few camera bags that I use when I go on photo walks. As wonderful as those bags are, sometimes you just want to have your camera and the essentials at your side for a quick outing. This is exactly what the Ranger DSLR Sling V2 from HEX was designed for. 

DETAILS

The Ranger DSLR Sling V2 is made with premium materials like water-resistant Cordura. The zippers are designed with genuine YKK zippers that have custom metal pulls for added strength. The bag features Velcro inserts that can be moved around to suit your various carrying needs or removed completely if they aren’t needed. There are two partitions that can be set up as dividers and a fold-out bottom panel that can be folded out of the way or laid flat to provide added padding at the base of the pack. The interior is padded, fleece-lined, and has enough room to accommodate full-frame DSLRs with additional lenses. There are zippered mesh accessory pockets on the internal compartment that help photographers to organize their accessories and cables. The Ranger DSLR Sling V2 is designed to be small, lightweight, and streamlined in order to store just the essentials for your DSLR. There is even a back sleeve pocket that can hold an iPad mini and a front pouch that is designed to hold a smartphone. 

As noted by the name, this is the 2nd generation the Ranger DSLR Sling. With that in mind, there are some upgraded features of this pack that include a hideaway rain fly, double buckle strap for more sizing options, and increased padding on top lid and shoulder pad. 

Collapsible interior dividers for packability
Genuine Cordura®
Front access organizer
Side adjustable load straps
Faux-fur lined front phone/sunglasses pocket
Hidden velcro stash pockets
Flush grab handle
Faux-fur lined tablet pocket
Adjustable bottom carry straps
YKK Zippers with metal pulls
Dimensions: 14.5″L x 7.5″W x 4.75″D
Weight: 1.3lbs
Capacity: 8L
Color choices: Black, Glacier Camo, Camo

USER EXPERIENCE

When the Ranger DSLR Sling V2 arrived I wasn’t sure how much I was going to like it. Its functionality resembles that of a ‘fanny pack’, which was all the rage in fashion when I was growing up. With ‘sling’ in the title, I actually expected that the bag would be designed to wear cross-body. Upon further examination, I discovered that while you can wear it crossbody, it’s really meant to be held at the waist so that while you are hiking or walking, you can reach to your side to find your essentials. At first, I was a little concerned that wearing it at the waist might present a problem for me. I’m not a small person and I’ve had issues in the past with standard bags not working with my body type. Fortunately, HEX made the carry straps to be adjustable and they extend past where I needed them to be. I was able to comfortably wear the Ranger Sling with equipment installed with no issues. 

One of the features about this bag that impressed me the most was how many pockets and compartments it has. I kept discovering more and more places to hide things. It was almost like a bottomless Mary Poppins bag. At 8L, the sling is approximately 40% of the total volume (20L) of that backpack that I normally carry. That’s pretty impressive and it’s a great size space to be in for this type of use-case. A little over a year ago I was an assistant photographer at a wedding. I lugged around my backpack around a private mountain-top retreat and honestly, the Ranger Sling would have gotten the job done for my needs. 

When I arranged the interior for my needs I was able to fit my Canon Speedlite, Canon 70D with 50mm lens attached, and my Canon 18-135mm lens into the compartment comfortably. In the external pocket, I slid in my memory card holder, extra batteries for the flash, and a cleaning cloth. I, unfortunately, don’t have an iPad mini, but I did attempt putting my 11-inch iPad Pro into the sleeve. While I couldn’t zip the pocket closed, the iPad did fit into the pocket for the most part. I would say that if you are going somewhere that isn’t rugged, you could get away with carrying your standard-sized iPad in that pouch to keep from needing a separate bag. 

CONCLUSION

The Ranger DSLR Sling V2 is a very nice companion bag for quick shoots. I found myself in need of taking some location scouting photos recently and this was the perfect option for that job. I loaded it up with the aforementioned gear and tossed in my car. I knew that the equipment was safe and secure and taking a compact bag like this with me was so much easier than worrying about the full-sized backpack. I was able to walk around, take the photos I needed, and I didn’t have to deal with a giant backpack getting in the way. I like to say there is a time and place for everything and I will still definitely keep my standard sized backpack for larger jobs and storage of all my gear together, but for quick photo walks and on-the-go shoots, the Ranger DSLR Sling V2 is a great option. 

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