For photo-heads on the go, a good bag is essential. Photographers need easy access to all their gear, padded compartments to keep lenses and camera bodies safe, and—perhaps most important—the weight of all that gear distributed comfortably. Booq meets all of these standards and then some with its $230 Python Sling camera bag.
The pill-shaped Python Sling has one large compartment that’s easily accessed by swinging the bag around from your back to your front. This zipper-opened pocket gives you access to nearly the entire cavernous bag. In this cavernous compartment alone, you can configure the movable dividers to fit at least four lenses, a camera body, and a speedlight. This compartment’s flap has two zippered pockets—one on the inside that’s ideal for lens-cleaning towels and cables, and one on the outside that has four tiny, elastic pouches for memory cards.
The Python Sling’s top compartment, which is easily accessible only when the bag is off your shoulder, can fit another DSLR, a large set of headphones, or maybe a snack. An 11-inch or 13-inch MacBook Air, or an iPad, can slide into the bag’s padded laptop compartment, which sits against your back; the opening for this compartment is near the main section’s zipper access, making it reachable without having to remove the bag from your shoulder. If that’s not enough stuff for you, you can attach tripods or other accessories to the outside of the bag using two adjustable clips.
The Python Sling’s single strap is made of seatbelt-like nylon and is thickly padded and adjustable. It has a pocket on the front for an iPhone or remote, and in true seatbelt fashion, you can unbuckle the strap for easy bag removal. Once the bag is off your back, it will stand on its own on a flat surface using its rubber-padded bottom.
Everything about this bag screams protection. The bag material is ballistic nylon treated with a water-repellent coating to keep your gear safe. The compartments within the Python sling are also tougher than the average lens dividers—very rigid with rubber-padded borders to provide additional protection (though one could also argue that the design also just looks cool). And if the water-repellant nylon isn’t enough moisture protection, the Sling includes a bright-red, removable rain poncho that fits snuggly around the pack.
The messenger-sling design of the Python is deceptively comfortable, and weighing in at just four pounds when empty, the Python Sling is surprisingly light given all the padding and structure it contains. Still, after loading it up with two cameras, four lenses, and a Macbook Air, things can get pretty heavy. If all of that weight resting on your right shoulder becomes too much to handle, the bag has an optional hip support that extends from a pocket in the bottom of the pack and clips to the shoulder strap. The back of the bag and every place where the strap rests on your body are covered in a half-inch-thick, lightweight foam, so even when it’s full of gear the Sling is comfortable. The convenience and easier access of a sling design will make the Python appealing to even backpack-loving symmetry enthusiasts. My only real beef with the design is that, like all slings, it can be worn only on one shoulder—in this case, the right. So if your right side gets fatigued, you’re out of luck.