Recently we purchased the Lowepro Passport Sling Bag to house all our camera gear for our travels around Asia and Europe – an upgrade from our Crumpler Seven Million dollar camera bag. However the decision to purchase the bag, as well as our constant bickering about the pros and cons after using it for the past 12 months has led me to writing a review of the Lowepro Passport Sling Bag…with a slight difference. I’m going to share my take on it and my wife’s view as well, which will hopefully lead to a balanced review.
This review starts late last year when Nic and I invested in a descent camera setup – a sweet canon 60D with lens, filters, tripods and various other bit and pieces. The question that eventually came up was how to house all this stuff. We had previously used the Crumpler Seven Million Dollar bag – great if you’re just shooting locally but bulky, large and cumbersome when travelling away from home. We came across the Lowepro Passport Sling Bag and were immediately at odds over this bag. These differences on opinion is what led us to some serious discussions on a bag, me sleeping on the couch and my wife seriously pissed off with me… so let’s introduce to you the Lowepro Passport Sling Camera bag, the centre of our disagreement.
Overview of Lowepro Passport Sling Camera Bag
The Passport Sling is from Lowepro, a reputable camera bag manufacturer and the sling varies in cost from $70AUD anywhere up to $120 depending on colour and the style you go for. I’ve placed a small promo clip from Lowepro to give you an intro to the bag.
The Sling is made from a nylon fabric, has a durable zip system and a solid strap. Inside is a solidly built padded camera compartment that is held in with industrial strength Velcro and can be easily removed if leaving you camera gear at home. The bag also has some room for other valuables and can be extended by unzipping along the front to allow for an extra 30%. Unfortunately the Lowepro Passport Sling Bag is not waterproof as Nic and I discovered when our room was flooded in India and the bag tends to stain and mark easily. The sling can be simply cleaned though and we just place it in the washing machine on a delicate wash (remove the compartment first).
What We Can Fit Into The Lowepro Passport Sling Bag
Niki and I both considered the Lowepro Passport Sling Bag to be a Mary Poppins bag – you’ll be surprised what you can fit in there. Here is a list of everything we can in store in there before unzipping:
- Canon 60d Body with 18-55mm lens attached
- Canon 75-300mm lens
- Point and Shoot Camera
- Battery Charger and connection Leads
- Spare Battery and 3 x SD Cards
- Cleaning Cloth and Lens Blower
- 100 Page Guide Book
- Camera User Guide
- Water bottle and Purse
- Travel Wallet and Passport
- Pens and Paper/Notebook
- Small Scarf and at a push a small light jumper
- Mobile, Sunglasses and Keys
Extend the Bag and you’ll easily be able to fit a solid jumper, souvenirs from your day’s adventure and lots of other little bit and pieces.
Peter’s Review of Lowepro Passport Sling Bag
Let me get this out the way, I never wanted the Lowepro Passport Sling Bag! My first thoughts of the bag was that it was a sling bag that would be uncomfortable to travel with and be more suited to a photographer crawling through the inner suburbs of Melbourne than a backpacker trekking through the backwaters of Borneo. I like to choose gear that is practical, sturdy and sensible. Gear that quickly goes in when I have to rush for a flight and gear that has a purpose to warrant its place on my back as it’s hauled around the world.
What I liked about the Lowepro Passport Sling Bag
First of all it is a great little unisex bag if you use it for what it is was intended for, and in my opinion, inner city photo shoots or small comfortable travels away for a short period of time. It’s fashionable for any city and doesn’t look out of place if you were in a pub shooting the latest gig or down at the local art gallery. The colour range wasn’t too out there, unlike the bright red Crumpler that says “Hey you, come rob me, I’m housing the latest apple product in here”.
I liked that I could hide things in it – great for sneaking that extra long lens into a sporting event (Australia Open). It’s also great if you want to carry other things around with you, such as notepads, bottles of water etc.
Security is good on the bag as you can wear it on your front to protect it from wandering fingers and the bag looks like any other bag, which helps mask the fact that you’re carrying expensive equipment with you. And as for the size, it amazing how much you can get in there! Cost wise, we paid about $80AUD which isn’t bad as far as camera bags go.
What I don’t like about the Lowepro Passport Sling Bag
My main concern about buying the Lowepro Passport Sling was that it would become my wife’s handbag, bits and pieces floating around in it, which it did. Camera bags should never be shared with normal bag contents, which inevitably end up with squashed bananas, open bottles of water and lipsticks missing their caps! Yes Lowepro argues that when you zip it up it creates a seal over the camera storage section – yet I don’t think its 100% effective.
I travelled with this bag around India and Sri Lanka, and after time it got heavy, hunched me over and became generally uncomfortable to wear. It’s shocking to hike any long distances with and forget mountain climbing. I hiked a small 2000m and there was no ergonomics in the bag. The strap was digging into my shoulders and the pain from carrying it was unbearable by the end of the day. Yes it’s handy that you can just open it up and whip out the camera but the uneven weight on one side of your body is not worth it. It’s also a pain in the arse to carry it with your backpack. I’d prefer to use a rig belt set up.
My overall view, surprisingly, is that the Lowepro Passport Sling Bag is an awesome bag with lots of space, practical usage, fashionable and secure. If I was flying up to Singapore or KL for two days to a do a quick piece of museums or restaurants – I would absolutely use this bag but put me on the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal and I would be sacrificing it to the gods. The bag loses its functionality when long term travelling/photo shoots and where strenuous physical activity is involved. I also question that as I acquire more camera gear such as lenses/tripods/flashes if this bag would cope?
Niki Review of the Lowepro Passport Sling Camera Bag
Unlike my husbands love of gear that is practical, sturdy and sensible, when I’m shopping for a camera bag I look for gear that is appealing to wear, that I can wear close to my body (for security) and that can accommodate everything I need to carry at once. For me, the Lowepro camera bag is the perfect way to easily carry and quickly access my camera equipment when on the go. My original brief for selecting a new camera bag was that it was light weight, easy to carry, easily accessible (which put most backpacks out), protective of my equipment and that it looked stylist without being too obvious of its contents and Lowepro ticked all the boxes.
What I liked about the Lowepro Passport Sling Bag
I wanted one bag to carry my Canon 60D body, 18-55 lens and my 75-300 lens, cleaning cloth, Canon Ixus point and shoot camera, spare battery and spare memory cards around with me and still have room to carry essentials like keys, phone and purse so I didn’t have to carry a second bag. I have found the Lowepro to be perfect for my needs. I can sling it over my shoulder and go with all my camera equipment as well as my essentials plus I know it has an extra zip to open when you need more space for purchases on the go.
It’s great for travelling as it sits securely next to the body, however I would agree with Peter when he says it’s not very comfortable for long hikes as the weight load is carried on one shoulder. One other complaint I have with the bag is the open pockets that are on the outside of the bag as they have no zip or any way to secure them closed, therefore I don’t use them as I find them a security risk. The bag also has a secure padded area for my camera and lens which protects them and keeps them from floating about the bag with other items.
Overall I am very happy with this bag, and I would recommend it to others looking to fill a similar brief.
So we hope this review helps in your decision whether to buy to Lowepro Passport Sling Bag and also helps avoid any relationship hiccups on the way. The bag itself is a good quality bag, however you have decide the purpose you want to use it for and know its limitations.
Please feel free to leave any comments or feedback below on your thoughts of the Bag for future readers.