Despite the overabundance of stylish bags and accessories for laptops and iPads, finding a camera bag that is at all interesting or fashion-forward is a near-impossible feat. If you are a professional, the typical black nylon bags that place functionality as the only important factor might suit your tastes and purpose just fine. If you are an amateur hobby photographer, or even a pro who prefers a little more style, you might want to tote around your camera gear in something that looks a little less like what a paparazzo would be wearing. We tested out the SLR Sloop Camera Bag ($150) from our friends over at the Photojojo store, and it turns out you can have style and functionality in one. Who knew?
While the bold, striped designs of the bag might not appeal to everyone, fashion-conscious photographers and those who want their camera bag to look like a regular bag will no doubt be pleased. The bag is constructed in a simple box style with an attached shoulder strap that adjusts to be worn as a messenger bag or a shoulder bag. The bag is made from Sunbrella, a material typically used on sailboats that feels like a thick canvas but is durable, water repellent, and never fades. The bag has a large velcro pocket on the front side and a zippered one inside for camera accessories and cords. There are two small gadget pockets on the inside of the bag for smaller items like your phone and keys. The bag comes with a custom-fitted padded insert that you can configure in countless different ways to perfectly protect all your gear. This also means that should the bag come in handy by itself, the camera insert can be removed, making it a versatile bag for travel or everyday use.
After testing it out, we think that this bag has a lot of admirable qualities that put it at the top of our list of fun camera bag options. The size is great for anyone with a DSLR and a few lenses and accessories, or someone who likes to carry around a DSLR with a couple smaller camera bodies. It’s also an ideal configuration for anyone who wants to consolidate purse or pocket items into the camera bag when they carry it around. The bag easily holds a wallet and other essentials in addition to your camera gear.
The fabric is a definite plus, with a comfortable feel to wear any season, but the durability needed for photographing expeditions. We can’t say anything for dirt, but a healthy dose of the Portland rain didn’t seem to phase the bag at all, which stayed just as clean and dry as when we got it. Our only addition to this bag might be a shoulder strap cushion if you carry a heavy load. The wide strap helps with the weight, but if you really pack the bag full, your shoulder might not do so well. The bag is available in four different patterns, including the more classic Berkeley Beige and the fun and bright Nautical Red.
We would say that if you like the looks of this bag and don’t need to carry around three camera bodies and 14 lenses, the SLR Sloop is probably a good bet. It has the versatility of both a travel and camera bag, quality construction, and a good sense of style on its side. Try the Berkeley Beige or Navy Sails (above) patterns if you are looking for a more classic look that doesn’t stand out in a crowd as much as the colorful striped options. Everyone will be surprised that your camera bag is so understated and stylish.