Traveler's Gear Box: The Lowepro SlingshotTM 202 AW Camera Pack

Lowepro's Slingshot 202 AW makes it easy to grab camera gear, even in the surf. Rebecca Latson photo.

When I first heard about Lowepro’s sling-type camera backpack, I rolled my eyes. Yeah, I’m so sure carrying that thing around would feel good. I’m used to hefting my gear in backpacks with regular shoulder straps… which have a habit of slipping off my small rounded shoulders.

Thus, when offered the opportunity to try out and review the Lowepro Slingshot 202 AW camera pack, I figured why not. I can’t really roll my eyes too much if I’ve never tried this style of camera pack, now can I? Turns out I really like this pack!

The Slingshot 202 AW is the middle-sized of three packs in Lowepro’s SlingshotTM line and comes with a weatherproof (AW = “all weather”) cover snugly stored within a Velcroed slot at the bottom of the pack. The bag itself is narrow and streamlined, with a bottom main compartment to hold camera and gear and a much smaller top compartment to hold another small lens or accessories.

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Lowepro's Slingshot 202 AW.

The width and depth of the Slingshot 202’s main section permit me to carry my Canon 5D Mk III with an attached standard-sized zoom lens such as my 24-70mm or 16-35mm (without the lens hoods).

The arrangement of the padded dividers allow for the addition of a couple of similar-sized lenses, or a lens and a flash unit, as well as the camera/lens combo mentioned earlier. The inside flap holds two memory card slots which are – in my opinion – totally useless. There is another zippered compartment attached to the outside of the bag’s lower section in which I carry more filters and memory cards.

The pack’s upper section is large enough to store a small lens or spare batteries and lens filters. There is even a wide elastic band inside to help secure a lens in-place. While I do not believe this upper area is large enough in which to store bulky items like a small rainjacket, it is large enough to hold a cell phone and a small snack (like an apple) along with or in lieu of the filters and spare batteries.

There are very small “change-purse-sized” zippered pockets on the inside and outside of this upper compartment flap, each of which could indeed literally carry change or a couple of memory cards or AA batteries.

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The Slingshot 200 AW offers ample carrying space for short outings.

Located on the side of the Slingshot 202 AW is what Lowepro calls the Hideaway Tripod Mount SystemTM to accommodate a monopod or light travel tripod. I did not avail myself of this carrying system since my tripod is large and heavy and pulls double duty as a hiking staff.

In addition to the Hideaway Tripod Mount System, Lowepro has added their SlipLockTM attachment loops on the pack so the photographer can carry more gear on the pack as well as in it.

The light weight of this camera pack was the very first thing I noticed upon lifting it to my shoulders (it weighs a tad shy of 2 lbs). I’m short with a relatively small stature, so lightweight is a good thing for me. The Slingshot 202 AW fits my small frame comfortably, and is just large enough for me to carry the camera gear I need during a day hike (or wedding photo shoot) but not so large as to tempt me to overpack it with unnecessary “stuff."

The wide sling strap fits securely across my body with absolutely no shoulder slippage. With this style of strap, I can easily rotate the bag from back to front for quick access to my gear without ever having to remove the pack. 

I’ve now used this bag to carry gear while photographing a wedding, and taking a quick jaunt down to the Gulf Coast seashore. I intend to pack it with me when I visit Acadia National Park this October.

I like Lowepro’s Slingshot 202 AW bag so much that I am thinking of getting the 302 AW in this line so I can carry a pro-sized DSLR with attached 70-200 lens. I guess you can say I’m sold on sling!