- Buyer's Guide
Black Ember are long time favourites of ours and also of our readers. Their urban style, modularity, weatherproof construction and functionality have always impressed, so much so that they’ve been a Carry Award Winner and nominated multiple times. Earlier this year, they launched the Grip Sling.
The Grip Sling is a modular sling, and like all of Black Ember’s products, the focus is on versatility and accessibility. The Grip Sling is sleek, streamlined, and ready for adventure, particularly if you’ve got a camera with you.
Black Ember’s design language has always been very sleek and muted, but also very functional. That directly influences the manufacture of their products, and is clear to see in the Grip Sling. At 8 litres, this is their biggest sling yet, and arguably the most versatile. The body material is 420D Velocity Cordura® Re/Cor Nylon 6.6 which is a three layer, 100% recycled textile. Internally it’s lined with a light grey 210d nylon which aids visibility. The Grip Sling has great hand feel and you needn’t worry about being delicate with it, this is a very hardy and weatherproof bag.
YKK® Aquaguard zippers (with hypalon pulls) continue to add to the outdoor capabilities, and will provide peace of mind for anyone carting around expensive electronics such as tablets and cameras. Black Ember uses an innovative blend of laser cutting, sewing, and bonding to create their bags, and that technique contributes to their recognisable look, and their renowned durability.
Elsewhere on the Grip Sling you’ll find custom aluminium hardware on the strap and the accessories that is laser etched with the Black Ember logo. These add an element of refinement to the bag, and have held up well over testing. As a whole, this is an incredibly well built sling that is ready for any urban adventure, whatever the weather.
Functionality & Modularity
The Grip sling is designed for comfortable carry with quick access on the move. As such it features a top-loading main compartment that provides easy access to all your gear. The wide opening makes both view and access simple, allowing you to grab a camera, water bottle, or whatever else you may need without much thought. That may seem like a necessity on any bag, but it is especially critical on a daily carry sling.
Rotating pivot joints on the wings mean that the sling moves with you as you explore, and helps to avoid the dreaded hotspots. The Quick-Slide Lever on the strap makes adjusting with one hand easy, for either access to the sling or a comfort adjustment.
The main compartment can hold up to an 11” tablet in its magnetic sleeve, and an internal zippered pocket is an ideal home for items such as wallets. On the front of the grip sling is another pocket that is split into two. Perfectly made for EDC, this front pocket will fit a larger phone like mine (iPhone 15 Pro Max) and also has a detachable key clip that uses a magnetic connection for quick release.
With the addition of the Grip Sling camera insert and Fidlock V Buckle straps, you can comfortably carry a field shooting set up complete with tripod (I fit a Peak Design Travel Tripod easily), extra lenses and any other necessary accoutrement. The reverse hooks used to attach the V-Buckle straps are incredibly low profile, sitting no more than a few millimetres off the face of the sling. In practice this means not only a slim profile, but a snag free user experience too.
The Camera insert is a wonderfully designed addition to the Grip Sling and turns this into a creators powerhouse. The insert comfortably fits smaller cameras like APS-C and Rangefinder models, along with a plethora of lenses. While testing the Grip Sling, I’ve housed a Sony A6700 and four lenses comfortably, with room to spare.
The outer wall of the insert houses up to four extra batteries or SD cards. The batteries do protrude a little from the shape of the insert, but I’ve not found it enough to affect any functionality. I think the placement of this battery pocket on the upper half of the insert is very useful as I can access easily with one hand thanks to the hypalon pull tab.
The folding dividers are well padded and offer excellent protection to your camera bodies and lenses, they’re also fantastically constructed without a thread loose, this is a common theme throughout the Grip Sling. The dividers also hinge in the middle, allowing you to make shelves for your gear and store multiple lenses in the same footprint. This has been great for travel and using the sling on the go, as I don’t have to worry about them falling out when opening up the sling to use.
It’s also worth noting that the insert works excellently in many standard sized daypacks, and could be used as insert either on it’s own, or when encased in the sling. I often travel like this, with a camera sling pulling double duty as a camera cube, and the Grip Sling’s insert does it better than most!
We previewed The Grip Sling prior to launch, and I was incredibly excited to get my hands on it. While I usually defer to heritage styles and materials, including some of my favourite camera slings, this has been a wonderful surprise. The sleek styling and materials, excellent functionality, and wallet friendly price point should make the Grip Sling a serious consideration for any travelling creators.
This is a Curated Sponsor Article from our friends at Black Ember.