- Buyer's Guide
Bellroy Venture Camera Sling 10L Review
When I reviewed the Bellroy Venture Sling last autumn, I was very impressed. It immediately shot to the top of my favorite slings (along with the Evergoods MHP and Trakke Largo) . I remember speaking to JJ (Bellroy design lead) shortly after it launched and he said he had something special to show me. That was when I first saw the prototype of the Venture Sling Camera edition. I was beyond excited to play around with it, so for the last three months, I’ve been taking this sling everywhere with me. How does it compare to the rest of the Venture sling line? Let’s find out!
- Price: $175USD
- Volume: 10L
- Dimensions: External: 215 x 360 x 120mm
- Internal: 190 x 270 x 100mm
- Max. lens length (vertical): 175mm
- Max. lens length (horizontal): 230mm
- Weight: 500g
- Colours: Nightsky (Leather Free), Midnight (Leather Free), Ranger Green (Leather Free)
Who it suits, how have I used it?
If you’re a photographer, this is made for you. Sleek design, excellent materials, and flawless functionality should put this right at the top of your list of considerations.
Who it doesn’t suit
10L is a relatively sizable sling, and when packed out it can be weighty. If you prefer a minimalist look and smaller carry look to their 6L non camera options. If you’re looking for an Everyday Carry sling, this could be too niche for you.
Under the Radar
Bellroy have always been focused on closed loop production, and minimizing their environmental impact. Similarly to the Venture 9L, the foundation of the 10L Venture is their water resistant ripstop nylon. It is robust and lightweight, and so far has handled everything that I have thrown at it and has shed dirt, sand, and rain comfortably. It looks new every time after a quick wipe down. The Venture 10L comes in three colours currently, and I’ve been testing the absolutely gorgeous Nightsky colourway. This rich blue has to be seen to be believed and might be my favourite colour for a bag in a long, long time.
This updated camera version has a removable padded sleeve too, which is very welcome when carrying the extra weight associated with cameras, lenses, and their accessories. Just like the original Venture 9L, the shoulder strap is removable thanks to the custom duraflex hardware and through this strap design and hardware, it still self compresses when not full. I feel as though the removable strap is even more significant on the camera sling, as it allows this to be used as a camera cube. The opening is accessible from either end thanks to the two way shingleback zipper, and the YKK® AquaGuard zip has kept all of my precious camera equipment dry. This is a gloss zipper, which seems like a smart choice given the longevity and chipping issues that you hear about with the matte version of the same zipper. This is a sling designed for the outdoors after all.
The amount of pockets on the Venture camera sling drops from the EDC version, and there are technically only four pockets compared to eleven on the 9L. Two mesh pockets internally, a zippered pocket on the inside lid, and then the front zippered pocket. However, each of these pockets also has a lot of internal slip pocketing. The lid pocket has three slots for batteries or memory cards, is microfiber lined, and has a stretch mesh so you could accommodate larger accessories.
The side pockets are stretchy enough to house a lens or large accessory such as a flash or drone battery, but lay completely flat out of the way if not in use. The front pocket has two stretch mesh slips, which are also microfibre lined, these are meant for lens caps, but I found them to be better for EDC, particularly when paired with the key loop. My wallet, iPhone 13 Pro Max, and keys fit in there comfortably with room to spare. I thought I would miss the extra organisation pockets that lived on the rear wall of the 9L version, but in use, I didn’t want for them. This is definitely more of a specialist sling, but I’ve found it to be plenty useful for EDC in a pinch.
What’s most notably different when you open the sling is the dividers. Designed for any array of equipment, these dividers are attached and ‘float’ on a very similar mesh to the end pockets. There are two dividers, one rigid, and one foldable. The foldable one allows you to create a shelf for a larger gripped body, or to house a smaller APSC lens underneath. I’ve grown to love these dividers as I traditionally find the loud, scratchy, and inflexible dividers of other slings a bit cumbersome. If, like me, you change your loadout on the daily due to your work, traditional camera slings with velcro attachments require a good 10-15 minutes of configuration to make sure that you can fit what you need in the sling. With these attached floating dividers, you just put the body, lens, or drone in the sling and with a quick wiggle, you’re ready to go. Now that I’ve become accustomed to how quick those transitions are, it’s hard to see me going back the other way, particularly for sling carry.
Traditionally, I don’t love camera slings. While I see their value, I don’t like walking around with a box on my back. Personally, it took me a while to get on board the sling train, and now that I’m there, I find myself valuing their flexibility and minimalist design. I’ve found most camera slings to be overbuilt to a fault. I understand the premise, to have protection for your equipment, but some are essentially a fortress like box hanging off one shoulder. At that point, it negates the point of carrying a sling and you might as well use your hard-sided gear case or a dedicated camera backpack. The Venture camera sling is the opposite of that for me, it’s padded enough to protect my gear (they are tools, so I don’t baby them too much) but nimble enough, light enough, and flexible enough as I move that I don’t have to roll with a full backpack or case. I love that, because I can be quick on my feet and get to what I need.
The comfort of the Venture 10L is not to be underestimated, I’ve spent full days on my feet with multiple bodies and lenses and I’m yet to experience any significant discomfort. The shoulder pad and extra padding on the rear of the sling really excel here. Not only that, but because the Venture is a soft sided sling, it moves with me, rather than resisting every move or bouncing around on my back like some of the boxier slings out there. In fact, this malleability makes it a joy to work out of. As you can see in the pictures, the wide opening from the aforementioned zipper is truly useful as it gives you excellent access, particularly when using on body while I have my camera in hand. I can leave the sling open and still have access to a secondary lens, body, or accessory.
I’ve used the Venture open on my hip countless times, and it’s now one of my favourite ways to shoot. Infact, I often use the Venture as a “primary” cube (you can remove the strap if wanted) in other backpacks or camera set ups. By that I mean I’ll have my first choice lenses/bodies ready to go, then any extra or less used lens in my backpack. I’ve really enjoyed learning this workflow for both photography and video work.
In terms of what the sling can carry, the answer is a lot. These are some of the different camera configurations I’ve had in the Venture Sling at any one time*:
- 1 x Full frame body, 2 x Lens, 1 x flash, accessories.
- 2 x Full frame body with prime lenses attached, accessories.
- 1 x Full frame body with telephoto lens, accessories.
- 2 x Small Body camera, accessories.
- 1 x APS-C camera, 4 lenses, accessories.
- 1 x Drone, three batteries, remote control, filters. APSC-Camera.
*tripod can always be carried thanks to the useful tripod straps. I’ve also found this a good spot for a jacket or they can be removed completely too if you prefer a cleaner look.
In my eyes, that is incredibly impressive. The floating dividers are the star of the show when it comes to that level of versatility. I’ve always spoken highly of Bellroy’s functionality in their products, and this is another example of a product doing one thing exceptionally well, rather than trying to do five things poorly.
For me, yes. This is exactly what I hoped for from the day JJ mentioned it to me. It is a refined specialist, and I’m smitten. If you’re looking for an EDC sling, this will do the job in a pinch, but you are better suited to sticking to the original Venture 9L. However, if you’re looking to carry camera, drone, or video gear in a compact set up, I think you’ll be hard pressed to find a better option. The Venture Camera 10L straddles the line of function/fashion very well, and I’m impressed at how it has streamlined my workflow. I’ve used this daily for three months now, and in all the other bags I’ve tested, this has come with me, either in the bag as a cube, or slung over my shoulder as the workhorse.
This is a specialist sling, but a very good specialist. Flexible, both literally and figuratively, with great materials and exceptional function, the Venture Sling Camera 10L is a brilliant evolution of Bellroy’s slings. If you love everything that they stand for, from design through to circularity, and you’re looking for the next addition to your camera carry, I don’t think you can go wrong with this.
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