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Instinct Pro Camera Sling Bag


Instinct Pro Camera Sling Bag Review

by , November 6, 2020
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Instinct is a London-based brand that was founded in 2018. With two successfully crowdfunded campaigns under its belt (Instinct 35L backpack and the hero of my review – Pro Camera Sling), Instinct appeared on my radar after it was shortlisted for Carryology Carry Awards as one of fourteen finalists in best camera bags of 2020.

So what’s the story of this dark horse? As with most Kickstarter campaigns, the Instinct Pro Camera Sling came out of nowhere. Launched on September 3rd, 2019 the campaign from a relatively unknown brand gathered the support of more than 700 backers and funding over 900% of the initial goal. So not bad at all.

As a content creator with a decent full-frame camera (Canon 6D MKII) and a couple of lenses, I was intrigued to test this sling. Subsequently, I used it over the course of four weeks in urban and rural environments and it was my default camera carry solution when shooting other products.

Apparently, COVID impacted the fulfillment of the Kickstarter campaign so there are not many reviews out there. Therefore I am glad to at least partially rectify this. So let’s find out how the Instinct offering fares in the already oversaturated sling market.

Instinct Camera Sling Bag


  • Name: Pro Camera Sling
  • Brand: Instinct
  • Format: Sling
  • Measurement: 31 x 19.8 x 12 cm
  • Capacity: 7L
  • Weight: 0.55kg
  • Zippers: YKK AquaGuard
  • Material: Dimension Polyant VX21
  • Price118 GBP (~$155)


Who It Suits

  • If you are looking for the lightest camera solution that can still hold its shape and be extremely weather-resistant 
  • Those who are into a sleek technical look
  • If you need a sling with a ton of small pockets to organize your gear

Who It Doesn’t

  • If you value the comfort of carrying the sling and want a stable secure fit, the Pro Camera Sling might not be the best option with its narrow shoulder strap and lack of stabilizer strap to prevent sway and misalignment.
  • If you are looking for the best bang for your buck 
  • Those who seek the peace of mind of a lifetime warranty 



The Instinct Pro Camera Sling is a simple, symmetrical bag that is easy on the eyes. There are no flashy logos or insane design elements. It is minimal and stealthy. A bag that Batman would probably carry.

Instinct Camera Sling


The outside of my unit is black VX21 fabric that is light, durable, and extremely abrasion and water-resistant. I had no issues with stitching or the construction of the bag, which is to be expected for a higher than average price.

What did raise a bit of a concern is a very limited warranty – just 1 year against manufacturing defects and construction. The warranty triggers at the date of the receipt and applies only to the original owner, not the item itself. Having experienced brands that offer a lifetime warranty that is applied to the item itself regardless of the owner, I find the terms offered by Instinct not very reassuring.

Instinct Camera Sling Bag

Materials & Hardware

This is a mixed bag, forgive the unintentional pun. On one hand, VX21 fabric, custom aluminum hardware, and YKK AquaGuard zippers are all excellent and confidence-inspiring.

But on the other hand, the inner liner and top grab handle feel cheap, and the shoulder strap is lacking.


Despite being quite unassuming, the sling has a couple of surprises up its sleeve. First of all, there are plenty of carrying modes:

1. You can wear it standard sling-style across the body

2. The top grab handle and compact size makes it totally doable to carry as a tiny briefcase

3. By reattaching the shoulder strap to stowable “wings” you can carry it as an oversized waist pack

4. You can go crazy and remove the shoulder strap and use this sling as an oversized camera cube inside your bigger carry solution.

As with every camera bag on the market, inside the sling you will find two foldable Velcro dividers that allow you to customize the separation of the main compartment. I also appreciated a small but thoughtful touch of adding a tiny pocket in each of the dividers, great for storing lens covers, a battery, a memory card, etc.

A simple but very appreciated feature is the addition of a high-visibility liner (black X-Pac units have a bright orange liner, white X-Pac features a blue liner, and the standard Nylon version has a gray liner).

Instinct Pro Camera Sling Bag

The sling strap can be used as a camera strap thanks to two included proprietary Hypalon attachments.

Despite its modest size, the Pro Camera Sling has two mesh water bottle pockets on the outside. I tried using them with a 0.5L bottle and was not a fan. It shifts the bag’s center of gravity and made the bag slide constantly from the back to my side which was annoying. I found these pockets to be more adequate for storing small flat objects such as a power bank, phone, or an extra battery.

Four compression straps (two on the bottom and one on each side) felt overkill considering the rigid shape of the bag, which stays the same whether the sling is empty or filled to the gills. Since I was not a fan of carrying water bottles on the outside, the side compression straps (handy to secure the bottle) were a waste and I would personally remove them.

The two bottom straps are meant to store a tripod or a jacket but were not used much, mainly due to the shoulder strap being not very comfortable.


Space and Access

At 7L it’s a perfect size for a mirrorless camera with a few lenses and your essentials. You can also ditch the dividers and use this bag as a compact EDC since it easily stores an 11″ tablet and has enough space inside for a water bottle, wallet, phone, keys, sanitizer, facemask, etc. Simply put, you don’t have to be a photographer to enjoy the bag.

Instinct Pro Camera Sling Bag

Pockets and Organizing

This is where the bag shines. It has so many pockets that it almost felt overwhelming on such a tiny bag. 


  • One mesh pocket on each side of the bag
  • Quick-access front compartment with four pockets inside and small loops for pens, a knife, etc.


  • A tablet sleeve secured with a Velcro strap
  • One zippered pocket concealing two compartments with tons of tiny pockets for your memory cards

Instinct Camera Sling Bag


In my testing I found the strap lacking. The padding is minimal, the strap itself is quite narrow and it left me wanting a wider solution.

Instinct Camera Sling Bag

Also, with the bag getting full of gear I was annoyed that it swayed from the back to the side during active movement. I would much prefer it if there was a removable stabilizer strap. What helps to mitigate the sway is attaching the strap to one of the “wings” that are used for the hip pack carry.

Instinct Pro Camera Sling

All in all, none of the multiple carry modes felt totally comfortable; each came with some trade-off. 

Instinct Camera Sling Bag


Dimension Polyant is quickly taking over the market and is becoming a go-to fabric for lightweight, durable, and extremely weather-resistant products. The unmistakable X pattern has become synonymous with durability and quality.

In combination with the industry-leading YKK AquaGuard zippers, the entire package allows you to not worry about the elements damaging your precious content.

Instinct Pro Camera Sling

Alternatives to Consider

  • The Moment Rugged Camera Sling launched in 2020 has become an excellent option thanks to magnetic closure, excellent materials, and two sizes (6L and 10L) that don’t break the bank. The standout feature is a more robust harness with a wide shoulder strap and handy stabilizer strap.
  • Peak Design Everyday Sling (6L and 10L) – the heavyweight champion in the sling game. The default option for many thanks to its signature aesthetics, attention to detail, and outstanding usability.
  • Compagnon Element Sling 11 – the German-based brand offers similar materials but with outstanding expandability of the rolltop and the joy of a Fidlock V-Buckle for the main closure. 
  • Wotancraft “PILOT” TRAVEL CAMERA BAG 7L (10L is also available) – if you need something classy with a timeless design and heritage materials, the signature wax canvas of this Korean brand is spectacular. The best part is that the PILOT does not look like a dedicated camera sling and can easily be used for EDC.
  • Black Ember WPRT DSLR PACK – if you are looking for an even more structured and technical solution,  this mod does not break the bank and can be used standalone and also in combination with other Black Ember products.

Instinct Pro Camera Sling

The Good

- Good materials and build

- Custom metal hardware

- Tons of organization

- Clean stealthy looks

Not So Good

- The strap is finicky to adjust

- No stabilizer strap

- The top grab handle feels cheap, the fabric does not inspire confidence

- Overpriced for what it offers

- Limited warranty raises concerns for long-term use


Unfortunately, the Pro Camera Sling left me underwhelmed. In isolation, it is a decent product made with (mostly) high-quality materials. It is small details that annoy over time, coupled with a price tag that from my experience does not match the value of this sling. Comparing the Pro Camera Sling to other offerings on the market, it is hard to recommend it over cheaper and more usable offerings from Peak Design, Moment, and Wotancraft that also offer much better warranty terms.

Instinct Pro Camera Sling

This article was written by new contributor, and self-proclaimed bag whisperer, Alexander Dotsenko. You can check out his work here and here.

The Breakdown

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Geek (Performance)

Space & Access

Style (Design)

Look & Feel
Build, Materials & Hardware

Stoke (Experience)

Warranty & Support
Brand experience
X Factor

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