This waterproof rucksack has space for 2x DSLRs, 4x mid-size lenses, a zoom lens, a tripod and an iPad, but hiking with it is a bit of a stretch
All photographers are travellers, but for some reason there’s a dearth of decent bags for D-SLR owners beyond the predictable – and, frankly, too common – Lowepro bags that scream too loudly about the kind of expensive kit you’re carrying. The Booq Python Slimpack pairs functionality with some valuable disguise.
Designed for the digital age photographer with space for two DSLRs (though that’s a bit of a push) and up to four mid-size lenses (easily), as well as one large zoom lens, a tripod (across the outside), SD cards, accessories and a 10-inch tablet or iPad, the Python Slimpack is also waterproof and has a rubberised base.
The Booq Python Slimpack, which weighs 1.9kg, is one of the few camera bags to have a tripod storage feature. It’s a tiny bit misleading in that it involves a pullout tab at the bottom that requires a small tug to get it out of its pocket. It’s actually quite hard to shove it back in afterwards, but while holding a tripod it’s perfect. There’s a simple strap at the top of the back to secure the tripod.
The sides of the Booq Python Slimpack each sport a zip-open area, though to call them pockets would be to overstate. One contains three elastic pockets clearly designed for SD cards, as well as two more waterproof pockets for remotes etc. On the other side are two pen holders, an area for a smartphone, and a slightly bigger pocket. There’s a keyring clip that snaps off, and inside the lid of each area is a zipped netting area, one of which hold a rain cover for the Booq Python Slimpack. That’s good design; rain-covers are rarely used, but often stored at the bottom of bags, which makes a bag bulkier. Besides, this bag is easily rain-shower proof without the cover.
The top and back
Across the top of the Booq Python Slimpack is an easily reachable zipped pocket that gives easy access to a camera. However, the rest of bag, including that section, is accessed by unzipping that back panel behind the rucksack straps. Its unzips from corner to corner at the bottom to reveal six customisable, completely removable and padded Velcro dividers for lenses, and – inside the lid itself – a padded pocket to fit an iPad. However, it’s an extremely tight fit for iPad 4; don’t count on storing any iPad that’s already wearing even a slim cover. This is such a compact design that corners have had to be cut … a design ethos that has a nasty effect elsewhere, too.
The easy access pocket on the top to quickly fish out your DSLR camera is excellent, as is the extremely compact and well thought out (and even waterproof) design. However, pack the Booq Python Slimpack full of gear and strap it on your shoulders and it suddenly doesn’t seem the design wonder it appears. There’s a handy chest strap to keeping the Booq Python Slimpack firmly in place while hiking, and has plenty of padding inside those straps, but the lower ends of those straps are just too wide and two rigid. They each contain a waterproof pocket for a phone and rings for clipping a GPS handheld or a compass. The end result of all that is that the Booq Python Slimpack just isn’t comfortable to wear, with those straps digging into ribs. It’s a bag we wanted to take off, not put on.
Just how the Booq Python Slimpack’s designers have gotten it so small and yet so utterly comprehensive in terms of storing photography (and other) gear is remarkable. We especially like the top camera pocket and the tripod housing. However, it’s just not comfortable to wear, rendering it as unsuitable for hiking and holidays as any of those run-of-the-mill camera bags.