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Review: The HoldFast Gear RuckStrap Camera Strap

by Felix Esser on 08/31/2012

The HoldFast Gear RuckStrap is a one-of-a-kind camera strap. Not only is it incredibly gorgeous looking, it’s also handmade by a single bloke amidst the beautiful landscapes of Oklahoma. What really makes it stand out in the sheer endless jungle of camera straps, though, is its unique concept. Made from a sturdy combination of canvas, leather, and metal, the RuckStrap is the only strap of its kind to feature built-in storage compartments. Yes, that’s right. The HoldFast Gear RuckStrap comes with a number of pouches that let you stow away small accessories or everyday items that you need to take along on a day’s shoot. Having used the RuckStrap for a couple weeks now, I can’t imagine ever turning back to a regular camera strap. Why that is? Well, read on to learn more about the RuckStrap and how I fell in love with it.

The Idea

The RuckStrap in blue with an Olympus E-P1 attached looks classy. Very classy.

According to Matt Swaggart, the founder of HoldFast Gear and man behind the RuckStrap, it was conceived out of a dislike for carrying his belongings in his pant pockets. In order to be able to go out shooting with nothing on his body but his camera, he thought up the RuckStrap, the only camera strap to feature pouches to stow away small stuff that you need when you’re out on a photowalk. With the RuckStrap, you don’t need to carry anything except for your camera and what fits in the RuckStrap’s pockets. No need to fill your pant pockets or to carry an extra bag that adds weight — which is highly undesireable when you’re out walking and taking pictures for several hours.

Execution

Besides that obvious weight-reducing factor, the RuckStrap is also very comfortable to carry over longer periods thanks to it being very wide and padded with soft leather where it rests on your shoulders. This not only makes it comfortable to carry, but also prevents it from slipping. Quite effectively so, I must say.

The soft leather padding makes the RuckStrap very comfortable to carry.

On the outward facing side, the RuckStrap has one pocket on each end, one to your front and one to your rear — provided you carry it over your shoulder and not around your neck, in which case both pockets are forward-facing, obviously. The pockets are covered by leather lids that are a bit tricky to open and close — but that only means they won’t open accidentally. (However, Matt reassures me that they do get a little easier to open the more you use them.) They offer enough space for a lens cap, credit cards, keys or some dollar bills. Additionally, you can stick your (sun)glasses in them with one of the earpieces.

The RuckStrap features pockets on the outside and elastic bands on the inside to stow away your belongings.

On the inward facing side, the side of the strap that faces toward your body, the RuckStrap has an elastic band at exactly the opposite side of each pocket. This band can be used to fixate other stuff such as spare batteries or whatever you can think of that won’t easily slip or be uncomfortable when getting in touch with your chest or back. Due to the slightly slippery surface of the band, though, I would only use these to keep stuff that is large enough to be held firmly by the band. I wouldn’t want to lose my credit card because it slipped out from under the elastic band …

The metal clips that close the pockets are very firm and require a little force to be opened or closed.

All in all, the RuckStrap has a very sturdy and solidly crafted feel to it. The canvas, the leather, the metal — all that doesn’t only make it look good, but also feel good. It rests comfortably on your shoulder and has pleasant haptics. That, and the fact that you can stow away small items and don’t need to carry anything else with you make it not only unique, but also a highly desirable and addictive accessory.

The RuckStrap can be adjusted in length — although only for a few inches.

Verdict

I think I already established that I really like the RuckStrap. This is, of course, in part due to its awesome looks. Especially in that blue color which my review unit came in, the RuckStrap looks just stunning with its brown leather parts and brass-colored metal applications. But it’s more than just a fashion statement. The RuckStrap offers real value for its money. The extra pouches make it a unique product and are really useful when you’re out on a photowalk. Plus, it is very comfortable to carry and positions the camera exactly the right way just above your hips (provided you carry it as pictured below.)

Me carrying the RuckStrap. It’s much better than a regular camera strap.

Yes, for almost $ 150 it’s not quite cheap. But as I said, unlike many other camera straps that are mainly good-looking, this one offers real value for money. And by buying one, you’ll have the good feeling of supporting a small, local business. So the RuckStrap also adds to your karma. Which other camera strap can this be said about?

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