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Review: HoldFast Gear’s Mini Ruck Camera Strap

by Julius Motal on 05/16/2013

The Mini Ruck and a Yashica. A perfect match.

The Mini Ruck and a Yashica. A perfect match.

With its older brother, the RuckStrap, geared towards all cameras, the Mini Ruck walks onto the stage for a smaller audience. That is to say, it was designed with the Leica-toting, Micro 4/3rds-loving, NEX-shooting, and rangefinder-focusing crowds. Where the RuckStrap has pockets, the Mini Ruck has a clip-on wallet, and it’s even got a hoop for your glasses. I’ve had the Mini Ruck affixed to my Yashica Electro 35 GSN for a number of weeks now, and I am thoroughly taken with its design and functionality.

Pros and Cons

Pros

-Positively gorgeous design
-Comfortable, even during prolonged periods of use
-The wallet provides ample storage

Cons

-My girlfriend isn’t taken with its look, so I can’t wear it around her.

Gear Used

I used the Mini Ruck with my Yashica Electro 35 GSN.

Specs

The Mini Ruck, as per the product page, is made from duck canvas, Bridle leather and micro-fiber suede lining.

Ergonomics

Julius Motal the phoblographer mini ruck review product image 2

Let’s begin at the point of connection. The Mini Ruck connects to both sides of your camera via two clips that can be opened and closed very easily.

Julius Motal the phoblographer mini ruck review product image 3

Moving farther up, the Mini Ruck has three possible  length options that can be set by adjusting the gold knob, seen at the top right of the image above. The strap shipped with it set at the shortest length. I am a large man, and this setting did the trick quite nicely. Each side has small leather hoop as an extra security measure should the knob pop out (it never did).

Julius Motal the phoblographer mini ruck review product image 4

Here is where two becomes one. The Mini Ruck comes with a wallet that can be kept apart from or locked into it. It’s a simple zippered pouch with two metal clasps on each side. To the top left of the wallet is the hoop for you glasses: sun, prescription, hipster, and otherwise. To the right of the wallet is the section of the strap that houses the wallet, seen below.

Julius Motal the phoblographer mini ruck review product image 5

When worn, the wallet sits on your left side, which is a smart design choice given the world’s right-handed majority. The wallet has a fine amount of space for cash and SD cards. I imagine a roll of film or two would fit snugly as well. The wallet provides quick access to any relevant items you’d put in there. I use a conventional billfold, so the HoldFast wallet was not affixed to the strap for the bulk of the review period. Should I acquire a Micro 4/3rds, Sony NEX, or similarly-sized camera, the wallet would be an excellent place to store lens and body caps and memory cards.

The Mini Ruck and a Yashica. A perfect match.

I return to the lead image for a quick bit about the most important part: the neck strap. Forged by hand in the fine state of Oklahoma, the Mini Ruck’s neck strap is made of micro-fiber suede lining. In two words, the neck strap is very comfortable. I wore the Mini Ruck as I walked the streets of New York City, and there was never a moment when I felt uncomfortable. Soft to the touch, the micro-fiber suede lining does wonders for your neck.

Build Quality

If it wasn’t already apparent from the previous section, the Mini Ruck is impeccably built with attention given to both aesthetic and function. The leather and canvas are incredibly durable, and the micro-fiber suede lining is oh so very comfortable. It will hold your camera, keep your neck strain-free, and make you look like the most stylish photographer in your creative network.

Conclusion

With a mind for design, HoldFast Gear’s founder, Matthew Staggart, has created something very nice. The Mini-Ruck can hold its own against its beefier older brother, and it enters at the same price point: $145. That is a premium to pay for something most would consider negligible, but consider what you’re getting: a hand-crafted, durable, and stylish camera strap that will last for a considerably long time. Yes, there are cheaper options, but I assure you that none exist as perfectly between style and function as the Mini-Ruck does.

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