I switched to a photography tool belt while shooting weddings seven months pregnant. That baby is now three, and I still haven’t returned to wearing a backpack during all-day shoots. The decision to park my backpack and wear only the essentials on my waist has literally saved my back. When I saw the new Lowepro Trekker Lite SLX 120, I was intrigued. It’s from the same brand that makes my tool belt but allows gear to be worn waist or sling style.
I strapped on the Lowepro Trekker Lite SLX 120 for most of a 12-hour wedding shoot. It’s not perfect and needs a few tweaks to be truly great. However, it kept a lens, flash, special effects tools, extra batteries, and SD cards within reach without the ache of wearing even the most comfortable backpack.
Table of Contents
The Big Picture
The Lowepro Trekker Lite SLX 120 is a roomy waist bag that keeps essentials within easy reach. While there are a few waist bags on the market, this one is on the more spacious side, with the ability to carry up to three small to mid-sized lenses. It was comfortable enough to wear for most of a 12-hour wedding, and that’s really saying something. There are plenty of pockets, and it can still fit a small tablet or latch on a tripod.
But, it lacks the finishing touches that take a bag from good to great. After using this bag, I’m a bit indifferent about it; I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it either. I still prefer my Lowepro toolbelt, which, sadly, isn’t in production anymore. The sling-style carry would need an additional shoulder pad to be comfortable. The SD card pockets rely on a snug fit rather than a lid to keep things from falling out. There’s no rain cover, and while the fabric is lightweight and recycled, I’ve used bags made of thicker, more luxurious material.
I’m giving the Lowepro Trekker Lite SLX 120 four out of five stars. Want one? Check it out on Amazon.
- A good smix between being too big and being able to fit enough essentials
- Lots of pockets
- Tripod sleeve and tripod latch straps
- Made from recycled materials
- Decently padded
- Fast, easy access to well-organized gear
- The sling style can be uncomfortable.
- SD pockets need a lid
- No rain cover
Rather than use the Trekker Lite SLX 120 as my main bag, I used it to carry the must-haves, so I could park my backpack and be safe when I filled an SD card or drained a battery. I filled the bag with the following gear, all my own:
- Fujifilm 90mm f2 or Fujifilm 18mm f1.4, switching between the two
- Flashpoint Zoom Li-Ion III Flash
- Extra batteries for the X-T4 and AAs for my flash triggers
- Lensbaby Omni wands
- MagMod diffuser, gels, and MagBeam
- SD cards in a case
- A pocket mirror for special effects
While the Trekker Lite SLX 120 isn’t the only camera waist pack, these bags aren’t as plentiful as backpacks and messengers. What’s unique about his bag is that it’s on the larger end for the size category, can be worn two ways, and still manages to fit a tablet and tripod.
While waist bags are naturally on the small side, the Lowepro Trekker Lite SLX is roomy for the category. I could have fit the X-T4 and 2-3 prime lenses inside rather than flashes and extras. Inside, it’s roughly 11 inches wide, 8 inches tall, and 4 inches deep. The bag uses a stitched-in camera cube, and that padding takes up between half an inch and an inch on those interior dimensions. It’s a bit too big to wear on one hip, fitting better fanny-pack style or sliding the bulk of the pack around to your back.
The camera padding comes set up slotted for three lenses. Those two removable orange dividers fold at the top to make a shelf, and there’s a third divider included that can also be positioned horizontally. The camera cube has two memory card pockets: one is sized for SD and the other for XQD. However, these pockets don’t have a top on them and, while they do fit snugly, I was too paranoid about the possibility of losing a card full of images that I didn’t use them. (I also would need more than one anyway.) The front exterior of the camera cube has two mesh pockets that were a good fit for flash gels. The reverse side of the camera cube houses a tablet, while the front interior of the bag has a spacious zippered pocket with plenty of room for batteries or filters within a protective case.
On the exterior, there’s another good-sized zippered pouch at the front. Inside, there’s a key leash which I used to secure my SD card case. The bottom of the bag has two straps that can be used for a tripod or rolled-up jacket. The bag also includes a soft drawstring pouch meant for placing a water bottle here at the bottom too. You need to loosen the straps every time you want to get the water bottle out though, so it’s not an ideal setup.
For carrying, there’s a grab handle at the top and two sides. A waist belt threads behind some nice thick padding at the back of the bag. Or, the strap can be re-threaded diagonally through this back piece to wear the bag as a one-shoulder sling.
Wearing this bag around my waist for most of the day was reasonably comfortable. It’s a fairly good-sized waist bag, so it has some weight to it, which can pull on the waist a bit. Though I find my tool belt more comfortable because it distributes weight to several places, the Lowepro Trekker Lite SLX 120 was comfortable enough that I could wear it for a long wedding shoot.
However, I didn’t find it to be as comfortable. The main zipper is almost sideways from this position, so it’s awkward to retrieve some items. It would also need a shoulder strap for it to be comfortable for long stretches, not the nylon webbing that rests on the top of the shoulder.
The Trekker waist bag uses Lowepro’s new recycled fabric. This fabric is a bit thin and doesn’t have the luxurious feel of thicker materials. It’s not one of Lowepro’s nicest fabrics. But I don’t mind the fabric for a bag under $90, considering it’s more green than other options.
The padding on the waist strap and back of the bag is average. It’s comfortable enough for the weight that can fit in this bag. But, it’s not as well padded as the deluxe technical belt I usually use.
The waist bag zippers aren’t weather-sealed, and the bag didn’t come with a rain cover. This is disappointing, as I happily shoot in the rain on wedding days.
Ease of Use
What I like most about the Lowepro Trekker Lite SLX 120 is its organization. While the waist bag wasn’t quite as comfortable as my Lowepro tool belt, it was easier to find everything in one big pouch with several smaller pockets rather than a belt with multiple lens pouches. The waist bag made it fast and easy to swap lenses or fish out a new battery quickly.
Wearing the bag as a sling doesn’t quite have the same quick access. You have to sling the bag around the front first, then carefully sift through the bag, as the opening will be at an angle when worn this way.
Who Should Buy It?
If you need a roomy waist bag that’s not going to break the budget, the Lowepro Trekker Lite SLX 120 is a good option. It has lots of room, offers fast and easy access, and is comfortable enough for long stretches.
While the Lowepro Trekker Lite SLX 120 is a good bag, it lacks the thoughtful extras and high-end materials of a great bag. If you’re looking for a sling bag, there are more comfortable options. It’s also not a bag designed for adventuring in the rain, and most photographers are going to want to add a separate SD card case.
Lowepro lists the following tech specs for the Trekker Lite SLX 120:
- Weight: 1.12 lbs
- Total Volume: 6.5 L
- Main Color: Gray
- Internal Dimensions: 11.02 x 4.33 x 8.66 in
- External Dimensions: 11.81 x 5.51 x 9.45 in
- Camera Compartment Dimensions: 10.63 x 3.54 x 5.91 in
- Tablet Compartment Dimensions: 10.63 x 0.59 x 7.48 in
- Primary Device: Camera
- Device Volume: 4 L
- Exterior Material: 300D polyester ripstop Recycled, 600D polyester solution dyed
- Interior Material: 200D polyester (recycled)
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