See You At The Airsoft Meetup 2019!

The big gathering of the Airsoft Industry & Media at the IWA Outdoor Classics in Germany will happen again.

Get your free tickets.

User login

Follow us at
       


Hazard 4 EVAC Photo Recon Sling Pack

Hazard 4 EVAC Photo Recon Sling Pack Review

We have always been on the search for a photo bag that can also match our tactical outfits and withstand the rigors of the outdoors. Surely, there are many photo bags already out there that can take care of the photo equipment of the outdoor loving photographer but in airsoft or combat photography, we need something that can handle the rough and tumble job, whether covering a firefight in the woods, up the hills, or some built-up area.

Hazard 4 is  a known brand for durable bags and cases with very distinct designs that are not only just functional, but are cool to look at. I heard about the Hazard 4 EVAC Photo Recon Sling Pack when I watched the video review made by a well-known airsoft photographer, Ted Colegrove. It was something for me to check out and luckily, Military1st.co.uk are dealers of Hazard 4 products and with their help, I was able to purchase one last June.

Yes, I already had this bag since June 2013 but I have to hold off my review of this product rather than write something prematurely and regret for having written this and that. I had to actually put the bag through the rigors of what I love to do apart from shooting airsoft guns --- going out to shoot photos of just anything that moves. I am not a landscape photographer and I love shooting photos of people, especially people in action, which includes sports photography (and airsoft if you want me to say it). This means that I have to move fast with a photo bag that won't bog me down or be an inconvenient baggage strapped to me.

LET'S GO THROUGH THE FEATURES

If there's one thing that will impress you immediately about the Hazard 4 EVAC Photo Recon Sling Pack, is that it is heavily padded. More pads means more protection for  your cameras and other AV equipment and that is a very good thing. The Photo Recon Sling Pack is made of Invista Cordura 1000D and it is PU x2 water repellent coated for superior water resistance. These two great features --- a sturdy material, and water resistance which protects the worst enemy of electronic gadgets: water.

Also, Hazard 4 is generous in MOLLE loops as they are all over the bag which means you can attach more external pouches and be able to carry more items than your bag and body can bear. At one side there's a hidden pocket which you can put anything that can fit in it, including that Gorilla Pod which is so useful to give you a stable platform on uneven surfaces or for that unusual photo angle.

At the top of bag is a hand strap made of Cordura and rubber which also acts to secure the top pouch (there's also a simpler hand strap at the bottom so you can drag the bag either way). Releasing the buckle of the hand strap and opening the top pouch will reveal three mesh pockets, two pen holders and two more pockets which are sealed by a Velcro strap. You can store your memory cards, a mobile phone, business cards, pens, a writing pad, and small batteries in this pouch.

There are two pouches at the front. The first pouch which is located near the top is smaller and can accommodate small bits and pieces that you need. It's not fully padded and thus non-sensitive items can be placed in this pouch. Outside is rectangular Velcro base for you to put a Velcro Patch or a Velcro Name Tag for proper identification.

The second pouch is much bigger and serves also as a weapons compartment which has 4 more mesh pockets, 2 more pen holders, and a main pocket which is Velcro-secured. You will notice two Velcro bases and I saw a video before that you can get a pistol bag with Velcro straps from Hazard 4 to secure your pistol in this compartment. But if you don't intend to bring a weapon, then you can put some bigger items, such as chargers, plus more memory card, batteries. In this case. I put my Video Mic in this compartment.

The back is very much padded to make it more comfortable for your back. The Sling is also thick, padded and has more MOLLE loops which in I would suggest in this case will be for lightsticks, flashlights, a phone pouch and a carabiner. There is a quick release hook so you can immediately put down the bag and the sling is adjustable to your chest size.

Going inside the main compartment, there are two ways you can open it: from the top so you can reach down to grab anything you want or open the zipper on the  side revealing an even bigger opening for you to put in a much larger equipment, in this case a DSLR with a zoom lens. The main compartment can be one single compartment where you can put a single DSLR with a long lens such as 400mm or 500mm, or you can divide the compartment with the padded dividers of up to 5 compartments as the bag comes with 4 padded dividers. In my case, I carry with me two DSLRs as I need a back up always and I divide the main compartment into two: the bottom compartment for a DSLR with a massive Canon 28-300mm L-Type Zoom Lens, and the top compartment a DSLR with at least a 24-70mm or 24-105mm lens. The extra space that can still be had in the top compartment I can still make it for a small prime lens, such as the 50mm. Also at the flap of the bottom part of the main compartment, there are three more mesh pockets to store even more things.

The DSLRs with their lenses and battery grips are a tight fit in the bag, but nevertheless they are fit and well protected by the bag.

 

AFTER 5 MONTHS OF USE

It's my go to bag nowadays when I need to shoot an event, especially an airsoft event. I have laid down in concrete under the hot summer sun to shoot at a long angle and I use it as my back or front protection even with the equipment inside it thanks to all the paddings. I have bumped it against rocks and walls, depending if I am in a CQB site or a woodland skirmish site.

With the MOLLE loops I actually attached two more MOLLE pouches on the lower part. One pouch is for my water bottle whilst the other one is for extra bits and pieces that I need in case I already fill-up the main bag itself. They can be further secured with the additional straps on the sides.

My only problem with the sling pack is that since it has one shoulder strap, carrying heavy loads, such as two DSLRs with big, heavy lenses and battery grips, plus the accompanying accessories you need would give you a sore shoulder and back. This means that this is best used with a single DSLR with battery grip and zoom lens whist you carry other lenses rather than another DSLR. But this does not solve the issue of having a backup camera. For professional photographers, especially for combat photographers, this will be a problem. The best really is to plan the actual weight of items you can carry with the sling pack that you're comfortable with even if the sling pack can carry even more than the ideal load for your body build.

As for its build quality, you would swear about its durability. So far, it hasn’t shown signs of abuse and still looks like brand new even if I have already brought it to many places.

I would love this pack to allow me to carry a small laptop, up to 14 inches since in reporting in the field, you will need to process and upload photos quickly. The lack of a compartment for such ultrabooks or laptops will mean I have to RTB (Return to Base or Return to Hotel) where my laptop will be waiting for me.

WOULD I RECOMMEND IT?

Indeed I would recommend it to the demanding photographer who is in search of a durable bag that can carry his photo (and even video) equipment with him on the road. The generous paddings are more than what I expected and way better than the paddings that other camera bag makers offer. As for pricing, it is a bit on the expensive side but if you're protecting equipment many thousands of dollars worth, I would rather spend on it than skimp on protection. Us airsofters put a premium on protection for our bodies and might as well do it also with expensive and sensitive equipment.

Is it better than the two shoulder-strapped camera bag? Not really, but it's always cool to have a sling bag that can be quickly removed when needed as compared to the two-shoulder strap ones. But the big advantage of the two shoulder-strap is that  they can spread the weight better than a sling pack, putting less stress on your shoulders and back, and allowing you to carry even greater loads. If Hazard 4 will release a camera bag that has two shoulder straps and tailored to a photographer like me who needs to bring two DSLRs with big lenses to an event shoot, and compartment for a laptop, I would be snapping that up. I just hope they can design that with a quick camera retrieval feature.

Right now, you can order the bag from Military1st.co.uk for £119.95 and it is available in Black and Coyote Brown. Many thanks to them for this sling pack.





LATEST NEWS

LATEST REVIEWS