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Nomatic's McKinnon Sling 8L Swings Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

16 March 2023

There's nothing quite like an atmospheric river for testing a waterproof camera bag. As it happened, Nomatic sent us its $159.99 McKinnon Sling 8L just in time.

McKinnon Sling 8L. A small rigid weather-resistant bag you can wear three ways.

The Sling was designed to be both rugged and streamlined by Toranto photographer Peter McKinnon, who has designed his own complete line of bags with Nomatic.


Highlights of the McKinnon Sling 8L include:

  • Durable, water-resistant materials
  • Fits a mirrorless or small dSLR with an extra lens
  • Rigid wireframe construction for one-handed access
  • A variety of interior pockets
  • MOLLE system on front and bottom for expansion
  • Stabilizer strap included
  • Roller luggage pass-thru strap
  • Fits inside the McKinnon Camera Pack 35L

It may not count as a highlight, but we were impressed that the bag shipped in a zippered plastic bag which we will have to find some suitable use for. It is just too nice to discard.


Physical facts about the Sling include:

Dimensions 13" wide, 8" tall, 5.6" deep
Weight 1.6 lbs.
Materials 80 pct. nylon
20 pct. polyethelyne

We'll also point out that the price qualifies this bag for free shipping fro Nomatic.


There is no perfect bag (or, well, anything else), we've found (and regularly warn). But some bags sport features that make you fall in love. The McKinnon has more than a few of those.


While it's just too long to function as a fanny pack, you can carry this sling as a shoulder bag, strapped across your chest with it held either against your back or at your side.

Because of the position of the strap's attachment points, we preferred it across our chest and held against our back. As a shoulder bag, the bottom of the bag dug into our side.

It can comfortably hold a mirrorless or small dSLR with an extra lens but it includes two dividers for three compartments in the main section.

Details. Mouse over or tap for captions.

Its rigid wireframe construction, which is a first for us, opens to a full view of the contents -- and holds that view open. So no unzipping the wrong compartment. You see everything in the bag at once.

A clever quick-latching system separate from the two zippers lets you access all that gear with just one hand. Those two features work really well together, protecting your gear in inclement weather with the bag zippered while getting in and out of it easily with the clasp when working in more favorable conditions.

Its small size can handle more than just what fits inside with its MOLLE * (mollie) attachment system to strap accessories to the front and bottom of the bag.

The MOLLE system provides tight fabric loops on the bottom and front of the Sling through which you can thread other straps (not included) to wrap gear like tripods or a jacket to the case. The system also supports small bags that thread into the loops to hold other accessories like a flashlight.

And we particularly appreciated the luggage strap so you can wheel the Sling around securely on your roller.


The interior has two large compartments. The inside compartment holds a camera and lens next to the outside compartment's pockets for memory cards, batteries and filters.

Camera Compartment. Large enough for an APS-C dSLR or mirrorless camera plus an extra lens.

The pockets are, themselves, designed precisely for memory cards, batteries and filters, although you can of course use them for whatever fits. But they are not general purpose, as with so many bags of this size. They really are cut and positioned for the camera accessories.

Which means as a man (or any other) purse, the Sling isn't going to cut it. There's no place for a phone or glasses. There isn't even a key ring, imagine that. This really is a camera case, not a purse.

Accessory Compartment. Pockets for camera accessories not sunglasses.

The case actually splits open on a bias, providing a complete and clear view of the interior. That's aided in no small part by the rigid construction. We're used to fabric bags that have no defined shape but often fold in on themselves. A bag that elbows you for its space is a little disconcerting at first but it won't close in on itself.

Clasp & Zippers

The quick clasp system is ingenious. There is a tab attached to an elastic cord that runs inside the outer flap. You pull that tab over a hook on the top of the bag to close the flap. That doesn't quite seal the opening against rain but it does close it so nothing loose will fall out. Unhook to open.

Otherwise you use the two zippers to seal the opening. Either running both to the middle or one all the way across.

Wearing It

At 13 inches long, it would tske a well-developed belly to accommodate a snug side fit for the Sling. We found it more comfortable to wear slung across our flat back, swinging it in front of us for access.

To do that, we extended the shoulder strap all the way. If you're over six feet that might not work for you but it was fine for us. The shoulder strap is not easily replaceable.

Included in the bag is a stabilizer strap that can be attached to two loops on the shoulder strap to provide another loop around your body, complementing the should strap in either the shoulder or sling position.


So how did it fare in actual use?

We think of it as a day bag because it really doesn't carry much. But that's perfect for our daily constitutional, camera in hand. Either an APS-C dSLR or mirrorless camera fit nicely with room for another lens.

Weather Resistant. And by that we mean it survived an atmospheric river.

We wore it with the strap across our chest and the bag flat against our back. When we wanted to get inside the Sling, we only had to swing the bag in front of us. No problem.

You can't put a lot into the bag to begin with so even if the rigid constructions makes it a bit heavier than shapeless bags, it's not a burden. We could tell it was there but we can't say it felt heavy. We walked for hours wearing it without any discomfort, in fact.

The real challenge of our test was actually wandering around in the atmospheric river on Tuesday. Yeah, we did that.

It was one of those days with light to moderate rain but strong gusts up to 50 mph. Not pleasant walking weather and certainly not congenial to electronics.

But the Sling wasn't bothered. It took a beating from the wind and raindrops assaulted its exposed surfaces but couldn't saturate them. In fact, we were able to dry the bag with just a wipe of a cloth towel.

And inside our gear stayed dry the whole time.

Nomatic describes the Sling as weather resistant instead of waterproof. We suspect that's a warning to scuba divers. Don't take this under water. But the rubberized exterior provided just the kind of protection you need for inclement weather, even if the wind is blowing up a storm.

And that beats a cloth bag any day.


With the warning that this is a camera bag not a purse, we can highly recommend this compact sling for fair or foul weather.

We particularly liked the camera-centric design of the accessory compartment and the cozy but expansive camera compartment, both of which you can get to from one opening. We don't have a camera that doesn't fit the available space, either.

It was no burden at all to carry around and when we needed it, it was just a slip of the shoulder strap away, holding our gear safely in the rain when zippered or securely with just a tug on the quick clasp pull tab.

We're giving the McKinnon Sling 8L all four corners, in short. Bravo.

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