BlackRapid RS-5 Cargo Camera Strap

Another week, another review!  This time we're looking at the BlackRapid RS-5 Cargo camera strap!

Sometimes we're afforded opportunities that don't require us to dress to the nines.  On those days we can put function over fashion and look at something that just works.  Let's take a look at a classic camera strap, the BlackRapid RS-5, and see how it holds up!

 
 

Single Sentence Summary

This would be my definition of the perfect strap, if it weren't for the fact it only carries one camera, and nylon doesn't look great when shooting a wedding.

Why I bought it

Travel.  I love to travel, but I hate things in my pockets.  I wanted something that freed me up to use my camera and not need a backpack.  This not only holds small items, it's built out of some seriously stitched tough materials.

What I Like

Pockets!  I love the memory card pockets.  There is enough space to fit six CF cards if you stack on either side of the yellow divider.  Plus the design has it open so the memory cards drop down perfectly in front of you for easy access.  Each of the memory cards is protected by the nylon covered dedicated pockets, so water is less of a threat.  This serves me quite well in military contexts where I don't always have the option to stop shooting just because it rains, not to mention the spray coming up from the side of our Canadian Forces assault boats.

Magnets.  Such a simple design that allows you to access the phone holder and memory cards without the loud sound of velcro.  They're strong enough that I've never yet had them come apart when I don't want them to, and I move pretty aggressively and fast at points.

The material folds nicely!  It seems like a non-point, but my only other strap is the Holdfast Moneymaker, which is leather, and is a bit stiffer, not allowing bending as easily.  The folding is super convenient as space in my bags and cases is often limited, so I love knowing I can easily wrap it around a lens and throw it into pretty much anything I have.

The price isn't even bad in my opinion.  Given the fact that the material is tough and you can feel that it's going to last you for years, it's really an investment.  The second zipper pocket easily fits all of the cards/ID that I would need while traveling, plus I generally load a microfibre cloth into it, some local currency as well as good old American money which is apparently a universal currency in every country I've traveled to.

What I Don't

I wish they'd design these to function as a part of a two camera system.  Yes, they offer alternatives, but none that feature the memory card and zipper space options that this does.  I often shoot with two cameras, and I would love something that accommodated that while offering the pockets that the RS-5 Cargo does.

Speaking of the zipper, it's a little short.  In order to fit a CF card into the last slot you really need to heave on it a bit.  It's easy to work around, but it's more so just the annoyance of paying for a high-end strap and finding such a basic design flaw that should never have happened.

I don't really like the aesthetics of the strap.  I love the leather look of my other strap (although it mostly sucks in every other way), but I don't like the way any of the BR straps look while I'm in a suit at a wedding.  It's not something they're likely to move towards, but I just have never felt like it's professionally stylish enough for weddings.

The cell phone holder won't fit any modern smartphones, let alone my Samsung Galaxy.  If it doesn't fit, then the pocket is pretty useless to me.  In turn I've opted to load it with an EN-EL18, or two EN-EL15 batteries.  I like how I can use it for something functional, but I hate how it doesn't function as intended or at least offer some form of stretchy materials to accommodate larger phones/objects.

I hate how I had to pay for the B.R.A.D. under-arm strap.  It's $40 for a tiny strap of nylon and some plastic clips, just include it in the price!  It adds so much in my opinion because it stops it from shifting backwards onto my back like all the BR straps the military gives me.  It just feels like without the B.R.A.D. the unit is incomplete, I don't know why they would package something that is clearly lacking that; Sure, I get that it's just another way to grab a few more bucks from their users, but to me that's a bit of a prick move.

Bottom Line

I'm pretty sure so long as the stitching holds I'll have this strap forever.  I love it, even though I had to pay for the B.R.A.D. 

Score

8/10

As always, I'm not sponsored.  Buy it, don't buy it, I don't particularly care.  I just hope that this helps in someway with your decision-making.

-Wes.