BlackRapid Backpack Breathe – Review

I’ve been using BlackRapid camera straps for almost eight years now, so that will give you some idea of how much of a fan I am. After a brief foray into some upgraded neck straps when I first got back into photography, I decided to give shoulder straps a try.

My go-to strap up until now was the RS Sport and prior to that the RS4 (which has been replaced with the Classic Retro RS4). The reason I switched to the Sport from the RS4 was the underarm strap or BRAD as Black Rapid refer to it. I didn’t realise at the time that you can actually buy the BRAD separately and attach it to the RS4 or I’d still be using that strap.

So why the Backpack Breathe?

Up until recently, I mainly used the Sport shoulder strap when I was out shooting wildlife and for this, I don’t wear a backpack, just a shoulder pack. I recently upgraded my day pack from the shoulder pack to a backpack. Specifically the Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20. I’ve previously stayed away from backpacks as I find I tend to leave the camera in them when I’m walking around and as a result, I miss a lot of photo opportunities. These days, I need something with a little more space for a day out with my camera.

I originally tried the Peak Design Capture clip as a way to keep my camera handy while out walking/hiking and you can read my review here. I didn’t get along with the clip initially and with an impending trip to Scotland where I knew there would be a lot of walking, I looked for an alternate solution.

Until I started looking around the internet for possible solutions, I didn’t even realise that BlackRapid made the backpack breathe strap. After checking the setup videos and reading a few reviews, I placed my order and waited impatiently for delivery.

As you can probably tell from the image above, there isn’t much to the strap. In the simplest terms, it’s a piece of webbed strap with a carabiner at each end. It has the usual camera attachment consisting of a FastenR to attach to the camera and a locking carabiner that slides along the strap. There is also an adjustable buckle to let you alter the length of the strap.

Setup of the strap is similarly straight forward. If you are right-handed, you simply attach the top carabiner to the left shoulder strap of your backpack, then attach the bottom carabiner around the bottom of the opposite backpack strap. You can then use the sliding buckle to adjust the length of the strap so your camera sits comfortably on your hip. If your left-handed, just reverse the process above. 

I’ve been using the backpack breathe strap for over a year now with my D500 and a selection of different lenses from my 35mm f1.8 to the Sigma 150-600mm and I have had no issues at all. The only slight criticism I could make if I really tried is that with smaller and lighter backpacks if you attach a large lens it can sometimes pull the bag to one side unless the straps are tightened up.

I am now waiting for the new Shimoda Active X series of backpacks to become available as I’ll be purchasing the 50L version. I can’t imagine there will be any issues as I’ve already used the strap on several packs, but I’ll update this review if there is.

Thanks for stopping by, have a good one.

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