Chrome Niko Sling Review
We first wrote about Chrome a few weeks ago. They’re definitely an urban vs. outdoor brand, but deliver some solid gear nonetheless. The company’s recently introduced 415 Work Boot provides a perfect example, with a cool retro look, waterproofing and athletic-shoe comfort. Another good example – this time in the realm of camera bags – is the Chrome Niko Sling. It’s a small, versatile bag ideal for compact system cameras, including those in the Micro 43 format, and can be worn both over the shoulder and around the waist.
Here’s the deal with Chrome, virtually every of the company’s products uses a seatbelt buckle to connect the two ends of their bag straps. Easy on, easy off is the idea. It’s their signature thing, with enameled red and black logo, and built-in bottle opener. Initially, on the Niko Sling that seatbelt buckle seems like major overkill. The bag itself weighs just over one pound and 50 percent of that weight is the buckle. This makes the product feel wildly out of balance when empty. Put a camera in the bag, however, and everything changes. The buckle no longer feels out of place and overweight, rather it provides the perfect counterbalance for the full bag and delivers that easy on, easy off utility.
Dimensions: 8.5 in x 6.5 in x 3 in
Volume: 165 cu in
Weight: 1 lb 2 oz
Material: 1000 denier nylon, 18 oz truck tarpaulin
Other features of the Niko Sling include a nicely sized main compartment. It easily accommodates a Micro 43 camera. I tried it with both the Panasonic G3 and GX1 cameras with compact zoom lenses. They both fit easily but carrying a second lens would be a stretch. Chrome provides a mesh pocket in the bag lid, and a removable padded divider for the interior. The divider includes three smaller mesh pockets big enough for SD cards and USB drives.
On the exterior, Chrome places a flat pocket protected by a water-resistant zipper and three fabric loops for attaching carabiners and other items.
Chrome claims the capacity of the Niko Sling is three liters or 183 cubic inches. That’s just a touch generous by our calculations. Using the company-provided dimensions, capacity is closer to 165 cubic inches or 10 percent less than quoted. Not much to whine about frankly, but this will keep you from really being able to cart around that second lens unless it’s a pancake or similarly sized offering.
Overall fit of the Chrome Niko Sling is good. I wore it both across the shoulders and around the waist, and found it very comfortable.
The Chrome Niko Sling delivers cool urban styling and good utility for a small camera bag. It’s a touch small for carrying a body and two lenses, unless those lenses are of the pancake variety. If you need more capacity, Chrome has two other options for you – the Niko Messenger and the Niko Pack. We had the opportunity to check out that latter option and were totally impressed with that beast’s cavernous interior. Find them all at Chrome.