The Best Camera Strap and Carry System For Hiking 

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Two girls wearing hats and a camera capture clip sitting on a stone wall.

Many people hike with just an iPhone or a lightweight camera that is easy to store in a hiking backpack. Small cameras, like the one on an iPhone, perform really well and are perfect for outdoor activities and long hikes. I used to only hike with an iPhone, but as I became more of a photographer, it was so hard to leave my professional camera and tripod at home. Sometimes, a heavy camera is not worth it on the trails, especially if it is a challenging hike with high altitude and incline. But other times, you won’t want to leave your mirrorless or dslr cameras at home.

If you have assessed the trail and know you are comfortable bringing a camera kit, there are a few things you can do to make your hike a bit easier. Over the years, I have tried a ton of backpacks, camera straps, and carry systems in my search for the most convenient and easy to use while hiking. Once I discovered Peak Design products, there was no going back. I have loved all of the Peak Design products I have tried (with the exception of their camera backpack- I prefer the WANDRD RVKE camera backpack over Peak Design) and especially loved their easy-to-use camera capture clip. The capture clip has been a game-changer for me when hiking. It allows for a hands-free hike and makes taking pictures while on the trail so convenient!

It might not be the perfect solution for every hiker carrying heavier cameras, but in my opinion, it is the best camera carry system for hiking! I use it in combination with the Peak Design camera straps that attach easily to the camera with anchor clips. Keep reading to learn why I choose the PD Capture Camera Clip and Slide Straps when hiking with my camera. 

Peak Design Capture Camera Clip

Unlike traditional camera straps, the Camera Clip securely attaches to a backpack shoulder strap or belt, keeping your camera easily accessible without the hassle of tangled straps or taking off a backpack. All you have to do is press the quick-release button to easily remove the camera from your camera clip. The quick-release system can withstand up to 200 pounds and fit any chest strap up to 2.55 inches (6.5 cm) wide and 0.88″ thick.  

Features and Specifications:

  • Hands-Free: The Camera Clip allows you to keep your camera within reach without the need for traditional straps, providing a more comfortable hiking experience.
  • Secure Attachment: Designed to attach to backpack shoulder straps or belts, the Camera Clip ensures your camera stays securely in place even on rugged terrain.
  • Compatibility: It works with most backpack shoulder straps and belts, but it requires a sturdy strap to support the weight of your camera.
  • Weight Capacity: It can support the weight of DSLR and mirrorless cameras with lenses, providing peace of mind during outdoor adventures.
  • Easy to Use: The clip mechanism allows quick and easy access to your camera whenever you need it.
  • The capture clip system utilizes a tripod plate to serve dual functions.

Pros:

  • Hands-free operation eliminates the hassle of tangled straps.
  • Quick and easy access to your camera while on the move.
  • Secure attachment keeps your camera safe and stable during hikes.
  • Compatible with most backpack shoulder straps and belts.

Cons:

  • Requires a sturdy backpack strap or belt to support the weight of the camera; otherwise, it may hang uncomfortably against your body.
  • It may not be suitable for all types of backpacks, especially those with thin or flimsy straps.

Different Types of Camera Straps and Carrys

Many photographers experience shoulder and neck pain from camera straps. Plus, they aren’t always very secure, as the camera often dangles when bending over, resulting in a damaged camera. Even with these disadvantages, many hikers prefer a traditional camera strap anyway. 

I only opt for a camera strap when hiking over the capture clip if it’s a short hike, and I do not bring a day pack or if my day pack straps are too thin to support my camera. I usually use my Lecia V-LUX 5 camera for hiking because it is so lightweight and fits beautifully with the capture clip system, but I sometimes bring my SL2-S which is much heavier and bulkier and not as easy to hike with.

If you want a strap rather than a clip, here are the pros and cons of the most popular camera strap options.

Standard Camera Strap

Also known as a neck strap, shoulder strap, or crossbody strap, a standard camera strap can be worn in many different ways, which is one of its perks. 

A standard camera strap provides a tried-and-true method for carrying a camera around the neck or across the body. While it offers simplicity and versatility, allowing for quick access to the camera, its main drawback lies in potential discomfort during extended use, as the weight of the camera is concentrated on one area. It can also restrict your freedom of movement during activities like hiking or climbing.

I’ve always been told never to carry a camera around my neck and always use the strap in the cross-body position. This will help avoid the neck discomfort.

Backpack Strap

A backpack strap camera sling offers a convenient way to carry a camera while hiking or traveling with a backpack – these straps connect directly to the bag. A backpack strap will give you hands-free access to the camera and also distribute the weight evenly across your shoulders, reducing strain during long treks. However, it may still cause discomfort if the camera’s weight is substantial, and it could interfere with the backpack’s straps.

Sling Strap 

A sling strap provides a comfortable and ergonomic way to carry a camera, distributing the weight diagonally across the body. This design allows quick and easy access to the camera while keeping it securely in place during movement. 

Compared to standard crossbody or shoulder straps, sling straps can offer more freedom of movement and versatility in positioning the camera. However, they may not be as stable as other strap options, especially during vigorous activities – you may need to make a few adjustments to find the right positioning for your body.

Hand Strap

A hand strap will give you a secure and comfortable grip on the camera, allowing for one-handed operation while shooting. Hand straps provide stability and control, particularly when capturing fast-moving subjects or shooting in challenging conditions. These straps are also lightweight and compact, making them ideal for travel and outdoor photography. 

However, one of your hands will always be full with this kind of strap, so it can limit the freedom of your hands during a hike – and your hand may get fatigued after a while. Because the camera is not fully attached to the body, they offer less security than other strap options.

Camera Harness

A camera harness is a great way to carry multiple cameras or heavy camera gear comfortably for extended periods. This harness will distribute the camera weight evenly across your shoulders, back, and hips, reducing strain and fatigue during long hikes or shoots. Harnesses often come with adjustable straps and padding for a customized fit, providing stability and support while allowing for quick access to gear. 

Camera harnesses may be bulkier and less convenient for quick setups than other strap options. Some users may find them restrictive or cumbersome during active photography sessions. Despite these potential drawbacks, camera harnesses are popular among professional photographers for their ergonomic design and ability to carry heavy loads comfortably.

Peak Design Camera Straps

If you don’t want to use the Peak Design Camera Clip, you can’t go wrong with one of their camera strap options. With features like quick-release buckles and anchor links, Peak Design straps will give you security and easy adjusting. 

Peak Design Slide Straps

The slide strap has a padded design that offers comfort during long shoots, and its quick-adjusting system allows for seamless transitions between carrying positions. You can wear it as a shoulder strap, sling, or neck strap, and it has a grippy side so it doesn’t slip. It’s definitely one of the best camera straps for hiking and one of the most comfortable!

Pros:

  • The versatile strap design is perfect for different shooting scenarios.
  • Padded nylon strap for comfort during long shoots.
  • Quick-adjusting system for easy transitions.

Cons:

  • It may feel bulkier compared to minimalist options.

Peak Design Slide Lite Camera Strap 

Similar to the Slide, the Slide Lite is another one of the best camera straps for hiking. It boasts a streamlined, lightweight design and is perfect for mirrorless cameras and smaller DSLRs. You’ll get the same quick-adjusting functionality and versatility as the Slide but with a more compact form factor. The slide lite makes a great sling and shoulder strap. 

Pros:

  • Streamlined and lightweight design.
  • Ideal for mirrorless cameras and smaller DSLRs.
  • Quick-adjusting functionality.

Cons:

  • It may lack padding for some photographers.

Peak Design Leash Camera Strap

The Leash strap is a minimalist option for photographers prioritizing portability and simplicity. Its slim profile makes it perfect for travel and everyday use, and its quick-release buckles enable easy attachment and detachment from the camera. This strap fits in any pocket or camera bag, so if you’ve got limited space, this is an excellent choice. It is my favorite of the three. I use it for my travel tripod and on all of my cameras (even the heavy ones).

Pros:

  • Minimalist and portable design.
  • Quick-release buckles for easy attachment.
  • Ideal for travel and everyday use.
  • Designed to operate with just one finger!

Cons:

  • It may lack sufficient padding for extended use.
  • Less stability compared to padded options.

Peak Design Clutch

The Clutch hand strap will give you a secure grip on your camera, so you’ll get enhanced stability and control during shooting. With an adjustable design, you can enjoy a comfortable fit no matter the size of your hands. You’ll get easy access to your camera controls while also clinching down when you need security. Made with a Hypalon exterior, microfiber pad, and aluminum adjuster hardware, it is ultra-durable.

Pros:

  • Provides a secure grip on the camera.
  • Adjustable for comfortable fit.
  • Enhances stability and control during shooting.

Cons:

  • It may restrict hand movement for some users.
  • It is not suitable for all shooting scenarios, such as tripod use.

Peak Design Cuff

The Cuff wrist strap will give you a secure way to carry your camera around your wrist, providing peace of mind and convenience during quick shooting sessions. Its compact and lightweight design makes it a practical accessory for photographers who want to keep their cameras close at hand without the bulk of a traditional strap. The wrist loop locks in the open position or comfortably cinches down on your wrist if you need more security. You can keep Cuff in your pocket or wrap it around your wrist when you’re not using it. This design works best with small, lightweight, point and shoot cameras. 

Pros:

  • Secure way to carry the camera around the wrist.
  • Compact and lightweight design.
  • Quick-release buckles for easy attachment.

Cons:

  • It may offer less security than a traditional strap.

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