If you want an alternative to using the regular camera strap for hiking or walking around town type of activities, then this review is just the thing for you! Read on to find out about the SKOUT Handsfree Camera Carrying System and whether it will suit your needs.
A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to review the SKOUT handsfree camera carrying system by Cotton Carrier during a backcountry camping family trip in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park over a period of five days.
To say I was impressed with the performance and comfort of the SKOUT would really be an understatement. I was super impressed with the way Cotton Carrier’s handsfree system worked. It actually held up really well over 30 miles of hard terrain for the duration of the entire trip.
If you have ever been hiking in the mountains, especially the backcountry, you know that total weight and back comfort are very high on the list of priorities for any hiker. I have broken down my review of the Cotton Carrier in terms of the following factors.
#1 – Ease of use
The SKOUT design is a one-size fit all solution for almost any camera and lens attachment. I used it with my Canon 5D MKIII and 16-35mm L lens as well as the 24-70mm L lens. The first setup with the 16-35mm lens was definitely lighter than with the 24-70mm lens. But with both lenses, the sling held up really well.
The side-strap provided the support needed and balanced the weight effectively. Since I was already carrying a heavy camping pack on both my shoulders, the side strap ensured the camera was well balanced on my back. I was really impressed with the SKOUT’s patented “Twist & Lock” mount that attaches and detaches the camera from the anodized aluminum hub with a simple twist.
I have to admit I was a little nervous the first few minutes after attaching the camera to the SKOUT, being completely handsfree. But my body and my back quickly adjusted to the freedom and I loved not having to constantly pull up the camera strap from my shoulders while walking and hiking in the rough terrain.
Hidden inside the system is an internal stash pocket that fits a phone or a few credit cards. There’s also a rain cover/ weather guard so the gear stays safe and dry in less than ideal environments. I actually ended up using this a couple of times during my hike when we got caught is a mild downpour in the moutnains.
Attaching the SKOUT was fairly simple. After wrapping it over one shoulder, there is a single strap that wraps around the torso and snaps into place on the front, securing the entire system. The shoulder strap is really padded well, so even heavier camera systems don’t put too much stress on the body.
The cotton fabric is very breathable. I was hiking for almost 5-6 hours every day on some pretty rough terrain. Yet the shoulder and body straps were soft and did not rub against my back. The padding on the shoulder straps is thick and really does support the camera weight across your shoulder nicely.
Like I mentioned earlier, I used the SKOUT camera sling system over a span of 10 days in the mountains of Colorado. I used it on backcountry hiking days as well as day hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park.
After the first few minutes of figuring out how to attach the camera and secure the system in place, I really forgot it was even on my body. I absolutely enjoyed being handsfree and having the camera readily available to snap a photo when I saw a beautiful landscape or wildlife.
No more taking the camera out of the daypack and risking missing the moment. The straps, the clasp, and even the camera attachment held up really well to some rough use during my trip.
Here is a video of the SKOUT handsfree camera system in use during my trip.
All in all, I would definitely rate this product a 9/10 and highly recommend it for anyone looking to do photography on a trail or during a backcountry hiking/camping trip.
It is easy to use, comfortable to wear for extended periods of time and seems reliable even after some rough use in the outdoors.
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