Product Review: Slappa HardBody Photo Locker



Sept 2, 2010
By Dan Havlik

Prod Reviews: Slappa Body Locker

There must be a pretty good market for photo bags these days. Seriously, head to any photo store and you’ll see much of the premium retail real estate filled with photography bags, backpacks, slings, satchels, rollers and hard cases. Part of that has to do with the good mark-up value on these items but it’s also because photographers seem to have an insatiable lust for anything bag oriented. (Ok, I admit it, I’m a bit of a bag whore myself.)

I recently received an e-mail announcing a new photo bag from a company called Slappa, which I hadn’t heard of before. Named the HardBody Photo Locker, the bag was billed by Slappa as “the ultimate photo case for the traveling photographer” and the e-mail included a detailed list of everything a photographer could fit inside the case. I requested a sample and a few days later it arrived. The only trouble was, the marketing material on the bag called it “The HardBody Pro CD Crate” which could store “420 discs or 210 discs & 210 covers.” Did I get the wrong bag? Apparently not.

According to a Slappa representative, the bag had originally been designed for CDs and DVDs but had been remodeled after photographers tested it and “loved it.” Some of the photo-oriented additions to the redesigned bag included a padded laptop sleeve, customizable interior dividers, and a shoulder strap. Yes, with the advent of MP3s and iPods, the need for a CD carrying case doesn’t seem as urgent these days. Photo bags, on the other hand, are hot, hot, hot.

But does the HardBody hold up more as a Photo Locker or more as a Pro CD Crate? Well, let’s put it this way: For only $129 it’s not bad if you need a suitcase-like bag to stuff in the overhead compartment on your next assignment. The shell is solid and feels like it could stand up to a few bumps and bruises; the laptop sleeve is quite nice and can fit up to a 15.4-inch computer; and the moveable dividers. . .well. . .they’re moveable dividers which can adjust to fit an assortment of lenses and camera bodies.

On the downside, the bag is lacking some small touches such as no sleeves for storing memory cards; only minimal padding on the strap; and a generic design that suggests it
really wasn’t designed specifically for photography. But like I said, it’s easy to overlook those flaws when you see the price tag.

THE BOTTOM LINE

No, the HardBody Photo Locker from Slappa is not the most well-designed photo bag out there for the traveling photographers—and in fact it seems to have originally been created for on-the-go DJs—but with its satisfactory basic amenities and bargain basement pricing, it’s not a bad option if you’re on a budget.






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