Using a Camera Tether for Safety while Traveling … or How to Avoid a Camera Strap Around your Neck

This is an update to an earlier article I wrote about how to safely and easily carry a camera while touring.  I won’t repeat my reasons for trying a tether rather than a strap so make sure you read the earlier article (click here).

After trying various approaches as indicated in the earlier article, the above arrangement is the one I settled upon.

I decided to use the Domke 5XB bag and a strap which I happened to have from another Domke bag.  This arrangement was a no-cost solution for me but you can use other bags and home-made tethers … I’ll show you how below.  With the Domke 5XB bag, I can put my Pentax K-7 in the bag on its side with the hand grip facing up.  That leaves room for another lens or my Olympus E-P1 along with spare batteries, lens cleaning cloths, a flashlight, plastic bag, etc.  The bag has a very secure zipper as well as the Velcro, but I usually only zip it closed while in transit.  Often while walking I leave it un-zippered with the flap open and hanging behind the bag so that I can quickly take the camera out.

As you can see in these pictures, the camera is securely attached to the bag strap by the tether.  I am using a carabiner fastener on the strap so that I can easily transfer the tethered camera to any of my different camera bags.  The tether is short enough that the camera cannot hit the ground if I drop it while walking and it easily slides up the bag strap as long as the strap is worn across my chest.  I wear the bag with the strap diagonal across the chest with the strap short enough that the bag hangs about belt height so that it doesn’t bounce against my legs or hips while walking.  The Domke 5XB bag also has a generous belt loop on the back so that I can also wear the bag on a belt.  If you wear it that way without a strap, you can attach the tether to the bag rather than the strap; but make sure that your tether length is appropriate.  I just leave the strap on the bag and wear it even if I’m also using a belt.  That gives me options depending upon the terrain, vehicles, etc.

As I mentioned above, there are other things you can use as a tether if you wish to make a similar arrangement for your bag.  Note the ingredients below:

The carabiners are widely available at stores like REI, etc.  Instead of a strap for a tether like I’m using, you can make a tether out of a nylon cord like shown above.  You can either tie it to the camera or use a clasp as shown above.

I encourage you to try a similar arrangement.  It works especially well when carrying the minimum of camera gear while getting in and out of boats, on and off of horses or camels, in and out of tour vans, or anywhere you are concerned about banging or dropping your camera.  And it’s a lot cheaper than buying and trying various camera straps, and I find that it makes carrying a camera a lot more comfortable.


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