UPstrap Review: A Serious Camera Strap that Stays Up

Ever drop a camera? Ever have a camera strap break? Or bust apart near the D-ring? Put those worries out of your mind. UPstrap offers a full lineup of some of the toughest camera straps you’ll ever wear. And, as the name proudly announces, they stay UP on your shoulder, too.

Al Stegmeyer, the man behind the UPstrap.

I owe Al Stegmeyer two debts of gratitude: first, for inventing and manufacturing what I consider to be the best professional camera straps money can buy, and second for raving about the high quality images he got from his Fujifilm X-E1 so much that I finally tried one (and have been hooked ever since).

We can jaw about the X-E1 later. Let’s take a close look at Al’s UPstraps.


All of the shoulder pads on the UPstraps are truly non-slip—and if you’ve ever read any of my Bag Man columns you know that I’m a stickler about camera and gadget bag straps that slide off my shoulder. Most of the straps are available in your choice of nylon or Kevlar and all of the hardware (the guides, keepers and fasteners) are either metal or virtually indestructible synthetic.

Kevlar, in case you don’t know, is the DuPont aramid fiber that’s used in the manufacture of bulletproof vests, among other tough things. The label “aramid” is a portmanteau of “aromatic polyamide” which means absolutely nothing to me, but it really sounds cool.

For the most part, all camera straps attach one of two ways: either by being looped through small rectangular openings (like on a Canon DSLR) or to a metal split-ring that hangs from a stainless steel post (like on a Nikon). UPstraps come in both flavors, so keep that in mind when you decide to strap up.


The Rapid Release system uses military-type snap fasteners that are double sewn to the web.

Also you should check how much your camera and favorite lens weighs. You can find the weight of your camera on the UPstrap website or in the camera specs on the manufacturer’s website.

If you have a question or an issue, UPstraps Customer Service is ready to help. And all products are sold with a 60-day money back guarantee.

The UPstrap website can seem a bit overwhelming at first, so here’s an overview of what you’ll find. Not counting the half-inch swivel snap straps, there are seven families of UPstraps.

The RF/DC is a light duty shoulder strap that’s best for cameras (and when I write “cameras” I mean cameras with a lens affixed) that weigh less than 4 pounds. The pad is a 1.25 x 7 inch non-slip model and was originally designed for use with Leica M series cameras. The f, or “Friendship” strap is also for lighter cameras, but it’s doubly functional as a sling (bandoleer style) because only one side of the pad is sticky—the other side is slick enough to slip around to your back when necessary.

The XX Pad is a medium weight, double-duty sling/strap suitable for cameras in the 2 to 3 pounds class. I’ve been using one on my IR-only modified Nikon D5000 for four or five years now—maybe longer. The pad has a unique shape that I warmed up to the minute I saw it.

UPstrap’s latest addition is the Sling Pad. It comes in large or medium size, has Kevlar web ends and has a soft suede neck area covered by black leather (real leather). It will accommodate even very large, heavy loads, like my Nikon D2X with a 70-200mm f/2.8 Nikkors lens. The medium is rated for 6 to 10 pounds, and the large for 10 to 12 pounds. It’s very well made and my arthritic neck appreciates the heck out of it.

They offer a few other models, including the S-G medium non-slip which I just installed on my Canon 5D (which I use more-or-less exclusively with a light-weight 40mm f/2.8 Canon STM lens). I like it because when I stow this compact combination into a small bag, the strap folds up practically out of sight and the pad nestles snugly under the bottom of the camera.

Check out the UPstrap website. If you are looking for a clean, functional, durable strap that you’ll most likely never wear out, you’re sure to find it there.

—Jon Sienkiewicz

azsaowens's picture

Thank you, Jon, for such a detailed description of the UPstraps! I found myself thinking of many other practical uses for them!