My DIY Black Rapid R-Strap


Introduction: My DIY Black Rapid R-Strap

This is my version of the Blackrapid R-Strap. There are some other instructables for this type of strap. Some aren’t really the idea, as they just feature a strap that moves, whereas in this type of the strap the strap should stay stationary, while the camera moves along it. I also didn’t want to have to do any sewing, sawing, etc. I found a similar homemade strap here: but that one required some sewing, and it used Le Hooks which need to be ordered from Europe.

Step 1: The Real Deal

Here’s a picture of the official strap. It connects to the tripod mount, and is worn across the shoulders like a messenger bag. The camera can quickly be brought up to your eye, and when not in use it hangs at your hip where you can protect it with your hand and it doesn’t bounce on your chest annoyingly.

I first thought about using rock-climbing gear, which is tough, holds a ton of weight, and which I had lying around. Everything was a bit too bulky though, so I scrapped that idea.

Step 2: The Strap

The first part is the actual strap. You can use a lot of different types, including an old camera or bag shoulder strap. The main requirement is that the end can be attached to a standard plastic buckle. If using an old strap, and you don’t want to sew, you can thread through the buckle and then use a couple of ladder locks to keep them on. I picked up this 1” x 60” webbing strap with attached buckle from REI for $1.93. I picked it up in store, so no shipping costs. It appears to not be available online at the moment, but I’m sure they sell many similar items:

Step 3: The Swivel

Next is the slide on the strap. I picked up these 1” Blackhawk Lok-Down swivels, which are designed to attach a gun to its strap. These have a screw down lock, so there is no way that it can accidentally open. These are $9.59, but you get two of them (same with the next part) so you can make two straps or sell one to a friend. One of these is $16 on, and I’ve heard complaints of them bending. I trust the ones made for people with big guns, as manufacturers don’t want to piss them off. Make sure you get the nickel version, NOT the blued version. Gun blue is a type of polish that is used on guns and attachments, but which will leave oily deposits on you and your camera. You can get free shipping by finding this store/product through Google shopping:

Step 4: Tripod Mount

There are a couple of ways to attach the swivel to the camera. First, the method I don’t use. The official strap attaches to the tripod mount via a little screw in bolt, which is $14:
I’ve seen some people attach their strap to the ring on a tripod plate. DO NOT DO THIS! That ring is designed only to help you screw in the plate and is NOT designed to bear weight. They bend easily, and you don’t want that to happen when it’s supporting your camera. I purchased a ¼” x 2” eye bolt, neoprene washer, and wing nut for about $2 at my local hardware store. By using a wing nut, you can screw the bolt in most of the way, and then tighten down the wing nut. This prevents you from over tightening the eye bolt and breaking your tripod mount. The washer protects the bottom of your camera.

I was thinking about trying to find a nicer bolt or something that was a bit more elegant, but I don’t like using the tripod mount method, as the camera cannot be set flat when not in use. Maybe if I find a better solution I’ll try that method again. But here’s how I roll…

Step 5: Strap Lug Mount

I instead attach it to the strap lug on my camera. Some cameras have a ring attachment, which might give you a bit more play, buy my camera (Canon 7D) has the smaller strap connectors, so I needed something that would allow the camera to swing more freely. I picked up some Op-Tech Utility Loops, which just loop through the strap lug and then have a solid opening for the swivel to go through. I got a two pack (again) for $5.95 with free shipping from
I also already had some Op-Tech Adapt-Its, so I left one of those on (as you can see in the picture), but that’s not necessary at all.

Step 6: Conclusion

Now, all you need is a shoulder pad. Or, you can try without and see if it’s comfortable enough. Mine isn’t in the picture, but I just grabbed one off of an old diaper bag, which velcro’s closed around the strap. You can try it out on both lugs of your camera, and see which way you prefer. I have it on the left hand side, as I prefer the way the camera hangs, and it doesn’t interfere with my right hand while shooting.

So there you have it. For about $18, I have a strap which I think rivals the $50+ version. Let me know what you think. Thanks!



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    7 Discussions

    This is perfect. This is exactly the solution I've been looking for! I hate having my tripod mount hijacked by the strap. I love that the strap stays in place while the camera is free to move. Thanks!

    thanks.. managed to order it with free shipping.. now, I can't find the op-tech utility loops with free shipping.. could you help me with this? do you like your strap? does the camera stay in place when you put it to your hips? when it's not being used?

    2 replies

    Looks like Duracom is out of stock on them! I did find them on ebay for $4.50 plus $2 S&H, which is only 55 cents more than I paid:

    As for the strap, I love it.  I used to hate having it around my neck, bouncing on my chest, and having to hold my hand up.  Now, with the camera on my hip, it's naturally where my hand falls, so my hand just kind of rests over it.  It's especially good as it just hits where my lower back is, and tucks in there.  It's great walking around, especially in crowds, where you don't have to worry about someone bumping it, and it won't bump into anything if you lean into it (as chest carry will do).  I might make a t-strap soon, as on my messenger bag, or a hook to clip on my sling camera bag, to prevent the strap from moving at all.  But for now, I love the strap, hope you do too!

    That got a bit long...

    Perfect! Can't wait to make one for myself. Thanks for the ebay link. I'll let you know how it works out for me. I'm getting tire of my camera banging off my kids' head when I have to pick them up.

    how did you avoid paying the $9.00 shipping on the Blackhawk lock down swivel? the total comes out to be close to $20....

    2 replies

    This is how I got free shipping originally: Go to Google Shopping, search for "Lok-Down". On the left, click on "Express Police Supply" to narrow results. The third item should be "Blackhawk Lok-Down Swivels 1 inch Nickel". If you click this link, it's supposed to give you free shipping I just tried this again, and couldn't get the free shipping. I clicked "Chat Now" and the rep told me that "Unfortunately this promotion that is provided by Google only gives free freight to non-existing customers." So, maybe if you've never ordered from them, it would work. I would Chat with a rep, as they're very helpful, and they can probably fix that for you (Google still advertises it as free shipping, so they should honor it.) At the very least, maybe they can reduce shipping, since the item only weighs about 2 oz. Hope this helps, let me know how it works out. Maybe you could sell one, since it's a two pack?!

    Ugh, sorry that came out as one big paragraph. I had separated things to make it more readable, but guess the site disagreed.