- Buyer's Guide
Aer Day Sling 3 Review
There's been a trend swinging up for a while now. Slings are becoming a staple for every good carry collection. The ultimate solution for those smaller things that don't feel great in your pockets. And Aer have been making quality pieces in this space since the uptick.
The Day Sling 3 is third iteration of Aer's daily sling line, and it has evolved over its prior generations to take on a new silhouette that better accommodates flexible space needs in a small footprint. I’ve spent the past several months using the Aer Day Sling 3 as both a daily carry and a travel companion with the goal of discerning whether or not it deserves a spot in your lineup. Let’s see how it fared.
- Name: Day Sling 3
- Brand: Aer
- Format: Sling
- Measurement: 11.5″L (29cm) x 6″W (15cm) x 3″D (7.5cm)
- Capacity: 3L (183cu. in.)
- Weight: 0.8 lbs (0.36 kg)
- Zippers: YKK
- Material: VX42 X-Pac, 1680D Ballistic Nylon or 700D Cordura
Who It Suits
Sling enthusiasts will love the slim profile and abundant organization featured within. Travelers will appreciate the security pocket to protect valuables while on the move, as well as the packability within their larger travel bag.
Who It Doesn’t
If the sling format typically hasn’t worked for you in the past, that’s not going to change here. If you need to carry lots of bulky items, the 3L capacity will be a hindrance. The aesthetic is typical for Aer and very sleek, this may not work for some users.
The Day Sling 3 is one of a few small sling options from Aer. The silhouette should look familiar to those who recall the past two revisions, but Aer has introduced some clever patterning changes to allow this small form factor bag to carry much more than you’d expect. The wide-yet-short profile allows the bag to sit very naturally on your chest or back (depending on your preference) and the shape also affords ambidextrous access, meaning if you favor left or right shoulder carry this will suit both options.
When talking about aesthetics, we must always remember that it is a deeply personal matter, and you may or may not agree with my opinion, which is just fine. From my perspective, Aer products have a distinctly technical look to them; they employ lines in their bags that give off a slightly futuristic vibe. This sleek look is something they’ve been honing from the start and each generation refines it further. The Day Sling 3 in particular has refined its shape quite a bit from the original design. The look is sleek, modern, and not overly flashy on the outside, and that’s what I appreciate about it. If you’ve chosen the VX version over the ballistic or 700D Cordura you’ll find that the interior is lined with a vibrant orange ripstop nylon which makes it easy to spot anything inside of the sling.
Every Aer bag I’ve used has exhibited a consistent level of quality in its construction and the Day Sling 3 has shown no signs of deviation from those prior experiences. The stitching is all straight and evenly spaced, with no obvious flaws, and furthermore, none have developed during months of use. Aer does offer a lifetime warranty on their products so if an issue were to arise as a result of a defect in their manufacturing they will take care of it.
Materials & Hardware
The Day Sling 3 is available in three distinct material options, 1680D Cordura® Ballistic Nylon, 700D Cordura, and VX42 X-Pac from Dimension Polyant, and all versions feature YKK zippers and a Fidlock buckle on the strap. My version uses the VX42 and also features a rich orange nylon ripstop liner which adds character and also makes it very easy to spot everything inside the bag.
One slight drawback to the VX42 material used in my example is that I found it was quite slippery with most of my clothing, unless I was wearing something with a bit of texture. Any time I would bend forward, the sling would instantly slide around to my front, which I found to be rather annoying. This may or may not affect you, but it was just a small issue I faced when using the Day Sling 3 and I wanted to call it out.
As we take a tour around the sling, let’s take a look at the kind of features Aer gives us for this modest price point. Starting with the front zipper pocket which is secured behind a large YKK AquaGuard #10 zipper, you’ll find an open space with an internally attached key leash. The hardware feels sturdy enough and is totally appropriate for this bag in my opinion. An added benefit of this pocket is that it has its own dimension, projecting outwards from the bag so even if the main cavity is quite full, you should still be able to comfortably utilize this pocket.
As we get into the interior, the 3L capacity of the bag would typically make one think that it’s not terribly spacious, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much it could comfortably carry. Additionally, the bottom panel is cut in such a way that if it’s underloaded it will naturally fold inwards which collapses the size of the bag slightly. I found this to be a desirable trait in use as there were times I only wanted to carry a few things and the bag never handled awkwardly in these scenarios. The main compartment here is where you’re also going to find all of the Day Sling 3’s built-in organization, which is plentiful but also able to stay out of the way if you don’t want to use it. The back panel is suitable for a small tablet or a notebook as I tended to use it for. I was able to squeeze a Nintendo Switch into this pocket but it was a very snug fit and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. Happily, it fits my Analogue Pocket with ease so I didn’t view this as a problem. The back panel pocket also features a zippered compartment which I would really only recommend for relatively flat, loose items as this pocket doesn’t actually have its own dimension and would eat into the usability of the other pockets themselves. In front of this we see that there are two fairly large mesh pockets which you can fit all manner of things into. I found it to be ideal for my phone or a compact camera. Flipping around to the front panel we see that there are two smaller but still adequately sized mesh pouches and I found this to be a great spot for my wallet and perhaps a battery pack.
The rest of the interior is open space which you can utilize however you see fit, or not at all if you so choose. I liked this about the Day Sling 3, it gives you options to organize your things and keep them secure, but there’s also ample space to just drop things in if needed.
Moving on to the back of the sling there is one more pocket, which I would refer to as semi-hidden. It has a discreet zipper so you can keep things important to you closer to your person and not as easily accessible. This is a relatively flat pocket so keep that in mind, but it’s there if you need it.
The last feature to discuss is the strap itself which now features a Fidlock buckle over the previous traditional hardware they used. What I would like to specifically call out is the way the strap is configured. The buckle itself is attached to a short length of webbing so it will always stay close to the bag. The rest of your adjustment range is handled with a closed tri-glide. What this does is prevent you from ever having any sort of dangle no matter what length of strap you need and it always stays looking clean. This is also a personal preference, but I really like that the buckle itself is not centrally located at your chest. This method is fine and many small bags or messengers employ that style, but I found that it was really comfortable configured this way, even for my big and tall frame.
Space & Access
The 3L capacity of the Day Sling 3 is, in my opinion, just right for this class of bag. Too much larger and you may as well move to a messenger; too much smaller and you should just stick to cargo pants. With 3L you have just enough space to carry your essentials+, where the “+” means you have a little room for extras if required, but you need to pack smart with this amount of space. Fortunately, it is very easy to locate everything in the bag due to the large main opening, so finding your runaway lip balm is a breeze.
Typically with a bag of this size I don’t want to overload it as I find that restricts quick access or makes it difficult to find things quickly. I found that the front zipper compartment was an ideal location for my keys as I hate having to hunt around in a bag for them. There’s room for more, but I like to keep them separate from the rest of my kit. The main compartment has those great organizer pockets I mentioned earlier and this is where I’ll keep my phone, wallet, and battery pack. If I am carrying one of my cameras I might even use one of them to store extra batteries or memory cards, though it’s worth pointing out that if you have a smaller point & shoot-style camera it likely will fit in one of the pockets as well (I favor the Ricoh GR line myself). There’s still plenty of room in the main body where I’ll drop in my sunglasses case and I might stash some hand sanitizer in there as well. The rear slip pocket is perfect for a mask if you need one or if you’re a perpetually warm person like me, a handkerchief carries nicely here.
In the months I’ve been using the Day Sling 3, I found that my preferred method to wear it was with the sling across my back and then to swing it around to my front when I needed to access my contents within. You can very easily wear this crossbody on your chest if preferred as well. I also appreciated the dual zipper sliders on the main compartment which meant that no matter which shoulder one favors, you can position the zipper to open from either side which makes access really easy.
I did however find that the zippers would occasionally snag on the corners if trying to quickly open or close the bag one-handed. This seems like a tiny nitpick, but when you’re trying to quickly access your wallet inside the bag and then the zipper snags, preventing you from getting to what you need, it can be a little frustrating. Perhaps it’s the inherent stickiness of the YKK AquaGuard or perhaps there’s a lesson in there for me to take a breath and slow down, your mileage may vary. I will say though, this problem can be largely mitigated if you hold the bag itself with one hand and then open the zipper with the other.
I’m a tall and broad-shouldered person, which is a recipe for disappointment when it comes to getting a good fit with most bags. Happily, the Day Sling 3 has plenty of adjustment range which allowed me to easily wear it comfortably. While Fidlocks can be fun to use, and sometimes even preferable to a more traditional buckle, I do want to call out that I did occasionally find this particular buckle to be a little sharp. It never caused me great discomfort or anything like that, but there were definitely times when I found the buckle dug into my side in a way I didn’t care for. All in all, for someone who typically struggles with a good fit on slings, I found this fit me fairly well and it’s small enough that it’s not going to be a burden on either shoulder.
Now there is something you need to consider here, especially if you’re buying the VX42 variant. Depending on the type of material in your clothing you may find, as I did, that this bag likes to slip and slide all over the place. There is very little grip on the back which unfortunately meant that the bag would frequently slide forward to my chest any time I bent down to pick something up. This seemingly innocuous trait wound up bothering me but it may be a non-issue for you.
Now considering I spend the majority of my time in the state of California, it’s a known fact that I am unlikely to experience weather any more adverse than oppressive sunshine or persistent wildfires, so I sadly did not have any rainy days during my months of testing. However, we can extrapolate what we know about these materials and paint a very realistic expectation of how this bag will behave in wet conditions. VX42 is a highly weather-resistant material and based on my experience with it in other bags it will hold up remarkably well in the rain. To top it off, we have some very stout YKK AquaGuard zippers to seal off any openings so I feel very confident in saying that your contents are going to be just fine within the Day Sling 3 in most environments.
- • Great overall size and updated shape
- • Ample strap length with no dangle
- • Lots of pocketing that’s useful and efficient
- • Rests on body better than past generation
- • Excellent value
Not So Good
- • Fidlock buckle is fun to use, but can feel a bit sharp on the edges
- • Zipper can get stuck on the corners when trying to open the bag one-handed while wearing
Aer has a very consistent track record of producing bags that are cleverly designed, with quality materials and a sleek, tech-forward aesthetic all at very reasonable price points. I’m very happy that this trend hasn’t changed with the Day Sling 3, a bag I found to actually be a joy to use, despite being someone who doesn’t tend to favor the use of slings in their day-to-day carry. My small daily carry kit all fitted very comfortably inside and it was typically very easy for me to access my things. Most importantly of all, it didn’t frustrate me, which if you know me, is a nigh unforgivable sin to move past and continue to use a bag once I get frustrated with it. The Day Sling 3 is a sleek little EDC bag and would make a superb partner to a larger travel pack. In my opinion, it’s well worth your $99.
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Space & Access
Look & Feel
Build, Materials & Hardware
Warranty & Support
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