- Buyer's Guide
DadsFanny Sling Bag Review
The DadsFanny brand was created by Brad and Becca Woodward when Brad needed a pack that was simpler, more stylish, and more functional than traditional diaper bags. After sewing a few prototypes himself, they created something truly exceptional. I had the pleasure of reaching out to Brad via email and he gave us some more insights into his brand, the materials, and how and where it’s manufactured.
The DadsFanny bag is a hybrid sling/fanny pack that has some killer features at an affordable price. A quick disclaimer: this bag is intended to be a diaper bag for dads (hence the name), however, I used it as an everyday carry bag and will be reviewing it from that perspective (spoiler alert: it’s pretty dang good). So, after three weeks of use, how does it hold up?
Who It Suits
It goes without saying that this bag suits new fathers who want a stylish and functional sling or fanny pack. If you carry light and just want to keep your gear out of your pockets, this is of course a solid choice. Furthermore, if you need to carry a water bottle, then this bag is also for you because it has a unique water bottle pocket that we’ll get into later. This pack has lots of organization, so if you need a place for everything, this should be on your radar. This is a really affordable bag too for those of you on a budget. Lastly if you need quick access to your phone, it has a pretty cool feature that will allow for that.
Who It Doesn’t
I don’t think this bag will be for you if you carry a lot since when it’s overpacked it’s not fun to use. Moreover, if you carry larger, boxier items such as a camera, it’s going to be really tight and frustrating to access.
The main reason I bought this bag so quickly was because of the price. Coming in at $55 at the time of writing, this is really affordable for a bag of this quality. And when I say quality, I mean it. There are so many cool features in this pack such as a water bottle holder, a fidlock strap, a quick access phone pocket, and an RFID-blocking front pocket.
Let’s start with the water bottle pocket. At the bottom of the bag there’s a zipper that, when unzipped, extends into a sleeve for you to fit your bottle. And no matter what shoulder you put your bag on, the pocket will work because your bottle is actually held in by G-Hooks that let you put it in either way you want. You can use this for a jacket too, but I used it for holding a small umbrella or bottle. I’ve seen bags use hidden pockets for this before, but not in this way. It’s super intuitive to use, and it just shows the thought that went into this design.
The pack has a magnetic fidlock buckle that makes it convenient to take the bag off or put it on. It’s similar to the Bellroy sling if you’ve ever used that. I really want more slings to adopt this feature because I just think it’s underrated. As someone with really long hair, taking slings off can be annoying so this solution is a godsend.
Let’s talk about this phone pocket: this is another feature that really shows the intentionality in the design of this bag. There’s a sleeve on the back of the bag that has a sort of crescent that allows you to put your phone in by sliding one corner in at a time. It’s a really simple, neat idea. It feels tight and secure and I’m never worried about my phone falling out.
The RFID-blocking pocket is really cool if you don’t have that feature in your wallet already. Since I do, I place my wallet in the main compartment, but still, it’s another cool feature packed into this tiny bag.
Just because this bag is affordable, doesn’t mean they cut costs on the materials. Since it wasn’t clear on their website, I asked Brad if he could go into detail on what this pack is made of. Of course, you’ve got your waxed canvas which gives the bag a nice, structured feeling. And Aquaguard YKK zippers that glide easily and help keep your gear dry when the rains fall.
The liner is a high-quality water-resistant rip-stop and it’s brightly colored, so it’s easy to see contents inside, and it’s an exceptionally sturdy fabric that feels better than other packs that are much higher priced than this.
You’ve also got 1000D nylon, vegan leather (more on that later…), really burly hardware (I feel like I can knock someone out with the G-hooks), and as stated earlier the RFID-blocking pocket. I also want to mention the awesome seatbelt-like strap that glides across your clothing and is soft to the touch.
When I received my bag in the mail, there was a tag on it that said “ethically made in Vietnam”, so I wanted to know more about it. Here’s what Brad had to say:
“When finding our manufacturer it was the top priority to make sure the folks making our packs not just ok, but great working conditions. We found all the certifications that were meaningful and made sure our manufacturers held these certifications. We regularly held zoom calls to see the conditions of workers and even had an outside consultant interview and ‘secret shop’ the manufacturers.”
I love to see brands who are socially responsible, and it makes me feel even better about buying this bag.
Lastly, the organization is solid. You have a front pocket that’s great for a wallet, pack of gum, camera batteries, etc. The main capacity has two mesh pockets that divide the interior, with an awesome key leash that you can actually use. Inside the main compartment there’s a flat pocket that I use to hold a mask or handkerchief.
The Not So Good
There isn’t much that I have to complain about, but I do have some gripes. Firstly, the vegan leather doesn’t feel as luxurious and nice to touch as the real deal. It is something that appeals to folks who care about supporting non-animal products, and I totally get that, but perhaps there’s another vegan leather that could be employed on the next iteration.
The bag is also pretty slim, I wish it had more depth to it. I feel like that wouldn’t sacrifice its already great form factor.
And if I really had to find something to nitpick about, I’d say there are a few loose threads, but otherwise solid craftsmanship.
Others Worth Checking Out
I think the Bellroy sling is another solid option if this bag isn’t for you, but I’m not a fan of the key leash on that bag. It also doesn’t have a dedicated bottle holder so keep that in mind.
If you want something with a more dense waxed canvas and some really nice leather, check out the Nutsac “Man-Bag Dammit” (Yes that’s the actual name). Though I haven’t used that specific version, I do have a Nutsac satchel and the quality is good.
Or a level up in looks and quality, try the DEFY Insidious Jnr.
I love to see small brands doing good work. Not only does the DadsFanny brand make exceptional packs, but they do so while using manufacturers that treat their workers right. If you carry light and need a bag to take all of your gear, I think you’ll be really happy with this bag.
This article was written by Jeffrey McDuffie. Bag geek, everyday carry enthusiast, and connoisseur of video games.