Space & Access
Sling bags should provide secure yet easy access to your gear. So how does the Scout fare? Really well. One of the key elements to its success is dual zipper pulls, allowing you to access the bag from either end. Webbing loops on either end serve as grab spots to ease opening and closing and can also be used to secure carabiners or keychains. Additionally, the bag opens wide, making it easy to see and retrieve various items inside. The Mustard colorway features a combination of red and mustard in the interior, making it straightforward to spot individual items.
The organization inside is simple. Two slip pockets on the back panel (one small and one large), along with a key leash with a metal key ring on the front panel. At roughly 16cm long by 10cm high, I reckon the larger pocket should hold most wallets comfortably. The smaller pocket measures roughly 8cm long by 10cm high and I found this a useful spot for smaller items like dog waste bags. It’s worth noting the pockets don’t have any extra give to them (unlike for example elasticized mesh). So if you’re storing items inside that are a tight fit, you might have a bit of a wrestling match to get them out.
My phone with its case on fits inside the larger pocket at a wiggled push and is certainly secure once inside (it won’t fall out even if you shake the bag upside down). The flip side is a bit of a time-consuming wriggle to get it out again. I appreciate this may sound like a bit of a nitpick and the simple fix is obviously just to store larger items in the main section for easier access. But if we’re talking ideal personal preferences, borrowing say a cm from the smaller pocket to make the larger one a little bit bigger or elasticizing the pocket in some way would be the sweet spot for me. However, I do want to state that my phone fits very easily in the large pocket without its case on. So what you’ll be able to fit in here will vary depending on your personal setup.
There are no exterior pockets; just the ones mentioned above. This will work great for some and not so great for others. Employing some pouches could be handy if you’re carrying a lot of smaller items. That being said, you’re not dealing with a cavernous pit here so it should be easy enough to retrieve various items even without additional modular organization.
In terms of space, The Level Collective Scout Pack holds a surprising variety of gear. It should hold most small tablets or e-readers (a Kindle for instance fits with plenty of room to spare). Plus a variety of books if paper is your jam. You can fit EDC essentials like your phone, wallet, keys, a small water bottle, and packable outer layer with ease. And even more obscure items like a 700ml gin bottle (short bottle, not a tall one). Suffice it to say it’s very versatile in the range of loadouts it can carry, making it useful for everyday, travel, and outdoor use.
The Level Collective Scout Pack features a fairly wide strap to distribute the load. The webbing feels durable yet comfortable and won’t scuff up your clothing. Being a sling, you’ve got some carry flexibility here. The bag can be worn around the waist or across the chest or back, giving you the freedom to keep it out of the way when not in use or alternatively ensuring quick-access items are close at hand depending on your preferences and environment.
When it comes to getting the bag on or off, the stainless steel buckle and leather loop work well together. You’re not going to be able to open or close the strap one-handed and it’s a little more time-consuming than say a magnetic or side-release buckle. However, we’re talking perhaps an extra two seconds, so nothing major. The buckle feels secure when it’s attached and as mentioned above, the leather and stainless steel combo complements the waxed cotton really well.
Be aware there isn’t any padding in the bag or on the strap, so you’re not going to want to walk around with any contents that will potentially prod you or particularly heavy loads. That being said, if you do need to haul heavy gear, in general slings shouldn’t be your go-to. You’ll be better off venturing into backpack or messenger territory.
It’s safe to say Halley Stevensons know what they’re doing when it comes to making weatherproof waxed cotton. I’m not advising you to boldly embrace torrential monsoons with the Scout, but your gear will be fine in most rainy or snowy conditions while you seek out shelter. The Scout also has a storm flap over the zipper. However, I found the storm flap doesn’t fully cover the zipper and you might need to do a bit of fiddling with the flap to adjust it. I do like the beefy look and feel of the zipper but replacing it with a YKK AquaGuard zipper would be a nice upgrade to enhance protection from the elements.