- Buyer's Guide
The Best Sling Bags for Everyday Carry 2018
The use of sling bags is on the rise. With minimalism securely in the zeitgeist, we’re trimming down and carrying less, so a 20-30L backpack is overkill for some. A good sling bag snugs tight to the carrier and allows freer movement and quick access to essentials on the go. And when worn crossbody on the chest, it makes pick-pocketing pretty darn tricky. So what features should you look for in a sling bag?
A balance between light weight and durability
Sling bags are generally designed to carry smaller loads and less weight, so they don’t need to be built like a tank. That being said, if you’ll be reaching for it regularly or putting it to demanding use, you’ll want decent durability which may result in a slight weight penalty. Ultimately it comes down to your intended use but a balance between durability and light weight should see you right for most carry needs.
Comfortable and adjustable strap
Good crossbody bags will offer a long, padded and adjustable strap that can preferably flip from right to left depending on user preference. Some smaller, lightweight sling bags may not require padding in the strap since they aren’t intended to carry heavy loads. But they should still offer flexible adjustability. And while a fanny pack may not require an ambidextrous strap to wear it round the waist, you’ll still want the ability to cinch or loosen the strap as required.
Padded back panel
Whether you’re carrying the bag as a hip bag, across the body or as a shoulder bag, pens and other sharp contents can dig into you without sufficient padding. But a padded back panel will help cushion the load and stop you getting jabbed. Again, smaller options may not require as much padding, but you’ll still benefit from at least a little protection.
Having to rummage for smaller items is annoying and wastes time. So consider a sling bag that has sufficient organization to suit your carry setup. Perhaps you just need one or two pockets for a phone and keys. Alternatively you may want a padded pocket for a tablet or laptop, or discreet storage for valuables.
One of the main benefits of a good crossbody bag is that it lets you readily access your gear on the go without having to remove it. So opt for one that shifts easily from the chest to the back and vice versa for smooth and friction-free access on the go. If you’re carrying it as a waist bag, it should still allow you to swivel it round easily for quick and convenient access.
Freedom of movement
Sling bags are designed to help keep you agile and nimble on the move. So you don’t want one that’s going to restrict your movement, regardless of how you’re carrying it. A good design will allow freedom to move, be it gliding across busy platforms or riding a bike.
Now that you have an idea of what to consider, check out our picks of the best sling bags for everyday carry…
.Updated August 2018
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a handy sling bag. Patagonia’s Lightweight Travel Mini Hip Pack is an affordable and compact 1L bag that’s ideal for small loads. It can be worn around the waist or across the body and won’t weigh you down, coming in at just 99 grams (3.5 oz). The bag is made with a weather-resistant nylon ripstop and packs down into its own pocket for easy storage.
Osprey’s 6L Daylite Sling easily rotates around the body to keep small essentials within easy reach. The sling offers a main compartment with interior organization, as well as a front pocket for wet or more frequently used items. The breathable and soft NeoSpacer™ mesh material on the strap keeps you comfortable in hot weather. And with its budget-friendly price tag and Osprey’s All Mighty Guarantee, it’s great value for money.
The sleek Dakine Hot Laps Stealth Hip Pack is designed to be worn under a cycling jersey and to provide just enough storage space for items such as a spare tube, phone, cash, mini tool and snacks. The bag features a Polygiene® anti-microbial treatment to combat odors, along with a micro-stretch waist belt for comfort. And while it may have been designed with cyclists in mind, the low-key design adapts well to travel and EDC needs too when you want the bare minimum in tow.
Compact and inexpensive, this 6L sling keeps things functional and straightforward for carrying the essentials. The bag features two zippered pockets including a padded iPad mini sleeve, as well as a mesh interior pocket. It’s also available in a choice of colorways and includes a useful grab handle.
Mystery Ranch brings their signature burly functionality to the sling game with the Hip Monkey. Built with 500D Cordura, this hard-wearing bag can take whatever the day throws at it, while keeping essentials close at hand. The Hip Monkey can be carried on the hips or across the body depending on preferences and needs. It features compression straps and a keychain clip and is equally at home carrying trail essentials, EDC items or small travel necessities.
The weatherproof Slingshot offers quick access with a magnetic Fidlock buckle, and a 9L volume that can accommodate items such as a 9.7″ tablet, notebook, wallet, small camera, phone and more. Organization options include an exterior pocket, two interior pockets, a U-lock holster and a light loop. There’s also a removable stabilizer strap for active use and a choice of colorways to suit your personal style.
Understated style meets versatile organization with the Incase Side Bag and Diamond Wire Side Bag. The streamlined exteriors suit a variety of environments, while a choice of pockets and compartments keep everything from travel essentials to EDC or small work tools in order. And for those items that need extra protection, both bags also include a plush faux fur pocket to keep valuables safe.
DSPTCH’s Small and Medium Sling Pouches are great everyday options for carrying the essentials securely. The bags come in two colorways, with useful pockets and webbing to keep items tidy. And with their durable and water-resistant 1680D Ballistic Nylon construction, they’ll easily handle regular use day in and day out.
The Sling Thing has been designed to serve as a sling-style Booty Bag with a compressing shoulder strap. The bag’s main compartment includes an internal pocket for smaller items, while the front pocket provides convenient storage for frequently needed items. Versatile and lightweight, the Sling Thing is a handy bag to reach for in day-to-day and travel situations alike.
Lightweight and water resistant, the Arc’teryx Maka 2 works well as an EDC bag and travel bag. It can be worn across the body or as a waist bag, with a range of quick-access and interior pockets on hand to organize your essentials. And with its Spacermesh™ back panel you can enjoy improved airflow for comfort on the go.
The Aer Day Sling 2 delivers trusty everyday carry in a slim and tough form. The bag is constructed with a water-resistant 1680D Cordura® ballistic nylon exterior to easily handle day-to-day use. Inside you’ll find a variety of organization pockets including a 7.9″ tablet pocket. Additionally there’s a discreet back pocket for a passport or wallet.
The water-resistant Keep Pursuing Sling packs plenty of features into an understated design that suits a variety of urban and travel settings. A secret compartment securely stores a passport or other small valuables, a padded compartment takes care of tech devices, and a choice of interior pockets keep smaller items organized. The sling includes a zipper loop lock to help deter thieves, a waist strap for securing the load during active use, and an adjustable shoulder strap that can be worn over the left or right shoulder.
The Delta Sling is a handy companion for keeping travel essentials and minimalist work carry setups within easy reach. The bag can stash the likes of lunch, an outer layer, a small camera and a wallet and phone. Plus there’s also a rear zip pocket for storing an iPad or e-reader, and a loop for securing a bike light. The Delta Sling includes an adjustable strap and can be worn as a waistpack or sling. As a bonus, it also comes with Timbuk2’s lifetime warranty.
The Pacsafe Vibe 325 Anti-Theft Cross Body Pack is well suited to the city and traveling, with a sleek design and a versatile 10L volume that accommodates a range of items. The bag features a padded iPad/tablet sleeve, along with additional pockets and compartments for stashing the likes of a phone, wallet, compact umbrella and snacks. Additionally, integrated low-key security features keep your gear safe on the go, including an RFIDsafe pocket, eXomesh Slashguard, Carrysafe slashguard strap, and Roobar Sport locking system.
The Quick Sling is great for carrying tech in protected, clean style that suits work and play alike. The bag features a dedicated padded iPad compartment, and a convenient exterior pocket for quickly accessing items such as a phone or wallet. The main compartment includes a slip pocket that’s handy for storing a wireless keyboard, while a quick-release strap enables easy access on the move.
If you dig a tactical vibe to your gear and plenty of pockets, this sling is definitely one to keep on your radar. The clamshell-style main compartment opens wide for easy access, and there’s no shortage of pockets and webbing for organizing items and attaching extra gear externally if desired. The ambidextrous strap features a handy pocket for a phone with passthrough access for earphones. The 18L bag is also hydration bladder compatible and includes a port for quick and easy hydration on the go.
Aer’s Tech Sling delivers a honed blend of minimalist aesthetics and functional design for urban carry needs. Smart enough for the office and versatile enough for beyond, it features a quick-access 13″ laptop compartment, along with multiple pockets in the main compartment to organize work tools, EDC items or travel supplies. Adding to the appeal is its water-resistant and durable build, as well as a choice of carry options to suit changing needs.
Aer’s Sling Bag 2 brings sleek style and thoughtful organization to your gym carry. The clean aesthetics are complemented by a durable, water-resistant 1680D Cordura® ballistic nylon construction that will work just as hard as you do. The bag offers padded storage for a 13″ laptop, a ventilated shoe compartment, and additional pockets to keep smaller items accessible.
Sleek and tough, the Kadet is ideal for storing items such as a light outer layer, keys, wallet, tablet and small camera. Features such as daisy-chain loops and a padded rear U-lock holster provide options for carrying additional items, and the quick-release strap makes access convenient on the go. As an added bonus, the reliable build is guaranteed for life.
The compact Gregory Switch Sling is a functional and useful piece for carrying the essentials. The 5L volume holds a range of items such as a water bottle, wallet, phone, book and notebook. The vertical front pocket features an interior accessory sleeve and a key fob, while the wide-opening main compartment provides easy access to gear and also includes an interior divider sleeve. The strap can be configured to wear on either shoulder, and an exterior loop and lash strap provide storage for bulkier items if required.
With their savvy street style, rugged durability and everyday practicality, you’ll find yourself reaching for the MXD Notch Sling Bag and MXD Segment Sling Bag on weekdays and weekends alike. Both bags feature multiple pockets and storage compartments for rummage-free organization. Made with tough 1680D Ballistic Nylon, the bags come with a lifetime warranty and can be worn across the back or at the waist.
The Bellroy Sling offers a great balance of timeless, clean styling and easy access. A magnetic strap clasp allows you to quickly and easily secure or remove the bag. The front pocket and main compartment provide straightforward organization for essentials. And with its expandable gusset it accommodates larger loads but also self-compresses for compact carry with smaller setups..
The DSPTCH Waist Bag is designed to carry essentials in durable, low-key style. Made in the USA with water-resistant 1680D Ballistic Nylon, the bag features a padded tablet sleeve in the main compartment that fits up to a 10″ device. The front compartment features Fidlock magnetic closures for easy access to frequently used items while keeping them secure on the go. The Waist Bag is also backed by a lifetime guarantee, so you can feel confident it will take care of your carry for years to come.
The 15L Patagonia Stealth Atom Sling was designed with anglers in mind, but its adaptable design works well across a variety of everyday and travel needs too. Made with water-resistant Cordura ripstop fabric, the sling features plenty of organization options to keep gear tidy. The molded front pocket and top security pocket keep regularly used items at the ready. The main compartment offers multiple interior pockets including a waterproof pocket for a phone and camera. There’s also a strap pocket, exterior water bottle pocket and further attachment points for extra gear.
The Vertx EDC Transit Sling is a useful option for those wanting tactical functionality in their carry without overtly tactical aesthetics. The bag features multiple compartments designed to store a tablet or small laptop, as well as a weapon. A choice of interior pockets and a MOLLE-compatible front panel allow for customized gear setups to suit changing needs. And for added functionality the bag can be secured to rolling luggage using the passthrough back panel.
This lightweight and low-key sling is made by hand in Berlin, and suits both work and weekends away. The bag keeps up to an 11″ tablet or laptop safe and secure in a padded compartment with side access, while a front zipped pocket stores quick-access items within easy reach.
The Kodiak Gearslinger provides tactical functionality and spacious storage for everyday and travel use. The 22.6L bag fits up to a 15″ laptop, and opens wide for convenient access to the contents. This is a great option for users who appreciate lots of organization in their carry gear. A wide array of interior and exterior pockets combined with PALS webbing provides plenty of storage for keeping items tidy and within easy reach.
- Camera gear. Work tools. Travel essentials. Peak Design’s Everyday Sling (now available in 5L too) takes them all in stride with a highly versatile design that easily adapts to changing needs. FlexFold dividers enable customizable organization, while multiple pockets keep smaller items in order. The 10L Everyday Sling offers dedicated storage for up to a 13″ tablet or laptop, as well as exterior carry straps for bulkier items such as a tripod or umbrella. And if you need a little extra space, an expandable secondary compartment lets you stash an outer layer, snacks or other EDC essentials.
The Côte&Ciel Isarau Memory Tech Sling Bag offers a harmonious blend of chic aesthetics and practical design. Taking inspiration from traditional Japanese breastplate armor but ready to conquer modern carry needs, the bag can be worn across the chest, back or at the waist. It fits up to a 9.7″ tablet in the main compartment, with additional pockets to organize smaller items..
Durable and adaptable, the DSPTCH Slingpack lends itself to work, EDC and travel needs. Made in the USA with Ballistic Nylon, the bag fits up to a 15″ laptop within a padded sleeve in the main compartment. A concealed security pocket is handy for stashing valuables, while the front pocket is useful for storing quick-access items and includes interior organization to keep gear tidy while you roam.
The clean aesthetics of the Incase ICON Sling Pack makes it a stylish choice for work needs, while the versatile design extends to downtime and travel use too. The bag provides multiple pockets including padded storage for up to a 15″ laptop. The range of interior and exterior pockets, along with the wide-opening main compartment, lets you quickly and easily access items on the go. And with its adjustable cross-body strap and padded back panel you’ll stay comfy on the move too.
Elegantly functional, the Riss is inspired by traditional horseback archery quivers and can be worn across the back or over the shoulder. Made with water-repellent coated canvas, it’s a stylish piece for work and play environments alike. The bag fits up to a 13″ laptop or tablet in the main compartment, with two additional pockets for organization. This is a suave piece for the office, sightseeing on your travels, or carrying EDC in eye-catching style.
As the name suggests, this sling will appeal to users who appreciate a more tactical aesthetic in their carry gear. Built in the USA with tough Ballistic Nylon, the sling offers multiple exterior webbing attachment points and handy front and side quick-access pockets. The interior is large enough to fit A4 documents and extra items such as lunch and an outer layer. The main strap can be configured for left or right-side use, and the stabilizer strap helps keep the load secure when moving quickly on foot or by bike.
- *If you dug this guide, you might dig these too!