The minimalist approach is the way to go and this is why sling bags are currently all the rage. Not only do they sit comfortably across your shoulders, but they are also easy to access and often come with boatloads of nifty zipped compartments. This is why many students, travellers, and hikers are making the switch to stylish and accommodating sling packs. The best sling bags are ones that sit snug against the carrier and hang around one’s shoulders with ease, allowing freer movement and quick access to essentials while on the go. If you’re looking for a trendy yet practical bag, then you’ve arrived at the right place. We have curated a list of the 12 best sling packs found online and in stores. And if you simply can’t make up your mind, we urge you to refer to our Buyer’s Guide below which might help to give you the direction you’re looking for.
The Best Sling Bags
OutdoorMaster’s men’s small sling bag is suited for an assortment of lifestyles. Whether you are a cyclist who commutes to work and back, an avid hiker or a student who navigates his way through campus daily, this sleek and modern-looking bag will have your back – no pun intended! Made with water-resistant nylon and a reversible soft padded strap, this 12L crossbody sling bag oozes both style and practicality.
With 6 pockets in total, including a water-bottle holder on the side, OutdoorMaster has outdone itself with creating a spacious canvas sling bag that’s marked at a competitive price. Packed with smart storage features, this sling bag’s cherry on the top is a hidden anti-theft pocket in the front that discretely keeps your valuables safe from sticky fingers. Make sure you also check our guide to the best gym bags.
Can accommodate a laptop up to up to 12.5″ in size
Features a lightweight crossbody design
Includes an anti-theft pocket
Made from breathable fabrics
Accommodates left and right-handed carriers
- Weight1 pound
If you’re the type that always has a camera at hand, then you might find that this DSLR large sling pack to be more than just a convenience. Spacious enough to not only fit your camera but all of its hardware too, Incase has designed a durable multi-purpose travel bag that’s perfect for photographers and adventurers alike. With a large main compartment that features fully customizable dividers, you can carry your valuables knowing that they are sitting snug and safe along the way.
This DSLR sling bag has been cleverly engineered so that you can swing it around from your back to the front of your body with ease, giving you quick access to your belongings. And if you like a little swag to your bag, then you’ll find this model to be perfectly stylish – in a humble sort of way. The price, however, is not so modest.
Padded shoulder strap with quick release button
Mesh back panel for breathability
Crafted from interwoven yarns for colour variations
Accommodates multiple devices, even small laptops
If you’re over backpacks that follow the same monotonous design, then we’re ready to throw something new to the mix. Osprey’s Daylight Shoulder Sling takes on a unique shape that not only has an uncanny way of giving your back a delightful hug, but it also remains practical enough to take care of your most beloved possessions. And while most technical daypacks are priced well over £40, this stylish sling bag comes in at only £30 – it’s almost a steal!
A perfect bag for an active lifestyle, the Osprey sling pack is lightweight and with an anatomically-shaped shoulder strap, it’s superbly comfortable too! Available in 3 different colours, this bag remains versatile, durable and it comes loaded with pockets and clips which help to keep your “stuff” organised and easily accessible. Slightly on the small side for long hikes and overnight stays, this pack is better suited for light travels around the city or as a carry-on bag when catching flights. Our handy guide to the best waterproof backpacks features more great products like this.
Zippered front stretch mesh pocket
Interior mesh organizer and key clip
Shoulder strap is made from soft NeoSpacer mesh
Includes a handy harness pocket
Made from soft and durable materials
- Weight8 ounces
Go where you say? Anywhere. This ruggedly handsome men’s sling backpack has literally been designed to “have your back”. Drawing inspiration from military wear, the tactical Red Rock sling bag is perfect for the outdoorsman who needs to have a practical bag that he can rely on for being both accommodating and durable.
With 9 litres of total storage, an assortment of zipped pockets, and a roomy inner compartment, you’ll be able to fit all of your hiking, hunting, or camping survival essentials into this kit. Constructed from camo-coloured 600D Polyester, the Rover sling pack is the ideal candidate if you’re on the lookout for a bag that can aid in the most arduous adventures.
Ambidextrous shoulder strap
Shoulder strap includes a quick-release buckle
Includes a snap closure concealed carry sleeve
Rugged and durable construction
Multiple pockets, clips, and compartments
- BrandRed Rock Outdoor Gear
- Weight 1.4 pounds
A premium sling bag coming in at a premium price, the Patagonia Atom’s sleek design oozes style and sophistication. Whether you’re hiking through a mountain pass or commuting to class, this 8-litre tote is just big enough for all the essentials. Nifty features include a padded adjustable shoulder strap with a phone pocket, a padded tablet sleeve in the inner compartment, and a back panel for breathable ventilation.
The strategically engineered teardrop shape of the bag keeps the pack compactly positioned right behind your shoulders and the single-strap design allows you to rotate the Atom to the front for quick access. With a strong blend of water-resistant fabrics, the Atom sling bag is a mixture of comfort and convenience. You can use this bag as a college backpack as well.
Polyester body with a DWR coat
Soft-lined tablet sleeve and smartphone pocket
3D spacer mesh allows the fabric to breathe
Stretch-mesh pocket on the shoulder strap
- Weight10.2 ounces
If you’re a no-frills type of guy who prefers clear-cut luxury, then this sling style backpack for men might just “Peak” your interest. While this is a solid pack, it’s definitely pricey – although we have to agree that it matches its value for money. Peak’s Everyday Sling Bag is versatile enough to meet many different lifestyle requirements. The hammer hits the nail on the head, however, for being one of the more popular camera shoulder bags that’s appreciated by amateur and pro photographers alike.
Peak Design is renowned for creating products that are classy yet practical and the Everyday Sling continues to fit the bill. Roomy enough for cameras, tripods, tablets, and the likes, this comfy cross shoulder backpack is loaded with pockets and compartments which makes organising your belongings a dream – it also allows for quick access to the items you’re after! If you’re on the hunt for a low-profile carrying solution that will compliment the minimalist in you, then you’ve likely met your match.
10 litre interior volume
Lightning-fast strap adjusters
Side-loading main compartment
Fits DSLR/Mirrorless Body & 2-3 Lenses
Padded Touch-Fastening Flexfold Dividers
- BrandPeak Design
- Weight1.5 pounds
This one’s definitely been designed for the man’s man. Featuring a typical messenger bag design, the Retro canvas shoulder backpack is quality at its finest. With strong seams, durable and water-resistant fabrics, and PU Leather buckles; Leaper has created a bag that is likely to last a lifetime. With its superior features and stylish demeanour, we can hardly believe its extremely competitive price!
The only pitfall with this Leaper retro sling bag is its size. If you have it in mind to lug larger devices like laptops around, you might find yourself duly frustrated. For example, a 13-inch Macbook pro just barely fits into the largest inner compartment. If size is no issue, however, then we can highly commend this sling messenger bag for its rugged vintage design, its strong and reliable zipped pockets, and its comfort and ease of access. This is a perfect stylish backpack for you or your loved ones.
Made from soft and durable canvas
Multifunctional with lots of pockets
Includes an easily adjustable strap
Includes a top handle for hand carrying
Design features a lot of attention to detail
If you like to travel light with just the bare essentials, then the Kadet Nylon will be at your service. Featuring a smaller design aimed at a minimalist approach, this supreme sling bag for men is just big enough to fit a lightweight jacket, a tablet, your camera, your keys, and your wallet. If you’re looking for something a bit more accommodating, we suggest you continue to browse through our list of the top best sling bags.
While we cannot deny that this Chrome pack has been engineered with the most quality and durable materials, for its small size, the price is quite a bit to swallow. Saying this, we have to admit that this little critter does come with some awesome novelty features, like micro-compression loops that help to accommodate different load sizes, mountain loops for additional accessories, and a padded rear U-lock holster.
Abrasion-resistant 1,050 denier nylon construction
Strong YKK® zippers
9 litre capacity
Ergonomic padded shoulder strap
- Weight1.32 pounds
Modern, simplistic, and pragmatic. These were the words that came to mind when we first laid eyes on Keep Pursuing’s shoulder sling bag. Designed with “Everyday Adventure” in mind, this pack can be worn as comfortably skating down the promenade or navigating your bike through bumpy terrain as it could be walking to your local library.
With a seatbelt grade shoulder strap, secret pockets, and an utterly comfortable design, this 100% waterproof shoulder bag gets our thumbs up for being lightweight and discreet. Available in many other colour options apart from jet black, we are certain that there’s room for this compact and convenient sling bag in your life. As long as you don’t expect to carry too many items, it works great! Find more great products like this by checking out our best travel backpacks reviews.
Made from water-resistant Corder Nylon
Includes a secret compartment for valuables
Features zinc alloy hardware
Includes a minimalist design
- BrandKeep Pursuing
- Weight1 pound
Do you consider yourself to be a Digital Nomad? If you do then the Vertex EDC Transit sling bag could possibly make a great contribution to your lifestyle. With a massive 16 litre storage capacity, this tactical backpack is spacious enough to hold a laptop, a tablet, textbooks, stationery, a smartphone, your wallet, keys, and then some! This is one uniquely designed portable office!
When the time comes to escape the digital work and unwind in the wilderness, simply unpack your technical devices and load up with outdoor gear. Designed with Cordura Lite fabric, a spacer-mesh back panel for breathability, and a fully opening back compartment for full frontal coverage, the Vertx EDC Transit sling pack is built for professionals, hikers, and travellers alike.
Boasts leather trimmed elements
Modular webbing for accessory attachment points
Compatible with MOLLE and Tactigami
Internal vertical pockets and stalls
Covert, anti-snag front facing handle
- Weight2.6 pounds
If you’re looking for a cost-effective solution that still boasts quality features, then the Waterfly Crossbody sling bag is a viable option. Plainly appealing and ultralight, the practical teardrop design allows the bag to sit comfortably against your back as the ambidextrous padded strap rests snugly on your shoulder. Once it’s time to access your goods, simply press the quick-release buckle and Bob’s your uncle!
Although this model has an impressive 10 litre storage capacity, the shape makes it a bit awkward to store larger shaped items like laptops and bulky textbooks. If you’re looking for a comfortable fit for your daily commute or city tours, however, then the inner compartment will easily accommodate a jacket, a camera, a tablet, your wallet, and a few other essentials. Don’t forget to check our review of the best backpacks for work.
Smartphone compartment on the shoulder strap
Side mesh water bottle compartment
Quick-release YNS buckle
Includes a reflective strip
- Weight8.8 ounces
The Timbuk2 Delta is an impressive cross between a traditional backpack and a messenger bag. Worn across your chest or on your back, the key feature of this design is that your packed belongings are made easily accessible and are relatively safe from cutpurses. Equipped with two separate main compartments, each with a waterproof lining, you can keep your valuables in good condition as you journey through the wilderness, commute to work and back, or head off to your local grocery store.
Made using thick and durable Cordura nylon canvas material, the Delta Sling bag comes in an attractive assortment of colours, including olive green, jet black, and electric blue. Perhaps not the most fashionable model on the market, this cross-shoulder bag makes up for the lack in aesthetics with its practical elements; its affordability and its durable construction that promises a lifetime of wear.
Vista loop for attaching reflective bike lights
Rear zip pocket (can house a tablet)
Front pockets expand to accommodate bulkier items
Features a fully adjustable strap
Lightweight and durable
- Weight1.1 pounds
Sling Bag Buying Guide & FAQ
Features To Look For In Sling Bags
Use – While you might be attracted to a certain design, you have to ask yourself – “will it fit in with my lifestyle”? The bag you choose needs to match its use. Will you need to use it on a daily basis and if so, is wear and tear a concern? What do you intend on keeping in the bag and are inner divided compartments necessary? What else would come in handy for the sling bag’s intended purpose?
Size - Larger shoulder sling backpacks are best suited for hiking trips, business meetings, and overnight stays. Smaller more compact bags, on the other hand, are perfect for those who simply need to keep a light load and their hands free (think cyclists, festival-goers, and tourists).
Capacity – Daypacks like sling bags generally feature a capacity of 40 litres or less. Most of the bags on our list average a 10-litre capacity. This is because sling packs are generally associated with the “less is more” approach and lightweight and compacts designs tend to be more favourable.
Material – When it comes to what the pack is made of, you want to ensure that quality materials have been used in the construction. Whether you fancy a leather sling bag or are happy with blended fabrics, you need to be certain that the inner and outer lining is not going to be easily susceptible to wear and tear.
Compartments – How organised do you like to be? Compartments are great for packing your valuables in a way that gives you quick and easy access to what it is you’re looking for. Divisions also help to protect certain items from acquiring scratch and scuffs marks from other accompanying goods. It all comes down to the type of convenience you’re after.
Adjustability – Never underestimate the importance of adjustability. If you are left-handed then we are sure you will appreciate straps that can cater to your less common dominant side. Adjustability also leads to flexibility. Perhaps you want a bag that can sit comfortably across your chest as well as on your back. Or maybe you would like to adjust pocket sizes so that your goods don’t roll about. Essentially, the more adjustable features there are, the better.
Comfort – If your sling pack is going to become a partner in crime then comfort is key. A bag with a soft padded strap should be placed as a priority, for instance. And if you can’t stand a sweaty back, then opting for a bag with breathable fabric is another “must”. Ultimately, you want a bag that’s lightweight and sits snugly on your back and shoulders so that you forget it’s even there!
Water Resistance – If you spend a lot of time outdoors exposed to the elements, then you really want to consider a sling backpack that’s been engineered using waterproof or water-resistant fabrics.
Style – Some men like to follow the trends whilst others prefer the more practical approach. Luckily for you, our list of best sling bags features a blend of both usefulness and style.
Price – Oh, price! Always a deciding factor, right? Life requires that we stick to budgets. At Instash we aim to please, however, and you’ll be happy to discover that our curated list includes packs that come in at varying competitive prices all while keeping quality in mind.
Backpack VS. Messenger Bag VS. Sling Bag
It all comes down to personal preference, ease of use, and comfort. Backpacks are generally larger in size and are best suited for those who are embarking on lengthy hiking trips and other similar outings where the essentials add up. Messenger bags are currently quite trendy, but because your shoulder will bear the burden of weight, loading a messenger bag with heavy and bulky items could cause discomfort. Sling bags are great because they distribute the weight between your shoulder and back and don’t add unnecessary strain onto your spine. Sling packs do tend to be smaller than backpacks, however, and are better suited to shorter trips where fewer essentials are necessary.
Advantages Of Using A Sling Bag
The advantages of using a sling bag are as follows:
- They give you quick and easy access to your belongings.
- They tend to be more compact and lightweight than backpacks.
- They generally have better ergonomics than other bags.
- They are less hard on your shoulders.
- They are easy to manoeuvre.
- They don’t compromise on storage.
- They are very stylish.
Sling Bag FAQ
Q: Can I wear my sling bag in different ways?
A: Yes, definitely. There are typically three ways you can wear a sling bag, sometimes four. You can strap it around your shoulder so that it sits comfortably on your back, you can turn it so that it sits across your chest, or you can simply toss it over your shoulder so that it sits at your side. Smaller sling bags can also often be used as a makeshift fanny pack.
Q: My sling bag is always sliding off my shoulder. What should I do?
A: Firstly, we understand your frustration! Secondly, we do have a few solutions. The first thing you want to check is the adjustment on the strap. It could just be that the strap is too loose and needs to be adjusted so that it fits more snugly across your back or chest. If this still doesn’t do the trick, you could purchase non-slip tape and give that a go. If all else fails, we recommend that you contact the manufacturer for suggestions pertaining to your model.
Q: Are sling backpacks bad for my back?
A: Our backs are strong and can bear the burden of heavy loads, but all in moderation. If you carry a fully packed sling pack often, then your back will eventually start to strain. You can avoid back problems, however, by doing exercises that keep your back muscles in good shape. You can also swap shoulders or carry your sling bag on your chest to alleviate the pressure on your spine.