best sling bag

7 Best Sling Bag for Travel Picks (November 2019)

A sling bag hits that perfect middle ground between needing more than pockets or a wallet to carry items, but not needing a large, bulkier backpack because you’re on the go. Referred to as both a sling bag or a sling backpack, their excellent one strap design gives you storage without needing too much size or weight.

If you’re curious to find out more about the sling bag and want to learn more about some of the best bags on the market, you’ve come to the right place. In my guide, I’ll take you through what exactly defines a sling bag or sling backpack, and discuss whether it’ll be a perfect fit, or whether you may need something bigger. Then, we’ll take an in-depth look at my seven best sling bag for travel picks, each one addressing a specific need or audience.

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Quick Picks

Don’t have time to read the article? Then I’m sure my quick picks section will get you straight to the sling bag that best suits your needs with very little fuss or trouble!

Best Overall Sling BagOutdoorMaster Sling Bag
Best Sling Bag for MenNicgid Sling Bag for Men
Best Sling Bag for WomenTravelon Anti-Theft Crossbody Bag
Best Tactical Sling BagMeway Outdoor Tactical Sling Bag
Best Leather Sling BagTexbo Leather Crossbody Sling Bag
Best Camera Sling BagCADeN Camera Bag
Best Rope Sling BagKavu Rope Sling Bag

7 Best Sling Bag for Travel Picks

If you’re ready to roll, let’s take a closer look at my 7 best sling bag picks on the market, for travelers of all types.

Best Overall Sling Bag

1 – OutdoorMaster Sling Bag

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Summary
If you’re looking for a smart, durable, and lightweight sling backpack for a unisex traveler that doesn’t need to carry too much gear, the Outdoor Master sling backpack is an excellent place to start.

ProsCons
Its excellent metal clip ringed shoulder strap allows you to switch which shoulder you want to wear in on, helping with fatigue.If you carry a lot of tech, or a laptop larger than 12.5”, you will need something larger.
The quick-release clip allows you to take the bag off with ease, without the need to pull it over your head.You will have to purchase a key clip as an extra, as it doesn’t come with the bag.
The breathable ribbon mesh padding is a great feature and makes the bag comfortable to wear.Material is only water-repellent, so be careful when taking the sling backpack out in the rain.

What materials is it made from, and is it waterproof?
It’s made from a combination of breathable ribbon mesh on the back and shoulder straps, and a durable, lightweight material. The bag is water-repellent, but not waterproof.

What are the dimensions, its capacity, and its number of pockets?
At only 1lb, it’s a very lightweight sling backpack. The bag itself is 11.8” x 4” x 17.7” in size. Front-facing, you get three zippered compartments. This consists of the main compartment, a secondary smaller compartment, and a zippered pocket located on the front pouch.

In addition, you also get a bottle pocket on the left-hand side, a zippered strap pocket, and a zippered anti-theft pocket on the back. Size-wise, you’ll be able to fit a tablet or laptop inside of up to 12.5”, and in total, you get a capacity of 12L.

What design and comfort features does it have?
The adjustable shoulder strap is reversible, so it can be worn on either the left or right shoulder. The shoulder straps and back are padded with a breathable ribbon, that will decrease the chances of you sweating, and feel more comfortable against your skin. You get to pick from seven colors altogether.

Does it have any anti-theft features?
Located in the back panel, there’s a hidden zippered anti-theft pocket that’s perfect for storing small valuables, such as smartphones, cash, and cards.

Best Sling Bag for Men

2 – Nicgid Sling Bag for Men

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Summary
Although undoubtedly still a unisex bag, if you are a man looking for a light, yet durable, sling bag for casual day use and outdoor activities, Nicgid certainly have a bag that can tick the boxes.

ProsCons
The durable material and lightweight frame make it an excellent choice for people who need a comfortable bag for hiking and outdoor activities.Excellent as a daypack, but if you’re a commuter or carry a lot of tech, you’re going to need to pair this with something larger, such as a backpack.
Its versatile design allows the sling bag to be worn both across the chest and over the shoulder.Due to design, slightly easier for a left-handed person to access the pockets, compared to a right-handed person.
The bag has an excellent layout for a bag that’s so compact and is surprisingly roomy.

What materials is it made from, and is it waterproof?
The sling bag is composed of a very durable, tear-resistant nylon. This nylon is also water-resistant, so you will be able to wear this sling backpack with confidence if you get caught in the rain for a period of time. The shoulder strap is reinforced and padded for more comfort and durability.

What are the dimensions, its capacity, and its number of pockets?
For such a durable sling bag, its weight of only 0.6lbs is mightily impressive. Altogether, the bag covers an area of 7.1” x 0.8” x 14.5”. Noticeably smaller than some other bags on the market, don’t be fooled by the numbers along. With this sling backpack, you get your main zippered compartment, inside of which contains a smaller open pocket and another zippered pocket.

Another zippered pocket can be found on the front, while a hidden anti-theft pocket exists on the back to store valuables and cash. At most, you’ll have room to store a tablet, such as an iPad Mini, of up to 9.7”.

What design and comfort features does it have?
The shoulder strap is fully adjustable, and with the ability to be worn as either a chest-pack or an over-the-shoulder bag, its design is very flexible. Padding to the shoulder strap and the comfortable nylon exterior add to the comfort. In all, you get seven colors and designs to choose from.

Does it have any anti-theft features?
There is a hidden anti-theft pocket located on the back of the sling backpack, which is perfect for hiding away valuables.

Best Sling Bag for Women

3 – Travelon Anti-Theft Crossbody Bag

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Summary
If you’re a woman who travels frequently, safety is always something to take into consideration, no matter where you’re going to. With the Travelon Anti-Theft Crossbody Bag, you can strike a welcome balance between style, storage, and a range of anti-theft features, unlike many other sling bags on the market.

ProsCons
An excellent array of anti-theft features means you can travel with this sling bag, knowing you’re protected against plenty of techniques employed by thieves.With so many anti-theft features, it’s a shame a zipper couldn’t be applied to the two open-pouch pockets for full protection.
An excellent selection of compartments allows you to carry a wide range of different items.Due to its size, closer to a large purse than a bag. If you need to carry larger items, such as a laptop, be mindful that you will have to purchase something larger.
Very lightweight for the storage options you get and comes with fifteen design and color options.Sling bag is not waterproof, so be mindful of this if you take it out in heavy rain.

What materials is it made from, and is it waterproof?
It’s is made from an easy-clean fabric, which runs the length of a slash-resistant mesh frame. The sling bag, however, is not waterproof, so be mindful of this.

What are the dimensions, its capacity, and its number of pockets?
Altogether, the sling bag is 12” x 14.5” x 1.5”, which gives you room to pack an array of items for day and casual use. It weighs only 0.7lbs, so it is lightweight to carry. Inside the main zippered compartment, you get two pen pouches, five RFID block card and passport pouches, two open pouches, and the main compartment itself. Below the zippered compartment, you also get two open-flap pouches. Despite its size, this bag is deceivingly spacious and can accommodate a wide range of items.

What design and comfort features does it have?
The shoulder strap is clipped and locked tightly and is fully adjustable. This allows you to set the sling bag at a height and position that best suits you. No strangers to travel gear with a lashing of style, this sling bag comes in a range of fifteen designs, combining both classic colors with patterned interiors.

Excellent for finding a great balance between function and style in your travel attire. It also comes with an excellent built-in LED light, so you can see your items despite the darkness.

Does it have any anti-theft features?
This is where the bag truly excels. With Travelon’s five-point anti-theft system, you firstly get a lockdown zipper for the main compartment. Secondly, you get a lockdown strap, which will stop thieves from unclipping your bag and making a dash for it.

Made from a slash-resistant mesh, both the strap and body of the sling bag are slash-resistant. And finally, you get five RFID block pockets inside the main compartment. This will protect you against elusive thieves with card skimmers.

Best Tactical Sling Bag

4 – Meway Outdoor Tactical Sling Bag

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Summary
If you’re looking for a sturdy, versatile sling bag that can handle the great outdoors, Meway’s Outdoor Tactical Sling Bag has a great range of features and is very lightweight for a bag with such durability.

ProsCons
Its storage features and number of compartments give you plenty of storage space for a sling bag of its size.Due to its sheer number of accessories, it’s not the most inconspicuous of sling bags. It’s suited more for hiking and outdoor use than everyday use.
The durable fabric, high strength buckle, dual zipper closure, and Molle system design, all fuse to make this a tough, durable sling bag to take on outdoor terrain.Lacks the anti-theft features of other sling bag picks on the market.
The adjustable and switchable strap allows you to wear it on either shoulder.Water-resistant, not waterproof, so be mindful of this when you take it outdoors.

What materials is it made from and is it waterproof?
Meway’s versatile and rugged tactical sling backpack is made from durable 600D polyester fabric, making it both lightweight and very strong. The Oxford fabric is water-resistant, but not waterproof. Will work great in rugged outdoor terrain, but not submerged underwater.

What are the dimensions, its capacity, and its number of pockets?
You get an impressive range of storage from its 7.1” x 5.1” x 11” size. With a capacity of 7L and only 0.5lbs in weight, few on the market can compete with this tactical sling bag when it comes to weight to volume ratio. All-in-all, the tactical sling backpack consists of, firstly, a main internal zippered compartment, with several pockets and pouches.

Also, you get a front zippered compartment, a front zippered pocket, and a padded back pocket to hold additional items. For a sling bag of its size, it holds its own when it comes to capacity.

What design and comfort features does it have?
The strap is expertly designed, using two clips to allow you to switch between left and right shoulder, depending on your preference and body shape. A velcro strap on the rear allows the strap to be used as a handbag, and the handle is heavily padded for a comfortable hold. Molle system straps on the front and side also allow you to attach a number of accessories and additional pockets, should you see fit to do so.

Does it have any anti-theft features?
There aren’t specific anti-theft features on the tactical sling backpack, but it does have reinforced features for protection. The high strength buckle and dual zipper closure keep the sling bag compact and sealed tight.

Best Leather Sling Bag

5 – Texbo Leather Crossbody Sling Bag

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Summary
If you want a sleek, leather sling bag that strikes a great balance between functionality and style, Texbo and their leather cross-body sling bag is a great pick for someone looking to travel with an everyday use sling bag.

ProsCons
Fashionable and stylish with its genuine leather makeup, and a great addition to your everyday or business traveler gear.At 1.76lbs, it’s not the lightest sling bag on the market.
Texbo offers this sling bag in four different sizes, so you have several options to find a sling bag at a capacity that works best for you.Unlike some other sling bags, there isn’t a focus on anti-theft features.
The genuine water-resistant leather and high-quality metal buckles, clips and zippers, make this a durable sling bag to accompany its stylish appearance.In terms of price, it’s on the higher end, due to the use of leather and high-quality metal in its construction.

What materials is it made from, and is it waterproof?
This gorgeous leather sling backpack is made from genuine full-grain cowhide leather and is available only in black. The leather is water-resistant, allowing you to take this sling bag out in the rain.

What are the dimensions, it’s capacity, and its number of pockets?
With this stylish sling bag, you get dimensions of 8.5” x 3.5” x 15” and a weight of 1.76lbs. Texbo also has a smaller version at 6.7” x 2.7” x 13” if you want something a little smaller, and two smaller coffee versions of the sling bag also.

Altogether, you get two zippered compartments in the main compartment, one front zippered pocket, and one zippered pocket at the back. Capacity-wise, you’ll be able to fit a table of up to 9.7” inside the sling bag.

What design and comfort features does it have?
The adjustable cross-body strap has a release clip and can be worn in a variety of positions, over either shoulder. Along with the stylish leather exterior, you also get durable metal buckles and holding clips and high-quality metal zippers.

Does it have any anti-theft features?
There are no specific anti-theft features on this sling backpack. However, the adjustable and releasable strap allows you to carry the sling bag in a range of positions.

Best Camera Sling Bag

6 – CADeN Camera Bag

Summary
Traveling with your camera can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially if you travel with a lot of expensive units and gear. If you’re looking specifically for a sling bag that’s built to hold the bulkier, more irregular shape of a camera and its parts, look no further than CADeN’s camera sling bag.

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ProsCons
Gives your camera an excellent level of protection without having to purchase a larger, heavier carry-case or rucksack.Heavier than many sling bags on the market, due to the padding. Only purchase this if you’re serious about photography and carry expensive gear with you when traveling.
The strap is comfortable and is adjustable up to 53”, which gives you plenty of fabric and length to find a perfect fit for you.While the tripod straps are a great feature, they do leave your tripod exposed to knocks, which could cause potential damage.
Deceiving in all it can carry. It looks like a simple sling bag, but the excellent strap and side pocket design give you plenty of storage options.Make sure you compare the sling bag measurements to your camera body and equipment. Larger camera bodies, and hence the add-ons, may struggle to fit in.

What materials is it made from, and is it waterproof?
The exterior is made from water-resistant, high-density nylon. Inside, your camera and gear will be padded between a thick wall of comfortable, three-layer honeycomb nylon. Breathable shockproof mat also lines the back and strap, making it a well-padded bag that’s easy on the skin.

The camera sling backpack also comes with a rain cover. With that, and the water-resistant nylon, you’ll have peace of mind for those moments you get caught out in the rain or a heavy downpour.

What are the dimensions, its capacity, and its number of pockets?
The sling bag itself is 12.2” x 4.7” x 9.4” and weighs 1.53lbs. Admittedly slightly heavier than other sling backpacks, this is due to the 18mm thickness of layered, shockproof padding inside. The extra weight is worth it to keep your camera protected.

The sling backpack, while looking pretty simple, comes with a few storage tricks up its sleeve. In the main compartment, you can assemble the area as you like using two single-wall paddings and one foldable padding for your camera body. On the sides, you have two zippered pouches to hold your lenses, with one of the doors housing pockets for memory and SD cards.

At the base, you have a pair of clip straps to hold your folded tripod, and the flap of the main compartment also has pockets for small electronics, such as a smartphone. A tablet, such as a Mini iPad, of up to 7.9” could also fit inside.

What design and comfort features does it have?
Heavily padded, the breathable mat feels soft and comfortable against your shoulders and skin. The adjustable strap gives you up to 53” of length, allowing you to find the perfect position for your sling bag.

Does it have any anti-theft features?
Designed more for protection than anti-theft, the three-buckle design will provide you, however, with more protection than a simple zippered sling bag.

Best Rope Sling Bag

7 – Kavu Rope Sling Bag

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Summary
Our final stop on our list takes us to the world-renowned Kavu and their excellent rope bag range. If you want a bag that’s lightweight, stylish, and great to grab-and-go for the busy traveler, you’re in for a treat with this pick.

ProsCons
Lightweight and easy-to-use, this is a great purchase for a traveler who needs a compact, lightweight bag for everyday use.In terms of storage, there are bags on the market with more compartments and more space to utilize.
The eye-opening, jaw-dropping range of colors and designs means you can travel with a bag that bursts with personality.With no anti-theft features and such a vibrant array of colors and designs, you could be more of a target in airports and crowded places.
The rope sling design is comfortable and versatile, while very easy to pull over either shoulder.

What materials is it made from, and is it waterproof?
The bag is made from 11-ounce 600D polyester. This makes it both a durable and water-resistant bag and perfect for outdoor activities.

What are the dimensions, its capacity, and its number of pockets?
At 20” x 11” x 3” and a mightily impressive 0.25lbs in weight, you’ve got a bag that’s both spacious and comfortable to wear for a crossbody bag. All-in-all, you have two zippered main compartments, either side of the center, and two external compartments to hold smaller items, such as cards and a smartphone.

What design and comfort features does it have?
With an 18” shoulder drop and the classic rope sling design, you can comfortably wear this bag on either shoulder, in a variety of positions.

Design-wise, this is where Kavu come into their own. Their rope bag range comes with a whopping selection of vibrant, colorful, and striking designs. If you want a bag that fizzes with energy and sparkles with style, you’ll struggle to find another range with such an eclectic and fabulous array of designs to choose from.

Does it have any anti-theft features?
There are no specific anti-theft features on this bag.

Sling Bag Basics

best sling bag

If you’re new to sling bags, or a little curious as to why you’d buy one over conventional types of bags or rucksacks, my breakdown below should give you a little more insight into what they do and where they could come in handy.

What is a Sling Bag?

Very simply, the sling bag is defined by its singular strap, contrary to the double strap design adopted by rucksacks and backpacks. The single strap allows more freedom in the way the bag is carried because the strap can be maneuvered across the shoulder, allowing the bag to rest along the back, or the side, depending on preference.

Some sling bags also have a detachable strap, allowing you to change the shoulder over which you sling it. Because of their design and the way they are carried, they are pretty much always smaller than backpacks, in both physical size and capacity.

Do these bags go by other names?

You will also see these types of bags referred to as a sling backpack or a crossbody bag. All three utilize the one strap design, although the name will often refer more to the body of the bag. For example, a sling backpack may look more like a conventional backpack in appearance.

It’s also common to see a bag be called two, or even all, of these names, often to emphasize versatility and for SEO purposes in product descriptions. If it has a singular strap, it will fall into this category of backpack.

For women, it’s worth noting that a sling purse can also be categorized under the same umbrella. Sling purses combine the width and backpack like strap, with the often more rectangular body of a purse.

When should I choose a sling bag over a conventional backpack?

As mentioned at the top of the article, a sling backpack fills that gap between needing a bag to carry a handful of items, but also wanting something lightweight that’s easier to carry. The design of these bags and their capacity mean they are much lighter than backpacks, and far less rigid on your shoulders and back.

However, at no point should you see a sling bag as a replacement for a two-strap backpack. Buying this type of bag isn’t just buying a backpack with one strap instead of two. Sling backpacks are only large enough to carry a small number of items, and often no electronic devices larger than 9.7” at most.

If you were traveling with a laptop, chords, and other tech, you would still need a spacious backpack. If you were, for example, taking a trip to visit some waterfalls, and just wanted to take a camera, phone, wallet or purse, and a bottle of water, then that’s where a sling bag can be a perfect choice. You get enough capacity for your items, without the bulk and rigid hold of a backpack. This is where the ‘sling’ in the name comes from, because you, quite literally, sling these bags over one shoulder.

Best Sling Bag Picks Summary

One final time, here’s my list of 7 best sling backpack for travel picks. If you’re looking for a bag that gives you space without the bulk, and freedom with the single strap, a sling bag may be a wise purchase for your travel attire.

Best Overall Sling BagOutdoorMaster Sling Bag
Best Sling Bag for MenNicgid Sling Bag for Men
Best Sling Bag for WomenTravelon Anti-Theft Crossbody Bag
Best Tactical Sling BagMeway Outdoor Tactical Sling Bag
Best Leather Sling BagTexbo Leather Crossbody Sling Bag
Best Camera Sling BagCADeN Camera Bag
Best Rope Sling BagKavu Rope Sling Bag

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