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3 Best Sling Bags to Accompany You on Your Travels (2023)

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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 and 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 this guide, we’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 three of the best sling bags on the market, each one addressing a specific need or audience.

Best Sling Bag

Top Pick

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Durable, unisex, and deploying several features for comfort, the Outdoor Master sling bag is a great choice for travel as it’s designed to be used both in urban and outdoor environments.

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 BagOutdoor Master Sling Bag
Best Sling Bag for WomenTravelon Anti-Theft Crossbody Bag
Best Rope Sling BagKavu Rope Sling Bag

Sling Bag Considerations

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 this type of bag 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 backpacks.

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 and 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, cords, 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 Bags for Travel

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

Best Overall Unisex Sling Bag

1 – Outdoor Master Sling Bag

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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.

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, 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, which 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 Women

2 – Travelon Anti-Theft Crossbody Bag

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If you’re a woman who travels frequently, safety is always something to take into consideration, no matter where you’re going.

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.

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.The 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 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 0.7 lbs, 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 first 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 Rope Sling Bag

3 – Kavu Rope Sling Bag

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Our final stop on our list takes us to the world-renowned Kavu and its 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.

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 its 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.

Best Sling Bags for Travel Summary

One final time, here’s my list of 3 of the best sling backpacks for travel. If you’re looking for a bag that gives you space without the bulk and with the freedom with the single strap, a sling bag may be a wise purchase for your travel attire.

Best Overall Sling BagOutdoor Master Sling Bag
Best Sling Bag for WomenTravelon Anti-Theft Crossbody Bag
Best Rope Sling BagKavu Rope Sling Bag

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Best Sling Bags to Accompany You on Your Travels

Author: Dale Johnson is a content writer and full-time digital nomad. He is passionate about the latest and most effective travel gear and tech, and is constantly improving his nomadic setup.

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