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Our Favorite Sling Bags Tested and Reviewed

last updated Feb 24, 2019
Not only are sling bags a stylish alternative to backpacks and messenger bags, they also provide easy access on the go, are lightweight, and provide more storage than a purse or wallet. We looked at various sling bag options to come up with our favorite picks and narrowed down our final picks based on their overall comfort, durability, capacity, features, and value. On this list, you’ll find a variety of options including budget sling bags, tactical style slings, and water resistant options.

The difference between sling bags and other bags is that they have one strap that sits over the body to evenly distribute the weight. Our Favorite list of sling bags features the best options currently available. We hope you enjoy our list and find your next sling bag.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 11 hrs of research

icon
Waterfly
93.8/100 our score
Comfort
95
Capacity
90
Durability
97
Features
93
Value
94
Waterfly
Why is it better?

Lightweight

Lots of pockets

Affordable

Several color options

Durable

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Waterfly
Test Winner: Waterfly
Researched Sources
9
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1200
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
11
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
14
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
Avatar
By EJ Callanan:

With this update, we added two new products to this buying guide, the Maxpedition Sitka Gearslinger, and the Meru Sling Bag. The Maxpedition is great for outdoor uses such as hiking as well as for an EDC for tactical personnel such as police officers and paramedics. The Meru is a cool stylish option that's available in 16 different colors and styles and is also very handy and functional.

Sorting Options
Comfort Capacity Durability Features Value By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.8
Comfort
95%
Capacity
90%
Durability
97%
Features
93%
Value
94%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$16.99
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.6
Comfort
95%
Capacity
88%
Durability
93%
Features
95%
Value
87%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$93.30
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.8
Comfort
89%
Capacity
87%
Durability
90%
Features
94%
Value
84%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$60.00
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.4
Comfort
86%
Capacity
83%
Durability
91%
Features
82%
Value
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$19.99
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.2
Comfort
80%
Capacity
79%
Durability
90%
Features
85%
Value
87%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$99.99
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.2
Comfort
89%
Capacity
75%
Durability
80%
Features
80%
Value
87%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.6
Comfort
81%
Capacity
84%
Durability
85%
Features
70%
Value
88%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$15.99
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
79.8
Comfort
81%
Capacity
72%
Durability
76%
Features
85%
Value
85%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$32.89
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
76.2
Comfort
85%
Capacity
71%
Durability
80%
Features
70%
Value
75%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$87.68
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
74.8
Comfort
72%
Capacity
70%
Durability
70%
Features
83%
Value
79%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$53.14
In Depth Review Top 10
  • Waterfly
  • Maxpedition Sitka Gearslinger
  • Under Armour Compel 2.0
  • OutdoorMaster
  • 11 Tactical RUSH Moab 10
  • KAVU
  • CARQI
  • Meru
  • Patagonia Atom
  • Spiderwire
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

Our Favorite Sling Bags

1. Waterfly

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.8
Waterfly
Comfort
95
Capacity
90
Durability
97
Features
93
Value
94
best offer for today
$16.99
Pros:

Lightweight

Lots of pockets

Affordable

Several color options

Durable

Cons:

Strap may loosen as you wear

This sling bag is really lightweight and has lots of storage options. It's highly affordable and comes in lots of color options.

Read more

Comfort

This one has an adjustable shoulder strap that has extra padding for additional comfort.

Durability

This sling bag is made of Frigostable soft Nylon and has Reinforced Bartack to make it durable.

Pockets

It has lots of pockets and even has a compartment for your tablet.

Pricing

This one is super affordable and comes in lots of color options.

2. Maxpedition Sitka Gearslinger

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.6
Maxpedition Sitka Gearslinger
Comfort
95
Capacity
88
Durability
93
Features
95
Value
87
best offer for today
$93.30
Pros:

Durable

Lots of pockets for organization

Padded laptop compartment

Comfortable

Hydration bladder compatible

Cons:

Can't carry very heavy things

This is a really cool option for people who are into tactical type gear. Its style is somewhat militaristic, and it's built tough from 1000 denier nylon. There are lots of pockets for organizing your things, and it has a padded laptop pocket with closed-cell foam for protection against shocks and impacts. It even has the ability to carry a 100 oz. hydration bladder. Users loved the design and functionality but like most sling bags it's not good with carrying a lot of weight and it's one of the most expensive options on our list.

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Comfort

Users found this to be easy to wear for extended periods of time, so long as you don't overload it. Around 6 pounds seems to be the maximum weight before it starts to be noticeable and annoying to wear. An important note is that it can only be worn over the left shoulder, but the company offers a different model, the Sitka S type, which is the same product but with the strap designed to be worn over the right shoulder.

Capacity

It has a 15-liter total volume. Basically, there's enough room for a laptop or notebook, a compact jacket or windbreaker, and several small items. If you want to carry a ton of stuff a regular backpack is probably a better choice.

Durability

This company is known for its tough products and this one lives up to that reputation. For the most part, it is very long lasting, although we did find one review that complained of a couple of the plastic buckles breaking after a year of use.

Features

It has a specially padded laptop sleeve and internal pockets with lots of separation for organizing your gear. It is also triple coated with polyurethane for water resistance and can carry a 100 oz. hydration bladder. The internal seams are taped for further protection against the elements.

Value

This is the most expensive product on our list, but due to its durability, versatility, and thoughtful design, we didn't find many instances of users regretting the price they paid.

3. Under Armour Compel 2.0

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.8
Under Armour Compel 2.0
Comfort
89
Capacity
87
Durability
90
Features
94
Value
84
best offer for today
$60.00
Pros:

Breathable

Lightweight

Comfortable

Laptop sleeve

Adjustable padded strap

Versatile

Side water bottle pockets

Water resistant

Cons:

Expensive

Some users wish it had more pockets

This bag is super lightweight, comfortable and adjustable. It is made of 100% polyester and comes at an average price.

Read more

Comfort

This bag's adjustable heatgear padded strap has extra padding for maximum comfort.

Durability

This bag employs UA storm technology to repel water and it is water-resistant all around.

Pockets

This one has lots of storage pockets and also come with a lined pocket sleeve for your laptop.

Pricing

This awesome bag comes at an above average price that is well worth the investment.

4. OutdoorMaster

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.4
OutdoorMaster
Comfort
86
Capacity
83
Durability
91
Features
82
Value
90
best offer for today
$19.99
Pros:

Fits plenty of stuff

Quality construction

Customizable shoulder strap 

Lightweight 

Comfortable padded shoulder strap

Air mesh components help with breathability 

Nice aesthetic

Cons:

Dark interior makes it tough to find what you're looking for

A unisex crossbody backpack at a super affordable price. It comes in four different color options and the strap position can be swapped to suit the preferences of different users. The compact bag can fit plenty and works well for both travel and casual use.

Read more

Comfort

The shoulder strap is padded to ensure comfort for the wearer. The wide strap won't dig into your shoulder and it can be swapped over to the other side depending on whether the wearer is right or left handed. The strap and rear of the bag also feature components that ventilate. It's small enough to tote around comfortably but is large enough to be practical.

Durability

The company stands behind their bag with a 6-month guarantee. The lightweight material is sturdy but doesn't weigh everything down.

Pockets

The bag has one main pocket to fit all your stuff. The bag is spacious without being overly bulky. You can fit a device of up to 12-inches inside. Also included is a hidden pocket for things like bank cards, money, keys, and jewelry. There's also a water bottle sleeve to ensure your drink of choice is always within reach.

Pricing

For such a durable bag, it's super inexpensive. It's a really nice bag for the price. It has plenty of pockets, enough room for the necessities, and looks good, too.

5. 11 Tactical RUSH Moab 10

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.2
11 Tactical RUSH Moab 10
Comfort
80
Capacity
79
Durability
90
Features
85
Value
87
best offer for today
$99.99
Pros:

Heavy duty construction

Fits nicely around the body

Strap can be moved from right to left

Quality zippers that won't break

Room for a hydration pouch 

Cons:

Easy to overfill, which can get a bit uncomfortable with a single strap 

No water bottle holder 

A little heavy 

Our second overall choice for best sling bag is this tactical style model. It comes in four colors and can be attached to other Moab brand packs as an addition. Of course, it can also be used on its own. The shoulder strap positioning can be swapped and the bag also features a pocket for a hydration bladder.

Read more

Comfort

The well-padded strap can be switched over depending on the user's preference but it's also super easy to overpack this bag. It's large and can get heavy if packed to the brim so keep that in mind. Overall, though, reviewers found it quite comfortable.

Durability

The bag is made of sturdy nylon and reviewers pointed out that the bag's stitching was quality stuff. Even when overpacked, the bag holds together and after months of use, users didn't spy any significant wear.

Pockets

There are plenty of places to stash your stuff in this bag. Lots of pockets in the front and side of the bag afford options for stashing whatever you need. The main compartment is roomy. It carries plenty and can easily be used for whole day trips hiking or walking around. There's even a hydration pocket to fit a bladder for longer treks.

Pricing

Although it's at the pricier end of the spectrum, you definitely get plenty for your money. The bag is super durable, looks good, and provides a lot of space. Both the bag's material and zippers are good quality and won't easily fail.

6. KAVU

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.2
KAVU
Comfort
89
Capacity
75
Durability
80
Features
80
Value
87
best offer for today
more shops
Pros:

Great size

Comfortable to wear

Easy to clean

Water resistant

Attractive design with many options

Cons:

Some found the color swatches were a bit off

This bag comes in an array of colors to fit a multitude of personalities. It's made of thick polyester that won't tear easily and can fit nearly 11L of stuff inside. It's perfect for the adventurer who wants a solid and stylish bag for city wandering or an afternoon at the beach.

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Comfort

The bag is designed to fit the body properly so there isn't any annoying slipping of shoulder straps or bouncing around. The strap is adjustable for exactly this purpose. The back of the back features padding so the bag never feels hard and uncomfortable when worn.

Durability

The bag is made of thick polyester so it can handle everyday use. The rope strap is also particularly durable.

Pockets

The bag has two internal compartments for main storage and two smaller zippered pockets to fit smaller items like change or lip balm.

Pricing

This bag is priced moderately and fairly. It provides the user with plenty of room and also features a stylish rope strap design. The modern design allows users to use the bag for most casual situations.

7. CARQI

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.6
CARQI
Comfort
81
Capacity
84
Durability
85
Features
70
Value
88
best offer for today
$15.99
Pros:

Compact sizing with useful interior compartments

Comfortable ergonomic design

Water repellent fabric

Lightweight 

Inexpensive 

Well-made 

Cons:

Bag strap cannot swap directions 

This sling bag is a budget option for those not wanting to spend too much on a daypack. The bag comes in multiple colors, features a well-designed interior, and is well-constructed so that it offers both comfort and practicality for users.

Read more

Comfort

The bag is fairly lightweight so it won't weigh the wearer down. The straps are comfortable and padded and they can be tightened as desired. They can also be adjusted depending on the user's body size and type.

Durability

Oh, you thought a low price would mean poor quality? Not so here. The bag is one of the only waterproof options on this list and the nylon fabric that covers the bag is rip-resistant. All this makes the bag a perfect option for plenty of activities, especially outdoor ones.

Pockets

The interior of this bag is super organized. Four inner compartments hold all that you need to tote around. The biggest area in the interior can fit electronic devices up to 9.7-inches.

Pricing

One of the lowest priced sling bags on this list the bag is surprisingly useful, roomy, and durable. Reviewers were impressed with the quality they got for the price they paid.

8. Meru

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
79.8
Meru
Comfort
81
Capacity
72
Durability
76
Features
85
Value
85
best offer for today
$32.89

This is a cool, stylish option that's very functional and comes in 16 different colors and designs so you can choose which look you like best. The memory foam strap makes it very comfortable to wear and it has a padded pocket for a tablet or phone. The company offers a 6-month replacement warranty in case something happens. Some users felt it was smaller than they were expecting, but with an 8.5-liter capacity, we think it's just right for carrying the essentials around town.

Read more

Comfort

The memory foam strap makes it easy to wear for long periods of time. Not many complaints in this department.

Capacity

It will hold up to 8.5 liters of volume. Some users expected it to be larger, but the size is clearly marked in the description. It's a good size for carrying the essentials but if you need to carry a lot of things or a computer there are better options.

Durability

We did find some instances of problems with the stitching and zippers. The company offers a 6-month replacement guarantee however in case of any such issues.

Features

The memory foam strap for comfort is a big draw for people, and we also like the padded compartment for your devices. It also has a water bottle holder. One drawback is that there aren't really any internal dividers for organizing your gear.

Value

Most users were happy with the price they paid. It's not very expensive but has a good amount of functionality, especially for the price.

9. Patagonia Atom

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
76.2
Patagonia Atom
Comfort
85
Capacity
71
Durability
80
Features
70
Value
75
best offer for today
more shops
$87.68
Pros:

Water resistant construction

Good compact bag for small items

Well-padded straps and rear

Mesh for breathability 

Nice quality zippers 

Cons:

Strap is a bit thinner than some would have liked 

Exterior pocket is very small 

A high-quality sling bag option that's lightweight and roomy. It has a place for your water bottle and comes in three good-looking color choices. It won't fit a laptop, but it's a great little bag for carrying small essentials.

Read more

Comfort

The bag features comfortable straps that don't build up heat since they are lined with mesh. The bag can easily be worn as a sling or tighter to the chest. The strap doesn't need to be frequently adjusted which reviewers appreciated. The back of the bag is also padded.

Durability

For the price, this bag is made of good quality materials that won't easily degrade. Reviewers were impressed with how well-made the bag seemed when they first got it. The zippers are not the most impressive but reviewers noted that they did not catch or get stuck easily.

Pockets

The bag can fit most small essentials thanks to its two main zippered compartments. It's not the biggest bag, though, so be aware of this before purchasing. It's a great option for those seeking to replace a purse. Or who want a sportier option to fit their wallet and keys for outdoor activities. It'll force over packers to think about what they're stowing away in their bag.

Pricing

The bag is inexpensive but has plenty of features for the price point. It can store the necessities, features a sleek design, and won't break down easily. The fabric looks and feels thick enough to handle frequent use.

10. Spiderwire

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
74.8
Spiderwire
Comfort
72
Capacity
70
Durability
70
Features
83
Value
79
best offer for today
$53.14
Pros:

Comfortable straps

Lots of storage space and pockets

Super durable

Some inner pockets are waterproof

Well-priced 

Cons:

Bag moves a bit more than some liked making it unsuitable for long distance hiking

Fit for Halloween or for those who want to stand out from the rest, this bag features a neat spider web design on an all-black background. Made for fishermen and women, it's built with quality fabric, is suitable for both righties and lefties, and fits plenty of stuff. It even comes with a tackle box.

Read more

Comfort

The shoulder strap comes with padding and can be worn on the right or left side. It's not super heavy so it won't dig into your body. It's large enough to fit plenty without being a burden to carry.

Durability

Reviewers consistently noted that the bag was well made and pointed to the high-quality of even the zippers to back up their observations. Inside the bag, you'll even find waterproof pockets that keeps smaller items dry. The design is rugged enough to be taken outdoors for activities like fishing and kayaking.

Pockets

The bag has plenty of space for stuff. There's even a compartment for sunglasses that's lined with fleece for protection. Outside the bag, you'll find different pockets outfitted with zippers.

Pricing

The moderate price tag is more than fair considering that you get a tackle box with your purchase and plenty of room for other items. Overall, reviewers were impressed with the quality of the bag they received for the price.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Comfort

One of the main considerations when purchasing a bag is whether it’s actually comfortable to haul around. A sling bag is probably one of the more comfortable bags to wear. The cross body strap helps to distribute some of the bag’s weight evenly so the strap doesn’t dig into your shoulder. If you’re particularly concerned about comfort, look for a bag that has padded straps and a padded back so nothing in your bag uncomfortably pokes at you. Look for adjustable straps, too, so you can tighten and adjust the bag as required. Overall, a sling bag shouldn’t bounce around too much and should fit snugly against your body so you can wear it hands-free.

Capacity

How much stuff can a sling bag hold? Most of the bags on this list are meant to carry just the essentials but some can hold small laptops or tablets. A few are large enough for school books, as well. Think about what you carry on a daily basis to figure out whether a bag will hold enough of your stuff. Generally, sling bags tend to be smaller than regular backpacks or tote bags. Many people find that a sling style bag encourages them to think harder about what they’re carrying around. The smaller size forces users to carefully consider their packing choices.

Durability

Look for tough materials that are either water repellent or resistant. Thick nylon fabric is a good option as it won’t easily rip. Look for bags with a quality liner. If a bag lacks a liner, you’ll know right away that it’s lower in quality. If you’re looking at a zippered bag, test those zippers beforehand. Plastic zippers are prone to breaking and snapping off so opt for metal ones instead. If your chosen bag has a liner make sure the liner doesn’t have any frayed edges which may cause your zipper to get stuck.

Features

Pockets and other features are super important when it comes to sling bag storage and functionality. The whole point of wearing a sling bag is to be able to easily get to essential items like your wallet or phone. If your bag only has one big compartment, accessing your keys and pocket change is going to be a bit of a pain. We looked for sling bags with a good amount of main storage space but also bags that provided plenty of secondary storage space. Most of the bags on this list feature exterior zippered pockets so you can grab your phone or ID quickly. Some bags even have hidden pockets for keeping your valuables safe. Some of the fancier models have very organized interior compartments that let you divide up your stuff so it’s easier to find when you need it.

Value

It's no surprise that price and overall value was a consideration for our evaluation of the sling bags on this list and how we chose them. Most folks will purchase sling bags to replace or act as a secondary purse. Some use these bags occasionally for outdoor activities or walks around town. They’re not necessarily a luxury item so it’s not likely that someone would want to spend a lot of money on this type of bag. There are a few premium bags on this list made for tactical purposes but most of the bags, even the most fashionable, are very affordable.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

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What's your need?

Depending on whether you're a police officer, paramedic, student, daily commuter, or hunter, you'll have different needs for a sling bag and should shop accordingly. Whatever path you choose there is a sling bag designed specifically to fit your needs. Our #2 product, the Maxpedition Sitka Gearslinger, is great for police and paramedics because of all of the pockets and gear separation options.

Loading it up?

If you are utilizing your sling bag in a capacity that requires extra weight, consider selecting a style with an added waist strap to assist in distributing the weight and securing it to your body.

Other Factors to Consider

Water Resistance

If you’ll be using your bag primarily outdoors, look for one whose covering material is water repellent, resistant, or waterproof fabric. Be careful to distinguish between water resistant and waterproof. You can’t stand out in the rain with a water-resistant bag but it won’t soak through as easily as other materials.

Adjustability

Most of the bags on this list have removable straps that can be converted for right or left-handed users. If you want to be able to swap the positioning of your bag, make sure the model you choose can do this. A few models don’t have this capability, so make sure the strap orientation works for you. Some bags can even be converted so that they can be worn as backpacks or on the shoulder (like a purse). If you want a more versatile bag, look for one that can be worn in various ways.

Style

Think about where and when you intend to use your new sling bag before settling on a particular model or color choice. If you’ll be heading outdoors most of the time, looks probably don’t matter as much as durability and practicality. But, for those who want a bag to run errands or travel with, style may be more important.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: What’s the advantage of a sling-style bag?
a:

You can get at your stuff way faster than you might with a backpack and the orientation of the bag helps to alleviate pressure on your body that might come from carrying a heavy load.

q: Can I wear a sling bag different ways?
a:

Some models will allow you to move the strap so that the bag is comfortable for both righties and lefties. Most sling bags can be worn on the front or back of the body, depending on your preference. A few sling bags can be worn as backpacks, too.

q: My sling bag is always sliding off my shoulder. What do I do?
a:

Hate to break it to you, but it sounds like your bag doesn’t fit your body properly. If you have no way of adjusting it, it might be a good idea to find a bag that is better fitting. A bag that consistently slides off your body can cause problems down the line since you inadvertently use your neck and shoulder to readjust and compensate for the ill-fitting bag.

q: I need a bag to store my school books. Is a sling bag right for me?
a:

Probably not. Unless you’re carrying a small paperback for school, you’ll likely need a backpack to evenly distribute that weight. Most sling bags are meant for smaller items.

q: Are these bags suitable for long day trips or hikes?
a:

Yes! You can carry a few important things in a sling bag and often they don’t weight much themselves. For outdoor activities, they’re perfect since they don’t tend to move around much and remain secured to the body if adjusted properly.

q: What does EDC mean?
a:

You might notice this acronym a lot as you research buying a sling bag. It stands for Every Day Carry, and refers to a bag that people, especially police, military, and medical personnel will carry with them everyday. For these people especially it's important that they have a bag that is durable and allows them to easily organize their things.

Sources

  1. Derrick Story, Best Bag for You - Backpack, Shoulder, or Sling?, Photography Website, Jan 01, 1970
  2. Yi Kevin, Experts tips to choose a sling bag for men, Dec 03, 2018
  3. Core Concepts, Sling bag vs. back pack vs. luggage bag, which one should I pick?,
  4. Cary Zanoni, A Beginner’s Guide to EDC Sling Bags, Guide, Nov 27, 2018