10 Best Sling Bags Tested and Reviewed

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Not only are sling bags a stylish alternative to backpacks and messenger bags, they provide easy access on the go, are lightweight, and provide more storage than a purse or wallet. We looked at various bag options to come up with our top 10 picks and narrowed down our final picks based on their overall comfort, durability, storage, and price. On this list, you’ll find a variety of options including budget sling bags, tactical style slings, and water resistant options.

Sling bags are growing in popularity because they’re convenient and provide you with lots of additional storage space. This can be great for day to day activities—like hauling your personal belongings around—or used during your runs to store additional items, like your roll-up rain jacket.

The difference between sling bags and other bags is that they have one strap that sits over the body to evenly distribute the weight. Nowadays these bags are constructed from durable materials, have water repellent features, are breathability and have extra external pockets. Our list of top 10 best sling bags features the best options currently available. We hope you enjoy our list and find your next sling bag.

Last Updated: July 20, 2018
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By Giselle Killebrew:

This update brings 3 more sling bags—the Waterfly, Adidas Capital, and the Under Armour Compel bags. All three are stylish options that offer lots of storage options, are highly durable, and are comfortable to carry around.

Waterfly
  • Waterfly
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Lots of storage
  • Price: See Here
Adidas Capital
  • Adidas Capital
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • LoadSpring shoulder strap
  • Price: See Here
Under Armour Compel 2.0
  • Under Armour Compel 2.0
  • 4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Adjustable strap
  • Price: See Here

10 Best Sling Bags

1. Waterfly

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

• Lightweight

• Lots of pockets

• Affordable

• Several color options

• Durable

Cons

• Strap loosens up


2. Adidas Capital

2. Adidas Capital
This sling bag is a pricier options but it is highly durable and has lots of storage options. It comes with a lifetime warranty so you can be sure the company stands behind this product.
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Comfort

This bag uses its patented LoadSpring shoulder strap to absorb more shock and the back panel is padded for additional comfort.

Durability

This bag has a hydro shield water resistant base and is highly durable.

Pockets

It has lots of pockets, including additional internal pockets

Pricing

It's pretty pricey but well-worth the investment.
Pros

• Lots of pockets

• Durable

• Lifetime warranty

• LoadSpring Shoulder strap

• Absorbs shock

• Padded back panel

• Water resistant

Cons

• Expensive


3. Under Armour Compel 2.0

3. Under Armour Compel 2.0
This bag is super lightweight, comfortable and adjustable. It is made of 100% polyester and comes at an average price.
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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.
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


4. OutdoorMaster

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.
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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.
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 

5. 5.11 Tactical RUSH Moab 10

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.
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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

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.
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 

6. KAVU

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.
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 

7. CARQI

7. CARQI
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.
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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.
Pros
  • Compact sizing with useful interior compartments
  • Comfortable ergonomic design
  • Water repellent fabric
  • Lightweight 
  • Inexpensive 
  • Well-made 
Cons
  • Bag strap cannot swap directions 

8. Kelty Tactical

8. Kelty Tactical
This sporty sling bag comes in two colors and fits plenty of stuff, including a special concealment area for a firearm. The bag is the second tactical style sling on this list. You won't find any brightly colored design options here since it's meant to blend in and not be visible.
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Comfort

The bag is the only one on this list that comes with a waist belt attachment. Like other bags, the straps have plenty of padding and features an anti-slip construction so the bag stays put when worn. The back of the bag is also padded for extra comfort.

Durability

The bag is made of thick durable fabric to withstand wear and tear.

Pockets

There are plenty of storage possibilities with this bag. It's meant for serious business and features a unique concealment area for a firearm. There are pockets inside the bag, too, for extra items. There's also extra small pockets for things like keys and your phone.

Pricing

A little cheaper than the other tactical bag on this list but still has plenty of storage space and features. The strap cannot be swapped around, though and there's no spot for a water bottle. But it's still a solid, well-priced option for the tactically minded user such as an off-duty police officer.
Pros
  • Inexpensive tactical style bag
  • Plenty of storage options
  • Durable fabric
  • Comes with a waist belt attachment 
  • Well-padded straps for comfort
  • Well-organized interior
  • Fairly lightweight 
  • Discrete design 
Cons
  • No water bottle holder
  • Strap is not adjustable from right to left 

9. OUTRY Canvas

9. OUTRY Canvas
An inexpensive 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.
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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.
Pros
  • 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 

10. Spiderwire

10. Spiderwire
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.
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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.
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. 

Evaluation Criteria Explained

When narrowing down our picks for best sling bags, we focused on four aspects that we believe are important considerations for buying this kind of bag – or any bag for that matter. Each bag on our list was well-liked by reviewers who were happy with the comfort of the bag, impressed by durability, overall space, and pricing.

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 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.

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.

Pockets 

Pockets are super important when it comes to slinging bag storage. The whole point of wearing a sling bag is to get easy access 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 had 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.

Price

There’s no surprise that price was a consideration for our evaluation of the sling bags on this list. 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.

Other Considerations

What else do you need to consider when looking for a sling bag? We’ve compiled this list of additional considerations to help you in your bag search.

Waterproof

If you’ll be using your bag primarily outdoors, look for one that is covered in water repellent, resistant, or proof fabric. 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.

Convertible

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.

Capacity

How much stuff can a bag hold? Most of the bags on this list are meant to carry 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.

FAQs

Q. What’s the advantage of a sling-style bag?

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?

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?

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?

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?

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. Do I need a waterproof bag?

Not unless you’re using your bag primarily for outdoor activities. But also think about what you’ll be lugging around. Are you carrying valuable electronics? If you’ll be outdoors a lot, it might be worthwhile to consider, at the very least, a water-resistant bag.

Sources

  1. Derrick Story, Best Bag for You - Backpack, Shoulder, or Sling?, Photography Website, Jan 01, 1970
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