Best Sling Backpacks for Travel & TOP 10 Sling Bag Reviews 2019

Sometimes you might prefer to use a sling backpack for travel as opposed to the double-strap dedicated travel backpack.

Backpacks make a great alternative to a purse, briefcase or computer bag when you need to get to your gear while on the go

Choosing the right backpack includes choosing a bag that fits your style, mode of travel and life philosophy.

Many people find the hands free convenience and security of a sling backpack are the best choice for them.

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Sling Bags

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OutdoorMaster Sling Bag5 out of 5 starsbuy from amazon button
WATERFLY Sling Shoulder Backpack4.9 out of 5 starsbuy from amazon button
Meru Sling Backpack Bag4.8 out of 5 starsbuy from amazon button
Maxpedition Sitka Gearslinger4.5 out of 5 starsbuy from amazon button
KAVU Rope Pack4.5 out of 5 starsbuy from amazon button

With a sling pack, you have your hands available to ride a bike, catch a bus, navigate busy shopping centers and sidewalks, and more.

Having a pack that sits at your hip, and in your peripheral vision is an added layer of security, and having the pack around your chest makes it harder for a thief to snatch.

If you believe a sling backpack is the way to go, check out our sling backpack reviews 2019 and read this guide to help you decide the best sling backpack for travel, work, sports and more.

backpacker with sling backpack

Why the Sling Backpack?

The sling backpack has several benefits.

Lightweight

Sling backpacks usually weigh close to a pound. It’s easy to carry the little weight on the road and the backpack doesn’t cause much pain for your shoulders.

Organization

Most sling backpacks have at least two compartments designed to organize your items.

You can stack somehow heavy items like laptops in the larger compartments and carry smaller items in other pockets.

Easy access

It’s easy to reach your items with just a slight shift of the backpack to the front.

Enhanced security

The sling backpack runs across your body thus it lessens the odds of someone plucking from your bag.

Some feature anti-theft pockets where you can store your most crucial items.

How to Choose the Best Sling Backpack for Travel

Just like shopping for anything else, there are a few things to consider when looking for the best sling backpack for travel.

women travel with sling backpack

Use

Think about how you intend to use the pack. Is it a bag you carry to work?

Then it might need a laptop sleeve and a place to carry your lunch.

Are you going to take the sling backpack hiking or touring?

Look for a sling bag that has a dedicated water bottle pocket of reasonable size and adjustable strap for comfort. If you use the bag for hiking you do not want a bag that is too large or heavy since the load will be carried by just one shoulder.

A sling bag is OK for a short uncomplicated day hike, but not an overnight hike or one where you need more supplies.

A School bag may need room for several heavy books and needs to be very durable and able to bear a load. If you are using the bag for shopping, running errands or something smaller, a small place for keys and wallet are needed. Some of the best bags will also have seperate pockets for such things as travel cable organizers, which are great for those who take a lot of electronics and gadgets with them.

A sling backpack for the Gym may need room for a water bottle, a separate organization pocket for workout shoes or gym clothes, and be made of durable water resistant material. A bag with an athletic look would fit in well at the gym.

Size

Consider what you need to carry. Sling backpacks are smaller by nature so you will be limited to what you can carry.

The largest slings can hold a 15” laptop, lunch, a bottle of water and maybe a phone or tablet. Smaller ones might only hold a tablet and a few essentials like phone and wallet.

If you plan to travel abroad, make sure that it meets the standard airline carry-on bag dimensions so you won’t experience complicated procedures.

Some manufacturers make their sling bags in a way they can fold up and be packed away. You’ll only need to bring out one of such space saving bags when you need to use it.

If you believe that a sling backpack is too small for what you need, you might want to consider getting a travel duffel bag. These are more spacious and can provide other great benefits as well.

Critical features

Look out for things like water-resistance especially if you plan to travel during the wet seasons. Check the material that makes the bag for sturdiness and durability.

This also factors in when it comes to the weight of the bag.

Ask if it’s possible to change the side the strap is worn so you’ll be able to carry it on either shoulder. In fact, try it on while in the store. Find out on the same if you want to order online.

Don’t forget to check how many pockets are on the bag, both interior and exterior.

Of course, this depends on the luggage you want to carry. Adjustable, padded straps are also beneficial features that provide comfort.

Price

How much are you willing to pay vs. the expected useful life of the bag.

This is pretty straightforward. But a bag made of lightweight nylon will be less expensive, but it may also last a year or two.

Do you want to spend cheap and keep on replacing gear now and then? Or maybe you want to spend more and grab a durable, high-quality bag?

Some bags are so well designed they can go for 10 years. Consider the expected life when looking at the total cost of the bag to decide if it is a good deal.

No matter what you prefer, settle for a price you are comfortable with then pick from there. Even if you want to spend an indecent amount, just ensure the bag has the most valuable features.

boardwalk and solo traveler

What’s the Difference Between a Sling Backpack and a Traditional Backpack?

A traditional backpack has the benefit of being larger with the drawback of being larger. Larger usually means heavier and more awkward, not what you would want while riding a busy train or bus standing up.

A traditional backpack is great for long trips and overnight stays, but if you are just looking to sneak out and enjoy a few hours, or go on a simple walk or short hike, a larger bag can be overkill.

A traditional backpack places your gear on your back, which has the benefit of being easy to carry, but also places outside pockets out of your line of vision, and less secure.

TOP 10 Best Sling Backpack Reviews 2019

KAVU Rope Backpack

Kavu comes in a variety of colors and interesting patterns which suit almost everyone’s preferences and style. The shoulder strap is made of durable rope that also looks cool to wear.

The padded pack provides comfort while you carrying it for long hours.

It has two small pockets on the exterior that offer storage for small accessories like a smartphone. There are two separate zippered pockets for accessing the interior. The main pocket features a waterproof lining that protects electronics.

You are not likely to fit large items in this backpack but it’s ideal for carrying around your water bottle, travel video camera, audio player and other small things.

There is a small interior pocket where you can keep your passport, keys and some coins.

Pros

  • Durable shoulder strap.
  • Available in different colors.
  • Padded pack.
  • Two zip openings.
  • Waterproof lining.
  • Lots of fun prints and colors to choose from.
  • Natural materials, eco-friendly.

Cons

  • Not made to switch sides.
  • It’s a bit expensive.
  • Front pockets could be larger.

Verdict

Stay hands-free while shopping, riding a bike, out with the baby or anytime you need the convenience of a purse or diaper bag hands-free. Best sling bag made of natural fiber fabric.

Wait! Hold on! Are you looking for a good bag for your camera? Don’t want your expensive camera to suffer while on your travel adventure? You’re in for a treat then, check out our friend Will’s article for great intel on the camera travel backpack you should be buying!

Chrome Unisex Soma 2.0

This is a sling style messenger bag backpack. It is rectangle shaped with two front clips to secure the front flap. There is a small pocket on the side for a small water bottle or phone.

On the inside, there are two deep but narrow pockets to the front and the main compartment has a fabric divider.

One side of the main compartment is designed for a laptop and is secured with a Velcro strap. The other side has an organization panel with a place for pens, credit cards, keys etc.

You are able to lift this organization panel up out of the bag since it is attached at the top only. You can store and secure important paperwork under the panel. The main compartment also has a large zippered pocket.

The shoulder strap is adjustable and features a seatbelt-style buckle and bottle opener and straps and daisy chain loops to secure items outside the bag. The strap also has a support strap attached to one side of the bag to stabilize the bag.

Pros

  • Great for a laptop. Load stabilizing strap.
  • Good internal storage and ability to secure papers.
  • Shoulder padding is well made and comfortable.
  • The bag is stylish.

Cons

  • Could use more padding at the bottom of the laptop compartment.

Verdict

A distinctively styled sling messenger bag that is bold enough to turn heads while being sophisticated enough to use at the office.

Meru Sling Backpack Bag

Comfortable memory foam strap, Smartphone and tablet sleeves and padded back. This sling is made from cotton canvas, has a hidden credit card pocket and two zippered outside pockets.

The bag has a mesh net pocket on the inside for a water bottle. Many bright designs, and an option to buy the bag in hemp, instead of cotton.

Pros

Cons

  • Some travelers have had trouble with fraying.

Verdict

A great sling bag for casual travel, commuting or hiking made from natural materials.

WATERFLY Sling Shoulder Backpack

The Waterfly sling bag balls up and stores away in its own storage pocket. The storage pouch becomes an inside pocket when the bag is deployed. It is made from a very lightweight water-resistant material.

It has an adjustable wide shoulder strap, a padded back, and SBS brand zippers. The bag has a 10-liter capacity and is suitable for hiking, short day trips, and casual wear.

There is a large stretch mesh pocket for a water bottle and a pouch on the shoulder strap. The inside has nice organization features including a place for credit cards and a zippered mesh bag.

The bag can also hold a large tablet. The side of the bag has a discreet hidden zippered pocket for secure storage.

Pros

  • Lightweight with a lot of organization.
  • Can switch left to right.

Cons

  • The strap does not always stay tightened.

Verdict

Handy travel sling bag for a tourist visiting the city or a nature lover out for a short casual day hike.

Adidas Citywide Sling Backpack

This sling backpack can be used as an EDC (Every Day Carry). It has three zippered outside pockets, an internal laptop sleeve, large zippered mesh pocket, and plenty of room.

Water resistant bottom, durable honeycomb pattern water resistant poly

Pros

  • Larger sling style backpack that is built to last.

Cons

  • Bag is lacking a water bottle pocket.

Verdict

Great school, gym or commuter backpack. Sporty sling with clean lines. One of the best sling bags 2019 we reviewed.

OutdoorMaster Packable Sling Bag

This is a high-quality bag designed for walking and travelling. The bag offers ample interior space and can fold into its inner zippered pocket.

The 12L volume bag holds enough essentials on travel. You can pack it away when you are not using it until when you want to wear it.

On the interior, you’ll find small anti-theft pockets where you can keep your passport and wallet secure. Made from lightweight nylon material, this bag is a perfect travel companion whenever you want to carry little weight.

The price of this bag is one you shy off from bargaining plus the inclusion of the water bottle pocket is a huge bonus.

Pros

  • Can be folded up for storage.
  • Spacious volume of 12L.
  • Lightweight.
  • Equipped with anti-theft pockets.
  • Reasonable price.

Cons

  • Not waterproof.
  • Easy to drop the water bottle.

Verdict

This bag caters for on the go needs at a decent cost.

The simple design, portability and compact size are what make it a great recommendation to travelers.

Adidas Capital Sling Backpack

When you want a backpack to keep your items organized, pick this one. It’s equipped with two outside pockets and lots of internal pockets to accommodate your gear.

Even more interesting is the zippered pocket on the strap where you can store your debit/credit cards.

The patented LoadSpring shoulder strap is shock-absorbing so carrying the pack fully loaded is less strenuous. The quilted and padded air mesh back panel also ensures you enjoy a comfortable travel.

Designed from durable polyester material, this backpack is built to last through several trips. The hydro-shield base, water-resistance material, is a great addition to the design of this bag.

Pros

  • Well, organized pockets.
  • Shock-absorbing shoulder strap.
  • Padded air mesh back panel.
  • Durable material.
  • Water-resistant.
  • Lots of pockets.

Cons

  • The triangular shape doesn’t fit some items well.

Verdict

This bag has the desirable features for outdoor activities. Even if you are caught in the rain your accessories will be in a safe place.

Under Armour Compel Sling 2.0 Backpack

This product is 100% made of polyester material and it’s super lightweight. It’s equipped with an adjustable HeatGear strap that is also extra padded for comfort.

In the interior is a soft sleeve for a 15” laptop that secures shut with a Velcro strap.

The bag comes with enough pockets to hold your essential stuff. The small pocket on the front can offer great storage for your phone and other small items. There is also a side water pocket for your bottle.

It comes in different color designs but black is dominant in all styles. The black color doesn’t reveal dirt and it’s easy to clean.

Pros

  • Lightweight.
  • Large laptop space.
  • Side water bottle pocket.
  • Water-resistant.
  • Adjustable strap.
  • Great design.
  • Versatile, gym, office, school, carry-on.

Cons

  • It’s expensive.
  • Swings around especially for smaller people.
  • The bag could use a few more organization features.

Verdict

The Under Armour is a stylish and sporty yet sophisticated, carry on, gym bag, high school, or College school backpack or commuter bag.

The best sling bag for travel we reviewed.

OutdoorMaster Sling Bag

This bag from OutdoorMaster is portable, lightweight and stylish. It still carries heavy books despite its small size. Featuring a spacious main pocket, the bag can carry a 12’’ laptop, camera and Ipad.

On the front is a small anti-theft pocket where you can hide important items. A water bottle holder on the side is also an awesome feature. It has six pockets in total.

The reversible shoulder strap is the selling point of this bag as it fits both righties and lefties.

The single strap is made of a canvas similar to polyester material with mesh on the inside. It also comes in four different color styles to suit the styles of almost everyone.

Pros

  • Comes in different colors.
  • Several compartments.
  • Anti-theft pocket.
  • Water bottle holder.
  • Can be worn on either shoulder.
  • Adjustable strap.

Cons

  • Not water-resistant.
  • Can swivel around on smaller chests.
  • Less durable.

Verdict

Don’t get stuck on the sling backpack reviews of this bag, go for it especially if you want something for weekend trips.

Maxpedition Sitka Gearslinger

This one brings the military look into the travel world. It is sturdy and durable. Sitka claims this is the only bag that allows you to swing it to the front while you still wear it. This gives you easy access when sitting down.

The bag features a main compartment which carries large items like laptops and Ipads. The top front compartment stores smaller items while it also has a hydration compartment that holds a 32 oz Nalgene bottle. The shoulder strap can go over the left shoulder for better carriage.

Numerous pockets on the top and sides offer alternative storage positions. The finish features polyurethane coating for water-resistance.

Pros

  • Water-resistance.
  • Several pockets.
  • Spacious main compartment.
  • Water bottle holder.
  • Can be worn in front.
  • Durable materials.
  • Lightweight.

Cons

  • Not enough internal pockets.
  • It has too many zippers.
  • It is very expensive.

Verdict

The Maxpedition is a spacious, organized and long-lasting bag although you need to watch your pocket before you buy it.

Conclusion

A sling backpack is a decent option to use for travel or carry around town. It looks easy and casual; sometimes you’ll feel its part of you.

Keep in mind the tips on choosing the best sling backpack and you’ll always make informed decisions.

Have a wonderful trip!

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