Backpackers have increasingly adapted to cross-shoulder sling packs after moving away from the traditional day backpacks. This has caused the sling packs to hit the industry by a storm.
This is because sling packs not only keep items in an organized manner but also makes the items easily accessible. Further, breaking into these bags is difficult as they have extra security. With all these amazing features, which sling packs stand out in the market? And are sling packs the ideal bags for traveling? This article serves as a review to help us answer the above questions in detail. It does this by giving ideas on the best sling packs for travelers. This detailed article will help you to pick the most ideal sling pack. Read on and learn more.
Top 10 Best Sling Backpacks for Travel 2019
Patagonia Atom Sling
This tops my list as the best traveling bag. Some of the features that make it the most ideal are its durability, simplicity and its ability to carry only the most essential items. You can easily acquire it for only $59. It is also light and weighs only 10.1 ounces and has a capacity of 8 liters.
Its single-strap design enables you to easily and quickly access the inside of its two pockets or main compartment by rotating the Atom towards the front.
It is also safe for carrying delicate equipment like iPads or Kindles, thanks to its large zippered major pocket. This pocket has a padded tablet sleeve on the inside that makes storage easy and secure. Also, it has a stretch-mesh pocket located on the shoulder strap. This pocket can accommodate phone sizes of different varieties. The fits on this sling pack are quickly and easily adjustable even as you move. Its exterior adjustable compression straps aid in managing loads of different sizes.
Lastly, this sling pack has strong fabric on the outside. This fabrics finishing is a durable water repellent coating. Items on the inside are thus protected from rain. This is undoubtedly an awesome travel sling bag for minimalists provided you don’t pack loads of items inside.
Patagonia Atom disadvantage: the main disadvantage is feeling off the balance when full. If the back is not adjusted well, your neck ends up carrying the most weight. Some users claim this bag is impractical because of its small size.
Pacsafe Stylesafe Anti-Theft Sling
This sling pack bag can carry almost the same quantity of items as the Patagonia Atom Sling. However, it’s quite smaller as it has a capacity of 6 liters. It is affordable, selling at $89.95 and has a weight of 11 oz. You can wear this bag in two ways either as a sling or backpack. Its highly security conscious feature is something you’ll really love.
Snatch and run theft is impossible with this sling pack. All thanks to its N Lock security hooks which enable you to attach the straps or the bag to a safe fixture. Its security measures are further enhanced by a concealed eXomesh mesh slash. This protects it from slash and run theft. Pickpocketing is also difficult because of the zipper pulls which are attached to discreet hooks.
Among the 3 exterior pockets and the main compartment is a hidden pocket at the back of this bag. It keeps the most important small materials close to your body. The RFID is a special bonus in this sling bag. Situated at a special pocket, this tool thwarts electronic identity theft.
This bag tops my list on the bags women should have due to its diverse security features. You’re sure to stay a step ahead in case of a security threat while retaining your vital tools safe.
Pacsafe Anti-Theft Sling Disadvantage: its small size which makes it suitable for carrying the essential materials only. Though affordable, it’s a bit costly than the other available options.
Red Rock Rover Sling
This is a hidden carry sling bag technically speaking which means it is meant to hold a rifle inside. The sling bag has a capacity of 9 liters, weighs 3 Ibs, and sells at $39.99. It is, however, a burly, tough sling pack suitable for small hikes. Sling packs are essentially not meant for hiking purposes and therefore getting the perfect hiking sling bag is difficult. The best and most practical and comfortable hiking bag you’ll get after a long search is the Red Rock Rover Sling.
This sling pack has three large compartments. They are sufficient to carry water, a light layer, snacks, and other basics. Its external and internal pockets are amazing features which contain admin organizers and dividers. This sling bag has two exterior compartments which make it easy to quickly access vital items. You can get the bag of choice as these bags are available in different colors. This is all in line with the nice price deal offered for this hiking sling bag.
Red Rock Rover Sling disadvantage: bearing in mind that this is purely a hiking bag, its 9-liter holding capacity makes it quite heavier than it should. There are plenty of hiking backpacks whose weight is way less. Further, it is also strange that the Rock Rover Sling bag can be used for hiding guns and bullets. This would make some keep away from it regardless of its awesome unique features.
Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag
This is the most appropriate full-size sling bag for carrying laptops, thanks to its weight of 1Ib. 15.4 oz. Its holding capacity of 21 liters also enables it to carry all the items you require in a single day while visiting the city. This uncompromising on quality bag costs $99.
The Timbuk2 Classic bag has well-distributed pockets that balance the weight of the load inside, a very necessary factor. Digital nomads love this bag for its shoulder straps that are completely adjustable. They have air-mesh strap pads which make it very comfortable to carry. This bag is also easy to grab and walk thanks to its low-profile handle. Better still, this bag is fitted with partially hid SR buckles at the back of the flap. There is however a protected closure. Most importantly is the folding nature of the flap corners for perfect weather-proofing.
Look no further for the most ideal laptop bags if you are town dweller. The Timbuk2 Classic bag serves all your needs. It is simply one of its kind.
Timbuk2 Classic disadvantage: the extremely long straps which often rub on your legs. This friction can ultimately lead to chaffing and the experience is just annoying. There’s only one solution to the long straps. This includes cutting off the ends with a knife or razor.
Sadly, this bag also lacks distinct padding for your laptop section, despite the sling bag being padded. Users have criticized the poor customer service associated with this bag regardless of the other amazing products produced by Timbuk2.
Kavu Rope Sling
This bag has four pockets and the main compartment. It is thus the best low-key sling bag to store your items when attending a party or music festival. It’s practical, simple, and functional design makes it appropriate for such functions. The Kavu Rope Sling bag has two tiny Velcro stash pockets and two zip compartments for carrying your dance hall items. This bag is available at $50, weighs 12 ounces and has an estimated capacity of 6-8 liters.
It is expected that your bag will easily get dirty after visiting a party or festival. Worry not about the grit, dust, and beer stains on your Kavu Rope Sling bag. It is easily washable thanks to its cotton canvas material.
The Kavu Rope Sling bag can also be an appropriate traveling bag provided the stuff loaded are of considerable weight.
Kavu Rope Sling disadvantages: the design of this bag. Its original design allows you to only wear it on your right shoulder. Those who prefer using their left hand may find this bag unsuitable to them, and consequently, miss out on outdoor activities.
Unfavorable weather conditions such as rain and strong winds hinder ease of movement with this bag. This is because of its cotton canvas material. It is very vulnerable to the above weather conditions. Also, the straps on this bag have raised concerns from a number of its users.
Think Tank Retrospective 30
Look no further for your cameras as the Think Tank Retrospective 30 serves this purpose. Selling at $194.75, you are assured of getting the best bag for your equipment. It has a weight of 3.2 Ibs making it easy to carry around, and a capacity of 15”W * 9.5” H * 6” D. This is equal to 38*24*15.2 cm. Think Tank Retrospective 30 sling bag’s features offer more than protection for comfortably carrying your DSLR camera. This is made possible by the organizational and storage features found in the four-plus major compartments.
There is also extra storage space in this bag for photographers who have lots of equipment. Its 3.2 pounds make it convenient to carry on your shoulders despite its relatively heavyweight. The dimensions of this bag make it ideal for accommodating large camera systems such as the Fuji X-Series.
Should you have additional accessories, you’re equally sorted thanks to the available room in the extra pockets of this bag. Other fascinating features include a silenceable Velcro and a rain cover.
Think Tank Retrospective 30 disadvantages: the cost of this bag (app. $200) is very high regardless of all the wonderful features it has. It is also interesting that such a superb bag does not zip. Its weight also is quite high and made even heavier by the equipment inside. This makes it less comfortable being that it is a sling bag. However, despite the downside of this bag, it remains the most appropriate for packing your cameras and accessories. You may also wish to research further and get competitive prices for equally good camera bags.
Waterfly Sling Pack
This is the bag with the most favorable price. It retails at a modest fee of only $ 19.99 and there is no reason why you should not own one, anytime. Its weight is negligible thus adding onto its carrying suitability therefore suitable. The Waterfly Sling Pack is easily marketable because of its water resistant nature with most referring to it as a waterproof sling bag. You can walk around comfortably during the rainy weather without fear of your stuff getting soaked.
This bag has a holding capacity of about 15 liters. This makes it the most preferred for urban exploration and day hikes. You can choose how you wish to arrange your items in its large compartment as you walk along. Even after wearing this bag for a long time, it still feels nice wearing it over and over due to its comfortable breathable strap.
Waterfly Sling Pack disadvantage: its durability in the long term is highly questionable and not guaranteed. This is, however, no big surprise considering its cheap price of only $ 19.99. Also, it doesn’t make sense to claim that this bag is entirely water resistant and waterproof at the same time. This sounds quite unreal despite its producers purporting so!
11 Tactical RUSH Moab 10
This bag costs $99.95 and is specifically made for heavy outdoor purposes. Its price symbolizes a versatile and durable product. It has a capacity of 18 liters, three plus main compartments and an adjustable strap.
This adjustable nature is a characteristic that makes adventurers to love the 5.11 Tactical RUSH Moab 10 bags. The straps also make it simple to instantly cinch the bag near your body. This is a bag that you can be assured will be of service to you due to the heavy-duty items that make up this sling pack. It is definitely the most ideal sling bag you’ll find in the market for your outdoor and hiking activities.
5.11 Tactical RUSH Moab 10 disadvantages: its straps can easily affect your neck if subjected to carrying a fully loaded bag. This is one of the complaints that have been raised by the users of this bag. Customer service standards offered by the 5.11 company are not up to the expected standards.
The 5.11 Tactical RUSH Moab 10 also has a very rough body. Besides the straps affecting your neck, some users have equally complained about lack of strap durability. They claim that the straps break in less than a year’s time. This has led to lower confidence levels of this bag among some of its users and prospects.
Pacsafe Vibe 325 Crossbody Sling
This is another sling bag that features in my favorite bag list. This is so because of the vast security conscious features available in this sling pack bag. Worth mentioning is that this is a minimalist bag. It is available at $69.95 and weighs 1Ilb. 3.8 oz. Some of the amazing safety features include a roobar AT locking system. This system prevents pickpocket pilferage and enables you to protect your zippers. What’s more, the Pacsafe Vibe 325 Crossbody Sling pack bag has an RFID system. This RFID secure blocking material is built in one of the pockets within the main compartment. This helps safeguard identity and credit cards against electronic-scanning burglary. It’s a painful fact that we have to fret about such measures owing to high insecurity, but this is a fact.
Lastly and most importantly is its concealed eXomesh Slashguard stainless-steel wire mesh. It is implanted in fabric material to safeguard materials from slash and run robbery. Its holding capacity of 10 liters is another feature that makes this sling pack stand out.
Pacsafe Vibe 325 Crossbody Sling disadvantage: regardless of the feature recently mentioned, you must ensure you don’t stuff unnecessary material. This is because a few users have raised discomfort concerns derived from the straps plus the carrying effect of the pack.
Mountainsmith Descent Small Camera Sling Pack
This is another perfect camera sling bag. It is small, modest and ideal for a single DSLR camera. The Mountain Smith Descent Small Camera Sling Pack is therefore recommendable to all picture enthusiasts since the single DSLR camera suits you well. It is available and affordable at $99.95, weighs 1Ib. 10 oz has a capacity of 6 liters and one major compartment.
The Mountainsmith Descent camera sling pack bag has simple clamshell access to the key camera holding docket. It also has an accessory organization pocket located at the front. When traveling across the city, you have no need to worry about the items in your bag. This bag has a secondary chest strap which provides extra security features.
The weather conscious design fitted in this sling bag adds onto its suitability. It has a water- resistant fabric material that’s found on the outside. This material is not waterproof. The Mountainsmith Descent camera sling is supplied with a detachable rain cover. There is thus no need to fear should the rain clouds appear. Simply get your rain cover in place and you’ll have your items remain dry.
Mountainsmith Descent Small Camera Sling Pack disadvantage: the cost of this sling pack is quite high compared to its small capacity. The cost should be proportional to the sling bag capacity and some extra features. This pack bag is also not the best for those who wish to adventure with numerous lenses.
How to Choose the Best Sling Bag for Travel
Having had an overview of all the top sling packs in the market, you might get confused about choosing the best bag that suits you. We all appreciate that we have different needs, tastes and expectations when choosing our sling packs. That notwithstanding, a few valid questions arise which you need to consider before making any move. Such include:
- Which is the intended purpose for my sling pack?
- What is my buying power on a particular sling bag?
- In what way will I mostly use my sling pack for?
After keenly considering and getting answers to the above questions, you can make an informed decision and find it easy to choose the best sling bag for travel. This decision will obviously be in line with your personal style of travel.
Things to Consider When Buying a Sling Backpack
It is important to know what you really want in a sling pack before buying one. Models are designed differently for various purposes and have varied features too. In addition, they carry different materials, some of which require special packaging. As such the following factors are worth considering.
Among the reviewed sling bags above, sadly none is waterproof but some are indeed water resistant. However, all have high-quality features to enable them to withstand harsh weather conditions and physical damage.
This is an essential factor to consider. It depends on the purpose of your sling bag. Most importantly is buying a sling pack bag that can accommodate all your requirements. If you plan to use flights often, you should ensure your sling bag can be used for hanging luggage. It should also have some extra space that can house your laptop or camera. There’s no need to worry though as most sling pack bags are compact and meet the airline rules.
Design and Functionality
A well-design bag should be durable, comfortable, lightweight, and resistant. Other essential features to consider are color, size, and shape. Additional compartments may also be needed. These are factors to consider especially if you’ll be carrying a camera or laptop.
You may find it rather odd at first to pack a bag with a single strap if you’re not used to one. The bag you buy must not cause discomfort to your shoulders or ache your back. This is a bag you’ll use for months and perhaps years and you must, therefore, be comfortable when carrying it. A sling backpack with adjustable straps, wide and padded is highly recommended.
This is among the very first considerations before buying anything, sling backpacks included. You should not worry as a quality sling backpack won’t cost you too much. Getting a good one will serve you more, therefore buy what you love and do so wisely.
Sling Bags vs Backpacks
Backpacks have two straps, enabling them to retain an even distribution of weight. They also help in transferring this weight to both shoulders. This is a major difference. Also, backpacks are the most ideal for people experiencing any back issues. They prevent back muscle pains when carrying heavy items making them the most suitable. Both hiking and regular backpacks are highly recommended for long-term travel.
Sling bags have only one strap. This is a challenge when carrying loads of items. They are lighter to pack as they are mainly compact and lightweight. This helps lessen the weight, and neck problems/back pains are avoided. You can also quickly access your items by shifting a sling bag within no time. This is a great tactic you can use to avoid pickpockets mostly in crowded places.
Advantages of sling backpacks:
- Cool design
- Avoid pickpockets
- Gender neutral
- Easy and fast access
Disadvantages of sling backpacks:
- Not suitable for heavyweight
- Not enough room as regular backpacks
How to Avoid Back Pain from Sling Backpack
Since it is not possible to distribute the weight of sling backpacks, it is advisable to frequently change the sling backpack position. This will reduce the effect of weight on one shoulder. You can do this by shifting from one shoulder to another or by taking the sling backpack to the front.
We are now done with reviewing all the sling pack bags. You are now fully aware of the pros and cons of choosing certain travel bags. We sum up by agreeing that sling packs are wonderful travel companions. They are minimalist, compact, and practical to have during any backpacking adventure as well as for everyday use.
Having read through this guiding article, you know what and why to choose for your function. Picking the best sling pack thus ceases being a challenge, I believe so.
However, if you’re you still be spoilt for choice, I propose that you start off with the Patagonia Atom Sling. It tops my list of the best sling travel bag for reasons and superb features stated above.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article. I’ve also been pleased to enlighten you!