A Beginner’s Guide to EDC Sling Bags

How much are you carrying in your go-to daily bag?

Have a trawl through and ask yourself if you really need everything, every day, to the point of justifying lugging around a bag.

Chances are you don’t. That raises a question worth tackling: at what point do the things you’re carrying around to improve your day become a detriment?

If you’ve crossed that line, it might be time to change things up. And a sling bag – a small bag for the essentials – might be the way to do that. And yes, before you ask, these are also called ‘fanny packs.’ And ‘yes’, your dad did wear one. And ‘no’ you don’t understand, because they’ve changed a whole bunch and they’re having a resurgence.

So let’s talk about it.

What’s a sling bag?

The crossbody sling bag is a modern tweak of an old idea. Picture the humble fanny pack. Now imagine you’re wearing it on your back, slung over one shoulder. And there’s a whole lot more style to it – and in some cases, more pockets and a diverse array of materials.

That’s a sling bag. Style to taste.

Right now, these bags are surging through Asia, Europe and the US, buoyed with a lot of love from the streetwear scene.

The trend makes sense: sling bags are perfect in warmer weather (no more backpack sweat for you), they’re a more practical alternative to things like tote bags for smaller items, and they provide more ergonomic options than messenger bags (over the shoulder for style, around the waist to distribute some weight).

They can also simplify your life as you go about your day. Less bulk to manage, fewer pockets to check for whatever it is you’re looking for, and less impulse to fill space. Used correctly, they’re about ease as much as they are about fashion (see also: the micro bag trends).

Unzipping the history of slings

You can’t keep a good idea down – even if people haven’t been down with that idea for decades.

The fanny pack or bum bag (in my native Australia, the former name has some eyebrow-raising connotations) has a long and storied history – going well beyond just being an example of the egregious fashion choices of the ’80s and ’90s.

People have been attaching things to their waist with a bit of fabric for centuries. From the sporrans in Scotland (those hairy things you see on the front of kilts – I’ll emphasise “on the front of” here), to detachable ladies’ pockets and countless other examples from around the world, the bum bag has a long lineage when it comes to carrying small things in a way that’s slightly more convenient than carrying them in your hands.

Handbags became a staple for women with things to carry throughout the mid-1900s (and let’s be real: sling bags and bags like them are 100% just a way to “masculinise” purses so dudes don’t feel weird about carrying one) and the world of outdoor adventuring highlighted the need to have something reliable to put your stuff in. By the 1980s, people had really come around to this whole bag idea as a lifestyle choice.

It’s not even an idea unique to humans – kangaroos have been using fanny packs for centuries, carrying their babies in pouches. Maybe that’s why an Australian woman by the name of Melba Stone has been credited for inventing the modern bum bag in 1962. However, Jennifer Mason has found an earlier instance of the bag, suggesting that this might be an area ripe for scholarship.

It wouldn’t be until the ’80s and ’90s that the creation really took off. The ’80s style icon Neneh Cherry wore a fanny pack to the MTV Music Awards (has there ever been a more dated phrase?); Chanel glammed the bag up. Before you know it, they were everywhere and on their way to being a staple of ’90s fashion (see: The Rock wearing a bum bag, proving their fame and that The Rock wasn’t always the bastion of cool he is now) and gay culture by way of gym culture.

Then, of course, came the rejection. Neon fades and rollerblades break and, with them, fanny bags lost their lustre. Weird Al even made a joke about them, driving home the fact that the bags belong in the ’90s. The bags made a brief attempt at a comeback in the 2000s via normcore, which is still as confusing to me now as it was then.

The problems posed by the ’90s and 2000s didn’t go away though, did they? Tech clicked along at a terrifying rate, creating an ever-expanding array of gadgets to carry around with us: Walkmans, Game Boys, and, of course, mobile phones and smartphones, those little omnipresent threats to society.

We need something to hold all of those things. Now we’re here again. (As someone very much into gadgets and bags, I’m here for this.)

Fanny packs are getting fashionable, thanks to gorpcore, streetwear, the UK’s grime aesthetic and an ongoing obsession with “working class fashion” (although it’s probably best described as a pastiche of working class style, since the people rocking the clothes and writing about it all don’t really seem to know what being “working class” actually entails). Rihanna wore one, A$AP Rocky did too and Supreme slapped their logo on one with Louis Vuitton.

Here’s the thing. It feels like people have been writing about how bum bags are “cool again” every year since they apparently went out of style.

That means a few things might be true: fashion could be on an even tighter circle than expected, writers might be desperate for something to complain about or comment on, or the bags never went away and it just takes one celeb to decide to wear one to set everyone off because we’ve latched onto bum bags as the focal point for all our shame about the ’90s and its myriad mistakes.

I’m guessing it’s all of them.

It helps that the bags are a good idea. Sometimes you have too much stuff to carry in your pockets and not enough to justify a big bag. Fanny packs to the rescue. They just need a re-brand to not seem like something your dad used to wear on the way to getting his mullet trimmed. Enter the sling bag. (See also: “waist bags” – this bag type has more names than they have compartments.)

Now it’s just a matter of deciding where they fit in your carry world.

Sling bags vs backpacks

Let’s break it down. If you need a laptop, a water bottle, chargers, a book or two, a jumper and whatever else, you’re in backpack territory. They have the space. And they’re better at carrying heavier loads by distributing the weight across both shoulders.

But having space can be a dangerous thing. We have a tendency to fill it just because we can. There are industries of knick-knack nonsense built exclusively on the fact that people want more and more room and, the moment they have it, they feel a need to fill it.

A sling bag can help you short-circuit that habit. If you just need (or want) a few smaller items – keys, wallet, headphones, whatever – skip the backpack and go with a sling bag.

In addition, when traveling, think about combining the two. If you’re getting out of town for a while, throw a sling bag in your pack: it’ll fit and provide a quality day bag for any adventuring you do on your holiday.

Sling bags vs messengers

The lines start to blur a bit when you talk about sling bags and messengers, especially the bigger versions of the former and the smaller examples of the latter. Messengers are generally bigger and, realistically, they’ll carry your laptop and a lot of other stuff. Most sling bags, again, are for smaller items.

The bike-inspired messengers rely on a soft form to wrap around your body and take some of the load, so they’re generally not very good with rigid things like laptops which stop this wrap. So the structure of a large sling might work better here (maybe).

However, the real point of difference between messengers and sling bags comes down to style and perception (especially in the office). In today’s modern professional office, you’ll have trouble getting away with a sling. There’s still too much of a stigma attached (thanks fanny packs!). So if you’re thinking ‘work’, think messenger. They’re more universally accepted and come in a range of sharp office-friendly fabric choices like waxed canvas.

Apart from that, it really depends on what you carry and what ‘look’ you’re going for. Slings are now embedded in street culture, so if you want that ‘urban look’, then sling it. If you’re just carrying essentials and want to stay more nimble, then a sling or small messenger is a fine choice.

Load your sling-shot

Let’s be honest. These bags aren’t going away. That leaves you with one simple question to answer: do you want a convenient way to carry a few daily essentials without having to rely on your pockets?

If the answer is yes, buy a sling bag. There are more tasteful examples than ever before, made to suit an ever-expanding array of styles. This isn’t a matter of the bags “being back”. They never left. And, if bag makers keep tinkering away at them, they’re going to be more usable and more practical.

You might even find one you like – and that you won’t be ashamed of in twenty years’ time.

3 slings worthy of your EDC

Code of Bell X-PAK

A revised version of the original X-PAK PRO, this versatile all-rounder suits larger daily carry loads and weekend trips. The redesigned back panel provides enhanced comfort and ventilation, while the water-resistant and durable build relishes the daily grind. The bag features two compartments, with the expandable front compartment increasing the X-PAK’s volume from 11L to 23L. The bag fits a 13″ laptop, includes an expandable water bottle pocket, and comes with removable compression straps to cinch the load or secure additional items.

Code of Bell X-POD

If you dig the vibe of the X-PAK but want something smaller to roll with just the essentials, scout out the Code of Bell X-POD. Tough, water-resistant, and compact, it keeps gear organized with two compartments and six zippered pockets. Need a bit more space? The front compartment expands to increase the sling’s volume from 2.3L to 4.5L. Like its big brother above, it comes with removable compression straps. And you can enjoy multiple carry options including crossbody across the back or chest, around the waist, on the shoulder or by hand.

Aer Day Sling 2

The Aer Day Sling 2 combines sleek street style with durable functionality for small carry setups. The main compartment has a tablet pocket (that fits a 7.9″ device) and additional pockets for smaller items. Additionally, a hidden back pocket keeps your valuables out of sight. Lightweight and compact, the sling offers a 4.5L volume and comes in a choice of colorway and material options to suit your personal tastes.

This article was sponsored by Code of Bell

“Goodbye Rat Race Hello Backpack” “Amusing Stories Of LivingIn A Greek Island Mountain Village”

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If you are anything like me when preparing for a trip, one of the biggest challenges is trying to decide what gear to take with you.

A Must Have

A “must have” for everyone is always something to carry your bits and pieces for days out. Your purse/wallet, phone, camera, bottle of water, snack, sunscreen, spare jumper etc, etc.

Personally I’ve always been a great fan of day backpacks whether carrying essentials when hiking in the Lake District Fells or pounding city pavements sightseeing. While I wouldn’t carry a handbag on a hike, I wouldn’t carry it on a day out on a city break either! I find the strap eventually gives me shoulder pain and I’m always worried about pickpockets so end up carrying it across my body in front of me. Besides a hand bag usually isn’t big enough for all the extras that I like to carry on a full day out anyway.

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The Downside Of Backpacks

However I’ve found that the downside of using a day backpack when visiting cities and especially when I’m backpacking is first and foremost the issue of security. Have you ever found yourself worried about someone getting into your daypack from behind when you are in crowded areas and you’ve ended up carrying it uncomfortably on your front?

Admittedly backpacks are generally well designed so that you can padlock them. However, this then poses another problem which I personally find extremely frustrating. That is having to remove the daypack every time I want something out of it, whether simply to pay for an ice cream or coffee, take a sip of water or get my camera out. It inevitably ends up being a complicated operation, especially if padlocks are involved! Then there is putting everything back in again, sometimes precariously balancing a hot coffee or dripping ice cream, or missing that perfect photo shot because of fiddling about with the pack for too long.

Waist Packs For Frequently Needed Items

Sometimes you might even end up wearing a Waist Pack as well for the smaller frequently needed items to compensate.

I also found on my recent backpacking trip to Belize that when I was on the move carrying my backpack the only way to carry my day pack was on my front, which I found incredibly uncomfortable and cumbersome.

Keeping Your Seriously Important Belongings Safe

Taking all of this into consideration when preparing for my Eastern Europe backpacking trip I knew that I wanted all my seriously important belongings to be with me at all times. But I also wanted to keep them in front of me as often as possible where I knew they would be safer. I also wanted to carry the smaller pack in front comfortably when carrying my backpack. So I did a little online research and discovered sling bag packs, which seemed like the ideal solution.

Wear Your Sling Bag Pack On Your Back Or Front

The biggest attraction for me was the ability to wear the sling bag pack on either your back or front. Most, but not all, have a hook on each bottom corner of the bag, which means the strap can be unclipped from one hook and clipped to the other one so you can switch which shoulder you carry it on, in effect giving you an option of four ways to carry it. They generally have a number of zipped pockets of varying sizes so that you can separate your items and some have an external pouch for holding a water bottle

I discovered that there are many brands available with many varying attributes and should be checked out carefully to ensure you choose the right one for you.

Why I Chose The Unigear Sling Bag Pack

After further research I finally settled for theUnigearsling bag pack.

Priced very reasonably it arrived promptly with Amazon’s usual efficiency and was everything that it promised it would be with the following attributes being incredibly useful for my needs:

Reversible strap, which meant I could switch shoulders or carry it on my back or front as I wished and the strap length is also adjustable. This was especially good when I was also carrying my backpack.

It has four zipped pockets; one of which is almost hidden on the body/inner side of the bag, which was useful for keeping really important items close to my body such as passport and extra cash.

The two other main pockets are extremely spacious with additional little compartments inside.

I was able to fit my Lenova IdeaPad in the larger one, while the other one held other items such as purse, Lonely Planet Book , my Sony Camera etc.

These two pockets also have double zips that meet together to close the pocket, which means you could padlock them together if you wanted to.

A little front zipped pocket was big enough for my Samsung Galaxy 6 and the bag also has an external holder for a water bottle which was extremely useful in high temperatures. There is also a little zipped pocket on the strap which could be useful for coins, lip balm or some other small item and there is a small opening feeding into the largest pocket for headphones.

I also carried a number of other articles such as a light cardigan or Trespass tp75 qikpac for rainy days, sunscreen, adapter, charger etc so the bag was always pretty well laden up!

I Carried It Everywhere. I mean Everywhere!

I carried it everywhere and I mean everywhere! For two and a half months of nonstop travelling and walking it was permanently attached to me and you will see its black strap in almost every “selfie” I took in my Eastern Europe posts!

I always kept everything in specific places so I would know where they were and it was so convenient to be able to just unzip a pocket and get stuff out without having to take the bag off or rummage. Even if I was carrying it on my back I would just swing it around to my front to access it and the external water bottle holder was invaluable. Most importantly any previous concerns of security was never an issue.

After Sales Service

The Unigear Sling Bag Pack Water Bottle Holder is invaluable

I also liked that I got a follow up courtesy email from Unigear via Amazon after I purchased it which meant when I had a small problem with a broken zip I had a direct point of contact. In this case the after sales service was impeccable and once I sent photos showing the broken zip, the bag was replaced promptly without question.

In the meantime the faulty zip, on the hidden pocket, which only had one zip, was overcome by fixing the zip to open in the opposite direction until I was able to get the bag replaced. This was the only issue I had with the bag which is a robust piece of gear and was incredibly useful for my purposes.


The only suggestion I had for Unigear is that while part of the strap is padded for shoulder comfort, it is not adjustable and depending on which way I carried the bag didn’t always sit directly over my shoulder. However I suspect this was more to do with the weight I’d stuffed into the bag rather than bad design, but an adjustable shoulder pad would complete its excellent design.

I haven’t ruled out day backpacks as a useful alternative but the sling bag pack is extremely versitile and as it is so compact and light when empty there is no reason why both can’t be a valuable part of your travelling gear.

For more travel gear ideas visit Clothing at the Barehotelier Travelshop

Barehotelier contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I may earn a commission at no extra cost to you, which will gratefully go towards the upkeep of this site.

Please follow and like us:Photo: Sean Williams. Photo Editor: Biel Parklee.

If you’ve ever accused someone in your life of being so embarrassing for wearing a fanny pack, you probably owe that person an apology. The year’s most popular accessory is a fanny pack — or a “waist bag,” if you’re feeling sophisticated — and New Yorkers are giving the look another chance, in ways you might not expect.

The trend solidified last year in the menswear world, stemming from some star-crossed amalgamation of normcore, dadcore, gorpcore, and Shiacore. It then appeared on the runways, with brands like Coach, Prada, Off-White, and Gucci all giving it the high-fashion “nerd” treatment. Next, it was adopted by celebrities like Kendall Jenner and Jared Leto, as well as by street-style stars the world over.

Finally, somewhere down the line, someone figured out that fanny packs could also be worn as shoulder bags, rather than just waist bags. Most likely, it was a real-life, actual skater or biker who needed easy and comfortable access to their things while on the go. Someone cool in Japan or New York then saw it and copied them, only to discover it was great for raves, music festivals, shopping, or whatever cool people need both hands to do. And eventually, it went from a high-fashion “look” back to its streetwear roots, with Supreme, Nike, and North Face being the brands of choice once more.

Before long, though, A$AP Rocky was doing it, models were doing it, and sure enough, a Supreme x Louis Vuitton red fanny pack walked the runway in Paris as a shoulder bag this winter. The metamorphosis of your parents’ favorite accessory was complete; fanny packs were officially cool.

“Technically, it’s not a ‘fanny pack,’” said Nicholas Campbell, a 23-year-old stylist spotted wearing one on the streets of New York this summer. “It’s a shoulder bag.”

Whatever you want to call it, though, it’s a trend. And New Yorkers can’t get enough of it, as it fits with their transient lifestyle and no-fuss attitude.

Stay tuned for Leonardo DiCaprio’s belt bag next season.

Photo: Sean Williams. Photo Editor: Biel Parklee./BK SCHOLAR PRODUCTIONS

Emilia Esser

22, creative director “I’m wearing my fanny pack as a camera bag; it’s a perfect fit for my camera and a couple of extra films! I’m using it pretty much every day. It goes with all my looks.”

Photo: Sean Williams. Photo Editor: Biel Parklee./BK SCHOLAR

Ali Konate

18, student “I wear my waist bag like that because it gives easier access and feels more stylish.”

Photo: Sean Williams. Photo Editor: Biel Parklee./BK SCHOLAR PRODUCTIONS

Brittney M.

22, student “I really like decorating and changing the pins and patches on my fanny pack. Since it’s on the front of your body, it really changes the vibe of the outfit like any other accessory. I styled it with a funny Mickey Mouse pin I got at a flea market in Philadelphia. I added it because it reminds of me of fun times with friends a few summers back.”

Photo: Sean Williams. Photo Editor: Biel Parklee./BK SCHOLAR PRODUCTIONS

Inga Dezhina

18, model “I really like this kind of bag because it’s comfortable and I can wear it with everything.”

Photo: Sean Williams. Photo Editor: Biel Parklee./BK SCHOLAR

Jalil Howard

20, fashion designer “I actually designed it to be a shoulder bag, it just has the fanny-pack look because of its size perhaps. I like the convenience of being able to wear something to carry small items in besides your pocket. It can also make a simple look stand out if you coordinate it right. I’ll be designing some more and putting them on my website soon!”

Photo: Sean Williams. Photo Editor: Biel Parklee./BK SCHOLAR

Mashell Goodluck

30, creative director “It’s comfortable, stylish, and fits all my personal stuff I need while on the go. I’m not really a backpack kinda guy, so the fanny pack is definitely a plus. Also, I can wear it many different ways to help enhance my look. It’s an accessory and statement piece. I also have another one which I customized to say, “Nobody Cares.”

Photo: Sean Williams. Photo Editor: Biel Parklee./BK SCHOLAR PRODUCTIONS

Nicholas Campbell

23, stylist “Technically it’s not a “fanny pack” it’s a shoulder bag. There’s a strap on the bag that lets you adjust the comfortability.”

Photo: Sean Williams. Photo Editor: Biel Parklee./BK SCHOLAR PRODUCTIONS

Nixon Rithvixay

26, fashion photographer “I like wearing a fanny pack because it allows me to carry light and have quick access when I need something. That’s the reason why I have it strapped in front of me.”

Photo: Sean Williams. Photo Editor: Biel Parklee./BK SCHOLAR PRODUCTIONS

Omar Arif

“I’m used to wearing it over my shoulder instead of my hip while skating around. I’m a big fan of Virgil Abloh’s Off-White aesthetic which demands an unconventional approach to archetypal, clean-cut fashion.”

Photo: Sean Williams. Photo Editor: Biel Parklee./BK SCHOLAR PRODUCTIONS

Sarah Abt

17, model “I like wearing a fanny pack because it’s low-maintenance. I styled my fanny pack over one shoulder because I thought it looked different.”

Belt Bags

Women’s Belt Bags and Fanny Packs

Everybody loves a comeback story, and this accessory is back in a big way. From athleisure styles to casual canvas belt bags, up to designer styles, “fanny packs” and belt bags are everywhere—and we don’t just mean with street style. They can be worn around your waist or as a versatile crossbody bag. Forget your belt today: opt for a leather (or faux leather) belt bag to cinch your waist in an otherwise billowy maxi. Or wear a small belt bag in suede or sparkles to elevate your errand-running attire. Wear the strap through your belt loops for jeans Tip: for crossbody style bags, adjust the strap so the bottom of the bag skims your natural waist, and wear it in the front or back. These hands-free must-haves are available in solids, prints and eye-catching textures.

Not for the timid, these bags will be the star of your outfit, elevating even the most basic of ensembles. Fanny packs and belt bags are perfectly suited to make a statement and sized to fit your tiniest essentials. When style meets convenience, that’s the moment we love.

Types of Sling Bags | The Only Guide You Need About Purses

According to the Oxford dictionary, a sling bag is an unstructured fabric shoulder bag that can either be worn parallel to your body, or across it. One end of the strap is attached to one end of the bag and the other to the other end. These bags are usually available in a variety of colours, shapes, and styles each of which serve a certain purpose. If you’re unsure about what to get, check out this list we curated of the types of sling bags, and make your purchase.

They’re casual, versatile, and practical, and they’re back. These stylish sling bags provide ample space for all of your purse needs, and are also responsible for bringing your whole look together. They make the perfect carry ons but also work well as everyday carry.

If you’re going to buy sling bags online, then take a look at this list we created of the best sling bags before you make your purchase.

Types of Sling Bags

  1. The Classic
  2. The Designer
  3. Wallet Crossbody Bag
  4. Sling Backpacks/Mono Sling Shoulder Bags
  5. Messengers
  6. Crossbody Hiking Bags

1. The Classic Sling Bag

Image courtesy: Kate Spade

According to the definition of the sling bag, it is a bag that as one end of the strap attached to the top of the bag and the other attached to the bottom. These bags are often used as daypacks, especially if you tire of lugging around your usually large and heavy purse. Usually a little bigger than a wallet, this bag will include interior pockets to store things like your phone, wallet and more.

2. The Designer Bag

Image courtesy: Gucci

The only difference between the classic sling bag and a designer sling bag is that this one is more appropriate for a date night out or a special occasion. They usually are available in different shapes and sometimes can take a long time to make since some of them are custom pieces. Also available in various colours and styles, they’re often times bejewelled and are small enough to store your essentials for the night.

3. Wallet Crossbody Bag

Image courtesy: Tory Burch

A wallet crossbody bag is the perfect sling bag for a casual day out. It’s the same as a classic sling bag, but the only difference is, it’s a wallet with a chain or leather strap attached to it. Often used to store just your cell phone and basic wallet essentials like your cash and cards, this wallet crossbody bag works perfectly well for a casual outing.

4. Sling Backpacks/Mono Shoulder Sling Bags

Image courtesy: Sherpani

As the name suggests, mono shoulder sling bags are backpacks with one strap that can be worn across the body. These backpacks usually have a zipper on the single strap allowing the person to use it like a regular backpack, but that’s about the only difference between the two. These work extremely well as an everyday carry but can also double as a carry on for all of your travel adventures.

5. Messenger Bag

Image courtesy: Ted Baker

A type of sack, made out of some type of material, and is worn across the body is a messenger bag. Usually a bigger version of the classic sling bags, these do perfectly well at a work setting. They often have enough capacity to either store a laptop or your tablet, along with your other work essentials with ease. Initially mostly available in cloth, these are now slowly becoming popular in the leather department as well.

6. Crossbody Hiking Sling Bags

Image courtesy: Eagle Creek

Crossbody hiking sling bags are a combination of two bags; a backpack and a messenger bag. While it is just as spacious as a backpack, you can wear it across your body like a messenger back. Usually equipped for carrying all of your travel accessories, these are also easily manageable since you don’t have to take them off for anything.


Finding a Dependable Sling Bag for Travel and EDC

We’re partial to small slings since they are, point blank, the best for travel. Small slings are more comfortable to carry, easier to pack inside a larger travel backpack, and will be considered a personal item on most airlines (in the states, anyway). At some size, a sling bag just becomes an uncomfortable backpack.

Different Styles of Slings

While a sling’s size is measured in liters, the liter size of a sling bag can vary from company to company. One brand’s 5 liters is another brand’s 2 liters (exasperating, right? Get it together, people!). So it’s equally important to consider the shape of the sling bag, the internal organization, and the thickness of the material—all of which will impact the amount of usable space available. Let’s break that down.

Volume & Size

We know we just said judging a sling bag by liters isn’t the most accurate way to determine volume, but it still works well as a benchmark. We recommend staying between one and eight liters and keeping the weight less than four, maybe five, pounds. (This weight includes your stuff, of course. A sling that weights 4 pounds sans stuff is basically worthless.) Since a sling bag wears over one shoulder, a big, heavy sling may, at best, get too uncomfortable to carry, and at worst, hurt your back. Plus, it’ll look awfully strange sitting across the chest.

CODEOFBELL X-POD Compressed vs Expanded

Some sling bags are expandable, which is excellent for travel since they’ll take up little space when not in use or when you don’t have much to carry—but you can still fill them with a decent amount of stuff when expanded. This trick works well on small sling bags but can be overkill on bigger ones, which expand to be comically bulky.


With an expandable main compartment, the CODEOFBELL X-Pod works equally well on days when you only need the essentials and on trips where you want everything but the kitchen sink. Plus, it never looks too bulky and manages to stay comfortable even when fully packed—an impressive feat we don’t often see.


The profile of a sling bag has a significant impact on its overall look and comfort level. Most sling bags have an oblong shape to better fit the chest and back. As we mentioned earlier, sometimes hip packs try to be sling bags—some are even successful at it—but they won’t be nearly as contoured to the chest and can hang in such a way as to look unbalanced.

With sling bags, you’ll usually find one of two orientations: tall or wide. They’re both equally great options that work better or worse for different use-cases and style preferences.

Herschel Supply Co. Form Crossbody Large Purse Carry

Tall sling bags are just that—tall—and wear more like a purse or mini-backpack. As you would expect, they work well for things that you want to pack vertically, say a phone case with bunny ears. Tall sling bags aren’t usually tight against the body, or can only be worn on your back.

Herschel Supply Co. Form Crossbody Large 7.9

This sling bag looks like a miniature backpack—or a regular-sized backpack for teddy bears—which we can certainly get behind. And it has great organization. Its three main compartments are outfitted for a variety of items, ensuring that you’ll never lose anything to the dreaded crossbody-bag-blackhole again. We only wish you could wear it closer to the chest.

Chrome Industries Kadet Nylon Messenger Bag

If you want to look like you don’t know how to wear a fanny pack correctly, then a wide sling would probably be your style of choice. That’s to say, they are more closely related to the fanny pack in the looks-department, for better or worse, and usually sit tightly against the body.

Chrome Industries Kadet Nylon Messenger Bag

Chrome Industries prides itself on its unique, recognizable designs. And this sling bag is definitely unique. Its oblong shape is reminiscent of the typical fanny pack, but its larger size, seat belt buckle, and stiff shape are all its own. It can overwhelm smaller frames—particularly when full—but it’ll hold all of the essentials and then some.

Weather Resistance

You’ll likely carry important gear in your sling bag such as your cell phone, money, and passport. Unless you’ve got special powers that allow you to avoid rain and snow indefinitely, a bit of weather resistance is a major plus as it will protect those essential items from damage. Plus, a weather-resistant sling can be wiped down quickly, meaning you won’t have to wear a sopping wet sling against your chest—not a fun experience.

On the other hand, too much weatherproofing is overkill. Full-blown waterproof or super weather-resistant materials are built for just that—resisting water. Generally speaking, they’re not going to hold up to everyday use as well as other fabrics (more on that below), and they’re not going to look as nice or feel as comfortable on your back/chest.

If push comes to shove and you need to protect your sling from a sudden rainstorm, they’re usually small enough to fit under a rain jacket. Just beware—people may think you are either smuggling a small animal under your coat or have a bizarrely shaped chest. (This could be a pro or con depending on your personality.)

Incase Diamond Wire Reform Sling Pack

A sling bag designed to carry your essential tech—small laptops included—better have some weather resistance. And the Incase Diamond Wire Reform sling doesn’t disappoint, with high-quality, weather-resistant fabric and zippers. However, its large size means it’s not ideal for storing within a larger travel backpack.

Sling Bag Durability & Quality

With the popularity of sling bags on an exponential rise, you’ll find sling bags ranging from ten bucks to thousands. While we don’t recommend going out and buying a sling bag that costs as much as a car (unless you have money to burn), we do recommend purchasing a sling made of durable, high-quality materials—and that may cost you more than ten bucks.

That said, the same fabric that’s ideal for a travel backpack can be a bit much on a sling bag. You have to balance durability with weight and interior capacity. When you’re looking at quality, be sure to pay attention to…


A broken zipper may lead to a broken heart while traveling. That may sound dramatic, but if you’ve ever had a zipper break on you while abroad, you’ll know exactly what we mean. We usually trust zippers from YKK, RiRi, and SAB—all of which have solid track records for making quality products, our favorite being the Japanese manufacturer, YKK. YKK zippers have rarely let us down, even when we’ve put them through the wringer over years and years of testing. They account for about half of all the zippers in the world for a reason.

YKK Zipper on the Chrome Industries Kadet Nylon Messenger Bag

Beyond the brand, it’s important to consider size, which is measured on a scale of one (small) to ten (large). While the main zippers on sling bags fall all over this spectrum, the most common sizes are #5 or #8 (seriously, out of the 50 + slings we’ve tested, a very, very high majority have either #5 or #8 zippers), which both work fine. Anything less than a five and you’ll likely run into durability issues.

With sling bags, you also don’t need—or want—anything too beefy (like a #10 zipper). If they’re too big, the zips can jingle, which gets old quickly. For us, jingly zippers got annoying around the five-minute mark, but maybe you’re more patient than we are. Larger zippers can also rub against your chest or back, which is just as uncomfortable as it sounds.

Some companies purposefully design their sling bags with oversized zippers or zipper teeth to look extra dope. If you’re into this aesthetic, you may have to get used to the jingling. Fashion is pain and all that.

Reverse Coil Zipper on the Arc’teryx Slingblade 4 Shoulder Bag

For the zippers on internal or less-frequented pockets, you’ll be okay with a smaller size.
Zippers can also help with the aforementioned weather resistance. When looking at zippers, you may see the letters RC stamped next to the size (#5RC, #8RC, etc.). RC stands for reverse coil, a term that describes zippers with internally—rather than externally—facing teeth, which helps prevent water from percolating into the bag. But a reverse coil zipper isn’t that water-resistant. So don’t go thinking it’ll protect your phone in a monsoon.

For further protection, there are water-repellent zippers—like the YKK Aquaguard zipper—which have a thin polyurethane coating to, you know, repel water. If you’re planning on going to an unusually wet area with your sling bag, then you may want to look for this style of zipper. Otherwise, you’ll likely be fine without that extra water resistance.


Buckles are a major component of most sling bags (if there’s no buckle, there will be some sort of clip). You don’t want the buckle to break on you because that’ll make the sling practically useless…Unless you MacGyver up a big knot, which will help with the usefulness but, let’s be real, look totally ridiculous.

Large Duraflex Buckle on the Incase Diamond Wire Reform Sling Pack

Again, the brand matters here. Some trustworthy companies are Duraflex, YKK, Woojin, and ITW. As long as you stick with them, you should be good to go. We also love metal buckles—as opposed to plastic—but when it comes to slings, they can be uncomfortable and add a good bit of weight. If durability is a priority however, metal buckles can’t be beaten.

Fabric & Material

Unlike in the 1800s—or even the mid-1900s—bag designers (engineers?) have a ton of fabrics to choose from to make their bags, all of which have pros and cons. As we’ve already mentioned, when it comes to sling bags, you want to balance durability with weight and capacity. A sling bag won’t have to do as much work as a travel backpack; therefore, it doesn’t have to be as tough. Some materials you may run into are…


You’re probably familiar with nylon since it’s a common synthetic fabric that manages to be soft, durable, and lightweight (go science!). These qualities make nylon suitable for a variety of products, and slings are no exception. That said, nylon is more of a blank canvas these days and is often infused with weaves, sewing patterns, or extra fibers that make the fabric more durable, tear, or weather-resistant.

Ballistic Nylon

Ballistic Nylon
Initially developed for military body armor, ballistic nylon is strong…and possibly a bit overkill on a sling bag. While we love that you won’t have to worry about the exterior of your bag falling apart on you, it does weigh more than other fabrics and feels stiff against the body. Still, it’s a great choice thanks to its exceptional resistance to pilling and water. Plus, it won’t do any damage to your clothing as it rubs against it.

Ripstop Nylon

Rip-Stop Nylon
The magic of ripstop nylon is all in its name. Due to its magical properties—AKA, the extra fibers that are sewn into its square weave—ripstop nylon prevents punctures from spreading into full-on rips. Moreover, like plain old nylon, ripstop has a high strength-to-weight ratio, meaning it’s lightweight but still remarkably strong—a significant asset for a sling bag. Plus, it’s currently used in ejector seat parachutes for fighter pilots(!), and if it’s good enough for fighter pilots, it’s good enough for us.


Polyester is another standard synthetic fabric, but clocks in at a lower price than nylon. It’s generally heavier, too. If you’re looking to buy a cheap sling bag to hold some beer at music festivals and you don’t care that it won’t last more than one season, polyester will suit you well. We should point out that there are some reasonably-durable polyester sling bags out there, but those are usually blended with other fabrics (especially in the lining and/or other sensitive areas).

CORDURA® Grade Fabrics (Nylon & Polyester)

CORDURA® is a brand, not a fabric, but it’s still worth mentioning since you’ll likely run into it more than a few times. CORDURA® nylon and polyester is the exact same as traditional nylon and polyester, the only difference being that the fabric has come from a CORDURA®-approved mill and production line. The CORDURA® label is basically a stamp of quality assurance—it’s pretty much a guarantee that anything CORDURA® will have excellent abrasion resistance and an impressive strength-to-weight ratio.


You aren’t going to see a lot of canvas sling bags out there, but the few that do exist have an antiquated and sophisticated air about them. That’s because canvas—particularly cotton canvas—was the fabric that started it all. Canvas is heavier and more susceptible to abrasions than synthetics, but unlike synthetics, its weatherproofing is usually obtained by wax, which can be re-proofed, ensuring continual water-resistance and durability.


Remember when we just said that canvas is the fabric that started it all? Well, technically speaking, that isn’t entirely accurate because leather has been around a lot longer. But in today’s day and age, you aren’t going to see a ton of leather sling bags—especially in a travel context (they’re more common on runways). Leather isn’t great for travel since it’s heavy, sensitive to the elements, and requires a decent amount of maintenance. We suggest sticking with a leather wallet and finding a sling bag made of basically anything else.

While this isn’t a comprehensive list of all of the fabrics you’ll run into while sling bag shopping (sorry sailcloth and polypropylene) a majority of sling bags will be made with one or multiple of the materials mentioned above. But the material itself isn’t the be-all, end-all.

Usually, you’ll see a number followed by a D associated with the material—250D, 950D, 1000D, etc. The D stands for denier, which is the unit that measures the weight or thickness of fabric. In general, the higher the number, the more durable the fabric—but higher numbers also mean higher weight.

Because every fabric has its individual strengths (nylon is inherently stronger than polyester) the denier won’t help you much when comparing two different types of fabrics, or even two types of weaves within one fabric family. Instead, it helps you compare two fabrics of the same type. 500D Ballistic nylon is less durable than 1000D Ballistic nylon, for example. But the 500D Ballistic nylon will also be much lighter (about half as light, in fact!).

When it comes to sling bags, higher denier is generally better, but you start maxing out around 500D. As far as we’re concerned, any fabric over 500D is a bit overkill for a sling bag. As you get up into the 500D range, the weight of the fabric will start to become more substantial, but because sling bags are small—and thus don’t have a lot of fabric—you’ll hardly be able to notice this difference in weight. And because sling bags don’t take as much abuse as, say, a full-blown travel backpack, we don’t think the extra durability of 500D+ fabrics is necessary.

Moreover, the other aspects of a sling bag, including its zippers and hardware, also have to be high-quality. It does you no good if your ballistic nylon exterior has held up if your zippers break on week three. Best to keep everything well-rounded.

Aer Day Sling 2 8.6

Bordering on too durable, the Aer Day Sling 2 is made of some tough stuff—1680D CORDURA® Ballistic nylon, to be precise. We love that its massive zippers will (probably) last decades, but we’re not fans of how they jingle every time you take a step. Still, if you’re looking for a sling bag that will keep up while you roam the world, this one should be on your radar.

Why are sling bags for men becoming popular?

Yi KevinFollow Dec 27, 2018 · 3 min read

Handbags are for ladies and sling bags are for men. Yes, you read it right. The ladies do not go out without a handbag which they use to carry essential items for every day. Just like that, the men can use the sling bags to carry their essentials items. These items could be anything from headphones to books, mobile phone, cards, a bottle of water and even the snacks etc. This makes men self-dependent especially when they are traveling or outing with the family. They do not need to ask their women to carry their stuff in their handbags when the men have their own sling bag along with them.

The sling bag for men is not something new. They are here for many years and used on different occasions. For examples, the kids and college going boys use sling bags to carry their books and related stuff where sportsman uses them to carry their stuff. Even in the gyms, the sling bags are getting popular to carry tower, cloth, and related stuff etc. That’s why they come in all sizes and shapes to satiate everything easily.

As compared to women sling bags, the sling bag for men is bit different. Not only the color I am talking about but also the inside slots. They are less in term of colors and style but more when its come to a number of slots.

Perfectly blend style:

Sling bags are in demand because they are considered the combination of many handbag variations where for men; they are very easy to carry. The sling bag has been carried in the same way as the backpack, that’s why sometimes they have been called the backpack sling bags. They are not only expressive, chic and quirky as compare to the traditional men handbag but also cost less money when you buy one.

Daily to use bag:

Usually, the bags are limited for the specific occasion. For example the fanny pack, belt pouch or handbag etc but this does not happen in the case of a sling bag. The sling bag can be used in any situation whether you are going to the office, gym, playing a sport, going to the beach or even when traveling. You can use the sling bag to carry many important things. The big advantage of sling bag over the fanny pack is the size which allows men to carry many items at one place, organized.

It is in fashion:

Whether sling bags for men are in fashion or not but they always look classy because of the stylish way to carry it on the shoulder and back. If you are following male celebrities on Instagram, you will see a sling bag very often because they are also using these wonderful bags in their life to carry their items. That’s why the companies are not making the sling bag in many different styles, sizes, designs, and colors to fit them with the latest trends for the men.

There Are Pros And Cons To Both

Sling Backpack or Hiking Backpack Debate

A sling backpack bag may seem easier to carry. But is it? This debate is not as complicated as which came first, the chicken or the egg, but many hikers have different viewpoints on which type of hiking pack is more comfortable. Your destination and time on a hike,plus your habits will determine if one is easier than the other. Many hikers have a clear preference for a sling bag while hard-core trekkers swear by backpack bags. Let’s cut through the confusion and sort this all out.

Sling Backpack Used As A Hiking Day Pack

Sling backpack packs usually have one main compartment which make it harder to find your necessities when you toss it all into one area. Key considerations are the size of the load you will be carrying, and for how long you have to carry it. Another factor would be how often you need access to the bag’s contents. Hikers may prefer a one shoulder backpack, for a quick on and off or to get at the contents of the bag faster and easier. If the load you’re carrying is light, there is less chance of a sore shoulder with a shoulder sling pack.

Sling Bag Features Have Dilemmas

Let’s say the trip is a shorter day hike. Most likely you’ll be carrying less.However, if the load is cumbersome, then the relative worth of its easy access decreases. The single strap backpack may slip or slide off of your shoulder or inch up towards your neck while hiking, putting pressure on your neck which will result in discomfort and potential pain.

Sling Backpack vs Backpacking Backpacks

A sling bag differs from a classic hiking backpack bag which has two shoulder straps, one for each shoulder. It is not slung over one side, it is centered in your back. It provides added stability when hiking or climbing and is considered ergonomically beneficial for carrying weight. Trekking backpacks have exterior pockets for easy access to frequently used items. Carrying this type of hiking backpack always gives you both hands free to work with, eliminating the need to hold the single strap of a sling bag onto your body.

What About Hiking Pack Weight?

Sling backpack bags do not have the ability to distribute your pack weight evenly across your back like a two strap backpack does. This design helps maintain your natural gait. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to deal with hip and back pain due to a hunched posture. You can imagine how that might put a damper on the enjoyment of your trek. An added benefit of this type of backpack is that it’s very stable on uneven trails. A properly fitted pack will hug the small of your back allowing it to be flexible with your body movements.

Factors For Both Types Of Hiking Packs

Whichever type of pack you choose, it boils down to what you will be doing with it, long or short term, and what you will be carrying as far as load weight. Owning a sling bag plus alarge backpack is optimal since you can always toss a sling bag into your backpacking backpack and have the best of both worlds as your circumstances change during an extended excursion. You might as well make your life easier and get both types of packs. Happy Hiking!

The Digital Story

Not every camera bag is right for all situations. But over time, most photographers settle on a style that best suits their general needs. Aside from rollers, the basic designs are sling, shoulder, and backpack. Here’s a closer look at each.

Three Types of Camera Bags – Sling (left), Shoulder, and Backpack.

The Camera Backpack

Backpacks, such as the Lowepro DSLR Video Fastpack 250 AW combine excellent storage capacity for your camera gear, laptop, and tablet with excellent comfort. Weight is distributed over both shoulders and hips (if you buckle the waistband). So you can explore for an entire day without much fatigue.

On the downside, access to your gear isn’t as convenient as with shoulder and sling bags. And backpacks are sometimes problematic in crowded areas where you might accidentally bump others with it.

Best for… carrying gear from point A to point B, travel, hiking, and when you need to have lots of equipment with you over an extended period.

The Shoulder Bag

Shoulder bags, such as the Lowepro Urban Reporter are perfect during shoots when you need to access your gear quickly. You can position the bag to hang in the front while your working, then slide it around to your back while relocating to a different area.

Shoulder bags are not as convenient when walking long distances or transporting lots of gear. Because all of the weight is centered on one shoulder, photographers will tire more quickly.

Best for… quick access during a shoot and for working in crowded areas. Also a bit more stylish for urban shooters who also attend meetings.

The Sling Bag

Sling bags, such as the Lowepro Transit Sling, offer an alternative to the traditional backpack.

Slings provide faster access to gear, while maintaining backpack-like capacity, and to some degree, comfort if you use the supplied stabilizing strap that helps distribute weight off one shoulder. Worn properly, you can carry more gear for longer periods with a sling than a shoulder bag – but still not as long as a good-fitting backpack.

Best for… providing fast access to a moderate amount of gear. Slings are also well suited for those who prefer backpack styling over shoulder bags. They’re easier to reposition in crowded areas than backpacks.

What Do I Use?

My everyday on-the-go bag is the Urban Reporter 150. When traveling or moving gear from point A to point B, I prefer the DSLR Video Fastpack 250 AW that also has a padded area for my 15″ MacBook Pro. And when I’m on the trail, I love the Lowepro Photo Sport Pro 30L AW Backpack that not only protects my camera equipment, but has enough storage for an overnight campout.

This camera bags have a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting

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