In Summary: I reviewed several backpacks for the purposes of this article. On balance, I'd pick the Outdoor Master Packable as the best sling backpack.
It won because:
Even so, wide-shouldered or busty individuals will want to choose another option.
There were lots of similarities for the sling backpacks reviewed. As a carry on traveler I liked the light option because I can pack it up and stick it in my main carry on.
Read on for the full review of the 5 models we looked at.
Perhaps a sling backpack could help with your man purse problem...
We’ve all been there: on a crowded train with no space and gear that keeps falling out of our bags. Or maybe it was on a tiny plane where luggage space was at a premium. No matter the scenario’s differences, the problem remains the same. There’s a clear need for travel gear that holds all your belongings and doesn’t get in the way.
Many sites will not let travelers bring large bags with them because they pose a security threat. And you probably don’t want to pay to secure your bags while you wander around either. In these instances a small lightweight pack comes in handy.
Messenger bags are not really the solution. Accessing their contents and protecting them from thieves is easy. But they are small and they can also cut into your shoulder if you pack them full of stuff. What you really want is a pack that can hold all your gear on the way to your hotel and also on day trips. So, what’s the solution? A sling backpack! It's a great compromise that offers the best of both worlds.
Sling packs are a stylistic combination of backpack and the messenger bag. They have a higher capacity for holding one’s belongings than messenger bags. But they are nowhere near as unmanageable as a backpack.
A lot of people use 2-strap backpacks as daypacks, but choose throw them over the shoulder using only 1 strap. The sling backpack is designed from the get go to be a 1 strap backpack.
These devices provide travelers with easy access to their supplies. Travelers also don’t have to take their packs off to sit down. These features both come in handy on public transportation.
Sling packs also make handy daypacks. After all, the term “daypack” describes backpacks used for carrying basic daily supplies. These bags are essentially the travel version of the standard purse. Yet, unlike a purse, these products tend to be gender neutral to appeal to a broader audience.
Cross Body Sling Backpacks:
The things you need to consider when buying a new backpack are price, size, features, and design. Of course, price is a main factor. If you can't afford to buy the item in question, all other factors are obviously moot.
I prefer to invest more in my carry on luggage and use a cheaper daypack for every day use.
Size is another major player. Your sling pack should be able to hold everything you need for your daily use.
It should also follow all airline regulations for personal item carry-on bags. There should even be enough space in the pack for your computer if you plan on taking it along.
Or alternatively choose a sling backpack that you can roll-up and pack inside your main carry on bag.
Of course, the sling bag should have a good design. It should be both durable and lightweight. It bears repeating that the most expensive bag isn’t always the best one.
If you have the option of testing the product out in stores, make sure that it has a comfortable fit. None of the parts should be poking you at any point. After all, finding your way around an unfamiliar town is hard enough on its own.
Travelers that plan on making trips as part of a duo should make sure their luggage suits both of them. After all, there is no telling who might be carrying the bag in question. It’s been scientifically proven that carrying too much weight is bad for your back. And, on average, women have less arm strength than their male contemporaries.
The OutdoorMaster backpack weighs approximately 1 pound. It measures 18.9 x 12.6 x 4 inches.
It comes in four colors: black, grey, green, and dark blue so you can find something to fit your style.
It has a padded, adjustable strap that can be worn on either side of the body. This is good because you can switch shoulders if you get tired.
Pockets: It has a small invisible pocket where important items can be kept. The main pocket can easily hold small laptops or ipads with screens that are less than 12.5 inches but there is no padding.
It has several different pockets that can be used to separate items that will help you to keep things organised and easy to find.
There is also a water bottle holder for drinks. Most medium-sized beverages will fit in the section provided. But they could be a tight squeeze in some instances.
This bag might not be able to withstand the wear and tear brought about by longer journeys. But it should be alright for short trips. While it should be okay for rain showers be advised that it's not waterproof and you'll need to be careful with electronics.
Smaller people might not be able to stop the bag from moving around. This is because the shortest strap setting may not be tight on them.
The Under Armour Compel weighs approximately 1 pound. It is made entirely of polyester. It measures 19 x 13 x 6 inches.
It is treated with chemicals that make it water-resistant. This comes in handy if it suddenly starts to mist rain.
It has a several different pockets, including a small one on the front. This space is useful for holding cameras, phones, or anything else that you might need to grab quickly.
There is a lightly lined space in the backpack that is excellent for holding laptops or Ipads measuring up to 13 inches.
It comes with a comfortably padded, adjustable strap so that customers can be sure it fits them.
Three styles: Black, black with blue trim, and grey with pink trim. All the styles are dark so they don't show dirt and are easy to clean.
It is a more expensive option. This could be a deal breaker since there are plenty of ordinary backpacks that are available for much less.
Smaller people may have difficulty getting the bag to remain in place without putting it around their necks. Even then it may prove too uncomfortable for them to use.
It is advertised as being able to hold computers with 15 inch screens. But this doesn’t always seem be the case.
The OutdoorMaster Packable is right up my street!
It's a nylon bag that only weighs only 0.33 pounds. It measures 8 x 6 x 1.5 inches but will expand to 10 x 18.5 x 7 inches when fully packed.
It's extremely affordable (check the price on Amazon). It comes in five colors including army green, black, purple, blue, ocean green (teal), purple, red and rose red (pink).
It has a secret zipper pocket on the inside for holding important travel documents and credit cards.
There is also an external pouch for storing things that you want to be able to quickly reach like your camera or phone.
Like most models, it has a water bottle holder.
This pack has a padded, adjustable mesh strap on it. This device be switched to wear on the left or right side.
A plastic hook (d-ring) is included. This allows the pouch to be attached to your clothes, belt, or a bigger pack. This secures the bags and helps prevent it from being lost.
The backpack can be folded up into one of its pockets. This means that it can be placed in other suitcases or bags if necessary.
It is extremely lightweight.
Well-endowed ladies might have trouble getting this product to fit them comfortably.
It’s not waterproof.
The Waterfly bag comes in four colors: black, army green, blue, or rose (pink). All of the available styles feature grey trim and straps.
It is water-resistant and created for outdoor use and the reflective strap on the product makes it easy to see in the dark.
The padded, adjustable strap can be worn on either side of the body.
It has plenty of separate pockets. There is even a small mesh pocket on the side that works great for holding your cell phone. The price is normally about $40.
There’s no water bottle pocket on this model. This might be problematic for people that don’t want to risk spilling their drinks all over their clothes.
The bag will repel small amounts of rain or snow. But it won’t keep your belongings dry during a heavy rainstorm. If you spend a lot of time in damp environments, another bag might be a better choice.
It might be too small to accommodate those who normally pack heavily.
Putting things in the bag can occasionally be difficult. After all, the zippers are in a rather awkward place.
The backpack is designed to be worn on the left. There’s no way to switch it over to the right side.
The Mixi polyester sling backpack weighs about 0.8 pounds. It measures 10.2 x 16.7 x 4.7 inches or 11.8 x 18.7 x 5.1 inches, depending on which model that you buy.
There are three different color options including solid black, blue with black accents, or black with blue accents.
This backpack is water resistant. However be careful it's not waterproof!
It has a padded strap to keep it from cutting into your shoulder. The strap can be switched to wear on either side of the body.
There are several pockets including a hidden one for storing important items. There is also one located on the strap. It is ideal for holding sunglasses or small phones.
It has a water bottle holder that is capable of storing medium to large size bottles.
The pack is suitable for holding small tablets such as ipads.
This model folds into itself. This allows it to be carted around in other luggage when it’s not in use.
Most laptops won’t fit inside this pack because of its odd shape.
This model might not be the best choice for tall or broad-shouldered people because the straps have an odd configuration.
There were many similarities in the models that I reviewed.
The sling packs all had padded straps to prevent them from cutting into wearer’s shoulders.
Some were even created so that they could be worn on either side of the body.
The majority of the products contained numerous pockets, including hidden ones to protect important items from potential thieves.
A lot of the models had special spaces for travelers to store their water bottles. This allows them to avoid carrying beverage in the same compartment as their electronic devices and clothes. But the size of the water bottle holder did vary between models.
A sling backpack is a great option to use as a daypack when you are traveling or around town when you are at home.
I particularly love the packable option from Outdoor Master and combined with a padded sleeve for my surface pro it's made it into my carry on packing list.
While some of these bags were water-resistant, none of them were waterproof. It was disappointing. But I understand that their creators were trying to balance this requirement with the need for ventilation. After all, dirty clothes that are completely wrapped up with clean ones can make everything stink.
One of the main differences in these products was obviously the prices. Click to check the current prices on Amazon. Weight was another obvious difference with these products, if you are packing your sling backpack inside your main case go for something lightweight.
Size is another important factor. The Outdoor Master Packable Sling Bag was the lightest at 0.33 pounds. The Outdoor Master Sling Backpack and Under Armour Compel Sling 2.0 Backpack were the heaviest at 1 pound apiece.
Comfort is the fourth aspect to consider. The Outdoor Master Sling Backpack and the Under Armour Compel Sling 2.0 Backpack might be difficult for short people to manage. Comparatively, the Mixi Sling Backpack is not the best choice for medium to larger sized individuals.
Another minor factor that might be important to some is the style selection. Most of these packs came in a few different colors or designs but the Outdoor Master Packable Sling Bag had the most styles. It also was cheap, lightweight, and had the best design. This is why it would be my top pick of the lot!