Should you decide that you want something a little more stylish, a little more daring, and a little easier to use, with quick on/off accessibility, you’re ready to try a sling backpack. Below, we review the 17 best sling bag options on the market as of 2023.View in gallery
There’s nothing wrong with traditional backpacks, as they certainly have their place, but they can often be troublesome.
Putting them on and taking them off is a hassle, particularly when they’re heavily loaded. The adjustable straps tend to either slip off your shoulder or bite into it like a vulture digging for carrion.
You can get things into and out of them easily, so long as they’re anywhere but on your back, and they give you that ultra-sexy “back to school” appearance that makes suitors of the male and female variety swoon.
However, if you’re looking for a sling bag that combines functionality and visual appeal, you need to be talking about a sling backpack. Forget about any misconceptions you may have, the sling bag is a viable option for almost any situation.
Sling Backpack Review: The Best Options for 2023
Fashioned after the earliest bags made during the time when humankind was fresh out of the trees, hunting and gathering to survive, a sling back pack is a little lighter, a little slicker, and dare we say a whole lot sexier than the standard book bag.
Here are the 17 best sling backpacks for those who choose to take a little suave with them wherever they roam.
1. Mismo M/S Brief Bag
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Suavely understated, the Mismo M/S Brief is the updated version from the brand that carries the popular design solutions from Mismo’s most popular pieces, all in a single bag. The slim and expandable gusset is borrowed from the M/S Flair, and the simple but strong bridle leather handles that ensure carrying comfort are from the M/S Shopper.
The cleaner look from the button-downed zipper is elegantly inspired by the M/S Mate, and the leather solution for its trolley fastening located at the backside is the same as found on the M/S Endeavor. And the versatility only increased with the better design.
2. Steele & Borough ‘The Holdall Blue Nights’ Weekender Bag
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Vegan, lightweight, and water-repellant, this backpack is for anyone hunting for a timeless look with progressive functionality. Steele & Borough has been a game-changer when it comes to men’s bags and accessories. And for The Holdall Blue Nights, they have thought of everything, from including a water-resistant drawstring back for your dirty, damp shoes or laundry to adding vegan leather details for a refined finish.
And as its name implies, this stylish sling bag is designed to be roomy to hold all you need for a day or three with one large open pocket and one smaller, zipped pocket on the inside.
3. Basics Sling Bag
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Elegantly slender with plenty of non mesh pockets for most of your EDC needs, this is a great backpack those who aren’t looking to drop serious coin on a sling bag should head here with confidence. You can fit a smaller tablet into the main pocket, though it’s too petite for laptops, and the back has an RFID-guarded pocket that prevents digital thieves from snagging your credit cards or other digital data. It works equally well above and below clothing.
4. Dakine Sling Pack
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Dakine discontinued their best sling bag, the Hub, but you might be able to locate one on the secondary market or find a retailer that hasn’t depleted their inventory. Though this tiny fanny pack replacement doesn’t have the space of the Hub, it’s made with the same deathproof build backed by a nice lifetime warranty, surprising storage space, and a dedicated pocket for and iPad Mini.
5. Leaper Cross Body Messenger Bag
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There are generally two kinds of sling backpacks. Those that are tiny, intended for basic gear, and those that are built for urban commandos who intend to carry loads of stuff. Leapers offering is a nice mix between the two, with an urbane, masculine appearance to its canvas body. Though it can only hold a 13″ laptop – if you get the large size – the interior is surprisingly roomy and can hold a lot or a little with ease.
6. Under Armour Compel 2.0
Don’t let the polyester build deter you from considering this sling backpack. The Compel is well-treated with DWR (Durable Water Repellent) to keep it dry in tough conditions, and has a special waterproof pocket for phones or other gear that can’t stand wetness. Add in a smart price and a padded spot to hold your laptop, and the end result is much more than the sum of its meager parts.
7. Aer SlingView in gallery
A duffel or rucksack pack that is meant to be a gym bag, the Sling is perhaps the truest tote of its type. Built like a rolltop backpack with a wide opening that lets you stuff in clothes, shoes, and whatever else, it’s equally useful for folks who just need a place to put their gear without a lot of fuss.
8. Ful Brick House
First off, these come in pink, which should be all the selling point you require. If you need more, it’s also kitted out with a side-access laptop pouch that can hold smaller computers (it’s 11.5″ x 11.5″ x 1″) or big tablets, and is made with 1680 Denier ripstop nylon that can take a lot of punishment over extended periods while still looking smart and natty.
9. Patagonia Atom
Maybe the most common sling pack in the world, the Atom is known and used by everyone from professionals to average schlubs because it sits comfortably behind the shoulders. This build works more like a standard backpack to distribute weight evenly over your hips, which reduces the strain on your spine.
10. Arc’teryx Slingblade 4
Though wee in size with a purse look that is great for women, but might turn some men off, its the versatility and durability of the Slingblade that makes it ideal for anyone. With a little strap work you can carry it any number of ways, all of which provide fast access to the mesh pocket on the inside, which is built specifically with phones, wallets, passports, thumb drives, and other common items in mind.
11. Chrome KadetView in gallery
Mil-Spec materials with a seatbelt buckle shoulder strap that makes donning and doffing this sling bag easy to do on the fly, if a smaller structure with undeniable survivability is what you crave, then there’s no reason to look elsewhere. It’s smart, stylish, tough as hell, and dare we say a badass sling backpack.
12. Greenroom136 MetromongerView in gallery
Intended as a photography bag for quick shooting, the Metromonger acts equally well as a fast pack for day trips and rivals most regular hiking backpacks. This is largely thanks to its adjustable shoulder strap, storm flaps, and multiple partitions which handily harbor your phone, batteries, wallet, passport, and whatever else; all in a triple compartment body that’s easy to love and easier to use. Should you need to expand, a few MOLLE straps offer that capability.
13. 5.11 Tactical UCR SlingpackView in gallery
As stable as you’re likely to get from a sling, thanks to the broad body strap, the UCR also has organization to spare, boasting a load of internal pockets – which include an ID pouch – and a panel of web patching on the front where you can stick additional items. You can even add in a blow-out kit or 4 should you need even more partitions on the inside.
14. DSPTCH SlingpackView in gallery
Let the words Duraflex hardware surrounded by Ballistic Nylon help guide you into what makes the Slingpack stand above the competition. Able to safely hold a slim profile laptop – up to 15″ – and built with a secret sleeve for hiding your personal effects, it might just be the perfect balance of bag for everyone.
15. Maxpedition Kodiak GearslingerView in gallery
A beast of a sling bag that can fit a full 15″ laptop in its padded compartment. The Gearslinger has a huge mouth that allows you to access its inner depths and the multitude of pockets whether standing, sitting, or riding. Not to mention the adjustable shoulder strap that allow for enhanced comfort. Then there’s the PALS webbing for attaching more gear, not to mention the water bottle pocket on the side for sipping on the go. If you like spending time in the outdoors, this bag makes a great hiking backpack.
16. Triple Aught Design Dispatch BagView in gallery
Fair enough, this is more messenger bag than true sling pack, but given the smart adjustment, you can get it to fit and operate like a sling, while adding in a little more structure for guarding your valuables. PALS webbing all around, and 1000 Denier Cordura give this the ability to go the distance, or survive daily abuse.
17. Côte&Ciel Riss
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The Riss is inspired by ancient Japanese samurai armor intended for horseback archery. That design allows it to be strapped into several positions, from the waist to under the arm, around the back. With a waterproof canvas body, it’s not the cheapest, but it sure looks good.
While our list of sling back pack models is not means exhaustive, we believe it represents the best overall options. That meeting point of style, comfort, utility, and price. Whether you’re looking for an easy-on pack for cycling, something stylish for your laptop, or a low-hassle sling backpack for the gym, the best sling bag for you is on our list.
What do you use your sling back pack for? What is your favorite brand that we ought to feature in a future update? Leave us a comment saying so below!