The 10 Best Men's Sling Bags

Updated February 27, 2018 by Chase Brush

10 Best Men's Sling Bags
Best High-End
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Best Inexpensive
We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Regular, two-strap backpacks have their uses, sure, but when you’re looking for something a little more convenient for everyday use or to keep weight down on a hike, you might try out a sling bag. Each of the following men's not-so-mini totes will help you transport your essential gear, whether you’re fishing, cycling, or just on your way to work. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best men's sling bag on Amazon.

10. Waterfly Packable

Weighing in at just under half a pound, the Waterfly Packable boasts material so flexible that it can be folded down smaller than the size of an iPad and stored in its own inside pocket. It's water-resistant, too, which makes it useful for sightseeing.
  • strap adjuster stays in place
  • affordably priced
  • material too weak for heavy loads
Brand Waterfly
Model pending
Weight 8 ounces
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

9. OutdoorMaster Small

Stylish and sturdy, the OutdoorMaster Small features a reversible strap, which means you’ll be traveling agreeably whether you’re a rightie or a leftie. There’s also a hidden anti-theft pocket for your most valuable items and room in the main compartment for a tablet.
  • top loop for quick grabbing
  • strap is padded
  • too bulky for active outings
Brand OutdoorMaster
Model 6535915
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

8. HBag Backpack

The HBag Backpack is made of a lightweight water-resistant material, and has ample room for thick books or even a basketball, making it perfect for academic or sports use. It swings forward easily for when you want to grab your stuff.
  • inside pocket with earbud port
  • padded back wicks away moisture
  • for right shoulders only
Brand HBAG
Model S5507
Weight 14.4 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

7. 5.11 Tactical RUSH Moab 10

The uses for the 5.11 Tactical RUSH Moab 10 are nearly endless: camping, fishing, photography, emergency response, and it works as a masculine diaper bag, too. Although it’s a bit smaller than many comparable items, it’s MOLLE compatible for expansion and customization.
  • hydration pocket
  • wide enough to hold a small laptop
  • heavier than many options
Brand 5.11 Outdoor
Model 56964-026
Weight 3.4 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

6. Under Armour Compel 2.0

The Under Armour Compel 2.0 is part of the UA Storm line, which features a durable water repellent finish that resists wetness while maintaining breathability. Store your laptop of up to 15 inches in the main compartment and use the front zippered pocket for small basics.
  • trusted outdoor gear company
  • water bottle pocket
  • quite large for this type of product
Brand Under Armour
Model 1277498
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

5. Arcteryx Slingblade

Offering a nice variation on most bags in this category, the Arcteryx Slingblade is designed to hang from the shoulder like a purse, rather than be strapped to the back. That makes it great for casual trips around town when accessibility is more important than portability.
  • zippered mesh security pocket
  • lots of internal organization
  • not for intense physical activity
Brand Arc'teryx
Model 17173
Weight 12 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. Keep Pursuing

An everyday adventure bag, the Keep Pursuing is adjustable to either shoulder and water resistant by way of Teflon-coated, 1,000-denier Cordura nylon, which also makes it a snap to clean. The center is padded to protect your precious electronics.
  • slim profile with no bulk
  • good for wilderness or urban use
  • hidden passport compartment
Brand Keep Pursuing Inc.
Model 00854883006280
Weight 7.9 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

3. Incase Reform

Although the Incase Reform looks simple, its modest exterior hides robust features: multiple pockets, including a dedicated notebook sleeve; stash spots on both the back panel and strap; and a quick-release mechanism, to name a few. You can wear it as a waist pack, too.
  • can hold a small macbook
  • perfect for commuters
  • matching backpacks also available
Brand Incase
Model CL55576
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. NeatPack Versatile

The NeatPack Versatile is a practical choice that all ages will love, with an easy-to-wear feel and a variety of pockets for accessible organization. Its highlights include a cell phone pocket on the front strap and an RFID-blocking hidden pocket for data protection.
  • stitching is solid
  • fit adjusts effortlessly
  • lifetime guarantee with registration
Brand NeatPack
Weight 14.4 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Chrome Unisex Kadet

When all you need to carry are the essentials, the Chrome Unisex Kadet will do the job better than most. With a durable 1,050-denier nylon construction, it's made to stand up to the rigors of daily urban or other outdoor adventures.
  • slim minimalist design
  • padded u-lock holster
  • secure ykk zippers
Brand Chrome
Model BG196IN
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

Slinging Like You Mean It

If you've ever traveled any distance with a backpack strapped to you correctly (the straps tight to raise the bag high on your back), you know what a pain in the neck it is to get the thing back around to the front side of you so you can rummage through it for your wallet, or your camera, or your papers if you're in a dystopian totalitarian dictatorship.

In addition to making it harder to access the things in your bag, the design of a backpack is such that it can't be repositioned; there's really only one way you can wear it since I'm ruling out the option of wearing it in front of yourself on the grounds of good fashion.

The solution to both of these problems is simple: the sling bag.

Now, sling bags are specific kinds of messenger bags in much the same way that a square is a more specific kind of rectangle. In the case of the sling bag, it's not that its edges are all the same length so much as it is that it's significantly smaller that the common messenger bag.

Messenger bags have evolved into a pure fashion accessory outside of the exclusive bicycle courier demographic, and the result is a newer wearing style that is significantly looser than the style worn by messengers. Often, you'll see urbanites casually toting their expensive laptops in messenger bags worn dangling on one shoulder.

What makes a sling bag comparatively specific here, in addition to its smaller stature, is the fact that it's more or less impossible (certainly uncomfortable and unstable) to wear it casually on one shoulder. The sling bag is meant to be worn with its single strap across your chest, evenly distributing the weight of its contents across your upper body.

Most slings have one main compartment with a few simple slots for a cell phone or a tablet, and some even have interchangeable clip positions that allow you to alternate shoulders if you get tired of carrying your sling on a particular side.

Function Or Fashion

The first sling bag I ever saw belonged to the lead singer in a band I knew growing up part of the punk scene in NJ. His name was Doug, and he was a big man, but his sling bag was unbelievable small. It wasn't a good look.

That's not to say sling bags are the exclusive dominion of the heroin chic, but it is to say that you ought to reckon with the fact that everything you wear outside the house–every bag, pair of sunglasses, tie clip–all are fashion choices, and all leave you open to the judgment of the masses. Hopefully, you don't take their judgement too seriously, but I also hope that you take enough pride in your appearance to pick a sling bag that will compliment your quotidian wardrobe.

Take a look through the bags on our list and ask yourself how they pair with that favorite jacket you wear more than any other. If it's a good fit, then chances are it's a bag that'll serve your style for years, even after you move on to the next coat.

Another important, ans slightly more practical consideration is the capacity of a given sling bag. If you have a 17-inch laptop without which you cannot physically leave the house, you're going to need a larger sling bag with a compartment that can fit it. The same should be said for the depth of the bag you choose if you haul a significant amount of stuff around with you, especially books.

At the end of the day, though, we have to return to the fashion aspect, as no bag is any good unless you're willing to take it out on the town.

Sending A Message Of Love

The birth of the messenger bag, and, by extension, the sling bag, is a little hard to trace. Basically, anyone with a large enough sheet could have wrapped his or her goods in it and tied it diagonally across his or her chest when setting out for a trip.

The first such bags we can identify in history come from foot messengers of ancient times, like the Romans, Persians, and Chinese. We can then trace its modern incarnation to the bags worn by the Pony Express in the old west. Somehow no one thought to reinforce the bags against arrows, but we can forgive them for that oversight; the post office has always been a little on the slow side.

Later, in the 1950s, the equipment bags of utility linemen–those are the guys that climb the telephone poles to make repairs to telecommunications and electrical equipment–came to most closely resemble the messenger bags we see all over the map today.

But it was fashion designer John Peters who, in 1984, redesigned the cotton bags of the New York City Messenger Service to become an urban fashion statement among the in-crowd. His designs set the tone for the trend in which we're still living, carrying us through to the 21st century of men's bag design like a good old messenger boy himself.

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Last updated on February 27, 2018 by Chase Brush

Chase is a freelance journalist with experience working in the areas of politics and public policy. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, he is also a hopeless itinerant continually awaiting his next Great Escape.

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