The 10 Best Men's Sling Bags

Updated November 13, 2017 by Chase Brush

10 Best Men's Sling Bags
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 43 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. NPUSA Hydration

If you love adventures, the NPUSA Hydration has you covered, with a pass-through slot at the top for a water tube and D-rings for added attachments. This model comes in two sizes and a range of colors, from classic black to blue camo.
  • molle customization possible
  • adjustable waist belt
  • dense load may cause strap failure
Model pending
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

9. Waterfly Packable

Weighing in at just under a 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 use
Brand Waterfly
Model pending
Weight 7.8 ounces
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

8. Patagonia Atom Sling

Not only will the Patagonia Atom Sling keep your body comfortable with its ergonomic design that secures the load behind your shoulder, but it will also keep your mind at ease, thanks to a 100 percent recycled body. You’ll stay cool thanks to breathable, 3-D spacer mesh.
  • polyester ripstop fabric
  • treated with water-repellent finish
  • from an expensive brand
Brand Patagonia
Model Patagonia
Weight 10.4 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

7. OutdoorMaster Sling Bag

Stylish and sturdy, the OutdoorMaster Sling Bag 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.
  • grab loop for quick carrying
  • strap is padded
  • too bulky for active outings
Brand OutdoorMaster
Model 6535915
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

6. TravTac Stage II

The uses for the TravTac Stage II are nearly endless: geocaching, fishing, metal detecting, bird watching, and it works as a masculine diaper bag, too. Although it’s smaller than many comparable items, it’s MOLLE compatible for expansion and customization.
  • includes reflective patch for safety
  • zipper pulls are molded
  • may slip off the shoulder
Brand TravTac
Model pending
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

5. Under Armour Compel Sling 2.0

The Under Armour Compel Sling 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 zip pocket for small basics.
  • trusted gear company
  • water bottle pocket
  • large size for this type of product
Brand Under Armour
Model 1277498-035
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

4. HBag Sling Backpack

The HBag Sling Backpack is made of a lightweight water-resistant material, and it has ample room for thick books or even a basketball, making it perfect for academic or sports use. It also swings forward easily for when you want to grab your stuff.
  • inside pocket with earbud port
  • padded back wicks away moisture
  • right shoulder only
Brand HBAG
Model pending
Weight 14.4 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

3. Keep Pursuing Sling

An everday adventure bag, the Keep Pursuing Sling is adjustable to either shoulder and water resistant by way of Teflon-coated 1,000D Cordura nylon, which also makes it a snap to clean. The center is padded to protect your precious electronics.
  • slim profile with no bulk
  • for wilderness or urban use
  • hidden passport compartment
Brand Keep Pursuing
Model 00854883006280
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. 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
  • brand offers matching backpacks
Brand Incase
Model CL55575
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. 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 available
Brand NeatPack
Weight 15.2 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 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 November 13, 2017 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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