The 22 Best Sling Bags of 2023 for Men and Women
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Sling bags have become one of the biggest fashion trends of the last couple of years.
While fanny packs started regaining popularity about a decade ago, in the last year or two, it’s become significantly more likely to see celebs like Hugh Jackman and Sarah Jessica Parker wearing sling bags across their bodies.
So, whether you’re looking for a little extra storage space, a new favorite fashion accessory, or a little bit of both, let’s look at which crossbody sling bags are your best options in 2023.
The Top Sling Bags of 2023
- GoTo Waterproof Sling Bag
- GoTo All Day Sling Bag
- Renew Transit Bag
- Greenroom136 Metrorunner Sling Bag
- Porter-Yoshida & Co. Force Sling Bag
- Tumi-Tahoe Bozeman Sling Bag
- Drop Bag by Mismo
- Chrome Industries Tensile Sling Bag
- Wandrd Roam Sling Bag
- Wandrd Detour Sling Bag
- IVTG Genuine Leather Sling Bag
- DSPTCH Unit Sling Pouch
- Bange Sling Pouch
- Hazard 4 Bandoleer Sling Bag
- Kavu Rope Sling Bag
- KL928 Canvas Sling Bag
- Evergoods Civic Access Sling Bag
- Evergoods Mountain Hip Pack
- Nomatic Navigator Hip Pack
- Bellroy Venture Sling Bag
- Chrome Kadet Sling Bag
- Osprey Daylite Sling Bag
What Exactly Is a Sling Bag?
Until recently, a "sling bag" was often called a "messenger bag" and referred to the types of bags that bike messengers would sling over their backs while making their deliveries. You may hear sling bags referred to as “sling packs.”
In 2023, a smaller version of this utilitarian bag has become one of the go-to fashion statements for people who need a little extra storage space when heading out. Hence, the birth of the sling bag.
So, in many ways, a sling bag is really just a fanny pack that's designed to (usually) be a bit smaller, making it more comfortable to wear across the chest.
These bags are secured to the body using a strap that goes diagonally over the shoulder. The placement of the buckle is typically off-center. The bags themselves often have an oblong shape.
Though, as you’re about to see from our list of the best sling bags on the market, there’s no one standard definition. These days, sling bags come in all shapes and sizes.
Sling Bags vs. Messenger Bags
Though the two terms are often used synonymously, sling bags and messenger bags aren’t the same thing.
While they both make use of a crossbody strap, the similarities largely end there.
Messenger bags are generally larger and boxier in shape and don't conform to the wearer’s body. But these types of bags don’t fit one, tidy definition, either. A good rule of thumb is that if it looks like it’s being worn more for function than fashion, it’s probably a messenger bag.
Sling bags tend to be a bit more stylish, though that definitely doesn’t mean they can’t help you carry around all kinds of important supplies for whatever your day holds.
In fact, one of the most popular types of sling bags in 2023 is a perfect example of this: the EDC sling bag.
What Are EDC Sling Bags?
Everyday Carry sling bags (a.k.a., EDC sling bags) are compact and versatile bags designed for daily use to carry essential items and personal belongings. The term "EDC" originates from the concept of "Everyday Carry," which refers to the items people carry with them on a daily basis to be prepared for various situations.
They’re the Swiss Army knives of sling bags – designed with a little bit of everything in mind.
Typically, EDC sling bags have a single crossbody strap that allows the bag to be worn comfortably across their chest or back. They are designed for easy access to your belongings while keeping your hands free. These bags are often used for urban commuting, outdoor activities, or as a practical alternative to larger backpacks.
But unlike some of the sling bags we’re about to cover that are designed for specific occasions (e.g., hiking, festivals, etc.), EDC bags are meant for everyday activities (hence, the name).
Common Features of EDC Sling Bags
Some features that the majority of EDC sling bags have in common include:
- Compact Size: EDC sling bags are usually small and lightweight, making them convenient to carry around without being cumbersome.
- Multiple Compartments: These popular bags often come with multiple pockets and compartments to help organize and store different items efficiently.
- Spacious: And most of these sling bags provide plenty of space to hold all kinds of items, even though they’re lightweight and unintrusive. Many people use these bags to effortlessly carry:
o USB Cable
o Nintendo Switch
Imagine having all of these things within hands reach whenever you want.
- Quick-Access Pockets: Many EDC sling bags have strategically placed pockets with easy-to-access zippers or buckles, so you can quickly grab essential items when you need them.
- Durable Materials: To withstand daily use, EDC sling bags are typically made from durable materials like nylon, polyester, or high-quality synthetic fabrics.
- Comfortable Straps: The crossbody strap is designed to be adjustable and comfortable for extended wear.
- Versatility: EDC sling bags can serve various purposes, such as carrying electronic devices, wallets, keys, water bottles, and other small everyday essentials.
- Stylish Designs: They often come in various styles and colors to cater to different tastes and preferences.
EDC sling bags have gained popularity among individuals who appreciate practicality, organization, and ease of use in their daily lives. They provide a convenient way to carry essential items while maintaining a minimalistic and efficient approach to daily carry needs.
Why Wear a Sling Bag?
Hopefully, the advantages of wearing a sling bag are now obvious: they keep everything you need nearby without the hassle of wearing a cumbersome backpack.
But in case you’re still not convinced, here are some other great reasons to snag one ASAP.
Sling Bags Are Light Yet Spacious
First and foremost, sling bags don’t take up a lot of space on your person and won’t slow you down, but they do provide plenty of space for all of your favorite things.
They generally don’t come with any fancy bells and whistles, either, which is a good thing because that would make movement more cumbersome.
You’ll hardly know a good sling bag is there until you need it for reaching something important that’s inside.
Sling Bags Provide Easy Access
Speaking of which, one of the major selling points of sling bags is that they’re so accessible. With a backpack, you have to take it off your back to look for what you need. Even a handbag usually makes you sort through various compartments to get what you want.
Sling bags put everything right in front of you. It couldn’t be easier to reach your stuff.
Sling Bags Are Perfect for Daily Travel and Trips
Now that you understand what a sling bag is, let's delve into why this versatile accessory can be a game-changer for all kinds of travel.
Whether you're on a plane, subway, bus, or embarking on a longer journey, a sling bag offers unparalleled convenience for carrying your daily essentials and organizing your belongings during trips.
- Seamless Urban Commuting: Sling bags are perfect companions for navigating bustling cities and crowded public transportation systems. Their compact design allows you to maneuver easily through crowded spaces, keeping your belongings secure and easily accessible as you hop on and off buses, subways, and trains.
- Hands-Free Convenience: Unlike traditional backpacks that require you to take them off when accessing your items, a sling bag can be easily swung to the front, providing immediate access to your essentials. This hands-free convenience is especially useful during busy commutes when you need to retrieve your phone, wallet, or transit card swiftly.
- In-Transit Organization: When you're on the move, it's essential to keep your belongings organized and readily available. Sling bags feature multiple compartments and pockets, allowing you to neatly store items like your smartphone, snacks, charging cables, water bottle, and a compact umbrella for unexpected weather changes.
- Stress-Free Airport Security: During air travel, sling bags shine as they comply with carry-on baggage regulations and make navigating airport security a breeze. Simply place your sling bag in the security bin, and you'll avoid the hassle of shuffling items between pockets and bags.
- Efficient Sightseeing: When exploring new destinations, you'll want a reliable bag to carry your camera, map, sunscreen, and other essentials. A sling bag lets you move freely while having all your travel necessities within arm's reach, making sightseeing more enjoyable and hassle-free.
- Ideal for Day Trips: If you plan on exploring nearby attractions or embarking on day trips during your travels, a sling bag is an excellent choice. Its lightweight design and ergonomic crossbody strap ensure comfort even during extended walks and excursion.
- Perfect Travel Companion: When you're packing for a longer journey, a sling bag can serve as your personal item, fitting neatly under the seat in front of you. It can hold essential travel documents, entertainment items, a water bottle, and snacks, making long flights or train rides more comfortable.
- Security and Anti-Theft Features: Many sling bags come with anti-theft features like RFID-blocking pockets and lockable zippers, providing an added layer of security for your valuables during your travels.
Again, this is why many people use EDC sling bags every single day, but for overnight travel, a slightly larger version can make it oh-so-simple to walk through airports, train stations, hotels, and new cities.
Sling Bags Are Very Trendy
Sling bags have been one of the most popular fashion accessories for the past few years now. Just about every brand – from Nike to Coach to Louis Vuitton – has a sling bag.
And just about every celebrity – from Rihanna to Priyanka Chopra – has been seen wearing them.
Given their functionality, don’t expect this popular bag to go away anytime soon.
What’s the Difference Between a Sling Bag and a Fanny Pack and a Shoulder Bag?
Before we cover some common advice about purchasing your first sling bag, let’s cover some other important distinctions: specifically, the difference between sling bags, fanny packs, and shoulder bags.
Similar to the term “messenger bag”, these three names often get tossed around when describing completely different types of bags.
The terms "sling bag," "fanny pack," and "shoulder bag" are often used interchangeably, but they refer to different styles of bags with distinct features and carrying methods.
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of these three types of bags.
Carrying Style: A sling bag is worn across the chest or back with a single strap that goes diagonally over one shoulder. The strap is usually adjustable, allowing the bag to be positioned in front or back, depending on personal preference.
Design: Sling bags typically have a compact and ergonomic design, making them ideal for easy access to essentials while keeping hands free.
Capacity: They come in various sizes, ranging from small ones for daily essentials to larger ones suitable for short trips or outdoor activities.
Versatility: Sling bags are versatile and commonly used for urban commuting, travel, outdoor adventures, and sports.
Carrying Style: A fanny pack is worn around the waist and secured with an adjustable strap. It sits on the hip or at the front of the waist, and the bag's compartment is usually positioned facing the body.
Design: Fanny packs have a compact and streamlined design, and they are often used for easy access to small items like wallets, keys, or smartphones.
Capacity: While smaller than sling bags, fanny packs can still hold essentials for everyday activities or short excursions.
Versatility: Fanny packs are popular for hands-free convenience during various activities like hiking, sightseeing, or running errands.
Carrying Style: A shoulder bag is typically carried over one shoulder, with the strap resting on the opposite side of the body. It can be worn on the shoulder or across the chest, depending on the length of the strap.
Design: Shoulder bags come in various styles, including tote bags, messenger bags, and hobo bags. They often have a larger capacity than sling bags and fanny packs.
Capacity: Shoulder bags can accommodate more items, making them suitable for everyday use, work, shopping, or travel.
Versatility: Shoulder bags are versatile and serve as practical fashion accessories, catering to various occasions and personal styles.
So, the main differences are that a sling bag is a crossbody bag worn across the chest or back, a fanny pack is a waist-worn bag, and a shoulder bag is carried on one shoulder with the strap running diagonally.
Each type of bag offers unique benefits in terms of carrying style, design, capacity, and versatility, catering to different preferences and needs.
Is a Sling Bag the Same as a Crossbody Bag?
Yes, but not all crossbody bags are necessarily sling bags.
While a sling bag is worn across the body, remember the bulkier messenger bags we brought up earlier. That would be an example of a crossbody bag that definitely isn’t a sling bag.
Sling Bags for Women vs. Sling Bags for Men
Far be it from us to tell men or women what to wear, but common differences in how men and women choose sling bags and how to wear them do come up a lot, so we’ll cover that here.
Sling Bags for Women
When it comes to sling bags, women have a broader range of color and pattern preferences, with bags available in various shades and prints to match different outfits. Many come in feminine accents, such as floral patterns, bows, or embellishments that can add a touch of elegance to their overall look.
Women often opt for sling bags that can transition smoothly from casual to formal settings, so they can use the bag for various occasions.
And though they’re very practical, sling bags are also worn as fashionable accessories that complement women’s outfits. In this sense, women may choose sling bags that match or contrast with their attire, enhancing their overall style.
At the same time, women are more likely to choose sling bags with practical storage space that can replace their purses. These bags must be able to hold essentials like wallets, phones, keys, makeup, and small personal items.
Sling Bags for Men
Sling bags for men have also gained popularity as practical and stylish accessories.
However, guys tend to favor bags in neutral colors, like those in black, brown, gray, blue, or navy blue. Among other things, these colors lend themselves to a range of different types of classic or understated outfits.
In the same way, sling bags for men are usually streamlined. They feature clean lines and minimalist designs that lend themselves to functionality and versatility but efficiency more than anything.
Men’s sling bags are usually made from sturdy fabrics for durability. Canvas and synthetic fabrics are most popular, but many of these bags are made from leather, too – or a combination of these three. These materials make for bags that look great but can also handle plenty of wear-and-tear.
While men aren’t usually in the market for the same types of “purse replacements” as women, they still care about storage and organization. Zippered pockets are very popular for this reason, too.
Although women were definitely ahead of the trend, more and more men are realizing that sling bags are a functional, fashionable way to improve their style and storage at the same time.
What to Look for in a Sling Bag
Feel free to jump ahead to our list of the best sling bags, but it may help to review our list of features that matter most to help with your decision.
Volume & Size
While evaluating sling bags based solely on liters might not offer perfect precision, it can serve as a useful point of reference. For optimal comfort and practicality, we suggest considering sling bags with a capacity ranging from one to eight liters. It's essential to keep the overall weight, including your belongings, below four, possibly five, pounds.
Since sling bags are designed to be worn over one shoulder, opting for a large and heavy bag could lead to discomfort or even strain on your back. Additionally, a bulky sling bag might look awkward when worn across the chest. To strike the right balance between functionality and style, aim for a compact and lightweight sling bag that best suits your needs.
Profile and Shape
What about the size and structure of a sling bag?
The profile of a sling bag plays a crucial role in its overall appearance and comfort.
Most sling bags have an oblong shape, thoughtfully contoured to fit snugly against the chest and back. While some hip packs attempt to emulate sling bags, they often lack the contoured fit, leading to an unbalanced look.
Sling bags come in two primary orientations: tall or wide, each with its own advantages for different use-cases and style preferences.
Tall Sling Bags: These sling bags are, as the name suggests, taller in profile and resemble purses or mini-backpacks. Their vertical orientation makes them ideal for packing items like a phone case with bunny ears or other vertically-oriented essentials. Tall slings don't usually rest tightly against the body and can be worn both on the chest and back.
Wide Sling Bags: If you prefer a style that harks back to the fanny pack, then a wide sling may be the choice for you. These sling bags have a closer resemblance to fanny packs in appearance and typically sit securely against the body.
Ultimately, whether you opt for a tall or wide sling bag depends on your specific needs and desired aesthetic. Each style offers unique benefits, allowing you to find the perfect sling bag that matches your functionality and fashion preferences.
While weather-resistant sling bags aren’t hard to find, they’re not exactly commonplace, given how many are worn for as much their style points as their storage potential.
But if you are in the market for a bag that can handle the elements, look for one made from one or more of the following materials:
- Ballistic Nylon
- Ripstop Nylon
- CORDURA® Grade Fabrics (Nylon & Polyester)
Other Features to Consider When Buying a Pack Belt
Ready to buy a pack belt?
Again, our list of the best options is below, but here are some factors to consider before you make you purchase.
While smaller than backpacks, sling bags should still accommodate a reasonable number of belongings.
Ease-of-access is also a crucial point of consideration. It’s not just that a good sling bag should be easy to open and access. You want your important items to be immediately accessible inside, too.
Sling bags are inherently lightweight and low-profile. However, considering they are worn on one shoulder, comfort and weight become essential factors when choosing the right one.
Nobody wants a sling bag that digs into their shoulder all day long. Prioritize “carry comfort” while keeping weight to a minimum.
Though, ultimately, no matter how light your sling bag is, if you weigh it down with all kinds of heavy objects, it will inevitably affect your comfort.
What’s your primary purpose for the sling bag going to be?
Most people choose EDC bags because their potential uses are so vast, from Everyday Carry to taking them on long trips to wearing them camping.
But if you have a singular, specific purpose in mind (i.e., wearing to a music festival), focus on that priority and you won’t be disappointed.
If you’re in the market for a fashionable sling bag, there’s never been a better time.
Sling bags don’t just come in all shapes and sizes these days.
They also come in about a million different styles, too.
“Streetwear” continues to be a dominant trend in sling bags with many athleisure brands creating designs that are as fashionable as they are functional.
You can find plenty of dressier, more formal options, though, and not just from high-end fashion brands like Louis Vuitton. All kinds of affordable labels have gotten in on the skyrocketing popularity of these bags.
A minimalist, modern look is usually a good compromise between the two styles if you’re looking for a sling bag you can wear on a range of occasions.
Bohemian designs are becoming progressively common, too, if that’s your particular sense of style. The same can be said for vintage and retro looks that come with modern features.
And, of course, there are those that are designed specifically with utility in mind above all else. They’re perfect for long treks and hikes, camping, and any other activity that puts you up against the elements.
What Kind of Straps Are Best for a Sling Bag?
The strap is a quintessential feature of a sling bag, so it’s worth giving it some thought before making your purchase.
Padding varies among sling bags, ranging from “none-at-all” to “basically, a pillow.” The amount of padding tends to increase with the size of the sling bag in order to ensure comfort when carrying heavier loads.
However, thick, padded straps can lead to uncomfortable sweaty patches and might not significantly improve comfort beyond a certain sling bag size. In fact, larger straps tend to add unnecessary weight.
This is why thinner straps or those with moderate padding tend to be more popular.
But there’s also been a rise in a slick combination of these two extremes: straps that are thicker where they come into contact with your body but relatively thin everywhere else. This thoughtful design ensures that the sling bag maintains a comfortable feel without being burdened by over-engineered straps in terms of design and weight.
Moreover, some sling bags feature detachable straps, allowing you to convert the bag into an organizer pouch for toiletries, electronics, or other items needing organization. This kind of dual-purpose functionality is a travel-friendly bonus, saving both space and weight.
Utilizing a combination sling bag and pouch is an excellent way to maximize the usefulness of your gear during one-bag travel. The best part is that detachable straps are nearly identical to non-detachable straps, offering the same convenience without any downsides.
Types of Sling Bag Straps
Alright, let’s quickly look at the different straps you can choose from for your bag:
The Traditional Sling Bag Strap
Traditional sling bag straps are commonly spotted during outdoor adventures, especially when hitting the trails.
Prominent outdoor brands like Patagonia and Osprey offer these slings with a single, thick strap resembling that of a backpack.
They prove advantageous for quick jaunts, as the strap remains securely in place, even during bouncy trail hikes.
However, as their name suggests, these “traditional” straps are really only meant to be worn the one way: over the shoulder and across the chest.
In recent years, the “full-width” strap has become extremely popular. In fact, it’s this look that is largely responsible for making sling bags popular again.
As you probably guessed, this describes sling bags that have straps which are as wide as the bag, essentially creating a streamlined, consistent profile from end-to-end.
For this reason, you tend to see full-width straps on smaller sling bags, the kind that you’d wear for carrying only the essentials.
This also makes them quite versatile. You’ll see people wearing this type of sling bag across their chest, over their backs, or around their waists.
The Slim Crossbody Strap
This type of strap really blurs the line between sling bags, purses, and other types of crossbody bags.
A slim crossbody strap is the thinnest option, designed so that the bag sits on the hip, though the smaller profile of the bag tends to disqualify it as a traditional purse.
That’s also why you’ll often see men rocking this type of strap with their sling bags. If you don’t have enough cargo to justify a messenger bag and don’t want to be accused of carrying the dreaded “murse” (man-purse), this is an attractive option.
Does a Good Sling Bag Need a Back Panel?
Many sling bags these days come with back panels, but they’re not necessarily essential and may actually cause more discomfort than comfort.
For example, if you have a boxier sling bag, resembling a purse or messenger bag, you may not require anything fancy for the back panel.
However, with sling bags that hug the body, there's potential for discomfort as they can lead to awkward sweat patches and rubbing against clothing, causing pilling.
Mesh back panels are commonly found on sling bags meant for the outdoors or to be worn more as backpacks. These back panels offer improved ventilation and breathability, reducing the likelihood of sweat buildup and enhancing overall comfort during wear.
Alternatively, some sling bags may not have a mesh back panel but provide a bit of cushioning or padding for added comfort.
But again, while the padding may contribute to a more comfortable carry experience, it could also exacerbate sweat-related problems.
On the other end of the spectrum, smaller sling bags, especially those on the compact side, may forego both mesh and padding in their back panels. For these smaller bags, this omission is quite understandable and shouldn’t impact comfort in a negative way.
In the end, choosing the right back panel design is a matter of personal preference and the intended use of the sling bag.
Whether you opt for mesh, padding, or simplicity, ensuring a comfortable fit and avoiding potential discomfort is essential. The back panel is an important consideration to ensure that your sling bag remains a reliable and comfortable companion throughout your day-to-day activities or adventurous endeavors.
The Buckles on a Sling Bag
They’re easy to overlook, but the buckle on your sling bag could make-or-break your satisfaction with its comfort and performance – similar to straps.
The most crucial point to consider is where is the buckle located on your sling bag?
A centered buckle allows for versatile wearing, as the sling bag can be comfortably worn on either shoulder or around the hips.
However, if you plan to occasionally wear your sling bag with a backpack, a centered buckle may not be ideal. The weight of the backpack can cause the sling bag's buckle to dig into your back, leading to discomfort. On top of that, detaching the sling bag will be challenging without first removing the backpack.
On the other hand, an off-center buckle, typically located on the right side, works best when worn on one shoulder. While it might technically be possible to wear it on either shoulder, it may sit uncomfortably on one side or place the buckle in an awkward position that's hard to access with your dominant hand. This aspect may have a more significant impact on left-handed individuals.
Considering the size of the buckle is also important.
Larger buckles may feel less comfortable, but they often offer a stylish and robust appearance. They tend to last longer and are generally easier to clip and unclip, which is beneficial for those who prefer a hassle-free experience.
Finally, if you plan to wear your sling bag more as a fanny pack, be mindful of the buckle's design. Some buckles may not allow for this dual functionality, limiting your options when it comes to wearing the bag in different styles.
The 22 Best Sling Bags of 2023 for Men and Women
When assessing the best crossbody sling bags on the market, we considered a few different factors:
- Price: We have options for every budget
- Utility: You’ll find big and small options that fit every need from extra pocket space to legitimate travel accessory
- Material: We know a lot of people have preferences when it comes to the materials they wear
- Style: Our list includes a plethora of different styles – enough to fit any fashion sense
With all that said, let’s dive right into the first sling bag on our list.
1. GoTo Waterproof Sling Bag - $35
New for 2023 is our GoTo Waterproof Sling Bag.
Designed for athletes, adventurers, and people who simply need a stylish option for some extra storage, this bag keeps your essentials within reach while ensuring comfort on the move.
Crafted from waterproof, durable, and lightweight fabric, the GoTo Sling Bag is ready for the elements and provides long-lasting performance. And we made it from an antimicrobial material, so exposure to the elements won't create a smelly problem later on.
Its internal compartment offers organized storage for your belongings, allowing easy access to everything you need. This isn't the type of sling bag where all of your important items get tossed around while you're on the move.
The no-bounce strap and mesh padding provide a secure and comfortable fit, eliminating discomfort during your adventures. The easy access double zips and magnetic pockets make retrieving items effortless, even when you're on the go.
Its heavy-duty key clip will also put this essential item within hands reach at all times. You can also use it to attach your dog leash, so you can take your four-legged friend for a run without holding a leash.
Best of all, the GoTo Sling Bag comes with a lifetime warranty, guaranteeing its quality craftsmanship and long-lasting use.
2. GoTo All Day Sling Bag – $39
At Runners, we only jumped on the sling bag trend after realizing there was a ton of demand for a very specific version.
- Across their bodies (i.e., as a sling bag)
- Throughout the day, no matter the activity
- With any outfit – athletic, casual, or formal
If that sounds familiar, then there’s good news: we designed our sling bag for you.
So, if you want a little extra storage space without having to support a full-on backpack across your body, give ours a look. This bag comes in black or gray and with a minimalist style that makes it perfect for any outfit.
So, whether you want a sling bag to join you on your long-distance runs, walks with your dog, or just to carry all your essentials as you go out with friends, the GoTo All Day Sling Bag has you covered. It’s antimicrobial, anti-stain, and anti-stink, so you can easily take this bag from the trail to the coffee shop or bar without worrying that you’re bringing the worst parts of your workouts with you.
And that’s not all.
The mesh padding makes our sling bag extremely comfortable, but we know your main priority is storage, so we ensured the main pocket is easily accessible with double zips. It has an internal compartment for easy organization. There’s even a special security pocket for the valuables you couldn’t live without.
With the cheapest price tag on this list, free shipping, AND a lifetime warranty, there’s no reason not to give our popular sling bag a shot.
3. Renew Transit Bag by Everlane - $40
If you're after a minimalistic, simple look, without any erroneous bells and whistles, the Renew Transit bag by Everlane is a strong pick.
We'd rate the Renew Transit bag as one of the best options for leisure travel. Its soft, slouchy fabric makes for easy packing into a suitcase. The paired back design also renders this bag ideal if you want something that can do double-duty.
Whether on a trail or out and about in the city, the Renew Transit bag won't look out of place.
Speaking of doing double-duty, like a lot of bags on this list, the Renew Transit bag can be worn as both a fanny pack around your waist and a sling bag across your body.
Besides being practical and versatile, everything except the zippers on this bag is made from 100% recycled materials.
4. GREENROOM136 Metrorunner Sling Bag - $23
It's not often you can find a budget-friendly bag option that's made from high-quality materials. Although the GREENROOM136 Metrorunner sling will only run you $23, it's constructed with some heavy-weight materials, including 1000D CORDURA nylon, water-resistant zippers, and a YKK side release buckle.
To top things off, the shoulder strap's fitted with a cushy layer of padded EVA foam.
As far as the interior goes, this no-nonsense bag features two main compartments, as well as a series of secret pockets that you'll have to find yourself – because they're, well, secret.
But what really impresses us about the GREENROOM136 Metrorunner sling is it's designed especially for comfort while walking, jogging, or even running. If you choose to use the side compression straps, this will help to keep the bag stable on your body.
Overall, we'd rate the Metrorunner as the best sling bag if you're on a tight budget.
5. Porter-Yoshida & Co. Force Sling Bag - $255
On the opposite end of the price spectrum, we have the Force sling bag by Porter-Yoshida & Co.
If you're unfamiliar with the brand, you might be wondering why anyone would need to pay upwards of 300 bucks for a sling bag.
Porter-Yoshida & Co. started in 1935 by creating bags for carrying life-saving items after the Great Kantō earthquake. Today, they have become a cult favorite, thanks to their practical, simple designs and top-notch Japanese craftsmanship.
This particular Porter-Yoshida & Co bag design embodies the essence of the brand. The exterior is a robust canvas construction, with durable zippers, and an adjustable strap.
If you were thinking the Force sling bag is all work no play, you'll get a surprise when you get a glimpse of the upbeat bright orange interior, kitted out with a plethora of well-thought-out interior compartments for organizing your items like you're Mari Kondo.
6. Tumi Tahoe Bozeman Sling Bag - $325
Another luxury brand that's nailing it on the sling bag front is Tumi. The brand is a leader in luxury travel accessories and their pieces are usually a seamless marriage of style, function, and durability.
The Tumi Tahoe Bozeman bag is no exception.
The sleek, high-end design manages to look both smart and practical at the same time. This is another sling bag that can easily take you from a hike right through the day to a gallery tour, or even a meal out.
Most of the bags on our list aren't gender-specific, but if you're looking for the best men's sling bag, the Tahoe Bozeman could be a good choice.
Of course, Tumi bags aren't just about style. Tumi incorporates safety technology for most of its pieces. This slick sling bag comes equipped with the Tumi Tracer. Tumi's proprietor program allows you to track your bag in the event of loss or theft, making the futuristic fanny pack the best sling bag for travel when you can't afford to have your valuables go missing.
7. Drop Bag by Mismo - $229
Sling bags are uber practical, but they can also be a big style statement. One look at Google Trends and you'll see that searches for sling bags have been rising over the last few years as the functional fanny pack makes a comeback in street style fits.
However, if your main focus is creating a cohesive ensemble and you're more of a vintage guy or gal – picking out the right sling bag can be tough. Most sling bags are function-focused, veering towards, sporty, athleisure vibes. Just because Kim Kardashian has been rocking street-style slings doesn't mean this exact look is for everyone.
If you're looking for a sling bag that's fashion-forward and will match a Burberry coat (rather than a rain jacket and pair of joggers), we'd recommend the Drop Bag by Mismo.
The Drop Bag has to be one of the most elevated sling bags on the shelves. It comes in a variety of neutral tones, including a fine taupe herringbone pattern. Picked out with bridle leather straps and zipper edging, this sling bag is as stylish as they come.
But don't let looks deceive you, the Drop Bag isn't just a pretty shell.
Infused with Dutch craftsmanship, this bag is crafted from handmade Italian nylon that's treated for enhanced durability and stain resistance.
We'd also recommend it as the best sling bag for women (and men) who want to take advantage of the sling bag trend but aren't after an athleisure look.
8. Chrome Industries Tensile Sling Bag - $120
Are you after a good amount of carrying space and easy operation in your fanny pack?
If yes, the Chrome Industries Tensile sling bag offers a middle-of-the-range option that doesn't compromise on quality.
Like the other pieces in its lineup, this medium-sized sling features a signature car seat buckle that allows you to snap and take off the bag in one quick motion. To up ease of use, there's also a conveniently situated zippered front pocket that allows you to access items without having to take the sling off.
This is separated from the main compartment which offers enough free space for larger, bulkier items. At the back, there is another compartment for organizing smaller items which also features an operational pouch. This zipper sits closest to the body, making it tougher to pickpocket.
As far as construction goes, the Chrome Industries Tensile sling is made from 3-layer laminated recycled nylon with polyester lining and 210D nylon ripstop.
Oh, and we almost forgot the most important part: there's a built-in bottle opener.
9. WANDRD ROAM Sling Bag - $109
Are you a budding (or pro) photographer?
If you're the type of person who carries their camera just about everywhere, the WNDRD ROAM sling bag might be for you.
This 3L sling bag is small enough that it won't get in the way or weigh you down when out and about. It's also ideal for carrying a camera or device. The sling body uses ballistic nylon to ensure none of your valuables will get damp should you be caught in bad weather.
To make double sure your gear stays dry, the bag is also kitted with water-resistant zippers.
Internally, the WNDRD ROAM bag offers just about all the organizational features you could need in a small sling, including an adjustable divider. This is ideal for keeping sensitive items separate, such as extra camera lenses.
On the comfort front, the 5-point strap adjustment system allows the WNDRD ROAM to fit everyone, and the air mesh back panel helps to keep back sweat at bay on those hot days.
Finally, this neat sling bag also comes with two straps on the bottom for attaching a tripod or water bottle.
10. WANDRD DETOUR Sling Bag - $64
If you're specifically looking for the best sling bag for carrying a camera, here is another compact option from WANDRD. What makes the WANDRD DETOUR stand out from the ROAM is it's ultra-packable.
Once you're done using it, the DETOUR folds up into a small, compact square that you can easily stash away. When unfolded, the DETOUR offers a decent amount of storage that should house most DSLR cameras.
Design-wise, this WANDRD sling is suave and simple.
The one drawback to the DETOUR sling bag is it doesn't offer much in the way of protection for your camera gear. It might be the best small sling bag for saving space in a suitcase, but this feature means that you won't have the sturdiness of the vinyl used in the ROAM to buffer your gear.
11. IVTG Genuine Leather Sling Bag - $138
It's not often you find a genuine leather sling bag these days, but we've got you covered with this beauty from IVTG. The funny thing about leather is it manages to look lux, high-end, and subtly expensive, but still gives off a casual and non-fussy vibe.
If this is the aesthetic you're after in a sling bag, look no further than the IVTG Genuine Leather Sling Bag. Handmade and beautifully constructed from genuine cowhide that's undergone a special coloring process to imbue it with vintage feels, the IVTG leather sling is superbly suited to everyday use.
A roomy interior offers enough space for most essentials and there's also a headphone cable hole for those of us who don't want to go Bluetooth.
The simple design and classic buckle give this leather sling a timeless look, making it a piece you can rock for years to come. Leather might not be quite as waterproof or stainproof as certain synthetic fabrics, but it has a hidden superpower. Over time, leather develops what's known as a patina, adding character and a worn-in look. Like a great pair of vintage jeans, the older a leather bag gets, the better it often looks.
12. DSPTCH Unit Sling Pouch - $164
Are your pockets always stuffed to the max?
The DSPTCH Unit sling pouch is here to help.
Designed specifically to house small items that are just too large (or too many) to fit comfortably in your pockets, the Unit sling pouch sports two minimal compartments.
Constructed of super lightweight Dyneema composite fabric, this sling bag weighs a mere 7 ounces. But don't let its lightweight fool you into thinking this is a cheaply made fanny pack you can pick up at a corner store.
The composite fabric isn't just lightweight. It's also waterproof, as are the zippers. The slim size of this sling bag also means you can comfortably wear it underneath a jacket.
All of these features make the DSPTCH Unit sling a great option for people on the move. Going for a short hike or jog and don't know what to do with your keys? Jangling keys in your sweats pocket is the nemesis of any cardio session.
13. BANGE Sling Bag - $37.39
If you're pretty hard on gear and bags and are after a rugged, protective option, allow us to introduce you to the BANGE sling bag.
Although it is very affordably priced, this might be one of – if not the best – tactical sling bag options. Have you broken a few cameras and phones in your bag while scaling trees or doing a spot of rock climbing?
Bumping up against a hard surface isn't uncommon when you're out in the wild, but it can cost you a pretty penny in repairs or replacements when you get home. Fortunately, the folks over at BANGE have you (literally) covered.
The BANGE sling bag comes with an outer shell to protect sensitive tech no matter what terrain you're up against.
And it doesn't stop there.
The outer shell also has an anti-shock system, and the interior of the sling bag has a lining of "thickening sponge."
Finally, not only does this sling bag promise to keep your sensitive tech items safe and cozy, it even has a USB charging port.
14. Hazard 4 Bandoleer Sling Bag - $89.96
Another great option to consider if you're in need of a hard-shelled exterior in a sling bag is the Hazard 4 Bandoleer. This rugged sling bag features a thermoformed molded construction in the shell. Encased in durable, water-resistant 1000D CORDURA fabric, the thermoformed shell is designed to protect sensitive belongings from whatever nature has to throw at you.
The 2L interior allows enough space to pack essential tech items, as well as miscellaneous must-haves like keys, wallets, flashlights, etc., without weighing you down or getting in the way of true adventuring. There is also a dedicated space designed for compatibility with defensive CCW needs.
If you need to clip on and lash additional items, you can further extend the Hazard 4 Bandoleer's functionality with Hazard 4 HardPoint accessories.
15. KAVU Rope Sling Bag - $54.95
For those that want a simple, old-school canvas design in their sling bag, KAVU comes in with a budget-friendly option in the form of their Rope Sling Bag.
This simple bag has a barrage of 5-star reviews. Featuring an iconic rope shoulder strap, this sling bag serves nostalgic retro feels while still being uber practical for outdoor activities.
Although it doesn't offer any noteworthy niche features, the KAVU rope sling bag does yield a roomy interior, perfect for packing all those items you might need for a day at the lake, hiking with the fam, or heading to the beach.
Just take note: the canvas on KAVU bags is not waterproof, so no falling in the water or hiking through cloudbursts while wearing this sling.
If variety is the spice of life and you're tired of choosing between neutral colors, you'll be happy to know that the KAVU rope sling bag has 50+ color options to pick from.
16. KL928 Canvas Sling Bag - $41.99
Struggling to choose between a backpack and a crossbody?
With the KL928, you don't have to.
Thanks to an ingenuous design hack in the KL928 sling bag, you can convert your bag back and forth from a backpack to a sling with the slide of a zipper.
How's this possible?
The genius product designers over at KL928 had the bright idea to place a zipper in the middle of the bag's sling strap.
When opened, the strap morphs into a twin pair of straps and turns the sling bag into a backpack.
This isn't the only smart idea the creators of this sling had.
They also angled the main bag zippers across the body of the bag for maximum ease of access.
If you've ever struggled with a small opening at the top of a sling bag, or an ultra-wide one that runs the length (and the danger of spilling out the contents), you'll appreciate this touch.
17. EVERGOODS CIVIC Access Sling Bag - $99
If you're after a true waist bag that's not overly large, you can also check out the 2L CIVIC Access sling bag from EVERGOODS. CIVIC's Access sling is ideal if you're in need of a compact option that won't tempt you to pack in unnecessary extras.
It incorporates 840D ballistic nylon for superior protection from moisture. The main compartment has various pockets for slotting in things like small notebooks, power banks, credit cards, etc. The front features a smaller-sized pocket that offers easy access to things you need frequently, such as your phone, wallet, etc.
A breathable back panel helps combat sweat, and the nylon strap is easily adjustable, allowing you to wear it as a hip pack, slung over your shoulder, front, or back.
This sling might not be as oversized as Kanye West would have his, but as most of us know, size isn't everything, especially in a sling bag.
18. EVERGOODS Mountain Hip Pack - $119
It's always great to travel light, but sometimes a 2L sling bag just won't do the trick.
If so, EVERGOODs has another option for those occasions when you need just that bit extra carrying space in your sling.
Their Mountain Hip Pack offers an additional 1.5L of extra stowage than the CIVIC access, while still sporting a sleek, streamlined design. Its simplicity and moderate size make the Mountain Hip Pack suited to active use in a variety of settings.
Like the CIVIC access sling, this iteration also has a breathable mesh back and dual side straps that make for convenient adjustment. A useful range of pockets renders organizing your essentials simple and a wide opening offers easy access.
19. NOMATIC Navigator Sling Bag - $129
The best sling bag for keeping your possessions secure has to be the NOMATIC Navigator.
Whether you're commuting via public transport or traveling in unknown parts, the NOMATIC Navigator Premium Everyday Sling has you covered from all angles.
This versatile sling bag feature various anti-theft features, including an RFID blocking safe pocket, tamper-proof zippers, and a hidden key leash. There's room to connect your actual dog's leash, too. The bag sports a cardholder in the strap, perfect for pulling out transit cards without having to remove your wallet. Even the water bottle holder is hidden for extra security.
Besides these theft-deterrent design elements, this sling bag also offers protection from the weather with a water-resistant semi-hard shell. The study exterior is ideal for safeguarding sensitive devices from mild impacts.
On the interior, the Navigator is designed to give you organization opportunities down to the very last square inch. The 5+ pockets even feature cable organization functionality and enables you to charge devices between pockets.
20. Bellroy Venture Sling Bag - $175
When it comes to ultra-functional slings, there isn't usually a whole lot of choice when it comes to colors, aesthetics, and fabrics. Most function-first sling bags come in neutral colors and the designs focus mostly on clever storage, specs, and little else.
This is not the case with the Bellroy Venture.
The girls and boys over at Bellroy are true textile nerds, which is why the Bellroy Venture sling bags feature some specialized fabrics, stuff you won't find on many other slings.
For the Venture line, they have selected a vintage-style canvas that serves up some strong retro feels with its slight crinkle that's reminiscent of old-school tent canvas. But don't let the natural, almost patinaed look deceive you. After you unbox these babies, the fabric hardly ages further.
Not only is the fabric on the Bellroy Venture slings incredibly durable. It also comes in a variety of cool color combos. The colors aren't too wild, but the folks at Bellroy definitely took some time to tweak and perfect the earthy neutral palettes of the Venture slings.
21. Chrome Kadet Sling Bag - $95
Made from military-grade nylon, the Chrome Kadet sling bag definitely packs a punch on both the durability and functionality fronts.
With a whopping 9L capacity, the Kadet features generous padding on the strap for extra comfort when you're loading it to the max. It also has a set of daisy chain loops for additional carrying capacity, as well as a U-lock holster for those bike rides.
The reviews on this super-sized sling bag are littered with mentions of its incredible durability, and, like the Tensile hip pack, it also features a built-in bottle opener for those special occasions out in the wilderness.
22. Osprey Daylite Sling Bag - $67.38
If traveling light is a priority, look to the Osprey Daylite sling bag.
Osprey is well-known for their lightweight hiking and travel backpacks, and they don't disappoint with the Daylite sling. True to its name, this sling bag is ultra-lightweight, clocking in at just 8.4 oz, while still boasting 6L worth of space.
On the interior, the sling is divided by a mesh organizer and has a built-in key clip. An easy-access pocket on the front offers storage for those items you may need to reach for frequently throughout the day.
The light construction also makes this sling highly packable and space-saving.
Although an uber-lightweight sling might not be quite as durable as something more heavy-duty, many wearers prefer this option because it’s easier on their backs.
Choosing the Best Sling Bag for Your Needs and Style
As you can see, there is no lack of sling bags out on the market in 2023.
Whether you’re looking for a casual crossbody look or you want the kind of sling pack you can wear when you travel, you’ll find at least one or two fantastic options above.