The Best Sling Bags for Traveling, Trekking, Hiking and Dadding

bellroy bag on man standing against
Courtesy of Bellroy

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Crossbody and sling bags started trending a few years back, and while some of the excitement may have waned, stylish people everywhere are still wearing the small bags across their shoulders. Their enduring popularity of the best sling bags comes down to practicality. Whether it’s earbuds for a noisy train commute or a flashlight for a late-night dog walk, there are tons of small items you can fit in a sling bag that you wouldn’t necessarily want to stuff into your pockets.

The best sling bags come in especially handy in warm weather when you simultaneously might have more items to carry (sunglasses, sunscreen) and fewer pockets to carry them in. But once you have one you like, a sling bag is going to be the kind of thing you’ll use every day, regardless of whether you’re running errands on the weekend, heading to work or hopping on a cross-country flight.

“Sling bag” is a broad category, encompassing a variety of styles, shapes and sizes. Sling bags are also referred to by other names, including crossbody bags or shoulder bags. They have in common that they’re smaller than the average backpack, worn over one shoulder, and endlessly practical. Many hip and waist packs — fanny packs … they’re fanny packs — are also worn in a crossbody, sling-style, so we’ve included several of those as well.

We’ve rounded up some of the best sling bags to suit different needs, styles and tastes.

  

1. Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole Mini Hip Pack

BEST SLING BAG OVERALL

Patagonia’s gear is stylish and built to withstand the outdoors, so it’s no surprise they make one of the best sling bags. It’s billed as a hip pack, but the strap easily extends so that you can wear it over the shoulder as well. It comes in various colors, like the stylish color-blocked design we have highlighted below. Patagonia uses fabric made from recycled plastics. It keeps this bag small, so it’s best suited for the everyday items you might otherwise carry in your pocket — you won’t be stuffing water bottles and over-head headphones in this bag.

sling bag Courtesy of REI

  

2. Carhartt Mono Sling Backpack

MOST DURABLE

Carhartt was once a staple reserved for construction sites, but its clean and simple designs and durable products have helped the hardworking brand cross into the fashion world. Whether you’re spending the day swinging a hammer or commuting to the office, the Carhartt Mono Sling Backpack is an excellent option for keeping your gear safe. The 19-inch main compartment includes a padded tablet sleeve, and the front zippered section has a fleece lining that is ideal for items like cellphones and glasses. Available in four solid colors, the Mono is treated with Rain Defender, a water repellent that will help protect your items.

Carhartt Mono Sling Backpack Courtesy of Amazon

  

3. Waterfly Crossbody Sling

DOUBLE BOTTLE HOLDER

Have a handy spot for your water, umbrella, headphones, electronics and more with the versatile Waterfly Crossbody Sling. The Waterfly is ideal for anyone who likes to keep their items organized. The sling-style bag has two mesh water bottle pockets on either side and a small, zippered pocket on the strap, perfect for glasses or phones. A tablet sleeve, hidden earphone hole, and smaller interior compartments all come together to create a bag that can comfortably go from the office to the airport.

Waterfly Crossbody Sling Courtesy of Amazon

  

4. Nike Heritage Hip Pack

BEST EVERYDAY BAG

If you’re in the market for a straightforward hip pack, the Nike Heritage offers quality, style, and a convenient way to carry small items. The polyester bag includes an adjustable strap, a large zippered main compartment, and a smaller internal mesh pocket. Sporting a retro vibe, the Nike Heritage is available in several color options that make it easy to match your style.

Nike Heritage Hip Pack Courtesy of Amazon

  

5. Osprey Ultralight Stuff Waist Pack 2L

BEST FOR TRAVEL

The Osprey Ultralight Stuff Waist Pack 2L is a great travel companion for backpackers or anyone who likes to pack light. The ultra-lightweight pack arrives folded into its own trim package and can be unzipped to reveal a spacious hip pack whenever you need extra storage. Great for hiking or spending the day exploring a city, the Osprey has a roomy 2-liter interior for snacks, water and personal items. The outdoor gear company makes high-quality bags that last without weighing down the wearer.

Osprey Ultralight Stuff Waist Pack 2L Courtesy of Amazon

  

6. Clearworld PVC Sling Bag

BEST FOR CONCERTS

Many public venues, including casinos, sports arenas and festivals, have begun implementing new safety policies that require attendees to use only clear, see-through bags. For a sling bag that will help you tote your stuff without getting stuck in the security line, we like the Clearworld PVC Sling Bag. The waterproof bag features two zippered compartments to keep your belongings safe and an adjustable strap worn crossbody or over the shoulder. The stadium-approved bag comes with black or red trim and provides enough room for personal items while still falling under most security size restrictions.

Read More: Best Clear Bags For Breezing Through Security

Clearworld Sling Courtesy of Amazon

  

7. Alpaka Atom X Sling

BEST MODULAR BAG

This sling from Alpaka has a slim build designed to have a low profile on the body, so it won’t bounce around as you move throughout the day. It’s large enough to stash a Nintendo Switch, and there are integrated key clips and internal organizers. Other intelligent features include a magnetic buckle and clips that lock the zippers to prevent theft. The unique feature is the MOLLE-inspired webbing that allows you to add extra pouches sold separately by Alpaka.

sling bag Courtesy of Alpaka

  

8. The North Face Field Bag

BEST FOR TABLETS 

Got a little extra to carry? The Field Bag from North Face has a larger capacity with multiple compartments, including a sleeve for a tablet. The bag also has lash tabs for attaching extra gear and a handle if you decide to carry it by hand. The tan color gives this bag an outdoorsy appearance that is still appropriate for the office or classroom.

The North Face sling bag Courtesy of The North Face

  

9. Aer City Sling

MOST SLEEK

Aer is known for its exceptionally well-designed and sleekly minimalist bags, and the City Sling is an excellent option for everyday use. The long, symmetrical design means it’ll sit comfortably on your back, regardless of which shoulder you wear it over. Despite its compact size, the City Sling has multiple pockets to help you stay organized. The bag is made from durable Cordura ballistic nylon and has reliable YKK zippers to ensure it lasts you through every adventure.

sling bag Courtesy of Aer

  

10. Topo Designs Mini Quick Pack

BEST FOR BIKE RIDES  

Inject a little color into your wardrobe with the Quick Pack bag from Topo Designs, which is available in a range of vibrant hues like coral, purple and yellow. It has a diagonal zippered compartment on the front, with a larger main compartment. There’s also a convenient top handle if you don’t want to wear it over your shoulder.

sling bag Courtesy of Zappos

  

11. Bellroy Sling

BEST FEATURES 

Bellroy is beloved for its stylish and practical wallets, and the brand also makes excellent bags, like the Bellroy Sling. It’s on the larger size without being bulky, meaning it has enough space to store a water bottle, camera, and other generous EDC items. There are multiple outer compartments with internal pockets to ensure everything is easy to find. Like Bellroy’s wallets, this sling bag is available in a wide variety of colors.

REVIEW: Is the Bellroy Wallet Gimmicky or Great?

sling bag Courtesy of Bellroy

  

12. Kibou Vegan Leather Diaper Bag

BEST FOR DADS

The term ‘diaper bag’ typically brings to mind an oversized backpack that is brimming to the edge with toys, wipes and, of course, diapers. Not all trips outside the home require a week’s worth of outfit changes, which is why we like the Kibou Vegan Leather Bag. Available in several colors, the stylish Kibou looks like a regular hip bag but includes several features parents will love. A fold-out diaper changing bag, waterproof pocket for wipes, key or pacifier hook, wipeable and stain-resistant lining all make this a great diaper bag. The ergonomic, weight-bearing belt and buckle make this a bag that will help you be a great dad without looking like a dad.

Kibou Vegan Leather Bag Courtesy of Kibou

  

13. Paw Lifestyles Dog Treat Training Pouch

BEST FOR DOG DADS

Dog dads, we didn’t forget about you. Your puppy has slightly different needs than a baby, which is why we like the Paw Lifestyles Dog Treat Training Pouch. The pouch can be worn crossbody, as a hip pack, or attached to pants or a bag using the metal belt clip. A dog poop bag holder and several pockets, including a zippered section for personal items, a large main compartment for treats, and a mesh pocket for balls and toys, all help make this a bag worthy of man’s best friend.

Paw Lifestyles Dog Treat Training Pouch Courtesy of Amazon

  

14. Corkcicle Crossbody Water Bottle Sling Bag

BEST DRINK HOLDER

For a bag that can hold hot or cold drinks and comes with ample storage space, we like the Corkcicle Crossbody Water Bottle Sling Bag. Available in several colors and with the ability to be worn crossbody, as a shoulder bag or hip bag, the Corkcicle fits the brand’s wide range of insulated bottles and many other bottle brands. Adjust straps make it easy to create a secure fit for your bottle, and the zippered pouch is large enough to fit all your daily needs, including keys, wallet, phone, glasses and more.

Corkcicle Crossbody Water Bottle Sling Bag Courtesy of Corkcicle

  

15. DSLR Ranger Belt Bag by Hex

BEST FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS

Whether photographing is your main hustle, side hustle or how you like to explore your city on the weekend, the DSLR Ranger Belt Bag by Hex makes it easy to haul around your gear without getting weighed down by a backpack. The plush fleece lining, dividers and padded pockets keep lenses and a camera body safe and secure. An exterior zip pocket and stash pocket make it easy to quickly grab your phone or store a lens cap between shots, and we also like that the bag includes adjustable front straps for securing a jacket or small blanket.

DSLR Ranger Belt Bag by Hex Courtesy of Amazon

  

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