15 Best Single-Strap Backpacks for Comfortable Hands-Free Travel

Looking for a one strap backing over a traditional two-strap backpack?

With a two-strap backpack you most likely have to take it off to get anything out of it. For savvy travelers, this poses a few different problems. Rifling through your backpack in the middle of the sidewalk can make you a target for pickpockets and draw unnecessary attention to yourself. 

Single-strap or sling bag backpacks allow you to flip the bag around, grab what you need, and keep moving. Another thing I like about a good sling bag is that they come in a variety of different sizes.

You’ll be able to find one that fits only essential small items like your phone and wallet. You can also find ones that are bigger bags that can fit small laptops. To find the right single shoulder strap backpack for you, keep reading to learn more about the internet’s top picks. 

My Top Picks for the Best One Strap Backpack

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Editor’s Choice: Travelon AT Classic Sling Bag

Travelon AT Classic Sling Bag | One Strap Backpack
SHOP: Amazon

This Travelon AT Classic Sling Bag provides a simple design, durable and high quality material, and great anti-theft features. The strap of this bag is slash-resistant and the interior credit card slots have RFID-blocking technology so you don’t have to worry about identity theft. This is one of the best sling backpacks for someone who has safety in mind. 

What To Watch Out For

The price of this Travelon bag is a little higher than some of the others on this list, but you will get a great design, good quality, and peace of mind that your belongings are secure while traveling. 

TurnWay Water-Proof Sling Backpack

TurnWay Water-Proof Sling Backpack | One Strap Backpack
SHOP: Amazon

A great budget option that also works well for men and women is this TurnWay Water-Proof Sling Backpack. The simple design will blend in and keep your bag off pickpockets’ radar and give you plenty of secure storage pockets. There are multiple zippered pockets within the bag, including a secure hidden pocket for valuables and travel documents, a water bottle pocket, and three large pockets for your bigger items. Another thing that I like about this bag is the breathable back panels to keep you cool while wearing it. 

What To Watch Out For

This isn’t the most stylish bag on the list, but it will definitely provide you with enough storage for anything you might need for day trips while you’re traveling. 

Pacsafe Vibe Sling Bag 

Pacsafe Vibe Sling  Bag | One Strap Backpack
SHOP: Amazon

Another great option for the security-conscious traveler is this Pacsafe Vibe Sling Bag. Pacsafe has been featured in my post about travel-safe purses, so you know that you’ll be getting a bag that will keep your belongings safe. This Pacsafe sling bag comes with a slash-resistant fabric with a steel mesh inlay as well as lockable zippers on the main and front pockets. 

What To Watch Out For

While this bag does provide you with a lot of great safety features, the design of the bag is a bit narrow, so you won’t be able to fit things like a tablet or laptop in the main compartment. However, I consider this a minor trade-off for how many anti-theft features you get. 

SEEU Sling Backpack

SEEU Sling Backpack | One Strap Backpack
SHOP: Amazon

If you’re looking for a single strap backpack with a little more capacity than some others, try out this Seeu Oversized Sling Backpack. The large compartment of this backpack is both spacious and padded, so you can feel confident about storing your laptop or tablet in it. There are also three more zippered pockets and a side mesh pocket as your external water bottle holder, which is a great feature if you’re all about hydration like me. 

What To Watch Out For

While this bag does offer a lot of storage space, it may not be the best choice for day use when you don’t need to carry everything with you. I think this sling backpack would function much better as a travel day pack when you have more with you. 

MOSISO Sling Backpack

MOSISO Sling Backpack | One Strap Backpack
SHOP: Amazon

This MOSISO Sling Backpack is another great option if you like your bags to have a bit more color and flair. They come in great floral designs and bright solid colors and make a great addition to any wardrobe. The inside of this single strap backpack offers a ton of functional storage space so you can easily access and organize everything that you need for your trip. 

What To Watch Out For

The shoulder strap also has a great range and can be adjusted to fit everyone so you can wear the bag over your shoulder or as a crossbody bag. This MOSISO bag also has side mesh pockets for your water bottle, although some reviews say that the pockets can stretch out and are a little bit weak. 

RUSH MOAB Sling Bag 

RUH MOAB Sling Bag | One Strap Backpack
SHOP: Amazon

If you’re willing to splurge in order to get a great sling bag, this RUSH MOAB backpack is for you. The tactical design is unisex, so it’s not necessarily created with fashion in mind, but it does get the job done while being incredibly durable. 

What To Watch Out For

You’ll also get tons of interior and exterior storage pockets so everything can have a designated place in your bag. This is great if you love organization but will also require you to remember where you put everything. 

Leaper Sling Bag

SHOP: Amazon

If you’re someone who takes aesthetics into consideration when you’re purchasing a new travel bag, check out this Leaper Sling Bag. This bag combines a cool vintage look with the practicality of a messenger back or modern backpack. The internal pockets offer a lot of storage, although the laptop sleeve is not padded, which could be problematic.  It’s the perfect unisex packable backpack for your journeys.

What To Watch Out For

Another thing that I like about this bag is that you don’t have to just wear it on your right or left shoulder. The strap allows you to switch it up, and it also offers a top handle if you need to give your shoulders a break. 

KAVU Crossbody Backpack

SHOP: Amazon

This KAVU rope bag is another option for those who appreciate style and color. This water and stain-resistant bag is compact while offering space for everything you’ll need during the day. This sling pack also gives you the option to switch shoulders if you find you’re carrying a little too much weight. Some bags are designed to only be worn on the right or left shoulder, so this is a nice feature. 

What To Watch Out For

One thing that this bag doesn’t have is a designated space for your water bottle. However, if you pack the bag light enough, you could probably fit one inside the large main compartment. Just make sure it’s not going to leak on your other belongings! 

OutdoorMaster Sling Bag Backpack

SHOP: Amazon

This OutdoorMaster Sling Bag Backpack is another great option if you’re looking for a bag that has room for your small laptop or iPad Mini. The main compartment has a laptop sleeve built in and there are two more inner pockets for keeping smaller items organized. Another travel-friendly feature of this bag that I love is the hidden anti-theft pocket. This bonus feature will fit a smaller wallet, credit cards, or cell phone and it sits close to your body for some added protection. 

What To Watch Out For

This backpack also comes in seven different colors so you can customize it a bit to fit your wardrobe. The body of the backpack is water resistant and the adjustable shoulder strap is well padded, however, the main compartment doesn’t offer much organization so you may still have to dig around a bit if you throw everything in there. 

ZUK Sling Bag

SHOP: Amazon

Looks are great, but I love a bag that’s functional too. Luckily, this ZUK Sling Bag offers a great design and awesome anti-theft features for frequent travelers. The main compartment of this travel backpack is equipped with a combination lock so you can walk the streets of a new city with confidence. There are also side features and back zipper pockets for things that you need quick access to throughout the day. 

What To Watch Out For

The external pockets are on the smaller side, but overall, this ZUK Sling Bag is a great option, perhaps one of the best sling backpacks, not only for its handy anti-theft features and durable design but also for its price. This bag looks expensive but won’t break the bank. 

Osprey Daylite Shoulder Sling

SHOP: Amazon

For a smaller, more sporty shoulder bag, try out this Osprey Daylite Shoulder Sling. This bag not only works great for travel but can be a great addition to your next hiking trip. It’s designed to be super comfortable and is made of breathable mesh material to prevent you from getting sweaty while you’re wearing it. 

What To Watch Out For

This Osprey bag is considerably smaller than some of the others on this list, which could be positive or negative depending on your needs. It will definitely fit all of the essentials that you’ll need during the day such as your wallet, phone, water bottle, and snacks, but won’t fit much else. If you think you’re going to need more storage space while you’re out and about, consider a larger shoulder bag. 

NeatPack Sling Bag

SHOP: Amazon

Many bags on this list offer good storage space, but this NeatPack Sling Bag is extra travel-friendly because of its anti-theft pocket and RFID-blocking technology that comes built into the bag. This is a great feature if you like to keep your valuables even more secure. This bag is also a good option if you’re looking for something made with high-quality materials. The zippers are strong and the straps are durable so you won’t have to worry about replacing the bag anytime soon. 

What To Watch Out For

If keeping your day bag packed light isn’t your strong suit, I can foresee this backpack getting a little bulky due to its design. If you’re looking for something a bit more compact, check out some of the other backpacks on this list.

Waterfly Chest Sling Rucksack

SHOP: Amazon

For those who don’t want to spend a lot of money on a new backpack, this Waterfly Chest Sling Rucksack is the perfect choice for you. It’s very lightweight but is still large enough to carry all of your essentials, including your tablet or iPad. Overall, I think this is a great single strap backpack for everyday use, but the design is a little bit plain for my taste. 

What To Watch Out For

Another thing I like about this chest bag is that there are a lot of additional pockets within the bag to help keep everything organized. One of the benefits of a single strap bag is that they are more hands-free than traditional backpacks, but if you still have to dig around for your belongings, that kind of defeats the purpose. 


SHOP: Amazon

Perfect for those who prefer a sporty look, this MALEDEN Sling Bag provides a spacious Main internal compartment without sacrificing a compact design. This sling pack’s main compartment is big enough to fit an iPad Mini or other small tablet and features a water-resistant and scratch-proof exterior to help protect your belongings. In addition to the inner pocket, there are several exterior pockets to help keep everything organized and secure.

What To Watch Out For

The only flaw that reviews revealed about this bag is that the adjustable strap is a bit short, but if you’re not very tall, you shouldn’t run across any issues with this outdoor and travel-friendly pack. 

Nicgid Sling Bag

SHOP: Amazon

Fashionable bags are great, but if you’re traveling, you’re likely to add some wear and tear to your purses and backpacks. If you’re looking for a durable, well-made sling bag, try this Nicgid Sling. The material that the bag is made of is high-quality so it is rip and water-resistant. The design is compact while still providing small pockets on the outside to give you easy access to your essentials. The front zipper pockets are big enough to fit a passport, which could come in handy on travel days. 

What To Watch Out For

This Nicgid bag is very durable and comfortable to wear, but you won’t be able to switch shoulders due to its design. If you’re able to look past this, you’ll be getting a very practical backpack. 


Still have some lingering questions about which single-strap backpack is right for you? Keep reading to have all of your questions answered so you can make the best choice for your next trip. 

What is a sling backpack?

A sling backpack is another name for a single-strap backpack, which is described pretty well by its name. Unlike traditional backpacks, single-strap backpacks, or sling backpacks, only have one strap. This can be useful if you find yourself digging through your backpack frequently while traveling. With a sling backpack, you can simply turn the bag around on your body and retrieve what you need without taking it off. 

Are sling backpacks comfortable?

Depending on the design, sling backpacks can be very comfortable. You’ll want to look for one with a padded strap for extra comfort. However, after a certain weight is reached, the single strap can start to put extra strain on your shoulders because the weight isn’t evenly distributed between two straps. You should keep in mind that single-strap backpacks are usually on the smaller side for a reason — they’re not meant to carry a lot of weight. 

Are sling backpacks bad for your back?

One reason some travelers avoid single-strap backpacks is that it can seem like the weight you carry in your backpack will be unevenly distributed on your shoulders and therefore uncomfortable. If a sling bag is made well, it won’t be uncomfortable. However, if you’re planning on carrying a heavy load, a single-strap backpack may not be the best choice for you. Consider a two-strap backpack if your bag is going to be heavier. 

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