20 Best Sling Backpacks for Travel | 2022

Finding a sling backpack for travel (Updated May 2022)

If there’s one thing I hate, it’s digging through my backpack in the middle of the sidewalk while traveling. Not only can you never seem to find what you need, but it screams ‘tourist.’

At the moment I’m looking for a sling backpack that offers organization and makes my life easier. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt if it looked cute too. Keep reading to hear more about the best sling backpacks for your travels in the upcoming year. 

If you are looking for an excellent travel bag and want to look at more than the sling backpack, take a look at the following posts:

Top Picks for The Perfect Sling Backpack

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Waterfly Chest Sling Rucksack

SHOP: Amazon

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

One thing I like about this chest bag is the additional pockets within the bag to help keep everything organized. One of the benefits of a sling 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. 

Patagonia Atom Sling Bag

SHOP: Amazon

If you’ve shopped Patagonia before, you know that you’re making a good choice no matter what you buy from them. This small sling bag is no exception. It’s designed for outdoor sports so it is water repellent and durable, and like a lot of Patagonia products, made with recycled materials.

This one-strap backpack is great for both outdoor sports and travel, but one thing that I wish it did have is a mesh pocket for your water bottle. But, overall, it’s a great option for those who like to get adventurous during their travels. 

KAVU Rope Bag 

SHOP: Amazon

Much like Patagonia, this KAVU rope sling is a bag made for the outdoors. Some features I like in this bag are the fun designs, compact size, and comfortable shoulder strap. There are some storage pockets on the inside, but for the most part, organization is not a key feature as the size is smaller than some other bags on this list. 

Osprey Daylite Shoulder Sling

SHOP: Amazon

For a smaller, more sporty option, try out this Osprey Daylite Shoulder Sling. This bag works great for travel and 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 sweat buildup. 

This Osprey bag is considerably smaller than others on this list, which could be positive or negative depending on your needs. It will 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. 

Maleden Sling Bag

SHOP: Amazon

If you’re looking for a compact sling bag that will get the job done long after you’ve returned from your travels, this Maleden bag is an excellent choice. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a water bottle pocket. But, the main compartment will fit almost everything else you have to carry with you including an iPad Mini, cell phone, and all travel documents. 

TravTac Stage I Tactical Sling Pack

SHOP: Amazon

The tactical style isn’t for everyone, but those who do like it will love this TravTac sling pack. It has a compact design while still being large enough to hold all of your essentials. Some other things that I like about this bag are the sturdy zippers and the ambidextrous strap which allows you to wear it on either shoulder. 

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 larger electronics (bigger than a cell phone). The main compartment has a built-in laptop sleeve 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 side 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. 

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. 

REEBOW GEAR Tactical Sling Backpack

SHOP: Amazon

Another tactical option is the REEBOW sling backpack. If you need to pack a lot for your daily outings, this backpack is sure to fit everything you need. I tend to caution against one-strap backpacks that are too large because they can get very heavy, but if this is one of the things you’re looking for, it should work great. 

Pacsafe Unisex Venturesafe X Anti-Theft Sling Bag

SHOP: Amazon

If you’re like me, I sometimes hesitate to travel with a backpack because I feel like they’re not as secure as some other bags. I like something that I can keep close to my body and away from pickpockets. This Pacsafe bag is an excellent option for those looking for an extra-secure sling bag. 

It’s on the pricey side but comes with cut-proof fabric, lockable zipper compartments, and RFID-blocking technology. If you’re willing to make a little more of an investment, you won’t be disappointed in this bag. 

Pacsafe Vibe Sling Bag 

SHOP: Amazon

Another great option for the security-conscious traveler is this Pacsafe Vibe Sling Bag. Pacsafe is also mentioned 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. 

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. 

Timbuk2 Vapor Sling Crossbody Bag

SHOP: Amazon

If you prefer your pack to have a messenger bag look to it, check out this crossbody bag by Timbuk2. I think this is a good option for everyday use because the bag’s large size is more suited to fit a big tablet or notebook. Not to say that it wouldn’t be good for some travel, but the outer pockets are only secured by velcro so I wouldn’t consider them to be particularly safe pockets. 

Maxpedition Kodiak Gearslinger Backpack 

SHOP: Amazon

If the rugged look suits you, check out this Maxpedition sling backpack. Made with durable materials and 23 liters of storage capacity, this outdoor backpack makes the perfect choice for travelers who get adventurous. 

If this kind of bag and travel type is your style, then this bag will probably work great. However, if you want a lighter-weight sling backpack for everyday use, this will most likely be too large and heavy to carry around all day. 

MOSISO Sling 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 that 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. 

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 a mesh pocket for your water bottle, although some reviews say that the pocket can stretch out and is a little bit weak. 

Mouteenoo Sling Backpack

SHOP: Amazon

Some travel backpacks make you choose between functionality and capacity, but this Mouteenoo Sling Backpack gives you both. In addition to having a lot of storage compartments, this sling pack can also fit a small laptop. You’ll also get a tablet sleeve, a cell phone pocket, and a space for your water bottle.  

One downside to this bag is that the design only allows for wear over your right shoulder. You won’t have the option to switch shoulders so if you prefer to wear your bag on the left shoulder or want the ability to swap, you might have a better experience with another sling bag. 

SHOP:

If you’re willing to splurge in order to get a great sling bag, this 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 of this bag is high-quality so it’s 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. 

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. 

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. 

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.

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 and back zipper pockets for things that you need easier access to throughout the day. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

SEEU Sling 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 main 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 for your water bottle, which is a great feature if you’re all about hydration like me. 

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 bag when you have more with you. 

Travelon AT Classic Sling Bag

SHOP: Amazon

Similar to the ZUK Sling Bag, this Travelon AT Classic Sling Bag provides a simple design, durable material, and great anti-theft features. The strap of this bag is slash-resistant and the interior credit card pockets 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. 

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

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 hidden security pocket for valuables and travel documents, a water bottle holder, 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. 

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 the day while you’re traveling. 


Frequently Asked Questions: Sling 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, the single strap can start to put extra strain on your shoulders because the weight isn’t evenly distributed between two straps. You will want to make sure the bag is not too heavy so it remains comfortable.

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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