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:
- Best Purses for Travel: Stylish and Anti-Theft Options
- Best Single Strap Backpacks for Comfortable Hands-Free Travel
- Excellent Convertible Backpack Purse Options For Travel
Top Picks for The Perfect Sling Backpack
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.