The 7 Best Sling Bags For Travel

A traveler wearing a HMG Versa Fanny Pack in Thailand

Embarking on a journey often involves embracing a minimalist approach to travel gear. That’s where sling bags come into play – compact, versatile, and perfect for those seeking freedom and mobility while exploring the world. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the world of travel sling bags, where style meets functionality and convenience. 

Whether you’re strolling through the charming streets of Europe, hiking remote trails, or navigating bustling Asian markets, these carefully selected sling bags cater to travelers’ needs, offering an ideal blend of compactness and capacity, ready to accommodate your adventures and keep your essentials close at hand. So, join us on this journey as we explore the top sling bags designed to enhance your travel experience.

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Table Of Contents

Best Sling Bags For Travel

HMG Versa Fanny Pack

The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa is a standout choice for travelers seeking an ultralight, high-performance companion for their adventures. Crafted from the renowned Dyneema fabric, this bag is incredibly lightweight yet extraordinarily durable, providing a reliable solution for carrying your essentials during your travels. 

Its nondescript design keeps a low profile, perfect for those who prefer a discreet, no-fuss approach to travel. With the Versa by your side, you’ll effortlessly navigate through your journey, unburdened by excess weight and distractions, while knowing your gear is safe and secure.

Best Sling Bags For Travel

Fjallraven Ulvo Medium

For budget-conscious travelers who appreciate quality and versatility, the Fjallraven Ulvo Medium stands out as an exceptional choice. This bag seamlessly balances affordability with performance, offering a water-resistant build that can endure unexpected rain showers or beachside excursions. 

Ideal for urban explorations and outdoor adventures, it ensures your belongings stay protected. With a rugged and reliable design, the Ulvo won’t let you down, making it the perfect companion for those who seek durability and value during their travels.

Best Sling Bags For Travel

Bellroy Venture 6L

The Bellroy Venture 6L embodies the perfect blend of style and functionality, making it the ultimate choice for travelers who appreciate aesthetics as much as utility. With its spacious interior, this sling bag allows you to carry everything you need for a day of urban exploration. 

Its sleek design and quality craftsmanship make it a fashion-forward choice for those looking to combine sophistication and practicality in their travel gear. Whether you’re strolling through city streets or embarking on an adventure, the Bellroy Venture 6L offers both space and style, making it an outstanding companion for fashion-conscious travelers.

Best Sling Bags For Travel

Nomatic Navigator 10L

The Nomatic Navigator 10L is a traveler’s dream when it comes to convenience and functionality, especially for business trips and remote work. With its compact yet clever design, it houses essentials for digital nomads, allowing you to carry your iPad or a small laptop effortlessly. 

Whether you’re heading to a café or a meeting, the Navigator ensures that your tech gadgets are organized and easily accessible. Its thoughtful layout and professional appearance make it the go-to choice for travelers seeking a balance between work and leisure while on the move.

Best Sling Bags For Travel

Pacsafe Vibe 150 2.5L

For travelers navigating bustling cities in Europe or Asia, the Pacsafe Vibe 150 stands out as the best choice, thanks to its top-notch anti-theft features. With lockable zippers, concealed pockets, and slash-proof materials, this sling bag offers peace of mind when it comes to keeping your belongings secure in crowded urban environments. 

Safety-conscious travelers can enjoy their journeys without constantly worrying about pickpockets or unauthorized access to their essentials, making the Pacsafe Vibe 150 the ultimate travel companion for security and convenience.

Best Sling Bags For Travel

Peak Design Everyday 3L

For travelers who are passionate about photography and want to capture their adventures in style, the Peak Design Everyday Sling 3L is the ultimate choice. This versatile sling bag is perfect for carrying a small camera, whether it’s a compact point-and-shoot or a mirrorless camera with a small zoom or prime lens. 

With dedicated camera compartments and adjustable dividers, the Everyday Sling keeps your gear organized and easily accessible. Plus, it leaves room for your travel essentials, making it a convenient and stylish companion for capturing the best moments of your journey.

Best Sling Bags For Travel

Mystery Ranch Forager

For the adventurous traveler who craves a crossover solution that seamlessly transitions between rugged landscapes and urban exploration, the Mystery Ranch Forager is the ultimate choice. This bag stands out as the most durable and reliable option on this list. 

Whether you’re hiking through the wilderness or navigating the bustling streets of a city, the Forager excels in both environments. Its robust construction and thoughtful design make it the perfect companion for those who want a bag that can keep up with the diverse demands of their journey through the unknown.

Travel Sling Bag: Buying Chart

Sling Bag Comparison Table

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Sling Bag Main Fabric Vol. Weight Strap WR
Versa Fanny Dyneema (DCH150) 2.25L 100g Webbing Yes
Ulvo Medium 400D Bergshell Nylon 2L 150g Webbing Yes
Venture Sling Recycled Nylon 6L 345g Webbing Yes
Navigator Sling Nylon / Polyester 10L 862g Padded Yes
Vibe 150 (AT) 750D Recycled Polyester 2.5L 372g Webbing No
Everyday Sling 400D Nylon Canvas 3L 550g Padded Yes
Forager Hip Pack 330D Robic Nylon 2.5L 181g Webbing No

How To Choose A Sling Bag

Actionable Information

Choosing the best sling bag for travel involves considering various factors to ensure it suits your specific needs. Here’s an in-depth guide on how to make the right choice:

Size & Capacity: Assess how much you need to carry. Travel sling bags typically range from 2-10 liters. Smaller sizes are great for essentials like wallets, phones, and passports, while larger ones can accommodate a tablet or camera.

Compartments & Organization: Look for bags with multiple pockets and compartments. These help keep your belongings organized, making it easier to access what you need without rummaging through the entire bag.

Comfort & Fit: Consider the bag’s strap design, adjustability, and padding. Ensure it’s comfortable to wear for extended periods. If it doesn’t fit well, it may lead to discomfort or strain on your shoulders or back.

Material & Durability: Opt for a bag made from durable, water-resistant materials like nylon or waxed cotton. This ensures your belongings stay dry in case of rain and helps the bag withstand wear and tear.

Anti-Theft Features: If you’re traveling in crowded or high-risk areas, choose a sling bag with anti-theft features. These may include lockable zippers, RFID-blocking compartments, or slash-resistant straps.

Style & Aesthetics: Consider your personal style and how well the bag complements your overall look. Some travelers prefer low-profile, minimalist designs, while others appreciate more vibrant or distinctive options.

Accessibility: Quick access to essentials is crucial when on the move. Bags with external pockets, side-entry zippers, or magnetic closures can help you retrieve items without removing the bag.

Weight: An ultralight bag can be a valuable addition to your travel gear. It ensures your bag won’t contribute significantly to the overall weight of your belongings.

Travel-Friendly Features: Look for features such as luggage pass-through straps or a built-in phone charger for added convenience.

Price & Budget: Sling bags come in various price ranges. Set a budget and explore options within that range. Keep in mind that a high-quality bag can be a worthy investment for frequent travelers.

Versatility: Consider whether the sling bag will serve a single purpose, like carrying a camera, or if it should be versatile enough to adapt to different scenarios during your travels.

Warranty: Some brands offer warranties that cover defects and damage. This can provide peace of mind, especially for long-term use.

By carefully evaluating these criteria, you can select a sling bag that perfectly aligns with your travel needs and ensures a comfortable, organized, and secure experience on the road.

Determining the durability of a sling bag is essential to ensure it can withstand the rigors of travel. Here are key factors to consider:

Material: Check the material used in the bag’s construction. Durable options include nylon, Cordura, and ballistic nylon. These materials are known for their resistance to tears and abrasion. Look for bags with high denier ratings (e.g., 500D or 1000D) for added durability.

Reinforced Stitching: Inspect the seams and stitching. Reinforced or double-stitched seams are a sign of durability. Strong stitching prevents the bag from falling apart over time.

Zippers: High-quality zippers, like YKK or Zoom, are essential. They should operate smoothly without snagging. Additionally, look for bags with covered or sealed zippers to protect against moisture and dust.

Durability Features: Some bags have extra durability features, such as reinforced corners, rubberized or waterproof bottoms, and padded areas that protect against wear.

Water Resistance: A durable bag should offer some degree of water resistance. Look for bags treated with a water-repellent coating. Fully waterproof bags are ideal for protecting your gear in heavy rain.

Abrasion Resistance: Consider how well the bag resists scratches and scuffs. Bags with a reinforced bottom or additional layers on high-wear areas are more durable.

Hardware: Metal hardware, like buckles and clasps, tends to be more durable than plastic counterparts. Ensure these components are sturdy and well-attached. Brands like Woojin and YKK tend to offer the most reliable hardware. 

Straps & Handles: Durable straps or handles are crucial, especially if the bag will carry a significant load. Padded or reinforced straps distribute weight more effectively.

Abrasion Testing: Some manufacturers subject their bags to abrasion tests. These tests measure how well a bag resists damage when scraped or rubbed against rough surfaces.

User Reviews: Read reviews from other travelers to gain insights into the bag’s long-term durability. Real-world experiences can provide valuable information.

Warranty: Manufacturers that offer warranties, especially for an extended period, typically have confidence in their products’ durability. A good warranty can be an indicator of a bag’s longevity.

Brand Reputation: Brands with a history of producing durable, high-quality bags are often a reliable choice. Established brands invest in materials and construction techniques that enhance durability.

Usage Intensity: Consider how you plan to use the bag. Bags designed for daily urban commuting may have different durability requirements than those built for rugged outdoor adventures.

Care & Maintenance: Proper care can extend the life of your bag. Follow the manufacturer’s care instructions, avoid overloading, and clean your bag when needed.

By assessing these factors, you can confidently choose a sling bag that offers the durability required for your specific travel needs, ensuring it stands the test of time and the demands of your adventures.

When choosing a sling bag for air travel, you’ll want to consider both the size and the airline’s carry-on regulations. Here are some recommendations for sling bag sizes ideal for taking on a plane:

Ultra-Compact Bags (2-8 Liters): For travelers who want an extremely compact option, consider sling bags in the 2-8 liter range. These bags are perfect for essentials like a passport, wallet, phone, and some small personal items. They’re great for short trips or if you’re carrying a larger carry-on bag and only need a minimal carry-on item.

Underseat Bags (8-12 Liters): For a compact sling bag that fits under the seat in front of you without taking up much room, look for options in the 8-12-liter range. These bags are great for essentials like a tablet, travel documents, a small water bottle, and some personal items. They’re ideal for short flights or if you’re carrying a larger carry-on bag as well.

Personal Item Size (12-18 Liters): Many airlines allow a personal item in addition to a carry-on bag. Sling bags in the 12-18-liter range are perfect for this purpose. You can comfortably fit a tablet or small laptop, a change of clothes, toiletries, travel documents, and other essentials. They can also double as daypacks during your trip.

When selecting the size of your sling bag for air travel, consider your personal needs, the duration of your flight, and whether you’re using the bag solely as a personal item or as a complement to other carry-on luggage. Ultimately, the right size for you will depend on your travel style and the items you want to carry with you on the plane.

Sling bags and shoulder bags serve different purposes and have distinctive characteristics. Sling bags are designed for functionality and are typically worn across the back or chest with a single strap. They prioritize quick and easy access to your items, making them well-suited for active or on-the-go situations. Sling bags are ergonomic, distributing weight evenly and reducing strain during extended wear, which is ideal for outdoor activities, sports, travel, and everyday carry.

On the other hand, shoulder bags often have two shorter straps and are intended to be worn on the shoulder or carried by hand. While some shoulder bags are functional, they are often chosen for their style and may not provide the same level of hands-free convenience as sling bags. Shoulder bags are often used as fashion accessories or in business settings but may place more weight on one shoulder, potentially leading to discomfort with prolonged use. 

The choice between a sling bag and a shoulder bag depends on your specific needs, whether you prioritize functionality, fashion, or a combination of both.

Whether a sling bag is better than a backpack depends on your specific needs and preferences. Sling bags and backpacks offer different advantages, and the choice between them should be based on the context of use.

Sling Bag Advantages:

Quick Access: Sling bags are designed for easy access to your essentials, making them ideal for carrying items you need to reach quickly, like a camera, wallet, or water bottle.

Light and Compact: Sling bags are often smaller and more lightweight than backpacks, making them suitable for minimalist travelers or those with a light load.

Comfort & Mobility: The single strap design of sling bags allows for greater mobility and freedom of movement. They can be quickly swung to your front for easy access.

Backpack Advantages:

Capacity: Backpacks typically offer more space and storage options, making them suitable for carrying larger loads, such as clothing, laptops, or multiple day’s worth of supplies.

Weight Distribution: Backpacks distribute weight evenly across both shoulders, reducing strain and discomfort during extended wear. This is particularly important for heavy loads.

Versatility: Backpacks are versatile and come in various styles, from daypacks to hiking backpacks, making them suitable for a wide range of activities.

In essence, sling bags are great for short trips, outdoor activities, or when you only need to carry a few items. Backpacks are better for larger loads and situations where comfort and weight distribution are essential. The choice should align with your specific requirements and how you plan to use the bag. 

Some people even opt for both, using a sling bag for daily essentials and a backpack for longer journeys or carrying more items.

Sling bags can be healthy when used appropriately, but like any bag or backpack, their health implications depend on factors such as how you wear them and the load you carry. Here are some considerations to ensure the health and comfort when using a sling bag:

Proper Weight Distribution: To reduce strain on one side of your body, try to distribute the weight evenly inside the sling bag. Place heavier items closer to your body’s center and ensure your bag isn’t overloaded.

Wear It Across the Body: Many sling bags can be worn either over one shoulder or diagonally across the body. Wearing the bag diagonally helps distribute the weight more evenly and reduces the strain on one shoulder.

Adjustable Straps: Choose a sling bag with adjustable straps so you can customize the fit to your body. This allows for greater comfort and reduces the risk of muscle strain or poor posture.

Limit Overloading: Avoid carrying excessive weight in your sling bag. Carrying a heavy load for extended periods can lead to musculoskeletal issues, particularly if the bag doesn’t provide proper support.

Take Breaks: If you’re wearing a sling bag for an extended period, it’s a good idea to take short breaks and adjust the bag’s position to prevent overuse of the same muscles.

Switch Sides: If you have a two-strap backpack in addition to a sling bag, alternate between them to provide your body with a break from one-shoulder carrying.

Listen to Your Body: If you experience discomfort, pain, or other health issues while using a sling bag, it’s essential to address the problem. Continued use of any bag that causes discomfort can lead to chronic issues.

In summary, sling bags can be healthy if used with consideration for proper weight distribution, strap adjustments, and regular breaks to prevent overuse. It’s crucial to be mindful of the load you carry and how you wear the bag to avoid potential health issues associated with poor posture or muscle strain.

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Welcome to North of Known! We’re Alan and May, a married couple who have embraced digital nomadism while calling Bangkok, Thailand, our current home base. Over the past 7 years, our shared passion for exploration and adventure has fueled our journey across the globe. Join us as we continue to embark on our nomadic adventures, sharing our insights, discoveries, and travel tales along the way.

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