The Best Sling Bags of 2021 for Traveling, Hiking and Everyday Errands
Crossbody and sling bags started trending a few years back, and while some of the excitement may have abated, these small bags are still being worn across the shoulders of stylish people everywhere. Their enduring popularity 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.
A sling bag is especially great 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, like crossbody bags or shoulder bags. What they have in common is that they’re smaller than the average backpack, are worn over one shoulder and are endlessly practical.
We’ve rounded up some of the best sling bags to suit different needs and tastes.
1. Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole Mini Hip Pack
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 extends so that it can be worn over the shoulder as well. It comes in a range of colors, like this stylish color-blocked design. The fabric is made from recycled plastics. This bag is small, so it’s best suited for the everyday items that you might otherwise carry in your pocket — you won’t be stuffing water bottles and over-head headphones in this bag.
2. Alpaka Atom X Sling
BEST MODULAR BAG
This sling from Alpaka has a slim build that’s 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 smart features include a magnetic buckle and clips that lock the zippers to prevent theft. The most unique feature is the MOLLE-inspired webbing that allows you to add extra pouches, which are sold separately by Alpaka.
3. 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 brown color gives this bag an outdoorsy look.
4. Aer City Sling
Aer is known for its exceptionally well-designed and sleekly minimalist bags, and the City Sling is a great 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. To ensure it lasts you through every adventure, the bag is made from durable Cordura ballistic nylon and has reliable YKK zippers.
5. 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.
6. Coach West Pack
If you want a bag with a classy look, consider this pebbled leather option from Coach. It has a backpack-inspired design, with a teardrop shape, a larger main zippered compartment and a smaller pouch pocket on the outside. However, it only has a single shoulder strap, so it’s worn as a sling. It’s on the larger end for a sling bag, making it a good option if you’re carrying a tablet.
7. Bellroy Sling
Bellroy is beloved for its stylish and practical wallets, and the brand also makes great bags, such as this sling. It’s on the larger end, without being bulky, meaning it has enough space to store a water bottle, camera and other 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.
8. Carhartt Work in Progress Small Essentials Pouch
BEST STREETWEAR BAG
Carhartt is an American icon, and the brand’s Work in Progress label includes stylish streetwear items that are inspired by Carhartt’s workwear history. This small Essentials Pouch has a modern, square shape with an additional pouch on the front of the bag. There are two zippered outer compartments.
9. Levi’s Large Banana Sling
Levi’s has a surprisingly great range of bags, such as this stylish color-blocked sling bag. It has multiple zippered compartments, including a hidden compartment on the back of the bag for secure storage of personal documents. The bag has a purple and green design, with contrasting neon zippers. The bag is made from recycled polyester.
10. Nike Heritage 2.0 Bag
Keep it simple (and affordable) with this sling bag from Nike, which has a square shape with a zippered pouch on the front and a zippered main compartment. The stylish bag has a stylish grid design and NIke’s Swoosh logo on the front.