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10 Best Sling Bags for Travel & Best Sling Backpack Reviews 2020

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If you are on the hunt for the best travel sling backpack for travel, then you have come to the right place, as this guide takes you through everything you need to think about when purchasing the best sling bag or the best single strap backpack for your next trip.

When it comes to the best sling backpacks, you want them to be both stylish but practical to fit in everything you need for a day of sightseeing.  You want just the right amount of space and compartments to fit in your camera, guidebook, cell phone, and any other items you need. But you don’t want it to be too heavy or bulky.   

This best sling backpack travel guide takes you through everything you need to know to purchase the perfect sling-style backpack.  First up, I’ll take you through the various features you need to consider and then take a closer look at some of the best sling backpacks for travel currently on the market.

10 best sling bags for travel
10 best sling bags for travel

Whether you’re after a men’s sling backpack or a women’s sling backpack, both styles are included in this best one strap backpack guide.  We also look at options for the best small sling backpack and large sling backpack as well as some great choices for those wanting a laptop sling backpack.  So whatever type of one strap backpack you’re after you will no doubt find it in this guide.

10 Best Sling Bags for travel & Best Sling Backpack Buying Guide

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

My Pick for the Best Sling Backpack for Travel:

Patagonia Atom Sling Bag 

Don’t have time to read my entire best travel sling bag guide?

I just love the Patagonia Atom backpack sling.  This is the perfect size bag for those sightseeing days, with room for all the travel essentials. It has different compartments to keep your items well organized and is lightweight and designed with ergonomics in mind.

Click here to purchase the Patagonia Atom Sling Bag or keep reading below for more information.

Comparison Chart: The Best Sling Backpack for Travel/Best Sling Bags 

Check out the table below for a quick and easy comparison of all the sling bags for travel reviewed in this guide.  For further information, keep reading the reviews below.

Best Sling Backpack & Bags Features Buy Now
Patagonia Atom Sling Pack

- Main compartment
- Inside tablet sleeve
- Two exterior pockets
KAVU Rope Sling Bag

- Two main compartments
- One internal zip pocket
- Two external pockets
Under Armour Compel Sling Backpack

- Main compartment
- Inside tablet sleeve
- Multiple exterior pockets
- Water bottle pocket
Red Rock Outdoor Gear Hiking Sling Backpack

- Main compartment with various pockets
- Inside tablet sleeve
- Multiple exterior pockets
- Water bottle pocket
Leaper Retro Sling Messenger Bag

- Main compartment with various pockets
- Inside laptop sleeve
- Multiple external pockets including side pockets
Maxpedition Sitka Gearslinger

- Main compartment with various interior pockets.
- Two exterior pockets
- Side pocket
- Back sleeve compatible with a 3L hydration reservoir.
Givenchy Sling Bag

- Main compartment
- Two mid-size external compartments
Rebecca Minkoff Leather Sling Bag

- Main compartment which features card slots
Urban Outfitters Utility Sling Bag


- Main compartment
- Two external compartments
Outdoor Master Sling Bag

- Main compartment
- Two external compartments

What is a One Shoulder Backpack and Why Use One When Traveling?

First things first – what is a one-shoulder backpack anyway?  Well, a one-shoulder sling backpack is just what it sounds like.  It is a bag designed like a traditional backpack, but it only has one shoulder strap instead of the two.  This shoulder strap is designed to be worn over one shoulder and across the torso. Which is why they are also often called a cross body backpack too.

A sling pack is a great size for traveling; they are slightly smaller than a standard backpack but larger than a handbag, so you can easily fit everything you need inside for a day of sightseeing.  Your camera, purse/wallet, water bottle, guidebook, cell phone, etc. will easily fit inside and often there are built-in compartments too.

Sure, you could use a traditional backpack to carry around all your things, but a cross-body sling bag is so much more lightweight and less bulky, so it’s not going to weigh you down.  Plus, I always find the bigger the bag, the more useless stuff I tend to carry with me.

I also like the added security with a shoulder sling bag as you can easily wear it around the front of your body.  It’s also much easier to access your items as with a traditional backpack you usually have to stop, take it off your back and then open it to grab your items.  With a shoulder bag sling, just slide it around to the front and unzip it and grab what you need – simple!

What to Consider when Purchasing the Best Single Strap Backpack for Travel 

What makes the best sling bag for travel depends on a few things.  To ensure you get the perfect cross-body sling backpack for your upcoming trip, I recommend you consider the factors below. 

Types of best sling bags 

First of all, what type of backpack sling bag are you after.  The main type is just like a backpack with one shoulder strap, but you can also get ones that are more a messenger style bag or even ones that can also be worn as a fanny pack.

When considering what type is the best sling bag for travel, you need to consider what you are likely to be carrying around with you.  If you need to carry a tablet or laptop, as well as a large bulky camera, etc., you’re probably going to want an over the shoulder backpack or messenger style as these bags are bigger and usually have dedicated compartments to protect your belongings.

If you’re just after something to keep your cell phone, wallet, and a few other bits and pieces safe while your sightseeing, then a small sling bag like a fanny pack is the better choice.

Size / Weight

There are various options when it comes to the size of a shoulder sling backpack.  There are big sling bags and small sling pack options, as well as all sizes in between.

As with choosing the type of slingback bag, when choosing the perfect size bag, it’s about considering what you will need to carry with you each day.  The best sling bags for travel are ones big enough to carry everything you need for a day of sightseeing. What do you plan on carrying in your bag each day?  Will you take a guidebook, a camera, your mobile, wallet, umbrella, water bottle, for example.

Think about what it is that you are likely to carry with you every single day and ensure the bag you purchase has plenty of room for it all.  If you’re the sort of person that just leaves the hotel with your phone and coin wallet, then you’re not going to need the same size bag as someone who takes all the things I listed above.

You could also just get a small packable sling bag.  These pack down super compact, and you can pop them in your day bag so that if you happen to do some unexpected shopping, you have a bag to carry your items back to the hotel.

Compartments 

A sling rucksack can come with just one large compartment while others come with a range of compartments designed to keep your things well organized and protected.  I recommend not going overboard, a few compartments are nice to have but too many, and you’ll forget where everything is.

Look for a single sling backpack with side pockets designed for an umbrella or water bottle.  A sling bag with a water bottle holder is ideal, so water doesn’t get on to your other belongings.  I also like a small interior pocket to keep my hotel keys in a safe place while I’m out all day sightseeing.

If you plan on traveling with an iPad or laptop, you’ll also want a laptop sling bag that has a special padded compartment to keep your device safe.

Comfort – Guide to selecting best sling backpacks

Once you put all your various items in your travel sling daypack, you may be surprised just how much it weighs. So be sure your travel sling backpack has a padded and adjustable shoulder strap to avoid neck and shoulder strain at the end of a long day of sightseeing or travel.

Waterproof / Water-Resistant

If you’re planning on traveling to a destination that is known for its wet weather or the odd shower it’s well worth considering a waterproof sling bag, or at the very least one that is water-resistant.  Having a waterproof sling pack or even just one that is water-resistant will give you some time to seek shelter and avoid your items inside becoming wet or worse still ruined.

Patagonia Atom Sling PackBest Sling Backpack

 

The Patagonia Atom sling backpack for men and women is lightweight, functional and ergonomically designed, making it a perfect travel bag.  This is a sporty looking sling backpack, and with an 8-liter capacity, it’s a great size for carrying everything you need for a day of sightseeing.

This lady’s or men’s shoulder sling bag has one main compartment as well as two exterior pockets.  On the strap that comes across your body is a cleverly designed stretch mesh pocket that is the perfect size for your cell phone.  There is also a zippered outside pocket which includes a key clip and enough room for your passport and sunglasses. Also attached to the outside are two adjustable compression straps, great for sliding a towel or rug through for safekeeping.

Inside this sling pack bag, you have plenty of room for all your travel essentials.  There is room for your camera, guidebook, water bottle, and whatever else you need for a day of sightseeing.  There is even a padded tablet sleeve.

The unique teardrop shape of this sling pack backpack ensures that it sits firmly behind your shoulders and is easy to rotate to the front so you can access your items while out and about. 

The bags are also made from durable fabric which features a water repellent finish. The shoulder strap and back panel also features breathable mesh pads to wick away moisture and keep you dry in hot conditions.

This Patagonia cross sling bag is a great choice whether you’re after the best sling bag for men or women.   With its simple ergonomic design and 8 litres capacity, there is plenty of space for all you’re travel essentials.

PROS:
  • Water-resistant
  • Lightweight
  • Includes tablet sleeve
  • Compression straps
CONS:
  • No water bottle pocket
 

 

KAVU Rope Sling Bag

 

For a super lightweight, yet reasonably large sling bag, the KAVU sling backpack is a great option. Coming in a range of great colors and designs, it’s also one of the super fashionable sling bags in these reviews too.

This single shoulder backpack has various compartments to keep your belongings well organized. The one sling backpack has two large vertical main compartments (one with an internal zip pocket) as well as two small external pockets – one zippered and one with a Velcro closure. The main compartment is big enough for a tablet or small laptop, but there is no built-in protection.

The KAVU rope sling backpack is made from 100% 600 D polyester, which is perfect as this makes it water-resistant.  These stylish sling bags also feature an adjustable and durable strap which is designed to last for years. The strap is soft and won’t dig into your skin, making it comfortable to wear for day after day of sightseeing.  The bag also has a padded bag for additional comfort.

The KAVU rope sling bag is a great simple bag, perfect for your next trip.  Coming in 25 different colors and designs, there is the perfect one to show off your individual style.  The KAVU Rope sling bag is also suitable as a sling bag for men or if you’re looking for sling bags for women.

PROS:
  • Lightweight
  • Great price
  • 25 different colors and designs to choose from
  • Multiple compartments to choose from
  • Good size
  • Water-resistant
CONS:
  • No water bottle pocket
 


 

 

Under Armour Compel Sling Backpack

 

 

The Under Armour Compel sling backpack is a popular choice if you’re looking for the best sling bags for men.  Although with its unisex design it’s just as suitable for women too. It is a large sling pack, better suited to people that need to carry multiple things with them during their travels.

Unlike most the of packs in this best sling backpack review, this backpack is a more traditional rectangular shape (much like your normal backpack).  The shape is what makes it bigger than most of the packs in this guide (measuring 19x13x6 inches) as well as heavier. With a volume of 19L, you’ll be able to carry a bit in this pack.

Apart from the main compartment which provides loads of space, there is a water-resistant valuables pocket, multiple front zippered pockets and a stretchy mesh pocket on the side, the perfect size for your water bottle.  Inside the pack, there is also a soft lined laptop sleeve (suitable for up to 15”).

This Under Armour sling backpack is made from water-resistant polyester which great to keep your items protected in case of an unexpected downpour.  The pack features a large padded and adjustable strap, as well as an adjustable compression strap so you can ensure your backpack is firmly secured. 

If you’re traveling as a couple or with kids, this would be a great choice for the best sling pack, as its large size allows you to carry plenty of essential travel items.  For those traveling alone, this lady’s and men’s sling bag backpack is probably a bit too large as a day pack but is perfect if you need to carry multiple bulky items or need a bag big enough for say a change of clothes too.

PROS:
  • Easy to clean
  • Great back support
  • Water-resistant 
  • Easy Access
  • Can be used as a large size camera sling bag
  • Multiple compartments
CONS:
  • Large bag – not ideal for those you like to travel light
  • Heavier bag – again not ideal for those that travel light.
 

 

 

Red Rock Outdoor Gear Rover – Hiking Sling Backpack


 

 

If you’re after the best sling bag for hiking, then the Red Rock Outdoor Gear Rover Sling is one to consider.  While a standard backpack is usually the better option for hikers, if you’re looking for a sling backpack that can double as a city sightseeing bag as well as a hiking sling bag, this is a great one to consider.

The large main compartment of this hiking sling backpack has a capacity of approximately 9L.   It also includes two external pouches that have enough space for various hiking items such as binoculars, maps, water, or even a small first aid kit.

With its dimensions of 8 x 12 x 6 inches, there is even plenty of space for a tablet or small laptop too.  Both internal and external pockets also contain multiple pockets and dividers to help keep your things well organized and protected.

These sling packs for hiking feature a large padded shoulder strap which is fully adjustable. The shoulder sling backpack also features side pockets that are ideal for water bottles and a hidden pocket on the back of the pack.

Made from tough polyester, the Red Rock Rover Sling  will last through years of traveling torture. It comes in numerous designs and colors and is one of the cheap sling bags in these reviews. You really do get a lot for your money with this bag.  This is a great single strap backpack sling for basic hikes and comes in handy for travel days too.   

PROS:
  • Cheap price
  • Multiple compartments
  • Quick Access
  • Comes in multiple colors and designs
CONS:
  • Not the nicest looking backpack
 

 

Leaper Retro Sling Messenger Bag

 

This Leaper Retro sling messenger backpack is the one for those that want a bag that looks great while still being practical and functional.  Coming in a multitude of colors and made from soft and durable washed canvas, the Leaper canvas sling backpack is the perfect choice for anyone wanting one of the super cool sling bags on the market.

This canvas sling bag is the perfect size for your travel sightseeing days, and it contains a stack of different compartments to keep your items well organized.  There is the large main compartment which includes multiple smaller pockets as well as a sleeve big enough for a laptop up to 13 inches.

On the outside of the bag, there is a zipped pocket, a side pocket, and a side mesh pocket perfect for your water bottle.   With this bag, there is plenty of room for all your travel essentials, including your camera, travel guide, passport, cell phone, umbrella, water bottle, and more.

Made from soft and durable canvas, unfortunately, this sling messenger bag is not a waterproof sling backpack.  However, a bonus is that the bag is washable, which is perfect as bags do tend to get dirty and smelly after long trips.  This sling backpack also features an adjustable shoulder strap and top grab handle.

Messenger bags have been typically pushed to the male market; however I think the Leaper Retro Sling Backpack makes a great women’s or men’s sling pack.  It comes in some great colors such as denim, black, pink and green.

PROS:
  • Loads of colors to choose from
  • Multiple compartments
  • Great price
  • Laptop sleeve
CONS:
  • Not waterproof
  • Laptop sleeve not padded 
 

 

Maxpedition Sitka Gearslinger 

 

If you’re looking to purchase a rugged, durable and large sling pack, that is fully prepared for all weather conditions, the Maxpedition Sitka Gearslinger is one to consider.  This is a great choice for anyone after the best hiking sling pack as it has multiple compartments and designed to withstand a range of weather conditions.

The Maxpedition Sitka Gearslinger is a large bag with a 15L capacity, so there is plenty of space for everything you need, whether that be a day of city sightseeing or on a day hike.  The main compartment includes numerous internal pockets and compartments of all different sizes to help keep your things well organized.  

There are also two medium-sized front zippered pocket compartments as well as a side pocket for your water bottle.  On the side, there is also a pocket that is compatible with a 3L hydration reservoir or just the perfect size for your travel documents.  

This backpack sling also features a large adjustable strap and a front compression strap to keep everything securely in place.  The backpack is made with durable water and abrasion-resistant external fabric, which is perfect for hiking.

This bag certainly packs a punch with its almost all-weather resistant, lightweight material and the vast array of straps, pockets, zips, and compartments of all different sizes.  If you’re looking for a sling backpack that will easily double as a bag for your city sightseeing day as well as days when you’re out hiking, the Maxpedition Sitka Gearslinger is the one to consider.   

PROS:
  • Large size 
  • Multiple compartments and pockets
  • Perfect for hiking
  • Compatible with a 3L hydration reservoir
  • Water-resistant
CONS:
  • Not the best-looking bag on the market
  • Some might find the number of pockets overwhelming 
 


 

 

Givenchy Sling Bag

 

If you’re one of these people that love your designer brands and so would prefer a designer sling backpack, this one from Givenchy may just be what you’re after.  This sling handbag has a lovely simple classic look, perfect for travel.

This is a great size sling backpack for women, the perfect size, in fact, to keep all your travel essentials while you go sightseeing.  It has a large main compartment, measuring 17 x 8 inches, as well as two mid-size external zippered compartments. 

This black sling bag has a simple and classic look.  For some added style it features leather reinforcements as well as a nice leather Givenchy label on the front.  The women’s sling bag backpack also features a removable shoulder strap.

For women that want to look the part while traveling and prefer branded sling bags, you really can’t go wrong with this bag from Givenchy.

PROS:
  • Great size for carrying all the travel essentials
  • Looks stylish
CONS:
  • Expensive, but its Givenchy
  • Limited compartments, no water bottle pocket 
 

CHECK PRICE BELOW 

 

Rebecca Minkoff Leather Sling Bag

 

For women after the best small sling bag, something like this Rebecca Minkoff ladies sling purse is well worth considering.  This is essentially designed as a lady’s fanny pack and is perfect if all you are after is a small bag to keep safe your purse, cell, and hotel keys.  

This sling bag purse is a high-quality bag, made from imported cowhide leather. It has one main compartment which features card slots inside. These small ladies sling bags feature an adjustable strap, so you can easily wear it around your waist, across the body, or even over the shoulder like an everyday handbag.

Coming in a range of different colors such as black, pink, grey and red, this is a very stylish leather sling bag and will look fantastic with a range of outfits.

PROS:
  • Small
  • Lightweight
  • Super stylish
  • Made from leather
CONS:
  • Small – not ideal for carrying many items 
 

 

Urban Outfitters Utility Sling Bag

 

Men or women looking for a small travel sling bag, big enough to carry just the essentials during a day of sightseeing should consider the Urban Outfitters Utility Sling Bag.  This is a great inexpensive, lightweight sling bag that looks great too.

This small ladies or men’s travel sling bag features one main zippered compartment, which is the perfect size for the travel essentials such as your money, cell, and hotel keys.  There are also two additional pockets on the front.

PROS:
  • Small
  • Lightweight
  • Looks great
  • Inexpensive 
CONS:
  • Small – not ideal for carrying many items 
 

CHECK PRICE BELOW 

 

Outdoor Master Sling Bag

 

The Outdoor Master Sling Bag is a fantastic inexpensive sling backpack, with various compartments just perfect for storing all your travel essentials.  It also comes in a stack of great colors and is perfect for both men and women.

This sling bag features one large main compartment (large enough for a tablet or laptop up to 12.5”) as well as two smaller zippered compartments on the front.  Additional compartments include the side pocket for your water bottle as well as the strap pocket for small items such as loose change. There is also a side pocket built into the back which is perfect for storing any valuables.

Other great features of this backpack sling include the breathable back and shoulder straps to wick away moisture, adjustable strap, and top grab handle.

The Outdoor Master Sling Bag is the perfect size bag for travel.  It comes with a range of compartments to keep your items well organized, plus its lightweight and inexpensive too.  Coming in a range of great colors it’s also ideal for both men and women.

PROS:
  • Inexpensive
  • Lightweight
  • Multiple pockets
  • Comes in a range of great colors
CONS:
  • Not water resistant
 

CHECK PRICE BELOW 

 

Hope you enjoyed our reviews on the best sling backpack for travel with the best sling bags review. 

Additional Buying Guides and Resources 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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