Gear > Bags

12 Best Sling Bags Men Use to Streamline Their Carry

By Andrew Peloquin  |  Updated December 15, 2023

12 Best Sling Bags Men Use to Streamline Their Carry
Courtesy of Stubble and Co

The waist-belted fanny pack used to be all the rage (in the 90s), and though they’re coming back in a big way, they’re still very much a style choice not every man is willing to make.

Everyday backpacks or messenger bags offer more storage space, but they’re far easier to steal from—or steal entirely—so far from safe.

But a sling bag can be worn across your body, with the straps buckled behind your back and the bag placed on your chest where you’ll notice it. It’ll take a darned clever and skilled thief to steal it.

  • Compact matters more than capacity. Sling bags are built just large enough to carry your most basic essentials—phone, wallet, chargers, keys, maybe a small digital camera, multi-tool, etc.—but not a whole lot more. Typically, they’re sized in the 6 to 8 liter range. Larger options do exist, however.
  • Lightweight but tough. Polyester and nylon (ripstop, ballistic, recycled, etc.) are often used for the construction of the bags. These synthetic materials are ultra-light but tough enough to withstand hard use and adventure travel.
  • Waterproofing matters. Trust me, the last thing you want is to get caught out in the rain with your phone, wallet, credit cards, and other valuables unprotected. The best sling bags are built with waterproof fabric, waterproof treatments, and waterproof zippers that will keep everything stored inside safe and dry.

As I’ve been traveling more (for work and holiday) in recent years, I’ve dedicated myself to finding the best and safest solutions.

I’ve personally tested dozens of sling bags and researched dozens more, combing through hundreds of product reviews to compile this list of the absolute best sling bags around.

Best Overall

tomtoc Compact EDC Sling Bag

Why did I choose it?

Though small (just 4L), this bag is built insanely tough, is practical, and, best of all, stylish. A handsome ballistic nylon exterior protects your loadout, while the multi-compartment interior makes organization a breeze.

Best Lightweight & Compressible Sling
Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole Sling

Best Sling for Hiking
THE NORTH FACE Borealis Sling Bag

Best Expandable Sling
Bellroy Lite Sling

Best Overall

tomtoc Compact EDC Sling Bag


Minimalist elegance meets maximum practicality in the tomtoc Compact. This bag features three internal compartments that make organizing your entire EDC loadout a breeze, plus a hidden back pocket to stash your passport and IDs to keep them safe from theft.

With just 4L of storage space, it’s compact and light enough you’ll barely notice it when hiking or exploring a new city. It’s a great-looking, fashion-forward bag that pairs nicely with your clothing.

Best Lightweight & Compressible Sling

Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole Sling


Few brands build as sturdy as Patagonia, so you can trust this bag will hold up to any adventure travel.

Between the 70-denier silicone-coated recycled ripstop nylon body, 200-denier polyurethane-coated inner lining, stuffable design, expandable phone pocket, breathable mesh panels on the back and padded strap, and ergonomic design, it’s the ideal solution for a fast-paced holiday.

Best Sling for Hiking

THE NORTH FACE Borealis Sling Bag


Whether you’re hoofing it up the steps of Machu Picchu or hiking the jungles of Africa, the North Face Borealis sling bag is built to keep up with any adventure.

The internal bungee storage system keeps everything tucked firmly in place, and the external bungee system gives you extra room to stash additional gear. It’s even got side bottle pockets so you can carry water on your hike, trek, or safari hands-free.

Best Expandable Sling

Bellroy Lite Sling


The Bellroy Lite Sling is designed to expand and contract according to what’s stored inside. The gusset stretches when the bag is packed full, then compresses when more empty. The result: flexible storage that adapts to your needs. The dual-opening zipper lets you open the bag extra-wide so you can get at everything inside easily. Thanks to the magnetic clasp on the strap, you can sling it on or off in seconds.

Stubble and Co Crossbody Bag


Lightweight, tough, and ultra-portable, this Stubble and Co sling bag delivers everything you need for safe daily travel.

It’s waterproof and tough as nails, but uses materials thin enough you can roll it up/pack it down small to fit in any backpack or duffel bag. Both the bag itself and the PET webbing are made from recycled materials, making it an eco-friendly choice.

WATERFLY Crossbody Sling Backpack


The Waterfly Crossbody Sling was built with a few details you can’t help but love: a reflective stripe for high visibility in low-light environments, a dedicated pocket for any phone under 7”, a hidden earphone hole so you can listen to music on the go, an expandable water bottle holder, a breathable mesh umbrella pocket, and a reversible design that makes it easy to wear on either shoulder. Now that’s a travel-friendly bag, indeed!

Osprey Daylite Shoulder Sling Bag


The Osprey Daylite was built for maximum efficiency, with a minimalist, lightweight design that rides comfortably on your shoulders and fits only your necessary essentials. While not the most spacious, it’s compact enough to be nearly invisible beneath a jacket or coat. Plus, it weighs so little you’ll hardly notice it whether you’re hiking, hunting, or commuting.

Chrome Industries Kadet Sling Bag


Built from a tough nylon shell, the Chrome Industries Kadet is sturdy enough to use whether cycling, zipping around on an e-scooter, or even riding your motorbike cross-country. The interior is surprisingly spacious and offers plenty of organization solutions to keep all your essentials instantly visible and within easy reach.

Carhartt Mono Sling


Tradies, this one’s for you. The Carhartt Mono Sling is the ultimate travel solution for your basic tools, ideal for keeping in your car or carrying on your commute to and from construction sites. The Rain Defender DWR coating will keep your tools dry even in the heaviest downpour or snowfall, and the padded strap ensures that carrying even heavy items is comfortable and convenient.

Mission Workshop Spar:VX


If you need a bit more storage space for compact laptops, tablets, notebooks, and other large items, the Spar:VX is your best choice. At 15.5” inches tall and 9.75” wide, you’ve got room enough for an iPad Pro or Chromebook, complete with a non-scratch microfleece liner to protect your electronics. Weatherproof, well-padded, and built insanely tough, it’s a tech guy’s best friend.

Wandrd Rogue 6L Sling


Get this: the Wandrd Rogue is capable of housing a 16” laptop. It’s fully compatible with Wandrd’s laptop case, featuring buckles to strap your laptop in place so you can keep it handy when on the go. The five-point adjustment system ensures everything hangs comfortably no matter how you carry it. Thanks to the removable interior dividers and internal compartments, you can organize your bag, your way.

Matador ReFraction Packable Sling


Throw this little sling back into your backpack, suitcase, or duffel bag on your next trip and your won’t regret it. The lightweight materials make it easy to stuff into its own pocket, but unstuffed, it offers 2 liters of waterproof storage space. Between the recycled nylon exterior, polyurethane coating, and water-sealed zippers, you’ve got a bag you can trust to keep your most important essentials safe and dry.

WERD has been reader-supported since 2009. When you buy through a link on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. We do not accept compensation for reviews.
WERD is proud to be hosted by Kinsta