Best Sling Backpack

If you’re in a hurry and are here to find out what the best sling backpack is then we recommend the Leaper Retro Sling Backpack as the best one.

Sling backpacks are ideal for travelers who prefer a hands-free navigation experience. They make the perfect carry-on, and they allow for lightweight, organized travel.

If you prefer a small carry-on when traveling, a sling backpack may be just what you need for your next adventure. Here’s your guide to choosing the best sling backpack.

Here are the best sling backpacks we will be reviewing:

The Best Sling Backpack Buyer’s Guide

When choosing a sling backpack, there are several factors to consider, including size, color, style, and pockets. Sling backpacks come in a variety of styles, and on top of that it’s good to choose one that has the capacity and organization to suit your needs. 

Reasons to Choose a Sling Backpack

If you are trying to decide on a bag for your carry-on or personal item, be sure to give the sling backpacks in this roundup a look. While you may prefer to max out on size for your carry-on, you can’t go wrong with a sling backpack for your additional personal item. 

Sling backpacks are more convenient to carry than a purse or briefcase, and they are more stylish than most traditional backpacks. Cross-body sling backpacks allow for hands-free travel that won’t put too much stress on your back. 

Unlike with larger backpacks with no compartments, items in a sling backpack won’t fall to the bottom of the bag. You will be able to easily access your wallet and phone to retrieve your ID and boarding passes at the security gate. 

Woman handing over travel documents

Here are a few things to look for when you are deciding on a sling backpack for your next trip:

Consider the Material

Sling backpacks are available in an array of materials including canvas, leather, cotton, and polyester. Canvas and leather are more durable, while cotton and polyester may be more prone to rips and tears with everyday use. 

The lining of the backpacks and pockets are usually made of polyester or cotton. Zippers, straps, and designer details may be made of a different material than the backpack, adding texture and layers to the appearance of the bag. 

The materials that the backpack is made of will affect the look and style. The backpacks in this roundup are designed to be long-term travel companions, accompanying you on many journeys to come without falling apart. The material you choose depends on your personal taste; whether you opt for an elegant leather bag or a casual cotton one, you will be able to organize your most important belongings in a bag that you love. 

Strap Design and Adjustment Features

The most important feature to look at when choosing a sling backpack is the strap. Since this part of the bag will be used for carrying purposes, it’s important that the strap fits properly and feels comfortable for you. 

Some straps are well-padded like those on standard school bags, and others are designed with materials that resemble a seatbelt. If you are left-handed, you may want to opt for a reversible strap, as most sling backpacks will be made to accommodate right-handed people. 

It is also important that the strap is adjustable. If the strap is too loose or too tight, you will be very uncomfortable while navigating your destination. Select a sling backpack with an adjustable strap, or select one that is set to your height already (all of the packs featured here have adjustable straps.) 

Compartments, Zippers, and Closure Styles

Sling backpacks are very unique in that the positioning of the compartments, zippers, and closures differ greatly by manufacturer and design. This is great news because you will be able to find a sling backpack that suits your needs perfectly. 

Many sling backpacks are large enough to hold a laptop in the main compartment; some may only be able to accommodate a tablet. If you usually travel with a laptop, be sure to select a sling backpack that will hold it properly and protect it. 

Many sling backpacks feature a teardrop shape with a main compartment and two or three smaller compartments. Some sling backpacks may be rectangular, but this isn’t as common. The shape you choose depends on what you plan on packing in your backpack. 

If you are traveling with books, notepads, and a computer, a larger, rectangular sling backpack may work better for you. Smaller sling backpacks work great for travelers carrying smaller items – think of it as replacing a purse or a small day pack.

Most sling backpacks fasten with a zipper, but fancier ones feature leather buckles that look stylish while keeping your valuables secure. When it comes to these features, it’s entirely about your preference. 

Other Features to Consider

Some sling backpacks may have removable cell phone pockets and water bottle compartments. These features are useful if you like having easy access to your phone and a convenient place to store your water bottle. 

Interior pockets are perfect for keeping your items organized inside of your sling backpack. Many sling backpacks feature special pockets for your wallet, keys, and other small items. 

The Best Sling Backpacks Roundup

Now that we’ve talked about what to look for in a sling backpack, you will be able to select one that’s perfect for you and your travel needs. We’ve rounded up the top sling backpacks out there to give you a comprehensive list of options to choose from. 

Leaper Retro Sling Backpack

This beautiful bag from Leaper is made from sturdy canvas and is designed with leather details. The top flap of the bag offers a zipper compartment to store smaller items, and it closes with two elegant straps. The bag features two large compartments that can accommodate a small laptop, a notebook, a tablet, and a few smaller items. 

The adjustable strap is padded for your comfort, and the bag features a small, padded handle at the top for easy hanging and carrying. It can be reversed to accommodate both left and right-handed people. The bag is designed with a mesh side pocket that can hold your water bottle, making it perfect for hiking, biking, or navigating exciting new places. 

Several pockets inside of this sling backpack offer organization for your wallet, keys, pens, and phone. It’s spacious enough to hold everything you need for a day trip, and it is perfect for both men and women. 

>>Find the Leaper Retro Sling Backpack on Amazon<<

Pros

  • Spacious with great organizational options inside
  • Large enough to comfortably fit a small laptop, notebook, and tablet
  • Elegant vintage design made of canvas with leather accents
  • Large front flap acts as a thief-deterrent and protects the zippered pockets
  • The reversible shoulder strap accommodates both left and right-handed people

Cons

  • May seem bulky to anyone looking for a slimmer, tear-shaped sling backpack

>>Find the Leaper Retro Sling Backpack on Amazon<<

MOSISO Sling Backpack

Available in a variety of colors and patterns, this sling backpack from MOSISO offers compact and convenient carrying for all of your essentials. The main compartment in this backpack is large enough to hold a tablet, along with a few other notebooks or magazines. 

Two mesh pockets on the side of this bag are great for a water bottle and an umbrella. There is a zippered pocket on the front of the bag that is perfect for storing and accessing plane tickets and boarding passes. The fully adjustable strap can be switched to accommodate left or right-handed people. 

This bag is perfect for any man or woman who needs a purse or briefcase alternative while they are traveling. The bag has a slightly sporty look, but with over 30 colors and patterns to choose from it can even work great for business travel. 

>>Find the MOSISO Sling Backpack on Amazon<<

Pros

  • This bag is made from durable, water-resistant polyester
  • A very compact and tidy backpack that still offers good capacity
  • Tons of color and pattern options, great for both men and women
  • The reversible shoulder strap accommodates both left and right-handed people
  • There is a headphone pull-through slot, freeing up your hands or pockets
  • Includes a one-year warranty

Cons

  • No interior pockets

>>Find the MOSISO Sling Backpack on Amazon<<

Outdoor Master Sling Backpack

Whether you use this bag as a carry-on or for everyday use, you will be able to bring all your essentials along with you wherever you go. This bag is perfect for carrying your laptop or tablet, along with your water bottle, wallet, phone, and snacks. 

On the side of the bag, there is a drawstring bottle pocket to keep your water firmly in place and easily accessible. There is a front compartment where you can place smaller items and a hidden, anti-theft compartment where you can put your most valuable items. The pack can carry a surprising amount of items, including everything you might need for a long flight or a full day of exploring.

The padded strap is adjustable and reversible, so that left and right-handed people can use this sling backpack comfortably. The back of the bag has a mesh air ribbon that helps keep your back cool during use. Multiple colors are available.

>>Find the Outdoor Master Sling Backpack on Amazon<<

Pros

  • Surprising capacity, able to carry a small laptop, tablet, or camera
  • A hidden pocket offers extra security for valuable items
  • The reversible shoulder strap accommodates both left and right-handed people
  • Multiple colors are available to match your style – great for both women and men
  • Water bottle pocket provides secure storage and easy access
  • Air ribbon technology in the fabric helps to keep your back cool when carrying

Cons

  • Some owners of this bag have reported issues of zipper and handle tears or breakages

>>Find the Outdoor Master Sling Backpack on Amazon<<

Polare Real Leather Sling Backpack

This sling backpack has an elegant, vintage look that is suitable for men and women. This bag features several compartments and pockets, including a security pocket in the back, to provide you with ample space to organize your valuables. 

The strap on this backpack is adjustable, but unfortunately, it isn’t reversible. The main compartment of this bag opens from the side and is large enough to hold a tablet, wallet, cell phone, and several small items. Snacks, change, and anything else you need can be easily stored and accessed in one of the several exterior pockets included in the design of this bag.

The bag is beautifully designed with flat studs on the bottom and stitching details around the pockets and on the zippers. The Italian cowhide leather means it is durable and weatherproof. The interior of the bag is made of super-soft cotton. One removable pocket is included and is big enough to hold your phone, tissues, or keys.

>>Find the Polare Real Leather Sling Backpack on Amazon<<

Pros

  • Stylish, fashionable appearance made from Italian cowhide leather
  • The leather material means it is weatherproof and durable
  • Plenty of space and storage compartments and soft cotton lining inside
  • Lots of pockets all over the exterior, including a removable one
  • Also a hidden zipper pocket on the backside to keep valuables out of sight
  • Sturdy YYK zippers – the best in the biz

Cons

  • The padded strap is not reversible, only accommodates right-handed people

>>Find the Polare Real Leather Sling Backpack on Amazon<<

KAVU Rope Sling Backpack

This sling backpack by KAVU is the ultimate casual bag. No matter where your next adventure takes you, this laid-back bag will be able to accommodate your everyday essentials. This bag features a spacious main compartment, two exterior compartments, and it’s glaring feature, a rope strap.  

This bag is made from soft cotton and the strap is made from stretchy, comfortable ropes. If you need a comfortable carry-on that can go from the airport to the mountains and onto a festival in the desert, this may be the bag for you. The strap is adjustable, but unfortunately not reversible. 

This bag is hand-washable, so it’s no big deal if it gets dirty on your adventure. There is one zippered interior pocket that can hold your valuables where pickpockets won’t be able to reach them. This bag would be perfect to take to football games and parties, but it can also be used as a carry-on or personal item. 

>>Find the KAVU Rope Sling Backpack on Amazon<<

Pros

  • More spacious than it looks, two compartments, and two external pockets
  • A hidden zippered interior pocket to keep valuables out of sight
  • Available in over 60 colors and designs and the line has many different models
  • Comfortable carrying strap made of stretchy rope
  • Not many images to see, but a very colorful character explains it all in a video if you follow the link
  • Extremely chilled out bag that could be a personal item on a flight, a college pack, or a Coachella companion

Cons

  • The shoulder strap is not adjustable, accommodating only right-handed people

>>Find the KAVU Rope Sling Backpack on Amazon<<

Sling backpacks are perfect for weekend and day trips or everyday use. They make an excellent alternative to purses and briefcases, and they have a more grown-up feel than standard school bags. Sling backpacks provide a lightweight, hands-free mode of travel, so they are perfect for free spirits who like to go on a whim. If you have a digital nomad in your life, a sling backpack would make the perfect gift while the diversity of designs means there is a sling for everyone. 

The clear winner of this roundup is the Leaper Retro Sling Backpack. It’s elegantly designed and made of durable canvas. This bag is large enough to accommodate a laptop, so even working professionals can take everything they need with them on the go. Ample compartments provide great organization, and the reversible strap means both left and right-handed people can carry it comfortably.

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