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Sling Bag--opinion

As the weather gets warmer, I will be giving up my jacket and its pockets. I need to carry a few things.

I'm not thrilled with backpacks and the messenger bags are too big. I'm thinking of getting a sling. Like this one:

Think of it in black. Wearing it in front. I'm older and a little chunkier than the model in the photo. Look good? Look not so good?

A fanny pack size is too small.

Posted by
2565 posts

I’m no fashionista, but I think it would look fine in black. Seems like a good solution.

Posted by
4528 posts

I like it a lot - and either in a color or black. I actually like bags with color because they're less easy to forget or lose. :) But I think both look good and would be very handy when traveling.

BTW, many sling bags can also be worn as hip bags.

Posted by
318 posts

Hi Frank,
The struggle to find the right bag is real! 😁 I have an entire collection of them in my closet. I initially tried using a bag that would accommodate everything I might need to carry with me on my daily outings, as you have mentioned. However I finally realized that I was then stuck with that larger bag every day when I often didn't need it. For example, on some days I needed to take a small raincoat or a travel guide. At other times, like going out to dinner, I just needed something secure for my phone, credit cards, etc. I finally settled on the solution of 2 bags. One is a very small cross body for the secure essentials that are always with me. It's always in front or under my jacket if I'm wearing one, and it has all of the security features like steel cable straps. The other bag is a very light weight backpack that is not as secure, but it doesn't really need to be. I put in it the things like that extra jacket or guide book. I'd be very annoyed if it was stolen, but my trip wouldn't be ruined. The bag you linked looks very nice, but I do wonder if it's going to seem too puffy and awkward to wear in front for security when it's full. That was precisely my struggle and the reason I went to the 2 bag system.

Good luck with your hunt for the perfect bag! It's definitely an issue for your comfort when traveling.

Posted by
6815 posts

Yes, I have something similar and it works well if I need to carry a few things. Mine can fit my tablet in it, whatever papers I might need, a charge pack for my phone. My rain shell probably would fit, but then would become "puffy" or I could stash a bottle of water in there.

I used to carry (and sometimes still do) a day pack, will use this more often, but really try to not bring anything other than my phone and a credit card with a bit of cash. Whether it is a discipline thing or a law of physics, what you haul seems to expand and grow to fit the space available, less space, the better off you are.

Posted by
1980 posts

I think it will look great. I’ve recently been on the hunt for a similar bag. After ordering several, I finally found this one that I really like: G4Free Sling Bag RFID Blocking Sling Backpack Crossbody Chest Bag Daypack for Hiking Travel(Black)

It has side pockets that actually fit a water bottle, a zipper pocket on the back side for extra security, and zippered front pockets, plus the clasp. The pocket on the strap fits my iPhone 14 or sunglasses with no problem.

Posted by
4528 posts

travel4fun, I have the G4free backpack in that same Black Base Flora pattern. I didn't realize they had a sling bag. Now I have to put this out of my mind before I buy it...

Posted by
660 posts

We settled on the smaller "Pacsafe Metrosafe LS100 3 Liter Anti Theft Shoulder Bag - Fits 7 inch Tablet".

These worked out really well for us on our recent 40-day trip. We could carry the necessary items (extra camera batteries, guide books, eye drops, phone, backups, sunglasses. etc) and were only asked to check them at one museum. Most just waved them through while several just wanted a peek at the contents. That saved us time checking them or putting them in lockers. Many bags that appeared small to me were held back at quite a few museums.

They may not be large enough for some people's needs. I didn't even attempt to carry a small water bottle in it.

They held up really well to the rigors of constant use in travel and I sort of became attached it. I could imagine using it all the time during my regular activities but it might still be too novel in my area. I'm sure I'd fill up anything larger with unnecessary items. The small size helps rein in a hoarder.

Posted by
8951 posts

I had a purse that was essentially constructed like that, and it was one of my favorite bags ever. It was so comfortable to wear, and just seemed exactly the right size — not too small and not too big.

I say give it a try ! It seemed to let you carry the weight where your body could best deal with it.

(Although I did wear it on my back, and not on my front. It was well designed so the zipper was against my back when I was wearing it.)

And it was the nicest supple navy leather. I bought it in Florence 29 years ago.

Posted by
4019 posts

It's not too bad, but what's the strap like on the front when the bag on the back? Most of these contraptions have a very small bag attached to the strap.

The sling bags I've seen are too big for me. They also have too many pockets and zippers. I recently bought this Stowaway Packable Sling in a different color and pattern from Eddie Bauer and absolutely hated it. It was a good 10L size but the little bag on the strap was too small for much of anything. It was so uncomfortable and impossible to wear whether on the front or the back that I quickly passed it on to family members who might be able to use it.

I looked at similar trendy cross-body front wear options in smaller sizes like this Stowaway Packable Waistpack and realized that it wouldn't be any better than a normal small cross-body purse at 9.8"x6"x4". I'd never wear it as a waist pack. I know this way of wearing bags on the chest is a thing, but it just looks uncomfortable. If it's loose it'd flop against my chest as I walk and if it's tight enough to not flop it'd be hard to get into. Plus, it just looks dorky.

I don’t think the sling bag you linked looks dorky in the picture, but it appears to be almost empty. I think that if it was stuffed and stood out from your chest it would "look not so good." On your back would be fine, but then you'd lose the security benefits. A Goldilocks dilemma.

I stumbled onto a UNIQLO Round Mini Shoulder Bag that's shown as unisex and some pictures show men wearing them. I think it's a bit too feminine, but I'm old. It's better for my anatomy, is soft and comfy, is large enough for my stuff, has a long enough strap to wear as a normal cross-body bag and is very simply designed without the multiple zippered pockets so many people love, but I find useless. I bought it in black and have been using it ever since the day it arrived. For travel I need to add a split key ring or small carabiner to the zipper so I can secure it to the strap where it closes. I've already tested both options and both work. That's the way I secure all my zippers on my bags of any type or size.

I think it's really hard to balance the potential travel need for something secure and something to use as a daypack, so I don't. In fact, I almost never carry a daypack period. I'm more inclined to have a thin, folds into nothing tote in my purse or a pants pocket in case I need to buy something.

Not so efficient, but what I really like is a cotton mesh bag with a long handle that will go over my shoulder. I got my first one in Nürnberg when I lived there and used it till it fell apart. My husband once asked if I was concerned about people seeing what was in the bag. My answer was, "that's the point." They can see my water bottles, bread, cheese and fruit and hopefully not be tempted like they might be by a daypack. In trying to help with your question I was pleased to see that, unlike when I tried to replace the one that retired itself, there are lots of washable, reusable, cotton string bags on the market. Even on Amazon -- Premium Mesh Grocery Bags.

Posted by
13855 posts

I also got one of these:

Forclaz Travel Trekking Pouch

Surprisingly sturdy although very wrinkled when taking it out of its pouch. It's bigger than I actually need.

I"m trying to find something that could easily be packed away into my personal item. It's too small to be my personal item.

Posted by
8951 posts

Lo, it's funny that you mention all the zips being annoying. I think that is another reason why I liked my bag — it only had one zipper, which gave good access to the contents.

Posted by
997 posts

If I were to get a sling bag, I would prefer one with the ability to clip the bottom of the strap on the left or right of the bag bottom so that I can have it hang correctly crossbody on either shoulder whether wearing on the front or back, like this one:

I used to wear a shoulder bag with the shoulder strap on either side at the top, like a man purse. Something like this:

I would hang it cross body on my left shoulder with the bag on right hip. I can swing it to the front of body to access and behind me to keep it out of the way when walking, all without having to remove it from my shoulder. With a sling bag, if you swing it to your back without changing shoulders or the clip, it will hang upside down. Also, the zippers on the shoulder bag were all horizontal. With those sling bags, they are often at an angle and I would worry about stuff falling out when opening to access.

I have gone back to using a full-time waist (fanny) pack which is usually facing forward with my shirt hanging over top. Wallet, id, money, passport and smartphone are all secure and tight against my waist. Like a moneybelt without the need to undo pants to access. My rationale: Batman wore a utility belt, not a purse. I will also carry a drawstring sackpack if i need to carry a jacket, water, snacks or other stuff.

Posted by
13855 posts

I need something that is lightweight and can be packed inside my personal item. Most of the bags that can change strap sides weigh a great deal and don't lay flat.

Posted by
155 posts

I have a nylon Ameribag Healthy Back Bag that I purchased many years ago. They've updated them now. They don't even make one as big as the one I have anymore.

What I found annoying about it was that it didn't stay up. Everything in it would sink to the bottom and the bag would end up not "fitting" as shown so it was more like a big tote bag, not a "Healthy Back Bag". That was before packing cubes were a thing, so that would probably help keep the contents from sagging.

I'm thinking of getting a small or medium size Traveler style. I want a daypack that is big enough to stuff a jacket in, but not so big as to be cumbersome.

I like the looks of the newer style sling bags, but I'd want the zippers against me if I chose to wear it across my back instead of chest. There are a few brands that do have a zippered pocket on the back, but not many.

Topo needs to make a sling bag like their rolling backpack where access to the zippers is against the body.