Sling bags, along with their cousin the bum bag (or fanny pack for our US readers) have slowly but surely become a part of everyday carry culture. With the bare essentials for any outdoor trip being a smartphone, a portable charger and a wallet, we no longer need a large backpack to facilitate our everyday needs.
Of course, if you plan on doing some travelling, or know you’ll be needing more gear with you than what you could realistically fit into a sling bag, then these best backpacks for men will hold you in good stead.
Back to the sling. What was once a hit in the 90s died a death in the early noughties, but now they are back in a big way. Not only do they provide a genuine purpose, but sling bag designers are able to inject their own stylish flair into their respective models, providing you with an extra accessory through which to show off your personality.
The rise in popularity of the sling bag – and their adoption by men – has also meant more and more manufacturers are jumping on board the bandwagon, giving you even greater choice. That does, however, make our task of finding the best sling bags that little bit trickier, but we think we’ve nailed it with this definitive list.
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The company's Sling is one of the best on the market. Available in numerous colours, some of which comprise recycled materials, the Sling has two compartments: one large and one smaller, but its ingenuity comes in the form of an expandable design. You can easily compress the bag down to a smaller size when it doesn't have much in, simply by adjusting the shoulder strap. Clever.
The ReNew Transit Bag is made from 100% recycled polyester and provides ample storage for your everyday essentials. Available in a triage of colours, Everlane's bag provides an inexpensive avenue into the world of sling bags.
The Everyday Sling is testament to that, coming in three size options, with all being suitable as a camera bag, should you wish and the two larger models even have space for your tablet. Peak Design's proprietary strap technology is out in full force, which allows for quick and easy adjustments and 400D outer shell makes the Everyday Sling completely weatherproof.
The Seventeen Hip Pack may be called a hip back, but its strap can just easily be worn over the shoulder, transforming it into a sling. Available in a wide range of colours and offering up 3.5-litres of internal storage, the Seventeen offers just the right amount of space for the bare essentials and keeps them close in a stylish package.
The company's Box Bag is unequivocally Danish in its design and oh so chic, but it has substance too. Naturally, it's made from Rains' waterproof fabric – the zipper is waterproof too – and sports one main 2.5L compartment.
This belt bag/sling bag is rather understated by Hugo Boss standards. Part of the Hugo collection and made from a nylon twill fabric, this sling bag comprises a singular internal compartment and two external pockets, one of which plays hosts to a reflective logo patch.
As for sling bags, however, Horizn Studios offers the Gion Cross-Body M. An 'S' version is also available, but we're not entirely sure what you could realistically fit in it. The M, however, is a much better option. Available in four colours and is made from vegan tarpaulin material which is both waterproof and designed to retain its shape no matter how old it gets.
Big enough to fit an iPad Mini and with extra padding for added comfort, the Gion Cross-Body M is a premium, over-the-shoulder companion.
This super stylish hip bag can go over your shoulder and is kitted out with plenty of padding an linings for comfort and to keep your gear scratch-free.
The Full Moon Hip Pack can be worn around your waist or over your shoulder, and in a similar vein to Bellroy's Sling, Mystery Ranch's bag has dual compression straps to minimise the size wherever possible. You get one large compartment with its own smaller internal pocket, as well as a large exterior pocket on the front. It can hold pretty much anything you want, is available in a great choice of colours and is incredibly affordable. Sign us up.
The Axis Modular Waist Pack is another that can be worn around the waist or over the shoulder. It's fully waterproof and due to its modular design, can be attached to Mission Workshop's larger Arkiv bags. The 2.5L compartment floats inside the main shell to keep your gear protected, and a separate internal pocket has been integrated specifically to hold your phone and wallet.
The Nylon Utility Belt Bag is another one with a versatile design, being able to be worn over your shoulder should you wish. Made from a lightweight yet durable nylon, you're presented with a large main compartment with enough space for anything you could need for daily use, along with a zippered front pouch which you can remove if you need.
The Compadre bag can be worn as a waist pack or slung over your shoulder and is made from a highly durable 210D nylon ripstop material. The internal compartment is padded, so will happily gobble up a camera, and you even get a pop out water bottle pocket, handy if you find yourself going on long walks. Pockets for smaller items and your sunglasses only add to its practicality.
The Panama Sliding Strap Crossbody Bag is made from the company's iconic Panama crossgrain leather – a Smythson stalwart since 1908 – and can be worn either landscape or portrait. One main compartment gives way to three further internal pockets, while on the exterior you'll find two more zipped pockets, providing plenty of storage space. It is further lined in smooth calf leather.
This Crossbody bag is part of the brand's Essential series, and can be worn either around the waist or over the shoulder. Two zipped compartments is all you get, and although it might not be the largest bag on this list, it's more than big enough for your phone, wallet, sunglasses and keys.
This Tech hip pack can be worn in multiple orientations and rocks three zipped compartments, one of which includes a dedicated loop for attaching your keys. The woven fabric is designed to be far more durable than your run-of-the-mill polyester, while the chunky zips and pull-tabs make opening and closing compartments a breeze. Certainly on the larger side of sling bags, resembling a small, single-strap backpack, Nike's sling bag should provide all the space you could need.
Timbuk2 prides itself on its bag design, offering as much usable space from bags that are as compact as possible, and a prime example is the Vapor sling crossbody bag. Made from a recycled nylon for added durability and serving up four separate zipped pockets including a soft, tricot-lined pocket for sunglasses, a large main section that will happily gobble up a tablet and a front pocket that is perfectly placed to take your keys and other quick-access essentials.
The Mantis Sling Pack is, expectedly, smaller in size, coming in at 4-litres, so while it may not necessarily be suitable for a particularly tough hike, it's the perfect accompaniment for inner-city explorers. You get enough space inside to carry a 10-inch tablet, side loops let you attach a water bottle and a panel on the back of the bag offers a prime spot to put your phone, any form of transit pass, or other small items that you need quick access to.
The Campbell Utility Pouch is designed for those who spend the majority of their time in the city, but also need a small, practical bag to take with them into the great outdoors. Not only does it get Tumi's ballistic nylon, but it also features the Tumi Tracer, which offers an easy way to find your bag should it go missing. Three pockets and a key loop round out the list of features.