How to choose right sling bag – Fun Random Stuff

How to choose right sling bag


What is a Sling Bag?

This question is not as straightforward as it seems. It’s taken a team of six bona fide gear reviewers analyzing 50+ sling bags and hip packs for over two months to come up with an answer we can all get behind (and there’s still some ambiguity).

Here’s the definition we’ve landed on: A sling bag is (drum roll, please…) a bag that’s designed to be worn comfortably across the chest or back and secured to the body with a cross-shoulder style strap. The buckle tends to be off-center, the straps connect diagonally, and the body of the bag tends to have an oblong shape—we say “tends to” because there are quite a few exceptions, which we’ll get into later.

One small clarification is that while sling bags and messenger bags have a similar thing going on with the single, crossbody style of strap—the two aren’t synonymous. Messenger bags are usually bigger, boxier, and don’t contour to the body, but there’s no exact science. Really, you can go with your gut here. We tend to think you’ll know a messenger bag when you see one.

What’s the Difference Between a Sling Bag and a Hip Pack?

You’ll see people on the internet equating sling bags with hip packs (or waist packs, fanny packs, bum bags, belt bags, whatever you want to call them), but sling bags and hip packs aren’t one and the same. We repeat: sling bags and hip packs are not the same things.

Simply put, a hip pack is the rebranded fanny pack, while a sling bag is something different (it’s the hipster cousin, remember?). A hip pack can almost always be a sling bag, albeit not necessarily a good one, but a sling bag is virtually never a hip pack (like a square is a rectangle, but a rectangle is not a square).

That said, almost every single company out there has its own definition of a sling bag and a hip pack. To make things even more complicated, some companies will throw in the term “crossbody bag” to describe what we consider a sling bag. So, it gets messy—and our rules and definitions are by no means absolutes.

In this guide, we won’t be discussing hip packs. Getting into the nitty-gritty of sling bags is complicated enough.

Why a Sling Bag?

Now that you know what a sling bag is, let’s talk about why one will change your life (or, at the very least, make carrying stuff easier).

Sling Bags Are Perfect for Your In-Flight Essentials

Since wearing one backpack on the front and one on the back hasn’t caught on yet (yes, we’re surprised too), a sling bag becomes a great place to keep your pocketable items, especially while in transit. Just toss all of your stuff in your sling and throw the entire thing in a bin as you breeze through airport security like a pro, thus avoiding the much-dreaded “security shuffle.”

And, unlike pockets, a sling bag will fit almost everything you could ever want in-flight (within reason—a masseuse obviously won’t fit). Of course, what you carry in your sling bag is as unique as you are. Here are a few suggestions based on what works for us:

  • A smartphone
  • Snacks (arguably the most important)
  • USB cables
  • Tech chargers
  • Battery bank
  • Earplugs (every plane has at least one crying baby, even if it’s your own; it’s like a law of physics or something)
  • Eye mask
  • Headphones
  • Notebook and pen (something about being at 35,000 feet gets the creative juices flowing)
  • Tissues
  • An e-reader or book (depending on your sling, some are too small to fit one)

Once in flight, you can use a carabiner to hook your sling bag to the seat in front of you. That way, you can quickly grab a snack before you get hangry, some tissues because the movie you picked happens to be a lot sadder than you thought it’d be, or a phone charger because Tetris drains battery life surprisingly quickly. You know, only the essentials.

 

Sling Bags Are Perfect for Your Day Trip Essentials

Similar to the above perk, a sling bag may just be the perfect accessory for a day trip. Sometimes all you need are the basics—wallet, keys, phone—and while pockets may get the job done, 1) some clothes lack practical pockets, 2) skinny jeans are a thing, and 3) some clothes don’t have pockets at all. (*cough* Women’s clothing! *cough*)

Even if you are #blessed with useable pockets, some day trips require a few “extra” items, although not quite enough to make lugging around an entire backpack worthwhile. A sling bag allows you to bring:

  • Extra camera lenses
  • Extra camera batteries
  • Snacks (still the most important)
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Chapstick
  • Makeup
  • Nintendo Switch (a gamers gotta game)

Sling Bags Provide Easy Access

Sling bags are ridiculously easy to get in and out of. When worn on your chest, the pocket(s) is (are) literally right under your nose, and when worn on your back, you can shift it around to your front. However, beware of the T-Rex arms that can happen when the sling bag is worn high on your chest (yeah, you knew exactly what we were talking about as soon as we said “T-Rex arms,” didn’t you?).

Sling Bags Are En Vogue

At least for the time being, sling bags are “in.” You’ll find them in pretty much every high street store and even luxury brands like Louis Vuitton are selling them. We don’t know about you, but we love it when fashion and convenience merge.

Other Use-Cases for Sling Bags Include:

  • Festivals (both for convenience and trendiness)
  • Everyday carry (especially for those who cycle to work)
  • Hiking and outdoor adventuring
  • Exploring cities
  • Amusement parks
  • A million other things

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