5 Top Sling Backpacks
Did it ever happen to you to have a painful shoulder or back after carrying a bag? Did it ever cross your mind that various situations require various types of bags? This may come as a shock to some, but carrying a bag in the wrong way could be the cause of your pain…
Backpack vs. sling bag
Backpacks give you two straps, one on each shoulder, to work with and there is no tendency for the bag to slip off the shoulder. The risk of shoulder/neck overuse injury is less likely to occur in this case. It’s better to use two straps at all times, so you can benefit of the weight distribution provided by the typical backpack.
The natural shape of the shoulder is such that the part near the base of the neck is typically higher than the tip of the shoulder, creating a natural “down slope”. If you wear the sling bag only on one shoulder, the bag slides off the shoulder. This is why you need to lift up the shoulder to level the “down slope”. This is a reason for shoulder and neck muscle strain, resulting in pain and stiffness.
There are five things that a good sling pack gives you: lightweight, security, easy shifting, organization and freedom on the move.
A good sling pack weighs under a pound, which makes it easy to carry and causes less pain for your back and shoulders.
When you have a sling bag, the risk of snatching from your bag is minimal. The sling pack is secured across your body and you don’t need to stress out about pickpockets.
The sling pack is also easy to shift for easy access by only moving the strap slightly.
A good sling bag gives you at least two compartments to organize your items. If not, you can get a large compartment and a large front pocket.
Riding your bike is easy peasy when you have a sling pack. The pack is secured to your body and doesn’t hinder your arm’s movements.
How to get the best sling bag
When you want to get yourself a sling pack, there are some tips to follow. Your sling bag should have a single strap that is long, padded and adjustable.
The back panel of your sling bag should also have a padded back panel. This brings comfort to your back and no pen or sharp item could pierce through while you’re on the move.
Most single bags are small, but some can fit your 15” laptop. There are various sizes of sling bags to choose from, depending on your needs and preferences.
The fabric of your sling pack is also an important point to consider. If you think you’re gonna carry various loads, go for the stretchy fabrics so that your pack is flexible and adjustable. The level of waterproofness of your sling pack is also important as it’s almost impossible not to get caught in the rain on some trip/mission.
The Top 5 Sling Pack Reviews
We’ll be looking at some of the best made and tough sling packs, that happen to also fall in the tactical category. A tactical backpack may be a must when you work in law enforcement, EMT, search and rescue and other challenging jobs.
A good tactical sling pack is tough and holds up under the most demanding situations, yet remains comfortable enough, if not “invisible” when it comes to its weight.
The tactical sling pack carries all your gear without getting bulky. It doesn’t have too many straps either so that they don’t get snagged.
A popular sling pack doesn’t have many zippers and uses mostly straps and buckles to secure your gear.
Last but not least, some sling bags include a compartment for a water bladder as you might need hydration while on the way or in the line of duty…
The 5.11 Rush 10 Moab gives you 18 Liters of volume to fit your items, and features the 5.11 Tier System that makes it attachable to any Rush backpack.
There are many things we like about this EDC sling pack and here’s our list of pros:
- it features an ambidextrous cross body shoulder strap
- it gives you plenty of administration pockets for your items
- it has water resistant treatment
- the pack features a concealed backup system pistol compartment
- there is a hydration pocket (1.5 Liters) with a pass-through port
- the pack gives you a fleece lined sunglass pocket and a sturdy grab handle
- there are YKK self-healing zippers
- the pack comes with comfortable compression straps and hook&loop flag patch
- there is extensive Molle slick stick compatible web lining
- the secondary double zip pocket gives you more space to organize your items
- the pack fits your Ammo and your iPad also
- the tech pocket on the shoulder strap has earbud eyelet pass through and works great for your smartphone or a small radio
As much as we like this sling bag, there are also some minor issues that are worth mentioning:
Our cons are as follow:
- the main compartment could be more expandable
- there is no option for a second attachment point for more stability
- the sunglass pouch is where the hydration system hose is passed thru so you can’t use both at the same time
- the pack picks up animal hair/fur
- the single zipper on the pocket works itself open during rough use
- the zipper is a tad stiff in the beginning
- the pack is on the high price end
All in all, this is a great buy and is worth every penny. You won’t be buying a lemon for sure.
Good quality comes at a price so it’s worth to go the extra mile and get yourself the Maxpedition Sitka Gearslinger. This EDC sling pack fits your multiple items but don’t overdo it as the weight might get you off the track 🙂
The Maxpedition Sitka Gearslinger is waterproof and protected by a final coat of DuPont Teflon fabric to repel the elements.
Here are the pros of this sling bag:
- the pack is sturdy and long lasting with reinforced stress points
- the pack is lightweight and there are no unnecessary seams
- this sling pack is for the left shoulder so it gives a better weapon shouldering. This also provides highest utility when flipped towards the front of the body
- the pack is versatile as you can also wear it in the front for easier access when sitting down
- the pack is 100-ounce hydration reservoir compatible
- the pack gives you plenty of small pockets for a better organization of your gear
- you can easily fit your iPad, GPS and even a 15” MacBook in this
- the pack is well made and secure, with easy access and subtle CCW if needed
This sling pack sold us out, despite its minor issues…Here are the cons:
- the water bottle could use a better placement
- the pack needs improvement when it comes to weight distribution
- even though the pack lets you organize your stuff, it could use more internal pockets and some Molle inside so that the small items don’t wander around
- the pack could use more Molle and Velcro panels outside and inside so you can get the best of the space that the pack gives you
- we don’t fancy the zippers that much, as they are simply just to many. You need to handle too many zippers to get access.
- you do need to watch your wallet when buying this
Do as we do and go the extra mile for this sling pack… you’ll have no regrets.
The 5.11 RUSH MOAB 6 Backpack is part of the 5.11 collection and is an EDC bag that’s well made, with a great build.
This sling pack gives you a little over 10 Liters of capacity but still gives you plenty of options and space to organize your gear.
Here are the pros:
- the pack has an internal pocket for good organization of your items
- there is Molle webbing everywhere for external attachment
- the materials are heavy duty
- the pack is water resistant
- this sling bag features the 5.11 Tier System that makes is attachable to any Rush backpack
- the shoulder strap is adjustable
- this pack fits your iPad and expands a lot
- there is great comfort with this pack since it’s well padded
- it’s easy to get into and out of the pack
- it has YKK self-healing zippers
- the pack gives you a Backup belt system
- there is a concealed weapon case over the shoulder carry which fits a your Springfield XDS
- there is a fleece lined sunglass pocket
- the pack is versatile and may be used on the left or right shoulder
- the pack is well made, with sturdy stitching and high quality craftsmanship
There aren’t many things to mention when it comes to the downsides of this pack, but we do need to mention some.
Our cons are:
- there is no external water pocket
- the small pouch on the strap is not removable
- the sunglass pocket is too soft and doesn’t seem to offer enough protection
- the buckle for the strap is placed rather far
- there is padding only on the back of the back pocket and this brings down the comfort
- the Velcro is rather noisy, until you get used to it anyway…
- the pack needs better balance
Don’t get us wrong, though. We still like this pack, as it’s small and efficient.
Another great ambidextrous sling pack is the Maxpedition Lunada Gearslinger. This is a well-constructed pack with one main compartment and 4 pockets to fit your gear. There are many things that make this pack a good option and here are our pros:
- the main compartment tapers towards the top and comes with YKK zippers and drainage grommet
- there are many pockets: front upper, front lower, front slip and rear pocket.
- some of the pockets have zipper closure, some give elastic organizer loops or button close
- the front lower pocket had a drainage grommet
- the pack has Molle in plenty of places
- there is a belt hoop that accommodates a belt up to 2.5” wide
- the shoulder strap is ambidextrous and has also webbing and a Duraflex Warrior side-release buckle that can be tucked away in the rear compartment
- the cross strap is also ambidextrous and adjustable
- the cross strap features a built-in whistle side release buckle
- the pack comes with a padded handle and Duraflex D-rings for optional shoulder strap
- the sling pack stands upright on its own
- it features smooth running YKK zippers
- the pack is roomy and gives you many options for your items
- it fits an iPad or your 10.5” tablet
- the sling bag is stylish, sturdy and it’s easy to swing it to front
- it fits a full size 1911 in the main compartment
As you got used by now, there are also some minor things that we like less about this sling pack. Our cons are:
- you can’t pack large items on the outside of the pack with the webbing
- the pack feels a bit stiff in the beginning
- the logo in the middle is too flashy
- it’s not that easy to get to the gun compartment
- the pack could use more D-rings, key clips
It’s a no-brainer to see that there are far more good things to this sling pack than downsides and the ball is in your court now.
Another versatile and highly organizable sling pack is the Vertx EDC Commuter Bag. With its well thought-out design and multiple options for organizing your items, this sling manages to have multiple qualities.
Our pros are:
- the pack features an orbital design for fast back to front sliding
- it’s a compact EDC sling bag
- you can get the model for the right or for the left shoulder
- there is a large grab strap on the large zippered compartment
- the pack has a nice, efficient zipper system
- it fits your 13” laptop
- it’s made of tough, sturdy materials
- there are many details on this sling bag that give you multiple options to store your gear
- the CCW access pull is a nice, helpful detail
- the sling strap is wide and comfortable
- there are many little straps, Velcro pockets for you to stash all your small, necessary items
As with all models, there are some things that we like less about this sling bag.
Our list of cons:
- the sling pack is not ambidextrous and the fact that you need to find yourself a specific model is a downside from our point of view.
- the material is kind of slippery in contact with the body. This brings discomfort especially when you bend, for instance and the pack slides away in the front.
- it’s not easy to get access to the pack and there are no admin pouches
- there is no bottle holder for this pack
- the pack is a bit stiff in the beginning
Nevertheless, this is still a very good, long lasting, highly organizable sling pack that is comfortable to carry.