For an accessible on-the-go bag that lets you go hands-free, sling backpacks combine the best features of backpacks and crossbody bags in one ingenious, bulk-free package. Whether you’re looking for a cute yet functional replacement for your purse or something up for your next outdoor adventure, the best sling backpacks have a durable build and come with the storage capacity you need.
If you plan on using your sling backpack for traveling or trekking, a water-resistant material is going to be vital. That might look like a quick-drying polyester that won’t stay damp when you load it full of wet clothes, or you can spring for a luxe option like leather that has been specially treated to repel water. While you'll pay more for leather up front, it is a durable material that will last a lifetime with proper care. If you're in a pinch, a bag with at least a polyester lining will still help keep your gear protected. That said, if you're planning on wearing your sling back for errands around town, style might trump waterproofness, and a cotton or canvas material will deliver the look you want.
Capacity & Design Features
Even if you don't plan on carrying a computer, a good way to judge the size of the pack is by what kind of tech the bag is designed to accommodate; the picks below range in size from being able to house an iPad Mini up to a 15.6-inch laptop. If hauling your work computer is a top priority, choose a slingpack with a padded sleeve for extra peace of mind. Travel sling backpacks will feature souped-up security features like compartments that open from the back and slash-proof straps, plus extra conveniences like headphone ports for peace of mind when you’re navigating a new city. Bags built for an active lifestyle might include a reflective stripe if you’re cycling or headed out on a run (and if you're gym-bound, ideally, a shoe compartment to keep the rest of your bag from smelling like dirty sneakers).
From the best crossbody backpack on the market to a sling bag with more security features than your front door, these six sling backpacks can carry their weight no matter where the day takes you.
1. An Everyday Sling Backpack That Comes In Tons Of Colors
This great sling backpack gets top marks from over 3,500 Amazon reviews. Shoppers raved that this lightweight bag was the perfect size (it can fit up to an 11-inch tablet) and that it was great quality for its budget-friendly price. "I bought it for travel but ended up using it for everyday use," one shopper raved, adding, "I love the two netted pouches on the side that I can use to put water bottles, small umbrellas, and other stuff. Its well made and comes it great colors." The polyester canvas is water-resistant and durable, and an additional zippered compartment on the front is ideal for smaller items like your phone, keys and a slim wallet. A buckled closure keeps the main zippered compartment secure, and a dedicated headphone port lets you listen on the go.
- Available colors: 19
2. This Vintage-Style Sling Backpack With A Laptop Compartment
This laptop sling backpack has a padded compartment with a velcro strap to keep your tech secure and comes in two different sizes to accommodate small and large screens alike (the larger 16-inch pack size is featured here and it can hold up to a 15.6-inch laptop). The exterior is made from durable washed canvas, although it's not listed whether it comes with any water-resistant lining. This stylish pack features vintage rucksack detailing in faux leather, with a reinforced top handle and two options for where to hook the padded shoulder strap. There’s a front zippered pocket and two large tablet-sized pockets under the flap and a couple of side pockets. The interior combines a roomy main compartment with plenty of small organizational pockets. "This bag is perfect because I can sling it across my shoulder with my purse and it doesn't fall off," one fan raved. "It has a ton of room inside and it has multiple pockets inside that fit alot of things. I also love the fact that it has a cloth-ish exterior but it's a tough bag that can take some abuse."
- Available colors: 2
3. A Mini Sling Backpack With Anti-Theft Protection
This travel sling backpack features three layers of antitheft protection: a slash-proof strap with buckles that have to be unscrewed instead of unclipped, a locking zipper, and a large hidden pocket that rests against your body for storing valuables. The cotton-linen material is designed to be water-resistant in case you get caught out in a downpour, and the pack is sized just right: not too large to weigh you down, but still leaves enough room for a notebook and a tablet the size of an iPad Mini. There’s even a headphone port so you can listen without exposing your gear. "I bought it for traveling but I’ve been using it as an everyday bag. It’s amaaazzinngg," one fan raved. "It’s so sturdy, compact and light weight...I also love that I can literally stuff it and it still feels light on my shoulder." Another shopper took theirs to an area known for pickpockets and reported, "I felt confident enough in the locking zipper to wear the bag behind me and had no issues. Was able to hold my passport wallet, a bottle of water, granola bars, and other small items without overstuffing. Perfect bag for day trips."
- Available colors: 6
4. A Sling Backpack Purse In Pretty Floral Prints
Vera Bradley designed this cute sling backpack in the brand’s signature quilted cotton with one-of-a-kind floral designs. The natural material comes lined with polyester to protect the interior, and you can pop it into the washing machine in the event of a spill. There are two exterior zippered pockets for last-minute necessities, and a key ring at the top so you never have to dig through your bag. If you're not a fan of florals, also check out this boho-chic canvas sling backpack. "I have finally found bag/purse heaven," one reviewer gushed, calling out the roomy main compartment and thoughtful placement that keeps belongings secure. "Best of all the bag stays on my shoulder and I'm not constantly fiddling with to keep in place. The colors are wonderful and the bag goes with everything." While it doesn't come with a padded compartment for your tablet, reviewers mentioned that it can accommodate a 10-inch tablet.
- Available colors: 11
5. This Oversized Sling Backpack Built For The Gym
A large-capacity athletic sling backpack with a shoe compartment keeps dirty soles separate from the rest of your goods and lets your kicks air out after spin class. The polyester bag comes with a padded back lined with air mesh for sweat-free wear and features a reflective safety stripe for visibility in low light. The inside can hold clothes, shoes, and tech too — there’s a padded sleeve sized to fit up to a 13-inch laptop. Ten pockets ensure there’s a place for every single essential. "Great bag. I use it for everything from carrying items into work, the gym, and airplane carry-on; it fits under the seat if not stuffed full. The zippers seem strong and the bag also seems quite durable," one shopper commented. The only thing you might wish for is a more versatile strap — this was built to carry on the right shoulder.
- Available colors: 2
6. A Luxe Leather Sling Backpack
A leather sling backpack made from full-grain Italian hide is a functional luxury you’ll own forever. There’s a main interior compartment large enough to fit a 9.7-inch tablet and two zippered pockets on the outside, with a snap to keep your belongings secure. A hidden security pocket keeps items like your phone close at hand but stowed safely against you. The leather is water-resistant, and there’s a D ring at the top of the strap for clipping on keys. "The quality of all materials and craftsmanship is outstanding," one reviewer gushed. "It is solid, quality leather and as such is fairly heavy compared to nylon or other materials that one may be more used to; if that's a concern, the smaller size might be a better option. I'm loving the larger size, more than adequate and well organized with 7 total compartments of various sizes for the things I usually carry and plenty of room for the occasional water bottle." The brand's more affordably priced smaller size bag is able to hold a 7.9-inch tablet.
For an even more budget-friendly option, you can also consider this vegan leather sling backpack.
- Available colors: 2