Sling backpacks are the edgier and hipper brethren of the much-chided fanny packs. A sling backpack is a triangular-shaped bag with a single strap worn either on a single shoulder or across the torso at the back or in the front. Today, sling backpacks have transformed into something of a fashion statement even for women. Sling backpacks for women are a middle ground between sling purses and traditional backpacks. Hence, they are not only incredibly stylish but are wonderfully functional as well.
So, why are sling backpacks gaining such prominence? Firstly, they are designed to be lightweight and holds all your things, just like the best traditional ultralight backpacks. At the same time, you can wear it across the body, keep your hands free, and also easily grab whatever you need, just like good crossbody bags. What’s more, today’s sling backpacks are fashionable to boot, just like the very best-designed travel purses. Hence, women don’t need to fear their accessory being a plain old boring one. Moreover, you don’t sweat, thanks to the breathable and padded back, and the padded shoulder straps are adjustable for comfort.
Clearly, sling backpacks are the best of both worlds. So, here’s a list of the 13 best sling backpacks for women to traipse about with on your next vacation. And after this, check out our list of best sling backpacks for men, too!
How to choose great sling backpacks?
Capacity, size, and comfort
Generally speaking, sling backpacks have compact, slim shapes with capacities ranging anywhere between 1 and 20 liters. However, the best ones have volumes of 1-8 liters and weigh not more than 4-5 lbs, including your belongings, as a sling backpack is more minimalist than a traditional one. Also, some sling backpacks are expandable, which bodes well for travelers for carrying more stuff.
Plus, you need to remember that overstuffed sling backpacks are not only uncomfortable to carry but may also end up giving you a backache. So, it is important for you use your sling backpacks to carry only essentials.
Durability and build
Since your sling backpack is going to carry important belongings, it needs to be built to last. Weather resistance is perhaps the topmost important feature set it needs to have, followed by durability. To that end, the best bags are made from strong, hard-wearing materials like PVC and nylon for out-and-out wet environments or even heavy cotton or canvas. You will also need to consider the straps of the sling bags, which vary in lengths, widths, and make. Usually, they’re made of nylon webbing, and the heavier backpacks feature thick straps and lighter ones have thinner straps. Also, there are even lefty-inclusive bags with straps that can be fastened on either side. This makes it easier for lefties to wear it comfortably and generally allows you to wear it across any shoulder.
Apart from the material, you also need to take into consideration the quality and build of the hardware like zippers and buckles. Zippers from SAB, R1R1, and YKK are the best in the world. When it comes to buckles, you need to see not only the quality but also the placement. For instance, centered buckles allow the bag to be worn on the shoulders and the hips. Off-center buckled bags are best worn on one shoulder. Also, the larger the buckle, the more durable and easy to clip/unclip it will be.
Lastly, if you’re leaning towards backpack-style sling bags or outdoor-oriented ones, the better ones feature mesh back panels. They alleviate issues like pilling and sweat patches. Some bags also tend to have cushioned backs for more support as well.
Shape and profile
Sling backpacks for women today are available in a gamut of shapes and profiles. Most sling bags have either wide or tall orientations. Taller sling bags can be worn both across the body as well as hung off the shoulder. Wider slings are usually worn as hip packs. Sometimes, actual hip packs can also pass off as sling bags and are even make a partial success out of it.
Osprey Daylite Sling
Osprey has carved a niche for itself as a reputable luggage brand in the outdoor realm. The Daylite Sling from Osprey is one of the most perfect sling backpacks out there. Whether you’re headed for a beach day, a summer hike, or daily errands, the Osprey Daylite is simply outstanding. The fact that it is available in seven colors just makes it all the better.
The water-resistant backpack is made from high-quality, lightweight, and strong 210D ripstop nylon. The shoulder strap and back panel feature the brand’s breathable and soft NeoSpacer mesh material for superior comfort. The strap sits on the right shoulder and swings forward to the left side of your body. The bag has high-quality YYK buckles and zippers, and the tucked-away buckle leaves things looking chic and neat. An elastic strap keeper further helps keep things sleek and avoids the dangling strap situation.
When it comes to the inside of the bag, the main compartment features a key leash, two mesh pockets, and a sleeve. It keeps your stuff nicely organized and can fit in quite a lot of your belongings. There’s even a loop on the outside to attach some accessories, like a water bottle. What’s more, a front zippered mesh pocket is extremely nifty for stashing away quick-access smaller items.
Weight: 0.5 lbs (0.2 kg)
Capacity: 6 liters
Dimensions: 14.5 x 8 x 5 inches (36.8 x 20.3 x 12.7 cm)
- It can fit in quite a good amount of your belongings.
- Comfortable and padded back panel, and strap.
- Excellent internal organization.
- Available in 8 colors – black, sagebrush blue, petrol blue, real red, amulet purple, granny smith green, and stone grey.
- Only right-shouldered.
- It could be uncomfortable for day-long activities.
Patagonia Atom Sling
Patagonia is renowned for its sustainable outdoor wear and gear for what they call ‘silent sports.’ These include everything from trail running, fly fishing, and snowboarding to skiing, surfing, and climbing! One of the best sling backpacks for women ideal for such outdoor adventures is the Atom Sling from Patagonia. The sling backpack might be built for the trails, but it works extremely well for destination-based travel too. The icing on the cake is the fact that women can choose from a rainbow of colors – smokey violet, navy, white, yellow, green, red, teal, grey, and classic black.
The bag can handle anything thrown at it, thanks to the 630D nylon exterior and the 200D 100%-recycled polyester lining. with 100% recycled 200D polyester. A dual DWR and polyurethane finishing lends the bag additional resistance against weather and abrasions. A soft, breathable mesh on the shoulder strap and back panel makes the bag a very comfortable carry. A loop is very useful for attaching stuff like a water bottle, while a stretchy pocket on the strap makes it easy to stow away some quick-grab accessories. the frontal compression straps make for more space in the main compartment.
Coming to the interiors, the bag features two inner sections. A quick-grab pocket and a key clip are both very useful, as you don’t need to rummage in the main compartment. A padded sleeve is ideal for smaller laptops, tablets, and e-readers, leaving the remaining space free for other belongings.
Weight: 0.63 lbs (0.3 kg)
Capacity: 8 liters
Dimensions: 17 x 10 x 3 inches (43.2 x 25.4 x 7.6 cm)
- Excellent materials and craftsmanship.
- Good organizational space.
- A very comfortable carry.
- Only right-shouldered.
- Small quick-access pocket.
Pacsafe Venturesafe X Anti-Theft Sling Pack
Pacsafe is the king of anti-theft features in the luggage world. The comfy, durable, and sleek Venturesafe X Anti-Theft Sling Pack from Pacsafe is the best in its category. If you use public transport frequently and need to keep your belongings extra safe, then look no further than this solid sling bag.
Although it is one of the heavier sling bags out there, the Pacsafe Venturesafe is packed with a bevy of anti-theft features. It features a 210D ripstop nylon exterior and is polyurethane-coated, which makes it resistant to abrasions and water. YKK zippers lend additional durability and security. On the inside, the bag has a larger, main compartment that features a larger zippered, mesh pocket, pen holders, a tablet sleeve, an organizer panel, and even an RFID-safe pocket. The frontal smaller pocket is more useful as a quick-grab one, featuring a small tablet/phone sleeve, a zippered pocket, and a key clip. Additionally, a super-stretchy front shove-it pocket made from slash-resistant eXomesh is useful for stashing spare clothes. Plus, the bag is available in three colors – black, blue steel, and plum.
In terms of comfort, the Pacsafe Venturesafe couldn’t do better if it tried. The ventilated strap can be anchored on both sides of the shoulder. The strap is padded and the buckle isn’t clumsy, making for a comfy carry. The bottom can be detached and tucked away, transforming it into a quasi pouch. Finally, the top handle makes it easy for your sling backpack to be hung just about anywhere.
Weight: 1.01 lbs (0.5 kg)
Capacity: 6 liters
Dimensions: 14.57 x 7.87 x 4.33 inches (37 x 20 x 11 cm)
- Excellent internal organization.
- Design from durable, slash-resistant material.
- Chock-full of anti-theft, security features
- A bit heavier than other bags.
Waterfly Sling Chest Bag
If you’re looking for a bargain backpack, then the budget-friendly Waterfly Sling Chest Bag is the best accessory you can own. It one of the very few sling backpacks for women that costs less than $20!
The price doesn’t mean that the bag skimps on good quality and build. The bag is made from 100% specially-profiled, anti-pilling nylon that protects it from rips, abrasions, and moisture. The back panel features a padded, black-colored mesh that avoids the back from overheating or chafing. The shoulder strap is nicely wide and makes the bag very comfortable to wear. Moreover, when the strap’s lower part is connected to an attachment on the other side, it becomes a left-sided bag as well.
Coming to the bag’s interiors, the large main compartment features a key rack, two pen pouches, as well as notebook, wallet, and card pouches. What’s more, the side mesh pockets are super-convenient for keeping water bottles right within reach.
Weight: 0.51 lbs (0.23 kg)
Capacity: 10 liters
Dimensions: 7.9 x 3.1 x 14.2 inches (20.1 x 7.9 x 36.1 cm)
- Very inexpensive.
- Excellent capacity.
- It can be worn on both shoulders.
- Available in five colors – black, blue, grey, olive green, sapphire blue.
- Adjustable buckle and strap and breathable mesh.
- Not machine-washable.
Arc’teryx Maka 2 Waistpack
The Arc’teryx Maka 2 Waistpack will make women fall for its obvious convenience and inimitable style. Designed by the outdoor gear maker Arc’teryx, the Maka 2 works as both a sling backpack and a hip waistpack.
The squarish back/waistpack is made from lightweight, strong, and soft 420D Oxford Nylon and features a 200D polyester inner lining. The back panel features the brand’s signature breathable Spacermesh, which feels nice on the skin and avoids sweating and chafing. A high-quality ITW buckle, YKK zippers, and a strap keeper leaves the bag sturdy and neat. On the outside, there’s a small back pocket, a quick-access pocket, and a key leash which are great for quickly grabbing stuff.
The main, square-shaped compartment features a useful zippered mesh pocket where you can stash smaller items. Larger items can easily be organized in the main section, which also has a sleeve for a divider. What’s more, this compartment expands really well once it’s filled with stuff, carrying more than what it looks like.
Weight: 0.38 lbs (0.17 kg)
Capacity: 2.7 liters
Dimensions: 9 x 10 x 6.5 inches (22.9 x 25.4 x 16.5 cm)
- Made with high-quality, durable materials.
- The square shape can be limiting.
- Larger-sized phones won’t fit into the phone pocket.
Chrome Industries MXD Notch Sling Bag
Chrome Industries specializes in creating trendy outdoor clothing and gear for outdoor adventure enthusiasts. So, it’s only fitting that outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen take a look at the fabulous MXD Notch Sling Bag from Chrome Industries. It serves as a nifty, boxy, and sport sling bag that is built to last.
It’s easy to see why the MXD Notch is one of the most spacious sling backpacks for women, especially those who travel a lot. The base of the MXD Notch is nearly a foot wide, which is huge for a ling bag. What’s more, the transformer-esque bag even doubles up as a fanny pack. However, the elephant in the room with the MXD Notch is that iconic buckle, which is also extremely good to look at and lends your bag style.
However, that’s just the beginning of this sling backpack’s amazing features. With an exterior of 680D ballistic nylon, the bag is strong, tough, durable, water- and abrasion-resistant. Beefy YKK zippers make the task of durability all the easier. Coming to the organization, the bag features two quick-access 3D pockets on the front. On the inside, a small mesh pocket, a keyring, a soft fleece pocket, and a small back pocket make organizing your stuff a dream. The larger compartment is great for stashing boarding documents, e-readers, small tablets, your wallet, and your passport.
Weight: 0.99 lbs (0.4 kg)
Capacity: 5 liters
Dimensions: 6 x 11.75 x 1.75 inches (15.2 x 29.8 x 4.4 cm)
- Sleek urban aesthetic and build.
- Great internal organization
- The front pocket might be a bit difficult to access.
Leaper Canvas Messenger/Sling/Crossbody Bag
Lovers of retro minimalism will love the vintage vibes of the Leaper Canvas Messenger/Sling/Crossbody Bag. The versatile Leaper Canvas works as a jack-of-all-trades bag. So, it is a crossbody bag, sling bag, and messenger bag all rolled into one.
Elegant-looking washable and soft PU leather makes up the exterior of the durable sling bag. Thus, if you’re headed to a chic destination for a holiday or to a music festival, then you’ll look right at home. The bag can be easily worn across the chest and hung on the shoulder, thanks to the incredible, 1-inch-thick, adjustable shoulder strap. An extra hook on the front makes it easy to convert the bag into a sling or a crossbody. Furthermore, a top handle makes it easy for the bag to be carried in the hand too.
The interiors of the bag are a minimalist organizer’s dream. The main compartment features lots of inner pockets to stash your belongings, while the roomy space is excellent for keeping your laptop, files, books, and e-readers. Moreover, there’s also a front zippered pocket great for quick-access essentials. So, the pack is flat when it’s empty, but it expands nicely to hold lots of stuff.
Weight: 1.56 lbs (0.71 kg)
Capacity: 6.5 liters
Dimensions: 9.4 x 12.4 x 3.4 inches (23.8 x 31.5 x 8.6 cm)
- Detachable, convertible strap.
- Highly versatile.
- Vintage, retro look.
- Available in 17 colors.
- Strap might be difficult to keep in place.
Peak Design Everyday Sling 3L (V2)
When we talk of the best sling backpacks for women, we can’t leave the photographers behind! The innovative and sleek Peak Design Everyday Sling 3L (V2) is designed especially for photographers and videographers and their equipment.
The Peak Design Everyday Sling is made from DWR-infused and 400D double poly-coated nylon canvas. Hence, the bag is robust, strong, and features a badass weather-resistant coating. The exterior looks all the sleeker due to the chic, stylish colors that the bag comes in – black, ash, and midnight-blue. The padded, thick swivel strap makes it easy for the bag to be worn for longer periods of time. Furthermore, it makes the bag comfy to wear and contours it nicely against your back when worn crossbody. If that wasn’t enough, the quick-release adjuster makes it easy for you to shift the bag from the chest to the shoulder to the waist in a jiffy. Finally, the two external carry straps can stow away equipment like tripods easily.
On the inside, the space is perfect for holding one camera and even two small shooting lenses. The main compartment has a Flexfold divider that can be origamied into a gamut of shapes to arrange your equipment. There are even side pockets that are ideal for stashing away batteries, card readers, USB chargers, and the likes. Moreover, the exterior zippered pocket is very useful for quick-grab essentials like a phone or even a third lens.
Weight: 0.99 lbs (0.4 kg)
Capacity: 3 liters
Dimensions: 7.4 x 12 x 4.3 (18.8 x 30.5 x 10.9 cm)
- Compact, sleek design.
- The quick-release adjuster is perfect for changing how you wear the bag.
- When fully packed, the bag could feel a bit bulky.
Timbuk2 Catapult Sling 2.0
If you’re looking for an everyday-use, uncomplicated sling backpack, you should definitely consider the Catapult Sling 2.0 from Timbuk2.
Tear-resistant 1830D Cordura nylon makes up the exterior of the Catapult Sling 2.0, making it mightily durable. The closure is a flap-over-Velcro, which makes it easy for you to quickly grab items out of the bag. A small, exterior zippered pocket on the front is perfect for quick-grab items like phones and keys. A mesh back panel ensures airflow and breathability. Plus, the detachable and adjustable shoulder strap is padded for maximum comfort. All-in-all, the exterior of the sling backpack boasts a minimal yet functional profile.
On the inside, the bag is an organizational dream. The main compartment features two discrete sections, of which the quick-access one is perfect for smaller, important items. However, what makes the bag particularly great is its ambidextrous strap that allows the bag to be worn on both sides. If that wasn’t enough, the bag also features a nifty beer bottle opener!
Weight: 1.3 lbs (0.6 kg)
Capacity: 5 liters
Dimensions: 17.1 x 7.09 x 2.76 inches (43.4 x 18 x 7 cm)
- A great sling backpack overall.
- Good organizational capabilities.
- Features a beer bottle opener.
- No pocket for water bottles.
Outdoor Master Packable Sling Bag
If you’re looking for a lightweight backpack for cycling, hiking, or trekking, then the Outdoor Master Packable Sling Bag is certainly your best friend. Its bevy of features easily makes it one of the most lightweight sling backpacks for women out there.
Firstly, the bag is made from foldable and lightweight nylon. In fact, the bag folds up to as small as 8 x 6 x 1.5 inches when packed up. The sling bag possesses a very versatile, padded shoulder strap that features front and side stash pockets. It can even be used to shift the bag between both shoulders. The bag’s exteriors feature an external pouch that makes for a great quick-grab pocket. On the inside, the large main compartment is big enough to stash all your travel essentials, including a camera or a laptop. To top it all, the bag has an inner hidden pocket that is made of slash-proof material and is RFID-safe as well. So, all your important digital items like phones, SD cards, etc. can be easily and safely carried in this pocket.
If all that wasn’t enough, the Outdoor master Packable Sling Bag arrives with an excellent six-month warranty. So, if the bag breaks or is damaged within the first half-year of buying it, you’ll have a replacement in no time at all.
Weight: 0.33 lbs (0.15 kg)
Capacity: 15 liters
Dimensions: 10 x 18.5 x 7 inches (25.4 x 47 x 17.8 cm)
- Available in a lot of colors – black, pink, ocean green, purple, blue, army green, and red.
- Multiple pockets for organization.
- Foldable and lightweight.
- Perfect for light hikes/day trips.
- Not waterproof.
Herschel Supply Co. Form Crossbody (Large)
One of the most different-looking sling backpacks for women is the Form Crossbody Large Bag from Herschel Supply Co.
The Herschel Crossbody is one of the few sling bags that is made entirely of polyester. Duraflex buckles and YKK zippers with Prusik cord pulls are durable and smooth, to say the least. The shoulder strap of the sling bag is unique. Only a part of it that comes into contact with the body is made from a softer, thicker material. So, the rest of the strap doesn’t damage your clothing either. What’s more, the strap is fully detachable and a top loop makes it easy for the bag to be hung just about anywhere.
On the inside, there are a small pocket and back sleeve, while the main compartment’s 3D shape making it easy to stuff in a lot of belongings in there. What’s more, it closes with two zippers. Lastly, there’s the harder-to-access front pocket, which can be stashed with stuff you won’t need very often. The cube shapes of the pockets are a huge plus point, as everything remains where you put it. That, and the fact that all pockets are lined with Herschel’s bright red-and-white striped fabric liner, which makes seeing stuff within the bag very easy.
Weight: 0.4 lbs (0.18 kg)
Capacity: 2 liters
Dimensions: 8 x 5.5 x 2.5 inches (20.3 x 14 x 6.4 cm)
- Great visibility on the inside.
- Excellent 3D shaped pockets for arranging stuff.
- Great internal organization.
- The adjustability of the strap could have been better.
CabinZero Hip Pack 2L
No list of great sling backpacks for women can be complete without talking about the budget-friendly, sleek, and sophisticated CabinZero Hip Pack. The hip pack is perfect for those who like to wear their travel accessory in more than one way around their body.
The fashion sling bag features a slim design and is available in as many as 12 colors, right from lime green and vivid pink to the more sedate black. Made from lightweight 600D polyester, the bag features durable closures like Duraflex buckles and YKK zippers. A simple adjustable strap allows the bag to be worn around the back, chest, or hips, and as tight or loose as you might be comfortable with. A comfortable, spongy back mesh keeps the sweat at bay. Plus, the strap keeper ‘clip’ keeps everything looking neat and tidy and the off-center buckles make it easy for the bag to hang off your shoulder.
Coming to the bag’s organization, the front quick-grab pocket is perfect for stashing items like phones and sunglasses. The main compartment has two stretch pockets, which is just about great for storing travel essentials like wallets and power banks. Finally, the ‘security pocket’ is excellent for storing credit cards and passports as it features RFID technology and sits against your body.
Weight: 0.38 lbs (0.17 kg)
Capacity: 2 liters
Dimensions: 5.9 x 16.1 x 2.4 inches (15 x 40.9 x 6.1 cm)
- Good organizational value.
- Available in 12 colors.
- Polyester is easily subjected to wear and tear.
Mosiso Sling Backpack
Now, who wouldn’t love lovely floral designs on their backpack? That’s exactly why the Mosiso Sling Backpack is one of the best sling backpacks for women, whether they’re traveling, working, or studying. The bag feels and looks much more premium than it is, which is clearly an added advantage. Plus, it can be used as a sling/chest/shoulder bag, all rolled into one!
The bag is made of water-repellent, tear-proof, and scratch-proof polyester. The breathable, padded straps make it a comfortable carry and do away with any excess moisture. Plus, a metal loop atop the bag makes it easy to hang it anywhere. On the inside, the bag features a huge main compartment that can fit in everything from a tablet and books to personal items. Four zipper pockets are indispensable for stashing smaller, quick-access items that might get lost in the spaciousness of the main compartment. A smaller, zippered outer pocket can also be used for phones and headphones. Furthermore, two mesh pockets on the side make it easy to store water bottles on the move too.
The icing on the cake is that the bag is available in a gamut of floral patterns and colors that range from yellow and sky blue to navy and black.
Weight: 0.75 lbs (0.34 kg)
Capacity: 6 liters
Dimensions: 15.3 x 7.5 x 3.5 inches (38.1 x 19 x 8.9 cm)
- An 18-month warranty and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Available in a riot of colors.
- Excellent size and organization.
- Polyester might show wear and tear with use.