Best Sling Backpack for Travel and Everyday Use Updated for 2022

When most people think of a backpack, they think of the traditional double-strap version that sits on the back. While these can be nice, you …

When most people think of a backpack, they think of the traditional double-strap version that sits on the back. While these can be nice, you may want to choose a sling backpack instead.  

Sling backpacks are an excellent alternative, but you need to find the best one, and we’ve reviewed five different options to help you.

Whether you want to go on a vacation or you’re planning to create a bug-out bag for your survival in case something goes wrong, tactical sling backpacks can be an excellent choice. With a sling bag you’ll have both hands free so that you can catch a ride on public transportation or navigate the busy shopping centers. A sling bag is also suitable as a small emergency bug-out bag kit or something you can keep in your vehicle to hold essentials.  

The sling pack is a great design because it can be worn in a variety of ways. You can wear it across the hips or waist, which allows you to see it with your peripheral vision. You can also wear a sling bag on the chest instead of on the back so that thieves can’t gain easy access your items. Plus, a sling bag makes it more difficult for thieves to unzip the pack without your knowledge.    

The Best Sling Backpack Reviews

1. The 5.11 RUSH MOAB 10 Tactical Sling Bag Shoulder Pack

5.11 RUSH MOAB 10 Tactical Sling Bag Shoulder Pack
  • The MOAB 10 Shoulder Sling Bag is a fully customizable tactical bag with adjustable cushioned shoulder strap made of water resistant sturdy, lightweight 1050D nylon.
  • This Military sling pack is loaded with coms pockets at the shoulder, covert tactec pocket at the rear, and a secondary double zip pocket. The shoulder back pack sling bag is roomy with organized storage area.
  • MOLLE ready sling pack has multiple interior admin and stash pockets and features a hydration pocket with pass through port. A sturdy grip handle and comfortable compression straps make this made ideal for an operational bug out bag.
  • Equipped with 5.11 Tier System which integrates with other 5.11 RUSH tactical bags. Hook and loop flag patch, YKK self-healing zippers with a fleece lined sunglass pocket make this tactical sling bag ready for action.
  • The 511 MOAB 10 sling bag backpack can be used as a multipurpose pack, survival bug out bag, range or hunting bag, army or military backpack, tactical sling pack, hiking rucksack, or as an everyday shoulder backpack.

Last update on 2024-05-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The RUSH MOAB Tactical Sling Bag is a single-strap backpack made of 100 percent nylon. It’s fully customizable and is considered to be a tactical sling backpack with a roomy main compartment. The shoulder strap is adjustable and cushioned, but it’s also made with water resistant materials that are lightweight.

You will find coms pockets around the shoulder area of this sling bag, a second double-zip pocket, and a covert tactic pocket in the back. It offers a variety of interior stash pockets with a hydration pocket. It is suitable to be used as a tactical pack, military backpack, best hunting backpack, bug-out bag, hiking bag, or as an everyday backpack. It also comes in four different colors. It also looks very tactical, so it may be suitable for someone going into the military or coming out of it.

  • Excellent design
  • High-quality construction
  • Sturdy zippers
  • Hidden compartment
  • Padded sunglass storage area
  • Works with a variety of bladders
  • Adjustable shoulder strap
  • Uncomfortable shoulder strap
  • Doesn’t stay ‘tight’ on the shoulder
  • Not enough shoulder padding
  • Not suitable for excessively heavy items

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2. HAZARD 4-Plan-B Sling Pack with MOLLE

HAZARD 4-Plan-B Sling Pack with MOLLE
  • The total-customization Evac(TM) w/ full modular accessory strap (M.O.L.L.E.) coverage. Includes padded, movable internal divider like those in photo bags.
  • Compression-straps also cross to secure large objects; relatively large volume - will hold bulky items with ease.
  • Full hydration bladder compatible - fits up to 67 oz./2 L. Can fit 3 L hydration bladder up to 2.5 L capacity.
  • One large pocket for access while on chest w/ organizer, and small top-zipper to pass long objects like antennas/barrels.
  • Main Material: Invista(R) 1000D Cordura(R) (500D Camo models).

Last update on 2024-05-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Hazard 4 Plan-B Pack is made of nylon, and it is completely customizable. It offers a fully modular accessory strap, which also has a moveable, and padded internal divider in the main compartment. The compression straps on this sling bag are a nice touch because they can cross to help secure larger objects stored inside the pack. This sling is a little larger than some others, which means it can hold bulkier items without any issue.

The sling backpack is compatible with a full hydration bladder and can fit a three-liter hydration bladder that is about 2.5 liters full. The back of the pack is padded, as well, which makes it easier and more comfortable to carry for extended periods. Of course, the padding allows for air circulation, so you don’t get that uncomfortable back-sweat moisture. It also comes with a large pocket, which is easily accessible on the chest.

  • Compression straps, crossing options
  • 3D air-mesh under straps for comfort/ventilation
  • Compatible with hydration bladders
  • Trap-door for hydration hose
  • Inner compartment not suitable for organization
  • Small pockets
  • Zipper flap (for security) gets in the way

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3. Maxpedition Sitka Gearslinger

Maxpedition Sitka Gearslinger
  • Category name: gear-bags-and-accessories
  • Country of origin: Vietnam
  • Brand name: Maxpedition
  • Main compartment: 16.5” high x 8.5” wide x 3” thick with internal organization
  • Top front: 7.5” wide x 4” high x 2” thick with internal organization

Last update on 2024-05-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Maxpedition Sitka Gearslinger made the list for a variety of reasons. While I absolutely love the name, that’s not one of the reasons it’s here. For one, the sling bag looks exotic and a little hard to use, which can deter would-be thieves. The intricacy of the sling bag with the bow-tie style front and the buckle clips everywhere make it look like a tactical messenger bag (which it is). This sling bag is also abrasion and water resistant and features a lightweight, ballistic nylon. It’s also coated with polyurethane to make it more water resistant.

The padding material is made of AS-100 high-grade foam, which is also a shock absorber. The internal seams are both finished and taped, as well, which gives you optimum protection. The main compartment is 16.5 inches high and has a variety of internal organizational pockets. The top front is about 7.5 inches wide and also comes with compartments for organization.  

While this sling bag has the shoulder strap and can be worn across the chest, it also has side and top handles if you’d like to carry it and give your shoulders/back a break.

  • Y-compression traps
  • Ergonomic design
  • Anti theft sling zipper feature
  • Concealed weapon compartment
  • Water resistant
  • Not suitable for heavy items
  • When slung forward, water bottle on the bottom

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4. REEBOW GEAR Tactical Sling Bag

Last update on 2024-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The REEBOW GEAR Tactical Sling Bag is a small tactical pack that can be used as an EDC or day pack. This sling bag is made of polyester. The pack is about 12 inches high and can carry a 9.7-inch iPad, keys, notepad, cell phones, gloves, water bottle, chargers, and much more.

The sling bag has a Velcro pad in the back and front compartment, and the main compartment is concealed from view. It’s suitable as a tactical assault pack or a pistol range bag and can hold ammo and about two handguns. The sling bag includes a comfortable and adjustable shoulder strap. It also includes two small straps to reduce bag sway when you’re moving, similar to a military rover pack.  

We really liked the design, as it has a black-and-white appliqué of the American flag on the front. It’s also very compact while still looking good and giving you plenty of room.

  • Excellent design
  • Plenty of room in the pockets
  • Holds hydration pouch
  • Comfortable with weight
  • Smaller than you might think
  • Side strap could be longer

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5. Red Rock Outdoor Gear Rover Sling Pack

Red Rock Outdoor Gear Rover Sling Pack
  • Large master compartment accommodates an ipad or other popular tablets
  • Touch-fastener slip pocket on the inside front and back sides of the master compartment
  • 9 external pouches for quick access to items; snap closure concealed-carry sleeve on the back
  • MOLLE webbing platform on front and shoulder strap for adding pouches and gear
  • Ambidextrous shoulder strap with quick-release buckle; On-the-go style carry handle

Last update on 2024-05-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Red Rock Outdoor Gear Rover Pack is made of polyester and has a large primary compartment with touch-fastening secured slip pockets on the sides and front. You can fit a wide range of tablet products in this sling bag. You will also find two outside pouches for items that you need to gain easy access. On the back, you’ll also find a concealed carry sleeve with a snap closure system. You can keep your most coveted survival essentials neatly in this bag.

The MOLLE webbing platform is found at the shoulder and along the front, which allows you to add gear and pouches as needed.  

The shoulder strap itself is ambidextrous, so you can wear this sling bag on either shoulder. You will also find a quick-release buckle so you can shed off the pack quickly. This is extremely helpful for me because imagine if a friend fell into the water without knowing how to swim. You can quickly release the pack (so as not to get it wet) and jump in after him! The sling bag also includes a carry handle, which is nice if you’re just walking a couple of blocks, or you don’t want to use it as a backpack.

  • Concealed-carry features
  • Ambidextrous shoulder strap
  • Fits tablets (not laptops)
  • Three storage compartments
  • Could be a little bigger
  • MOLLE isn’t military-grade

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The Benefits of Sling Backpacks

If you’re not sure that a sling backpack is right for you, it’s essential to learn about the benefits of owning one. When looking for a sling backpack make sure you tick off the following items:  

Heavy or Light Sling Backpacks

Sling backpacks are usually lightweight, weighing in at about a pound. You can carry that small amount of extra weight without it hurting your arms or back. Plus, you can wear the pack different ways to help reduce fatigue.  

More Secure Sling Bags for Anti Theft

Because the sling backpacks run across the body (and can be worn on the chest, waist, or back), it reduces the risk of someone reaching into your pack without your knowledge and taking something. Many times, a tactical sling backpack gives the utmost in anti theft sling security because it includes a variety of features to help you stay organized.  

Organization of Sling Bags Differ

Most sling backpacks have two or more compartments to help you stay organized. You may want to put heavy or bulky items toward where the back goes to make it more ergonomic. You’ll also find many pockets, both on the outside and the inside of the pack, allowing you to store small items, such as hand sanitizer, sunglasses, and more.  

Quick Access Sling Bags

If you prefer to wear the sling backpack on the back, you can still easily get any items you need without having to remove the backpack. Just slip it to the front (chest), reach in, grab what you require, and slip it back to the back. Don’t overlook the access features of these sling packs. You may also want to look out for a dedicated cell phone pocket on the strap.

Choosing the Right Sling Backpack for Traveling

As when you’re shopping for anything, you need to consider a few things when you’re searching for the best slings.  

How Will You Use The Best Sling Bags

The first step is to think about how you’re going to use the sling bags. Are you going to carry it to work every day like you do your best edc backpack? Are you taking it on vacation with you? Are you going to go hiking, use it as a bug-out bag, or do something else with it?   These questions can help you determine what to look for in the pack. If it’s going to be a work bag, you’ll probably need it to be roomy enough to carry a laptop and your lunch.  

If you’re going to use the sling bags for hiking, vacations, or a 72 hour emergency bug-out bag, you’re going to want something with a pocket for a water bottle. Possibly a variety of small pockets for matches, lighters, flashlights, and everything else you might need.  

It’s also important that the backpack has an adjustable strap so that you can adjust it as needed based on how heavy it is. If you’re going to buy a backpack for everyone in your family, the adjustable strap can also be helpful because it allows a variety of people to use it, including children.  

Keep in mind that the best slings aren’t appropriate for overnight hikes or extended trips. As an emergency bug-out bag, it can suffice, especially if it’s your extra pack, which includes the bare minimum to help you survive in the wilderness for three days.  

These sling bags are also suitable as book-bags for teens, shopping trips, and your gym bag. Some are even designed to take photography equipment.  

Size of The Sling Bags are Worth Considering

Before choosing the right sling backpack, you need to know what size is most appropriate. Many times, sling packs are smaller than traditional backpacks, so you may be more limited as to what you can carry. Larger sling bags might be big enough for a small laptop and a phone. Smaller ones might only be suitable for the essentials.  

If you are going to travel by airplane to your destination, make sure the sling backpack meets the dimensions of the carry-on bag for that particular airline, so you don’t have any complications.  

Best Sling Bag Features to Consider

If you plan to use sling bags for hiking or tactical needs, you’re going to want a pack that is water resistant. You should also ensure that it is durable and sturdy.  

You may also want to consider something ambidextrous, which allows it to be worn on either shoulder.  It is particularly useful when out shooting with a crossbow pistol as you can choose which shoulder you want the heavier item to sit on.

Anti theft sling features are also worth looking out for but not entirely essential due to the nature of how the sling bag is worn. And does it have a dedicated cell phone pocket for convenience.


While we liked all of these sling bags for various reasons, there has to be a winner, right? We liked two of these one strap shoulder bag models very much, so we decided to have one cost-effective winner and one overall winner in this sling bags review. If you want something inexpensive that does the job, the REEBOW GEAR Tactical Sling Bag is a suitable choice. It has a variety of the same components as the overall winner (announced below), but it is less expensive.  

However, it isn’t quite the same, so if you need something sturdy and larger, it might be best to go with the winner.  

For the sling backpack we recommend you choose the Maxpedition Sitka Gearslinger. While the design wasn’t the only thing we considered, we loved the way this one looked. It just screams military-grade and says, “Don’t mess with me.” We liked that in a pack, especially if you’re taking it on vacation. We also liked that it came in a variety of colors.  

The inside of the pack was well-laid out, allowing you to store a lot of stuff if you know how to organize it effectively.