best sling bag for travel

The Best Sling Bag for Travel: Crossover Bags For Men & Women

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Keep your most important belongings safe while you enjoy your travel adventures. It can be hard to find the best sling bag for travel that is comfortable, functional, and affordable. So we have done the research for you, to help you find a great crossover bag for men or women that suits your needs!

This article includes tips to find the best travel sling bag for you, our top picks plus speciality crossover bags for the extra adventurous!

couple on bikes wearing sling bags

Why Should You Get A Sling Bag For Travel

A sling bag also referred to as a crossover bag or a messenger bag, is a type of bag that has a single strap that goes across your body and loops around your back so it can’t be easily snatched from you by thieves while travelling. Sadly this is an issue in many parts of the world.

But instead of letting this stop you from experiencing the world (safely), you can choose a bag that helps keep your daily travel essentials safe.

Sling bags are great when riding on public transport or walking through busy streets in crowded places, where pickpockets and bag snatchers may be lurking.

A sling bag is also typically smaller and more lightweight than a standard backpack, with just one strap instead of two. While you certainly can get some great compact travel backpacks, your belongings are better kept in view, with the ability to sling them across your front as needed.

A crossover bag is also much larger than fanny packs, or as we say here in Australia, a bum bag, which seems to be making a comeback in recent years as a travel accessory. Yikes!

Personally, a sling bag is far more my style, plus you can fit much more in it. An essential when travelling with kids!

Check out our favourite travel gear recommendations.

outdoormaster sling bag contents

How To Find The Best Sling Bag For Travel

When you are searching for the perfect sling bag, there are a few essentials you need to consider before you buy.

The first essential is comfort. This means that the bag should be lightweight with a soft padded strap so it doesn’t dig into your shoulder while you are carrying it around all day and night!

Size is key. You need a crossover bag that can carry the items you want to keep with you during day trips and transit. Before you consider buying a travel day bag, think about the items you want it to carry.

The next consideration for finding the best sling bag for travel is function. This includes how many pockets there are inside the bag and ensuring there are enough to suit your needs and preferences.

Material and fabric should also be considerations. If you do a lot of outdoor activities or plan to carry tech gadgets with you often, you may need to ensure your crossover bag is also waterproof!

Here are some questions to ask when considering function:

  1. What items do you need your bag to carry?
  2. Do you want your crossover bag to have a small pocket that fits your phone?
  3. Do you want divided compartments to keep your daily travel items organised?
  4. Does it need to be large enough to carry a tablet, laptop or camera?
  5. Do you need your bag to be waterproof?

These are a few key features to consider before you narrow down to your perfect travel sling bag!

The best crossover bags for travel are the ones that have several pockets in different sizes to suit your needs and make it easier to find the items inside as you need them. No one wants to spend 5 minutes searching every time they need their phone or wallet!

These are a few key features to consider before you narrow down to your perfect travel sling bag!

Our Top Picks: The Best Cross-Body Bags For Travel

We have narrowed down our top sling and crossbody travel bags for every type of traveller, in case you are short on time and just want to know what the best sling bag is for you! Here they are:

The Best Sling Bags For Travel In 2021

If you want to explore more options, we have put together a comprehensive list of the best sling bags for men and women, including more reasons to love these top 6 picks, so keep reading:

1. WATERFLY Sling Backpack Sling Bag – Overall Best Sling Bag

The WATERFLY Sling Backpack is one of the best sling bags for men or for general travel. This sling backpack has 7 pockets in total, with one main pocket that is large enough to fit an iPad. 

It also holds one bottle on the side pocket and has two smaller pockets on the strap and back for easy access, as well as several inner pockets!

This backpack has a dual-sided design allowing you to wear it on either the left or right side. The backside is breathable and soft padded, with a protective design that makes for comfortable carrying all day.

  • Large capacity – fits an iPad
  • 7 pockets including water bottle pocket
  • Water-resistant
  • Dual-strap for left or right wear
  • Strap Adjustable Range: 25.9 – 46.5 inches / 66-118cm
  • Bag dimensions: 18.5 x 12.2 x 5.1 inches / 47 x 31 x 13 cm

2. Vera Bradley Women’s Recycled Lighten Up ReActive Sling Backpack – Best Sling Bag For Women

The best travel sling bag for women is the Vera Bradley Recycled Lighten Up ReActive Sling Backpack. This sling bag comes in loads of fun patterns and prints, as well as a variety of colours.

The coolest thing about the Vera Bradley range is that they are all made from recycled water bottles so you are doing your bit for the environment while choosing a perfect lightweight crossover bag for day use.

This chic cross body bag features 2 front zip pockets for easy access to your essentials, a large hidden zipper pocket on the back just in case you’ve got important items tucked away. Pen slips and phone slip keep everything organized while D-ring holds your keys securely too!

  • Very lightweight
  • 15 different patterns and colours
  • Several exterior zip pockets
  • Water-resistant
  • Made from recycled water bottles
  • Bag dimensions: 19 inches high, 9 inches wide, & 3 inches deep with a 38-inch adjustable strap

3. Lecxci Outdoor Chest Sling BagBest Outdoor Sling Bag

The Lecxci Outdoor Chest Sling Bag is an awesome choice for adventure-seeking men and women, making it a perfect sling bag for hiking. This crossover sling bag is made from water-resistant nylon and has a storage compartment with zippers on either side, perfect for keeping your valuables safe while you’re exploring.

The Lecxci Outdoor Chest Sling Bag is lightweight but strong enough to hold your essentials during your hike or bike riding.

It has a specially designed small zipper pocket on the shoulder strap for keys or to hold a mobile phone under 5.5 inches. There is a side pouch for your water bottle or umbrella. With soft, breathable absorbing mesh and spongey shoulder strap, it helps you stay comfortable while effectively eliminating sweat while exercising or during hot weather.

  • Specially designed for biking, hiking and outdoor activity
  • Waterproof and sweat-resistant
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Large enough for iPad mini
  • External zipper pockets for phone, keys and water bottle
  • Bag dimensions: 6.5″×2.98″×13.17″

4. Lowepro Slingshot Edge 250 AW – Best Camera Sling Bag

The Lowepro Slingshot Edge 250 AW is the best sling bag for travel when you want to carry around your DSLR camera, GoPro or drone and accessories with you.

Never miss a shot with the Slingshot’s fast-access side pocket. Rotate it to take your camera out without taking your crossover bag off your body, since the zippers extend through the back pane. You can reach right into the main compartment while still wearing this sling backpack – no need to stop!

Perfect not just for travel photography enthusiasts but also any photographer who needs easy access to their equipment on the move. Plus the body-side access to the main compartment of the bag helps deter theft while on the move.

It even has a dedicated space for your phone, cables and other small accessories.

  • Fits Compact DSLR with attached lens or Mavic Pro size drone
  • Includes two removable straps with quick-release buckles for added capacity
  • Easy access back pocket for camera
  • Theft deterrent compartment
  • Dimensions: 19.5 x 2 x 23 cm(7.6 x 0.78 x 9.05 Inches)

5. OutdoorMaster Sling Bag – Best Lightweight Sling Bag

The OutdoorMaster Sling bag is a compact and lightweight sling bag for men or women. It is a perfect choice for day trips, flying and other adventures.

The 12L crossbody sling bag is surprisingly spacious, with room for an iPad or DSLR camera. It weighs less than 1 pound and has a hidden anti-theft pocket for extra security. It has a breathable back and shoulder straps to make it a good option, even on hot weather or when hiking.

The OutdoorMaster Sling bag also has the ability to adjust the straps to wear either on the left or right and it comes in 5 different colours.

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Enough space for a tablet or DSLR camera
  • Anti-theft pocket
  • Adjustable strap for left or right wear
  • Water-resistant
  • Bag dimensions: 11.8 inches x 4 inches x 17.7 inches LxWxH (30 x 10 x 45cm)

6. Hopopower Tactical Sling Bag Pack – Best Tactical Sling Bag

The Hopopower Tactical Sling Bag Pack is a no-fuss, lightweight option perfect for the outdoors. The high-density nylon fabric is durable and waterproof, protecting your items from rain and water. Multiple stitching enhances the load capacity so you can carry more while minimising the risk of tearing.

It has a large 20L capacity with multiple pockets to keep your belongings organised. There is room for your iPad, phone, flashlight, chargers, first aid kit and more.

There is molle webbing on both sides to attach additional pouches, water bottles and tools so they are easy to reach when needed the most.

This pack has two smaller fixed straps that are great at reducing back strain when carrying heavy items on a long trip! The breathable padded areas ensure it stays breathable during warm days too. 

  • 20L capacity
  • Lightweight
  • Extra straps to reduce back strain during long trips
  • Waterproof
  • Breathable fabric
  • Bag dimensions: 13.7×9.1×7.1 inch

7. Kavu Rope Sling Bag

If you want a travel sling bag that shows off a little of your personality, the Kavu Rope Sling Bags are a perfect choice! With so many different colours and patterns, you’re sure to find one you love!

The versatile Kavu rope bag has two main pockets, with an internal zip pocket and two front pockets for cell phones, wallets, or other essentials! The rope straps are sturdy but not bulky and soft but not flimsy. They’re that perfect combo of durability and comfort, along with tough buckles.

  • Funky designs and prints
  • Sturdy rope straps
  • Durable and lightweight
  • Bag Dimensions: 20 inches x 11 inches x 5 inches (10L or 610 cubic inches)

8. Patagonia Atom Sling

The Patagonia Atom Sling is a perfect choice for the minimal traveller. With just two pockets, it doesn’t take up much room in your luggage while still packing plenty of space to stow everything you need.

The sleek sling backpack has breathable mesh pads on the shoulder strap that hugs close to your body for comfort, with adjustable buckles. It also features small zippered compartments on the shoulder strap.

The material is treated with a Durable Water Repellent finish and made of 50% recycled polyester for the exterior, as well as 100% recycled materials for the interior.

  • 8L capacity
  • Breathable mesh straps
  • Water-resistant fabric
  • Bag dimensions: 17.72 x 14.17 x 9.45 inches

9. Osprey Daylite Shoulder Sling

The Osprey Sling Bag is a comfortable sling that has an anatomically shaped strap made from Neospacer mesh that is perfect for next-to-skin comfort. This shoulder sling also comes with a front zippered mesh pocket for storing small items you want to access quickly and easily.

The pack’s main compartment has handy sleeves for organisation, as well as a key clip so you can easily grab your gear without having to remove the entire backpack. Just rotate it to the front and grab what you need!

  • Anatomically shaped shoulder strap for comfort
  • Internal pockets for organisation
  • Front zippered pocket for storing small items
  • Bag dimensions: 16 x 10 x 3 inches

10. MOSISO Sling Backpack

The Mosiso Sling backpack is a high-quality sling bag for travel with a larger zippered internal pocket that is big enough for a full-size iPad or tablet. It has smaller zippered compartments for phone, power bank, and other smaller personal belongings.

The flexible adjustable strap can be adjusted from 18 to 36 inches to perfectly fit both men or women. You can also carry it on either the left or right, with breathable, shaped and padded shoulder straps.

It is made from durable, water-repellant fabric with quality zippers and strap clips. This sling bag also has a mesh pocket on each side so you can carry two drink bottles or use one for an umbrella or similar personal item you want to have in easy reach.

  • Adjustable straps can be worn on left or right
  • Large enough for a tablet
  • Several small pockets
  • 2 mesh side pockets for water bottles
  • Water-resistant fabric
  • Bag dimensions: 15.3 x 7.5 x 3.5 inches (L x W x H)

11. OSOCE Anti-Theft Shoulder Backpack

This anti-theft backpack is perfect for keeping your valuables safe while travelling with the added bonus of being splash-proof as well! It has a lightweight design but is still large enough to fit a tablet, notepad or e-reader.

It has a nano anti-degaussing function on the credit cards pocket, which will prevent thieves from copying or stealing information when you are in crowded places. It has multiple pockets in the main compartment for keeping your items organised. It also has an adjustable strap to suit both men or women, no matter your size.

  • Anti-degaussing function to avoid identify theft
  • Adjustable shoulder strap
  • Lightweight
  • Splash-proof
  • Weighs only 220grams
  • Bag dimensions: 12.5*7.5*1.5 inch

12. OZUKO Sling Backpack USB Anti-Theft Men’s Chest Bag

The OZUKO sling bag is made of high-density Oxford fabric that is waterproof and wear-resistant. With a breathable and decompression carrying system, heat dissipation, ventilation as well as shock absorption makes it comfortable to carry a heavy load all day long without causing stress to your shoulder.

The OZUKO Sling Bag has been designed with an anti-theft lockable zipper to keep valuables safe, plus a built-in USB port for convenient charging on the go. There is a hidden anti-theft pocket in the rear, which keeps it protected against your body from pickpockets.

Large enough to carry an iPad or a large camera, with several internal pockets and external pockets for storage. It also has reflective panelling for nighttime and buckles at either side to switch straps over.

  • Anti-theft features
  • Built-in USB port for charging devices
  • Large enough for iPad or camera
  • Adjustable straps
  • Bag dimensions: 6.7 x 3.2 x 13.3 inches

13. Seoky Rop Leather Sling Bag

This faux leather sling bag is perfect for travelling with its adjustable strap and zippered compartments. With the reinforced stitching, it will last through all your travels, the stylish faux leather look makes it a great travel sling bag for men.

The front pocket has enough space to store small items like passports, cell phone, sunglasses or wallets while the main compartment can hold larger items such as books, an iPad mini and a power bank.

It has an external USB port and a headphone hole so you can listen to music on the go while keeping your device safe and waterproof inside your bag. It is also available in a larger size.

  • Faux leather look
  • Multiple pockets and compartments
  • USB port for charging devices
  • Water-resistant
  • Bag dimensions: 6.3″ x 3.9″ x 14.2″

14. Leaper Canvas Messenger Bag

This durable canvas messenger bag is a great travel carry-on. The exterior of the bag has pockets for cell phone, keys and sunglasses while the inside accommodates notebooks or tablets up to 13″ in size, minus the laptop sleeve.

The strap is adjustable and ultra-comfortable across your back and chest. It can act as a single-shoulder bag/sling bag, or a crossbody for easy use no matter what you’re doing!

The padded strap is adjustable and padded for comfort during all-day wear. This is the best sling bag for laptops and makes a great business travel crossover bag. It’s stylish enough for everyday use.

  • Large enough to fit a 13″ laptop
  • Adjustable, padded strap
  • Multiple internal and external zipper compartments
  • Bag dimensions: 10.2 x 4.4 x 13.6 inches

15. ZOMAKE Sling Bag Backpack – Best Sling Bag For Kids

The ZOMAKE sling bag is a great option for kids. It is also a popular option for women who want something a little funkier or as an on-the-go diaper bag when doing day trips with babies and kids! There are several fun designs available.

The sling bag has 5 separate compartments in different sizes to keep your belongings secure, with a large enough capacity to fit an iPad, books and other everyday essentials.

They have a memory foam shoulder strap for comfort and clips on either side to switch which shoulder you want to wear it on.

  • Multiple compartments
  • Memory foam adjustable strap
  • Strap clips on either side to swap from left shoulder to right shoulder
  • Bag dimensions: 8.7 X 5.1 X 15.4 inches

These travel sling bags make great gift ideas for a travel-loving friend or family member! They also help you keep all your daily travel essentials organised and compact when travelling with kids!

Check out these RV & camping gifts for your outdoors-loving friends!

In the end, there are a lot of factors to consider when selecting the best sling bag for travel. From your transit and travel needs to carrying comfort and of course, having a bag that is large enough to suit your needs. We’ve narrowed it down to the best sling bags for men and women that will meet all your needs. The key is finding one with just enough pockets for everything but not so many pockets that you’re fumbling around looking for what you need at any given moment.

Which is the best travel sling bags for you? Let us know in the comments below which one you would choose!

best sling bags for travel crossover bags men and women