The recent fad of bags for guys isn’t actually a new concept, it’s one that pre-dates pockets. When human beings were first learning to use tools, they realized that they couldn’t carry everything they needed easily, what with a bunch of stone implements weighing them down as they went about their hunter-gatherer days. Along with loincloths, a simple tool bag for EDC was an early, albeit unsung, invention that is nearly as important to people as the wheel or learning to harness fire. Though the sling bag is the most recent piece of haute couture for the fashion-forward man, it’s actually older than pants.
Modern sling bags haven’t changed much from humanity’s tribal days. They even use many of the same materials, such as treated animal hides, because those are durable and long-lasting. Today we slap a load of MOLLE ringlets onto our bags, dress them up and down, but the intent is the same: We need our everyday carry tools, and we need them in a satchel that we can easily and quickly access throughout our workaday lives. With that in the forefront of our mind, we found the 15 best sling bags for men to do just that.
Quickie: The Atom is a small, but exceptionally secure make, with both an over-the-shoulder strap that is as comfortable as they come, with waist cinches that hold the small bulk in place when biking or running, keeping your possessions safe as houses without causing you the slightest discomfort. Incredibly, the 488 cubic inches worth of containment space look and feel like much less, until you need to pack it to the gills.
Action Oriented: The Capital is the gym bag for the minimalist who can get by with just the basics, or for the outdoorsman who doesn’t need all the heft of a backpack for their trail runs. The adjustable strap absorbs the shock of movement without transferring it to your body, avoiding that sense of carrying rocks as your body gets more drained between energy gel hits.
Grab Bag: The Hub doesn’t offer a load of adjustment straps that allow it to turn into a half-dozen other kinds of bags, it’s a sling and little else. The whole build is to meant to facilitate easy reach while being worn so that you can get to your notebook and pens, your ID card, or your pistol without breaking stride. Comfortable for all day wear, once you adopt it, you’ll feel naked without it.
Aer Sling Bag
Gym Rat: No longer must those of us who prefer a healthy life full of sweat and motion be forced to carry oversized, unprofessional duffels. The 1680D ballistic nylon body is more than a match for the rigors of everyday life, and with separate compartments for clothes and shoes, keeping smell where it belongs is as simple as zipping it up.
Keep Pursuing KP
Bushcrafter: 1000 Denier Cordura and Ripstop nylon, coupled with water-resistant zippers and treatment are what make up the KP slingbag, proving that bold things come in small packages. The central pocket is padded for your gizmos, with a secret stash spot precisely sized for passports lurks in the lining for anyone heading into the third world.
Commuter Carry: The Catapult doesn’t work for any warfare we’re familiar with, but it does have the ingenuity to utilize most U-lock style bike locks as a kind of bag clasp for keeping everything locked down tight. Long and lean it has a cradling pocket for electronics, with loads of up-front storage for your other daily necessities, from water bottles to knives to your “service” chihuahua.
Arc’teryx Slingblade 4
Changeling: The Slingblade 4 can be used as a crossbody bag, a regular shoulder sling complete with quickdraw pockets, or carried in hand as a ordinary knapsack with your GORP and water bottle. Meant primarily for outdoor trekking, behind the plain exterior lurks the heart of a business shark with lots of pockets and pouches for easy organization.
Cunning Duffel: A mixed identity pouch, the Kadet claims to be a messenger bag, and it can work for that, but we found that the Kadet’s true calling is as a lightweight duffel. The large, centralized pockets has some method to its madness, though isn’t quite big enough for a laptop, but it holds tablets and immense smartphones with perfect grace.
Incase Reform Sling Pack
Waist Not: Capable of being worn over your shoulder, or being relegated to the odious “fanny pack” position on your waist, this smart little bag can take a 12” MacBook, or whichever tablet tugs at your heartstrings. Padded to protect electronics against bumps and jostles, it’s a handy go-to bag, made to go.
Austerity Measures: Handmade in Berlin, this has a distinctly “eastern bloc” feel to it, and that’s said with the utmost love. Uncomplicated and unadorned, the upright posture of this carryall spreads around a lot of cubic inches without feeling bulky. The flat build is also more professional, and is meant for carrying laptops with care, and only the high-tech essentials.
Wanderlust: A handy item for the jet-setter, this works as your carry-on bag, a daily traveler for packing along your basic necessities for a day of sightseeing, or can be repurposed as a shaving kit should you need that. Not one to go quietly into that good night, the Slingpack has Mil spec webbing beneath ballistic nylon and Duraflex accessories for a little Ooh-Rah wherever you may roam.
Any Given Day: Part messenger, part briefcase, all stylish-yet-functional canvas, the Agger can be adjusted to work over either shoulder, go around your body, across your back, or do each one in turn as your day progresses. A padded laptop sleeve can take a 13” machine safely, without scratching or scraping, no matter what else you throw into the other pockets.
Lexdray Sao Paulo Sling
Shutterbug: The iPad slot and water-resistant cover are not the headlines here. With a load of pockets built specifically for taking along camera equipment, the Sao Paulo can handle smaller tripods, memory sticks, and your shooting hood, or be shifted around so you have one large central holster for your DSLR, complete with extreme close-up lens.
On the Case: The sling bag and the briefcase don’t tend to crossover very often, and that’s hard to understand when looking at the Della. Carry it from the top, the strap, or load it onto your back like a mule, Della is as flexible as a yoga instructor and happy to try any position that suits your lifestyle.
Tumi Alpha Bravo Monterey
Business Casual: Though it’s part of Tumi’s less professional line, the sleek lines ooze a sort of understated competency, like a prize fighter at rest. A lined central pocket flanked by buffer storage allows you to reach everything with the bag laid flat, or get just the essentials from either side while still managing to deter thieves.