Over the last few years, no one type of bag has experienced as significant of an influx in popularity as the sling bag. This has unsurprisingly led to the lion’s share of bag and backpack brands delivering their own take on a sling, many of which attempt to streamline and modernize the cross-body bag, putting their own unique spin on the genre. One such outfit is Bellroy, which has engineered several of its own lightweight interpretations of these bags, with its lightest being the appropriately-dubbed Lite Sling. In an effort to determine if Bellroy has truly innovated this style of bag or merely produced a more contemporary fanny pack, we set out to discover for ourselves in this hands-on review.
Video Review: Bellroy Lite Sling
More of a visual learner? Then be sure to check out our 4K video review of Bellroy’s Lite Sling for an even more in-depth unpacking of the company’s streamlined and sustainably-minded sling.
Unpacking Our Initial Thoughts On The Lite Sling
Upon unboxing Bellroy’s Lite Sling, the first thing that jumps out at you is its minimalistic appearance and host of premium exterior details — such as the waterproof zippers, coated zipper pulls, logo patch, and adjustable strap system. Once you pick up the sling, however, it’s almost impossible not to instantly take note of how incredibly lightweight the sling is, with this item tipping the scales at only 7.7oz (or 0.48lbs) while still affording its user a full seven liters of storage space.
Light On Your Shoulder, Light On The Planet
Examining The Lite Sling’s Materials
One of the latest additions to Bellroy’s Lite range — and the lightest sling offered by the brand — the Lite Sling was created with a major emphasis on environmental sustainability, albeit without coming at the cost of durability or weather resistance. Devoid of any leather details, this Bellroy sling is crafted around a hardwearing ripstop shell with a heavily tear-resistant cross-structure pattern. On top of being three times lighter than Bellroy’s other fabrics, this construction is also completely derived from recycled PET plastic bottles. Should the sling’s construction be damaged or compromised, Bellroy stands behind the product with a three-year warranty, as well.
A Streamlined Shell
Exterior Elements & Features
Despite its rather spartan appearance, the Bellroy Lite Sling does sport numerous noteworthy exterior elements. Both the main compartment and smaller secondary compartment are secured via weatherproof YKK AquaGuard zippers that are equipped with easy-grab, PU-dipped zipper pulls. What’s more, the zipper for the main compartment opens from both ends and runs the entire length of the bag, allowing for an ultra-wide opening that grants completely unrestricted access to the entirety of the main cavity’s contents. Measuring 5.9” x 12.2” x 4.3”, the Bellroy Lite Sling has also been bestowed with an integrated bike-light loop and a shoulder strap — that’s also crafted from recycled materials — which has been treated to a magnetic FIDLOCK-style buckle that makes for super easy donning or removal.
Interior Storage & Organization
While it’s a good-looking bag, what really makes the Bellroy Lite Sling shine — aside from its super svelte weight — are the features it hides beneath its eco-friendly ripstop shell. The sling boasts a wide-mouth opening and an expandable design with a self-compressing gusset, allowing for extra room when needed without adding any bulk when it’s not. The main compartment also opens to reveal a bevy of organizers as well as an inner zipper-secured pocket and a raised pouch specifically for sunglasses while the secondary exterior pocket packs a number of slip pockets and a leashed key clip. The rear face of the bag (i.e. the side that’s worn against the body) has also been outfitted with a padded panel that bolsters comfort without adding any visible mass to the sling’s profile.
Reflecting On Time Spent With A Competent Crossbody
Considering the fact that the entire purpose of a sling bag is to afford its wearer a smaller alternative to traditional messenger bags or backpacks, Bellroy’s Lite Sling is an incredibly practical design that affords ample real-world utility with features such as its raised sunglasses pocket, weatherproof construction, two-way zippers, key leash, bike-light loop, and contrast-bolstering white liner that makes finding interior contents a breeze. This area is furthered by the fact that the sling can be folded or rolled up for easy packing when not in use, again aided by its lightness. In addition to the aforementioned slew of user-friendly features and amenities, the Lite Sling sports smaller details like the slightly raised Bellroy logo — the sling’s only visible branding — magnetic shoulder strap clasp, coated zipper pulls, and orange contrast stitching on the shoulder strap, all of which further point to just how calculated and thoroughly considered every element of this sling has been.
Though slings typically favor form over function, the Bellroy Lite Sling thoroughly demonstrates just how practical and utilitarian a sling bag can be — if designed correctly. Aside from not being able to accommodate a laptop or most tablets, the Lite Sling is shockingly efficient at replacing a backpack. With that said, the bag still sports a decidedly fashion-forward aesthetic without having its utility take a backseat to style. And, at under $100 all in, Bellroy’s Lite Sling actually affords pretty solid bang-for-your-buck, as well.
The 15 Best Sling Bags For Everyday Carry
Curious to see how Bellroy’s Lite Sling stacks up against the competition? Then be sure to check out our guide to the best sling bags for everyday carry for more than a dozen of the latest and greatest crossbody packs to grace the market.