Ever found it annoying that you have to take off your backpack every time you want to get anything out of it or when you need to take a seat on the train or bus? If you want the comfort of a backpack but the convenience of a messenger bag, you should look up the best sling backpacks for women for travel, as they cover any size that you need for your next trip and some are specially designed for women. It is essentially a one strap backpack that you wear over one shoulder and is best if you’re not carrying too heavy a load anywhere. It’s also great for biking, as it tends to stay put across your back and won’t feel too heavy.
One of the advantages of using a sling style backpack is that you can carry it in two ways – slung on one shoulder or across the body and behind you. While carrying it the latter way, all you have to do to access its contents or to sit down is swing it to the front without taking it off. A well made sling bag is also very comfortable to carry this way and is a good choice if you want to carry your things with you for a long time but don’t want the bulkiness of a regular backpack. Imagine traipsing through Disney World for a week while carrying your family’s supplies! You should also consider a structured or packable daypack that is much lighter than a regular backpack for the same use.
Sling backpacks also come in varying sizes, so you can choose to use a small one to replace a purse, a medium to hold a tablet or a large one to hold a laptop or enough supplies for yourself and kids for the day. While small and medium sized bags are good for use as day packs while sightseeing, large ones should not be carried for too long if they’re loaded with very heavy items. They can be a good option if you want to use it for your laptop while in transit. If you plan to carry around lots of things that become heavy when added up then you’re better off taking either a daypack or a proper travel backpack so that the weight is equally distributed over both shoulders.
If you’re carrying anything of value in places that are known for theft, you should consider slings that are theft-proof.
I’ve sorted out my top picks for women’s sling backpacks by size – the large ones can hold a laptop, the medium ones can hold an iPad, and the one shoulder backpack purse sling bags will be the lightest and will hold essentials like keys, a wallet, a phone, etc.
Best Sling Backpack for Travel
- Our top pick: Ameribag Healthy Back Bags
- Runner up: KAVU Rope Sling Bag
- Budget pick: OutdoorMaster Sling Bag
Best Right or Left Shoulder Women’s Sling Bag for Travel
Ameribag Healthy Back Bags
My absolute favorite sling bags are the Ameribag Healthy Back Bags. They come in four different sizes and are available in leather, distressed nylon and microfiber, so there’s a bag for any type of need. I like them so much that I’ve reviewed them separately too! But if you want, you can go straight to Amazon to find the entire range available.
I rate it as the best sling bag for travel because they are contoured to hug your back so that you eliminate shoulder and back strain and the shoulder strap is padded for added comfort. This is just as good a left shoulder sling backpack as it is a right shoulder one. These are all elements that are important if you’re going to carry them around all day while sightseeing or transiting or spending a day at a museum or theme park. They’re also very durable and come in a variety of colors. To top things off, there is a special padded compartment for your tablet or notebook.
Best Sling Backpack for Laptop
It’s not so easy to find a sling backpack that can hold a normal sized laptop because the single strap has to withstand the heavier weight and be comfortable enough to carry on one shoulder. The teardrop shape also limits the dimensions of the main compartment and laptop sleeve. However, here’s one good laptop sling backpack for women.
Seeu Plus Oversized Sling Backpack
The 28 L capacity Seeu Plus Oversized Sling Backpack can hold a 14 inch laptop along with lots of your other essentials in its various compartments. It measures approximately 16 x 6 x 12 inches.
The main compartment is padded and spacious and opens via a strong double zipper along the length of its left side. This is where you can store your laptop along with plenty of other things. There are a few interior pockets here too.
There are three zippered pockets in front of the main compartment – a small horizontal one and two L-shaped zipper pockets. The larger of these is big enough for a tablet and there’s a headphone port to the outside coming from here, so you can store any audio playing device in this compartment and listen to music while on the go.
There’s a mesh pocket on one side for a 3.2 diameter water bottle and a small zippered mesh pocket on the shoulder strap close to the bottom of the bag that’s perfect for keys or a pair of earphones.
There’s also a removable zippered cell phone holder that attaches to the front of the shoulder strap. While the location is perfect, only smaller smartphones will fit into it.
Users find this pack very comfortable to wear, however, it is designed to be worn only across the right shoulder.
Sling Backpack for iPad
OutdoorMaster Sling Bag Backpack
For a more trendy look, the multipurpose OutdoorMaster Sling Bag is a popular choice and is built to hold quite a heavy load despite it being a compact bag. It fits a 12″ laptop or an iPad. There are several zipped pockets to hold all kinds of things.
The main compartment is good for a laptop or tablet in the built in sleeve and is spacious enough for several books or a pair of sneakers and gym clothes. The middle pocket is smaller and has two slip pockets – a larger one and a smaller one with pen pockets for a cell phone. The front pocket is the smallest and good for easy to reach items. There’s also a small zipped pocket on the inside of the sling strap that’s big enough for a set of keys and some cash.
A side mesh pocket is good for a (24 oz) bottle that’s just around 3″ in diameter. The pocket has a press and release stopper drawstring cord to secure the bottle. At the back is a hidden side pocket that’s anti-theft and meant for a slim wallet, credit cards, keys, cash, etc. This pocket is against your body however you wear it for extra protection.
This sling backpack for women is available in 7 colors, weighs 1 pound and measures 11.8 inches x 4 inches x 17.7 inches at its broadest part. The body is water resistant nylon and the lining material is polyester. The well padded shoulder strap and back panel feature spacer mesh to wick away moisture and improve air circulation for a comfortable carrying experience.
The shoulder strap is adjustable and the bottom can be clipped and unclipped to either of two D-rings and the bottom corners at the back of the bag. This means you can wear the bag on either shoulder and switch easily anytime. You can also swing it around to the front to easily access any of the pockets or keep an even closer eye on your stuff in crowded spaces or when you want to sit down without taking the bag off.
This is a good sling bag for tall and short people. The main compartment doesn’t have organization for small items and the lining is black, so anything small item you put in there will need to be rummaged around for.
Waterfly Sling Backpack Casual Daypack
The Waterfly Sling Backpack Casual Daypack is quite similar to the bag right above and has pockets galore – 7 in total – with a place for everything! It measures 18.5″ x 12.2″ x 5.1″ and is made of a smooth linen material, which is water resistant against light rain, is easy to clean, and resistant to ripping.
The back is padded with a breathable mesh to make it comfortable to carry all day even in hot and sticky weather. The shoulder strap is changeable from left shoulder carry to right and the length is adjustable with a range between 25.9 – 46.5 inches.
There are lots of storage details on this bag. The largest main compartment that opens via a vertical zipper on the side can hold your largest belongings. The compartment in front of that opens via a u-shaped zipper and it contains a built in elastic top sleeve for an iPad of upto 9.7″. The front-most compartment is the smallest and opens via a slanted hidden zipper. There’s a earphone port placed on the exterior of the middle compartment where the tablet would go, so you can hook your earphones to it and listen to music on the go without taking it out.
There’s a small zippered pocket in the bag’s shoulder strap where you can store a small phone like an iPhone 8, but it’s best used for cash or keys. Another larger pocket on the back of the bag is better for all sizes of phones that will be safe from pickpockets since the zipper will be against your body.
There’s an elastic top mesh pocket on one side of the bag that can hold a water bottle like a 24 oz Contigo. The bottle can be quite tall and it won’t fall out because it can be secured by the press and release bungee cord that’s placed right at the front edge of the top of the pocket.
Finally, there’s a zippered horizontal pocket at the bottom of the bag that when you unzip will reveal a mesh holder for a travel umbrella. It’s a great place to store it when it’s damp. To prevent it from falling out from the holder, there’s another bungee cord to secure it on one side.
The openings to all the main compartments are on the smaller side so it may be difficult to squeeze large rigid objects in and out, but this prevents thieves from getting in easily.
While this bag is very comfortable for short and medium stature people, very tall people might find that the strap is too short to comfortably wear the bag across the body.
KAVU Rope Sling Bag
If you like a chic print or popping color on your bag with different stylings to match your surroundings, the very popular KAVU Rope Sling Bag is a great choice. This is the best Kavu bag for travel too. Fans of the bag have more than one – a chic style for city sightseeing, a casual one for hiking, etc.
The material is 100% polyester and is available in almost a hundred different prints with a fabric lining on the inside. The rope shoulder strap is adjustable to provide an ergonomic fit and the ropes are sturdy, smooth and soft. The measurements are 11″ x 20″ x 3″, with slight tapering towards the top.
There are two main vertical zip compartments – the larger compartment includes an inner zippered pocket, and can hold an iPad, while the front compartment is great for things like snacks, water bottles, etc. There are two small pockets on the front exterior for an MP3 player, small cell phone, change or keys.
The back panel is padded and has subtle embroidery with the brand’s name.
The only small drawback is that while you can wear it over your left shoulder like a purse, it is made to go across your body only over your right shoulder.
Vera Bradley Women’s Signature Cotton Sling and Polyester Lighten Up Sling Backpacks
Vera Bradley Women’s Signature Cotton Sling Backpack and the Lighten Up Sling Backpack are two highly rated quality choices for best travel sling bag for women. The first features the brand’s signature quilted cotton exterior that’s lightweight and washable. The second is made of 100% polyester that is water repellent and can just be wiped clean.
The cotton sling comes in two sizes – a mini purse-sized one measuring 14 inches high, 7 inches wide, & 3 inches deep, and a medium one measuring 19 inches high, 9 inches wide & 3 inches deep and is perfect for carrying a 10 inch tablet as well as a few other travel accessories. The Lighten Up sling comes only in the medium size.
There are two front zip pockets – one u-shaped medium sized, and one smaller vertical zippered. The main compartment opens via a vertical zipper. Pen holders, a phone slip pocket, a D-ring for keys are present on the inside of this compartment. A large hidden vertical zip pocket on the back is perfect for your valuables.
Both bags have adjustable sling straps and you can swing the bag to your front whenever you need to access anything from them. You can wear them on your back and over your left shoulder but the design of the pocket openings makes them more suited for wearing across your right shoulder, so that when you do swing the bag to your front, the zippers will be on the top and you can safely open them without letting anything fall out. It is also very comfortable to wear on your front across your left shoulder.
NeatPack Versatile Canvas Sling Bag
The biggest strength of the NeatPack Versatile Canvas Sling Bag is its space and organization. It is versatile enough for your commute to work or school and also makes for a very good sling bag or backpack for travel. There’s a compartment for everything! It is made of a water-resistant polyester canvas and is fully lined inside, making this one of the best iPad sling bags there is.
The main compartment has a tablet pocket that can hold an iPad or small 12″ laptop. Beside a tablet, this space is roomy enough for clothes, books, camera, etc. Behind the main compartment is a hidden pocket that opens towards the back, This pocket is lined with RFID blocking material so you can safely store your wallet and passport here. The front side of the pack has two zippered pockets. The smaller one right in front is lined and features three elastic loops that are good to hold pens, lip balm and other small things that tend to get lost in the bottom of a bag. This pocket is also good for a pair of sunglasses or a snack. The larger pocket behind that is good for a guidebook or notepad and it features pen loops, a key fob, a mesh zippered pocket and some card slots. There’s a smartphone pocket in the sling bag’s shoulder strap with a zippered flap and a headphone cord port built in.
The padded adjustable strap can be secured to either of the bottom corners of the bag, as there’s a d-ring at both locations for it to clip on. This allows you to carry the bag on any shoulder, both cross body style at the back or in front, or like a regular backpack using just one strap. This is a nice feature if one shoulder gets sore or a shift in position is needed to ease back strain. There is also a grab handle loop on top.
Patagonia Atom Sling Bag
If you like a striking color on your bag and excellent construction, the Patagonia Atom Sling Bag can be a good choice.
The material is 100% nylon with polyester lining. It is designed for all day comfort, as the pack’s harness style keeps it close to your body at all times instead of pulling your center of gravity off. The exterior pair of compression straps keeps the pack compact even if you overstuff it. They can also be used to secure a light jacket or newspaper roll to the outside. The shoulder strap is adjustable and holds a nice sized smartphone pocket. The Atom’s measurements are 10 x 3 x 17 inches with an 8L capacity.
The zippered main compartment reveals a tablet sleeve inside, and the front zippered compartment is also sized big enough to hold a tablet. This bag is roomy enough to hold everything you might need for a day of hiking or sightseeing.
One Strap Backpack Purse
Victorinox Luggage Altmont 3.0 Dual-Compartment Monosling
If all you want is something casual but contemporary to replace your purse while exploring your destination or even for everyday use, this Victorinox Altmont 3 Dual Compartment Monosling is a good bet. This travel sling purse measures 16″ x 9.25″ x 5.5″ but tapers towards the top, so getting anything bigger than an iPad Mini in there will be a tight squeeze. It is, however, big enough to hold everything else you might need for a day out, including a DSLR and a 30 oz water bottle, along with travel documents, and smaller gadgets.
There are two compartments, both zippered closed from the side – the larger one is on the back and the smaller one on the front. The front compartment holds an interior drop pocket and is also covered by a snap closure flap on top, so that the zipper is not accessible to anyone else.
The back panel of this women’s sling backpack purse is padded and the adjustable shoulder strap contains a zippered pocket that is large enough for an iPhone.
The main body fabric is a durable Versatek with an abrasion-resistant ballistic nylon base. The colors available are red, black, gray and navy blue.
Osprey Daylite Shoulder Sling
For a sporty small sling backpack purse for women try the Osprey Daylite Shoulder Sling. If you’re OK to wear the bag only over your right shoulder, it is very convenient to just swing around to your front to open and access the pockets without taking it off.
This small travel sling bag measures 16 x 10 x 3 inches and weighs just 8 ounces. It is very comfortable to wear, as its ergonomically shaped shoulder strap is made of breathable and soft NeoSpacer mesh material. It has a detachable buckle so you can quickly take off the bag without lifting it over your head.
There’s a stretch mesh pocket on the shoulder strap for lip balm or some cash, a zippered front stretch mesh compartment, and a zippered main compartment with a sleeve, organizer pockets and key clip inside.
It can hold some snacks, a bottle of water, soft hat, small camera, last minute small souvenir, and some odds and ends.
While these sling backpacks for women are all great looking, if you’re after a more professional look, take a look at these sling style backpack purses in leather.
A sling backpack is fine for your back as long as you don’t carry it for a long time and loaded with so much stuff that it becomes heavy. Don’t be tempted to just sling it over a shoulder and instead take the time to wear it across your body with the shoulder strap properly adjusted so that the bag hugs your back for an ergonomic fit. This way the weight is partially supported by your hip and the pull on your shoulder is less. You also won’t lift your carrying shoulder in order to prevent the strap from slipping off, which causes shoulder and neck pain.
Sling backpacks are definitely in style, as they’re more comfortable to carry than tote bags or crossbody handbags and less tourist-looking than backpacks. It’s also easier to access its contents without taking it off you by just swinging it to the front.
Since sling bags tend to be smaller than totes and backpacks, you’re forced to carry only the essentials when you’re out and about. They’re more comfortable than backpacks in hot weather too.
You can cut the clutter and pare down to just the essential when using a sling bag because it’s usually smaller than tote bags or backpacks. When sightseeing or visiting a theme park, only carry one snack, a water bottle, keys, guidebook or tablet, phone, wallet, sanitary wet wipes and lip balm. You’ll likely find that everything else that you used to carry before the sling bag was unnecessary.