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Backpacks are best for when you’ve got a bunch of stuff to carry, but when you’re just running errands, sightseeing, or on-the-go, you may want to consider a crossbody bag. While the term “crossbody bag” is often associated with a messenger bag worn across the chest, a true crossbody is closer in style and concept to a sling bag. As the name suggests, these are small, compact bags that are slung over the shoulder, with the strap across the chest, and the bag lying flat against your back.
The best crossbody bags offer comfort and versatility, whether you’re traveling and need a secure place for your passport and wallet, or heading to work or school (we’ve found options that can accommodate up to a 12.5-inch computer). Look for crossbody bags with hidden stash pockets, which will hold your money and ID discreetly, and keep valuables out of the reach of strangers. Heading on a hike? The best sling bags on our list have built-in pockets for water bottles and large main compartments to hold your snacks, camera and gear. They’re also made from weather-resistant material, so they’re great for the outdoors.
Sling bags are particularly great for those who are on the move, as they typically sit tighter to the body — in other words, even if you’re running around town (literally), your bag will stay put rather than flopping around. All of the picks on our list come with comfortable, adjustable straps for you to find the most secure fit. Don’t like how the bag feels against your back? Slide the bag to wear it across the chest, or sling it over one shoulder like a purse or tote. The multi-functional design makes it work for any personal style — and carrying style.
1. Peak Gear Sling Compact Crossbody
This bag makes a great travel companion, with a ton of secure, zippered pockets and access to “ReturnMe,” a company that works to identify and recover your bag if it’s ever lost or stolen.
Spec-wise, this sling bag measures just over 13 x 8.5 inches, with a lightweight and durable water-resistant shell. A main zippered pocket is great for books, snacks and a tablet or e-reader. Use the front pocket to access smaller items like your keys, earbuds and wallet.
The adjustable shoulder strap is breathable and gently padded for comfort. A magnetic front-flap closure adds an extra layer of security.
PROS: Includes bag ID tag which gets you free lifetime access to ReturnMe.
CONS: One of the smaller bags on our list.
2. OutdoorMaster Sling Bag
This versatile bag combines the functionality of a backpack with the comfort of a crossbody. Measuring 11.8 inches x 17.7 inches, there’s more than enough room for a small laptop (up to 12.5 inches), and the material can expand to fit a camera too.
The bag features three zip pockets, plus a hidden anti-theft pocket (for your wallet and ID), a hidden stash pocket (say, for your keys) and a water bottle pocket. Two hooks on the bottom let you easily clip on a small speaker, flashlight or extra set of keys to the bag.
Seven colors available.
PROS: The breathable “ribbon” strip on the back panel helps prevent your back from sweating.
CONS: The side water bottle pocket is made from a mesh material, which won’t trap water in (in case of leaks) but isn’t as durable as the material used on the rest of the bag.
3. MOSISO Sling Backpack
Made from a water-resistant polyester, this crossbody sling bag features a gently scooped design that sits comfortably on your back or against your chest.
Measuring 15.3 x 7.5 inches, it’ll fit a larger iPad or tablet, workout clothes, a pair of shoes, and more with ease. A small zippered pouch is great for your phone and chargers, while two mesh bags at the side can hold your water bottle, umbrella and more.
A small opening on the front holds your headphone cable in place, so you can listen to music without having to pull the cord all the way out.
PROS: The flexible shoulder strap expands from 18 to 36 inches, accommodating most body sizes.
CONS: Some say the zippers could be smoother.