An affordable carryall for minimalists who want storage options
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TripSavvy / Danielle Directo-Meston
Teardrop design distributes weight evenly
Lots of compartments and storage space
Mesh strap and back allows for airflow
Most convenient when worn over right shoulder
Not ideal for heavy packers
The OutdoorMaster Sling Bag is a budget-friendly option that’s both functional and comfortable.
We purchased OutdoorMaster's Sling Bag so our reviewer could put it to the test. Keep reading for our full product review.
Whether you’re looking for backpacks to bring to Disneyland or on another all-day excursion, a comfortable carryall is essential. If you plan on packing light but still want the option to stow away souvenirs, your camera, and other items, OutdoorMaster’s Sling Bag is an ideal option. To see how well this bag fared in real life, we took it on family outings as well as used it for day-to-day tasks like running errands. Read on for our insights.
We recently tested the OutdoorMaster sling bag during a full afternoon at the zoo, as well as on everyday errands. We were pleasantly surprised by its sleek teardrop shape and its storage capacity, which includes five convenient compartments.
The bag’s roomy main compartment can hold theme park essentials like a DSLR camera, some snacks, sunscreen, a compact umbrella, or a lightweight sweater. It also has an inner elastic pocket that’s big enough to hold an iPad. In terms of capacity, when we took it on a trip to the zoo with our young kids in tow, we were able to fit a full package of baby wipes, a handful of diapers, miscellaneous items (like hand sanitizer and sunscreen), and a change of clothes for two toddlers. On another day, we were able to stuff two tightly rolled adult hoodies into the bag, but we wouldn’t count on it to hold much else in that situation—so if you want to pack jackets for a family of four, you’ll probably be out of luck.
We thought that the large, easy-to-grip zippers were a nice finishing touch; they’re also particularly toddler-friendly.
The middle zipper compartment contains one large pocket, a smartphone-sized pocket (it fit our Google Pixel 2XL phone), and three pen-sized pockets. Yet another handy spot is the small zipper pocket on the chest area of the shoulder strap. It’s not big enough for today’s smartphones, but it’s perfect for loose cash, lip balm, and other small items.
There’s also an outer mesh water bottle pocket with an elastic bungee cord that’s actually pretty easy to reach while you’re wearing the bag. The anti-theft zipper pocket, which is located between the mesh back and the main compartment, can accommodate a large wallet or smartphone.
There were several specific design features we liked, including the headphone strap on the lower part of the shoulder strap. We also thought that the large, easy-to-grip zippers were a nice finishing touch; they’re also particularly toddler-friendly. Lastly, we appreciated that the bag comes in a variety of colorways.
One feature we didn’t understand, however, was the leather-like loop on the front of the bag at the bottom of the water bottle pocket. While it wasn’t readily apparent what the loop was for, we found that it easily tore at the seam when we pulled it.
At 18 inches tall, 4 inches deep, and 12 inches wide at its base, OutdoorMaster’s sling bag isn’t large enough to hold a 13-inch laptop—but that’s not a bad thing. It wasn’t designed to be a hefty laptop backpack, and we think its small size is what makes it shine—especially when it comes to maneuverability.
When we wore the bag during an afternoon of light sprinkling, we found that our belongings (and the bag itself) remained dry.
The bag’s zippers move easily and smoothly, but its design means that zipped compartments are easier to access when it’s worn over the right shoulder. This is an inconvenience for lefties (including this reviewer!), but a pretty minor one.
The mesh back provides plenty of airflow, and the padded shoulder strap (which is about two inches thick at its thickest section) is pretty comfortable for those long stretches of walking. A plastic side-squeeze buckle makes it a cinch to detach the bag quickly for easy access, while the swivel metal clip at the bottom of the strap allows it to go from the left shoulder to the right or vice versa. (We were able to switch the strap from one side to the other easily while standing up and sitting down.) The strap itself is also very easy to adjust to fit both longer and shorter torsos.
The mesh back provides plenty of airflow, and the padded shoulder strap is pretty comfortable for those long stretches of walking.
The bag will hold up reasonably in wetter weather conditions, too—the outer fabric is water-resistant polyester. When we wore the bag during an afternoon of light sprinkling, we found that our belongings (and the bag itself) remained dry.
With an MSRP of about $20, the OutdoorMaster Sling Bag is an excellent buy given its features and storage capacity. The brand may be lesser-known than some of its competitors, but it’s billing itself as a maker of affordable, outdoor-friendly gear—a claim that we found to be true.
Of the other sling bags we tested, the Waterfly backpack (MSRP $18) is an even more affordable alternative that has fewer features (namely the additional storage compartments and padded mesh back) but is available in a foldable nylon material or in a thicker water-resistant fabric.
More well-known (and higher-end) rivals include Patagonia’s Atom Sling (MSRP $59), which also offers comparable features in an array of colorways and weighs slightly less.
The OutdoorMaster Sling Bag is a great all-day backpack for those who prefer to travel light and stay organized. In other words, it won’t fit a change of clothes for an entire family of four, but it’s not designed to do so, either. Regardless, it’s still a surprisingly roomy bag that’s very comfortable for any adventure you have in mind.
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