How To Wear A Sling Backpack Properly (For Correct Posture)

Sling backpacks are cross-body single strap bags used worldwide. They can be made of canvas, leather, or nylon and are excellent for hands-free transport of your belongings.

Keeping on top of your physical health and posture is key to having a healthy life - knowing how to wear a sling backpack correctly can go a long way in this case. Check out this guide to discover how to wear a sling backpack correctly.

Different Types of Sling Bags

Classic Sling Bag

Classic sling bags are unstructured fabric shoulder bags with one strap sewn on the diagonal for cross-body wearability. These small bags are slightly larger than wallets and are used as day bags. The central compartment opening usually features a zipper or fold-over style closure for security, with one lined interior pocket and perhaps one small zipped pocket for change or cards.

Designer sling bag

The main difference between a designer sling bag and a classic is the quality and materials. Designed for formal events and date nights, designer sling bags are compact with the same overall design as the classic but often made of leather with a chain or leather strap. Usually, designer logos or other décor are sewn into the outside and are available in a range of colors and styles.

Wallet cross-body bag

Often used on casual days out, the wallet cross-body bag is an ultra-compact model made to hold a phone, cards, and keys only. Wallet cross-body bags are usually attached to a chain or leather strap. They are the smallest and lightest iteration of the sling bag.

Sling backpacks

Sling backpacks are something of a hybrid. The single strap often has a zip running along its middle to transform into two straps for backpack carrying. While sling backpacks can be a fashion statement, they are typically used for everyday trips and as carry-on luggage.

Messenger sling bags

A larger version of the classic, messenger sling bags are used to store laptops, books, and other work essentials by commuters and students. These bags typically come in a range of colors and designs and are often made of cloth, leather, and canvas. These are fundamentally different from backpacks, as we discuss in another article.

Cross-body Hiking Sling Bags

A backpack and messenger bag in one, the cross-body hiking sling bag is as spacious as a standard bag with the convenience of a messenger bag. They often have a few pockets for carrying all necessary travel and hiking accessories.

How To Wear A Sling Backpack

Benefits of Using Sling Bags

  • It offers versatile carrying options.
  • Easy to use, access, and take on or off.
  • It has a protective interior.
  • Compact and lightweight design.
  • Variety of styles, sizes, and colors to suit a range of preferences.
  • Suitable for a wide range of occasions.
  • Limited space removes the need to carry unnecessary items.
  • It provides a secure hands-free containment of your items.

How to Correctly Wear a Sling Bag

Plenty of different styles of bag exist on the market today. One of the great things about them is that each one can be worn differently depending on their structure and design. Here are some examples of how to wear a shoulder sling backpack for different occasions.

On the Shoulder

You will see sling bags worn over the shoulder regularly as they are the most common way they are worn. Some people grab the strap with their dominant hand and put the strap on that shoulder if they are in a hurry or putting the bag back down in a few moments. Many people poke their head through for longer distance travel, so the bag rests opposite the strap.

Around the Waist

Some sling bags have a strap that can be shortened and clipped around the waist. Wearing your bag around the waist keeps your hands free, makes a retro fashion statement, and means that your lower body lifts the weight of your belongings. This type of wear is best for small compact bags as bulky ones will get in the way.

Across the Back Vs the Front

Many people wear their sling bag over their back or front. Wearing your bag across your back is the traditional way and is good if you are active or need to bend over a lot, such as riding a bike. Thanks to New York’s influence, wearing your sling bag across the front is a fashion statement with practicality.

Wearing it on the front ensures that you can watch your things closely, making it harder for pickpockets to steal from you. Grabbing your items is also easier since you don’t need to take the bag off.

Wearing it Loose Vs Tight

Once you have decided how to wear a sling bag, you need to determine how tight you want the strap. Wearing your bag loose is excellent for casual wear while going for a walk or drinks. Wearing your bag tight to your body is great for fitting it under a jacket, stopping it from moving while being active, and protecting it from being stolen.

How To Wear A Sling Bag

Differences Between Sling Bags and Cross Body Bags

The main differences between sling and cross-body bags come down to perception and style. Cross-body bags are a more structured and robust bag style made of durable materials like nylon and vinyl.

This style is often used to make a fashion statement and is usually larger than their sling bag counterparts to be used at work or school. Sling bags are a more compact and less bulky style of bag. Its lightweight and small design make them more comfortable to wear and make accessing your items much faster.

Why Are More Men Carrying Sling Bags?

Due to its general rise in popularity, more sling bags are being manufactured for different styles and tastes. With various male and female celebrities wearing sling bags, it has become more acceptable for men to carry small bags.

However, popularity is not the only reason modern men are turning to the sling bag; other reasons include:

  • Accessibility
  • Convenience
  • No backpack sweat
  • Hands-free routine
  • Different styles and colors to choose from
  • Range of prices to suit all budgets

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Are sling and cross-body bags better for your back?

If worn correctly and not overloaded, sling and cross-body bags can be better for your back. If you have back problems, we recommend utilizing the waist method to remove the weight from your upper body so your lower body can carry it.

What can you put in your sling bag?

Whatever will fit! There are plenty of items that can be put into a sling bag, from your phone and keys to your work files and laptop to your hiking gear.


Sling bags are both a fashion statement and a convenient tool to keep your essential items close at hand. Knowing how to wear a sling bag properly can improve your posture and keep your belongings safe as you go about your daily life.

  • Updated November 2, 2021