Sling Bag vs Messenger Bag, What’s the Difference?

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Although you may fling either on your shoulder, sling bags and messenger bags are very different. We’ll walk you through the distinctions between them – sling bag vs messenger bag, highlighting their pros and cons.

Article: sling bag vs messenger bag Image: Urban business man talking on smart phone, with messenger bag

The Differences Between Sling Bags and Messenger Bags

Let’s look at how both bag types differ when it comes to several factors.


Generally, sling bags are smaller than messenger bags, which makes them fit for your every day, day-trip, or in-flight essentials, including sunglasses, sunscreen, snacks, wallets, keys, and phones. In comparison, messenger bags have lots of storage space for laptops, pens, water bottles, iPads, tablets, and more.


Style is the main distinction between sling bags and messenger bags. To illustrate, sling bags are all the rage in 2022 streetwear if you want to rock that urban look. As for messenger bags, they’re classic rectangular bags that look smart and are perfect for the office. So, they’re more socially acceptable in professional spaces than sling bags.


When it comes to material, nylon sling bags are very in. After all, they’re affordable and easy to maintain, which makes them the perfect streetwear accessories. As for messenger bags, they’re mostly available in office-friendly, strong, and durable fabrics, leather being the most popular one.

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Sling Bags Pros

sling bag

If you buy a sling bag, what value are you getting? Generally speaking, a sling bag is:

Easily Accessible

One of the best perks of a sling bag is that you can access your belongings without taking it off or putting it down. So, if its body is resting on your chest, the zipper will be below your chin. And even if you wear it on your back, you can easily shift it around to get to the pocket.


There’s nothing as convenient as a lightweight, small bag for your essentials that leaves your hands free! This convenience makes it a good fit for travelers, as they can go about their hikes and excursions with the bag hugging their torso.


Although fanny packs have long fallen out of favor, they made a comeback as cross-body bags a few years ago. Trendy in the US, Europe, and Asia, the sling bag has become a staple of streetwear, the UK’s grime aesthetic, and working-class fashion to the point where Louis Vuitton had to drop their classy sling bag designs.


As a cross-body bag, the strap rests close to the neck base, so you won’t have to awkwardly lift your shoulder, so the bag doesn’t slip off. Not to mention, the bag’s weight is distributed between the back or hip and shoulder. This way, you won’t strain your neck and shoulder muscles.


Sling bags are great for safety purposes because it’s very difficult for a thief to snatch a cross-body bag. Their anti-theft designs make sling bags the perfect travel or in-flight bag because your passport, money, and key will be secure.

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Sling Bag Cons

Without further ado, the downsides for these bags are that they’re:


Most sling bags fit only your essentials. So, if you need to pack your laptop, book, water bottle, or so, a sling bag may not be what you’re looking for. However, athletic sling bags are usually bigger than regular ones if you need that much storage.

Not for the Office

Going to the office with a sling bag is probably not the best idea. This isn’t a downside of the bag, but you should note that it’s casual and not meant for professional workspaces.

Messenger Bag Pros

man on fence with messenger bag

Some of the best features of messenger bags are that they’re:

Excellent for Storage

With plenty of storage space, you can store everything you need in a messenger bag, including water bottles, folders, and 16-inch laptops. Even better, messenger bags tend to have several pockets or compartments, so you won’t have to rummage around for your keys. Of course, this feature makes it helpful to students and employees.


There are many ways in which messenger bags are convenient. For instance, when wearing one, your belongings are within arm’s reach. So, you won’t need to put it down to fetch an item. Also, we can’t forget the convenience of the design that leaves your hands free!


There’s an undeniable elegance to sleek, simple leather messenger bags that you don’t get with a backpack, laptop bag, classic briefcase, or other large bags. Their style renders them an excellent choice for office wear, giving you a professional air.

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We’ve mentioned that you can wear a messenger bag to the office, but did you know that you can wear it on the weekends? Thanks to its hybrid appeal, the bag is suitable for formal and casual use. In other words, it’s the sweet spot between casual backpacks and classic briefcases.


Most messenger bags are durable. Whether they’re made of leather, vegan leather, or canvas, they can meet the demanding needs of your everyday life, which makes them efficient.

Messenger Bag Cons

There are a couple of downsides to messenger bags. For instance, they can be:


Although it isn’t naturally uncomfortable, a messenger bag can be if you pack it with heavy objects. After all, they’ll make it difficult for the bag to wrap around your body for good weight distribution, causing it to strain your shoulder or back. Also, wearing a heavy messenger bag can throw off your balance if you’re biking.

Unsuitable for Travel

If you’re constantly traveling, a messenger bag might not be the bag for you. For one, you won’t be able to pack it fully without it getting uncomfortable.

Sling Bag vs Messenger Bag – Final Thoughts

When we compare the two types, sling bags are essentially fanny packs rebranded and popularized, but messenger bags are chic rectangular bags. As for their sizes, sling bags are typically smaller. Finally, the most popular material for sling bags is nylon, whereas durable leather is more common for messenger bags.