Melbourne based designer, Bellroy, is always here to refine what we think we know about a specific line of carry goods. From their stylish wallets and phone cases to their classic backpacks and the borderline luxury cycling backpack, the MAAP x Shift, Bellroy straddles the line between form and function.
The Bellroy Sling seeks to join the current sling bag trend (or the future of carry, if you ask me), while bucking some of the trend’s typical correlation with athleisure wear and travel. The Sling is stylish enough to be right at home in the office, or out on the town, but still looks great with your joggers.
|Capacity||427 cu. in.||7L|
|Primary Materials||Venture Weave, Leather|
Quality and Comfort
Like the Bellroy MAAP x Shift we reviewed earlier this year, the Sling is made entirely of Bellroy’s Venture Weave, which has a high abrasion resistance rating and provides a good amount of weather resistance. I’ve found this to be true of the MAAP x Shift as well, which I’ve been using for much longer. I also really enjoy the unique shade of blue you get from the heathering in the fabric. The bag uses Bellroy’s signature leather for the zipper pulls and the front facing logo, adding a nice touch of luxury.
The strap isn’t wide, at only 1″, but it’s very comfortable. The seat-belt-like material is soft and supple. As long as you’re not overloading it you shouldn’t have any issues with carry comfort. The strap itself is fixed at both ends with a single point of adjustment in the middle. There’s also a Fidlock snap buckle that allows for easier removal of the bag. I found it nice for wrapping through the arm of my chair as a small anti-theft deterrence. You might think a magnetic clasp isn’t the best idea for a load bearing strap, but after using it for a while I have zero worries that it would ever accidentally come undone.
It’s worth noting that while this bag can be worn on either side, the strap itself is not technically ambidextrous, as the fidlock buckle is prone to sitting on your shoulder depending on how you wear it. However, while I thought this was going to be an issue, I never actually ended up noticing it while wearing it.
The auto-compression feature is really nifty. Instead of having straps that are manually cinched down on either side, the strap and slide setup automatically expands when full, and compresses when worn. It increases both the overall elegance of the bag while keeping it incredibly functional. My only gripe about this setup is that when the bag is worn and compressed, it makes it slightly more difficult to access than if you were to have a manually adjustable, locked out compression.
The Bellroy Sling has two externally accessible pockets and one internally accessible pocket. The main compartment is accessed through the side of the bag that rests against your chest or back. While in use, this made things a bit more difficult to access, especially bulkier items. However, this was designed with security in mind. Slings are typically used to move things out of your pockets – a treasure trove for thieves – on to your chest or back. The rear facing access makes it that much more difficult for anyone to pull one over on you.
The main compartment is mostly a black hole, with a single plastic key ring, a sunglasses / phone pouch, and a nice embroidered message from Bellroy. If I had my way, the key ring would be in the front compartment, but I guess security is the name of the game here. The sunglasses / phone pouch is felt lined, which I always give a big plus for. Sunglasses are one item we always carry, and are almost always taking on and off. A dedicated, scratch-proof compartment is a welcome addition to any bag.
The front compartment is a slim pocket accessed from the top front of the bag. There isn’t much going on in here besides a nice looking contrasting lining. It could use some dividers or pockets for smaller items.
Overall the Bellroy Sling will hold almost anything you’d want to carry around a city or down the tarmac. Things like a Nintendo Switch easily fit in the front compartment, while a DLSR fits in the main compartment, albeit a bit snug. Unfortunately my Kindle Oasis, which I almost always have with me, is a bit too tall to fit in the front compartment, and kind of just floats around in the main compartment.
- Bellroy’s Venture Weave fabric is a great middle ground between durability, function, and luxury.
- The expansion / compression system is unique and works really well.
- Rear entry keeps your items just a bit more secure.
- The strap is comfortable and the Fidlock buckle adds some utility and coolness-factor.
- Rear entry to the main compartment, while more secure, makes access of bulkier items a little awkward.
- The ability to lock-out the compression would also ease access of bulkier items.
- The strap could be a slight bit wider without sacrificing much form.
- Would really benefit from an extra pocket or divider inside.
Bellroy never fails to impress with their combination of slick looks and functional pieces. I’ve reviewed a lot of slings this year, and the Bellroy Sling comes out on top. You might like the look of other slings, or how they carry differently, or how they organize differently, and there are definitely some aspects of other slings I like better, but if I had to choose only one, it would, as of this publication, be the sling from Melbourne.