This unisex sling bag from Bellroy is the reinvented fanny pack we've been waiting for - we recommend it for both its form and function

bellroy sling premiumAmir Ismael/Business Insider

  • Bellroy designed a fanny-pack-like bag that's stylish, versatile, and unisex. The design is compact, but it surprisingly expands to hold a good amount of items.
  • The Bellroy Sling can be worn across your chest, over your back, or on your shoulder, and its double-sided zipper design works for lefties and righties.
  • Priced at $99 for the original and $159 for the premium version, the Bellroy Sling might be just as expensive as some backpacks, but its size and versatility make it great for commuting and traveling.

I'd like to think that I can leave home and go anywhere with only my phone, wallet, and keys. But as minimalist as I am, I always end up needing more than that. By the time I grab a few more essentials for the day ahead, my pants pockets are completely stuffed, or worse, I have to resort to a backpack that I don't really want to carry.

Fanny packs have always been a solid solution for carrying extra items in a compact bag. They can also be hard to pull off unless one is going for a full-on '80s look with acid wash jeans and a Metallica T-shirt.

Lucky for those who want to dress like it's 2019, Bellroy designed a fanny pack-like bag that's stylish, versatile, and surprisingly spacious - and it's called the Sling.

Bellroy SlingAmir Ismael/Business InsiderThe Bellroy Sling (left) and Sling Premium (right).

The Bellroy Sling is a unisex bag that can be worn across your chest, over your back, or conveniently over your shoulder. It has 7 liters of storage space and a compactible design for when you don't need to use the full capacity. Other useful features include double-sided zippers so you can easily open it whether you're a left or righty, a magnetic clasp on the strap for quick removal, a microfiber-lined pocket for sunglasses, and an interior key hook.

We got the chance to put the Bellroy Sling and Bellroy Sling Premium to the test and came away impressed with just how much stuff they hold.

Keep scrolling to learn more about the Bellroy Sling, or shop the original version for $99 and the premium version for $159.

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The Bellroy Sling

The Bellroy Sling
Bellroy Sling, $99, available in four colors

As a kid, I used to make fun of my dad for sporting a fanny pack on occasion. But now that I'm older, I've come to realize that as uncool as they might be, they're extremely useful. My list of essentials has gone from a Game Boy Color and maybe a few extra games, which all fit in my pockets, to a variety of daily necessities, whether I'm staying local, commuting around the city, or traveling abroad.

Not only is the Bellroy Sling way more stylish and versatile than the fanny pack my dad wore around his waist like a kangaroo's pouch, it also has a ton of expandable storage space.

It is spacious enough to carry (pictured roughly from left to right) my small umbrella, lip balm, hand sanitizer, Mophie Powerstation XL, Nike+ Apple Watch Series 4, AirPods, iPhone Xs Max with a Scooch case, passport and boarding pass, Ray-Ban sunglasses, Gucci wallet, work ID and MetroCard, car keys equipped with a Tile Mate Pro, and Bellroy Travel wallet.

The Belroy is the perfect middle ground for me. I no longer have to overstuff my pockets to the point where they're awkwardly bulging out, and I'm not forced to carry a cumbersome backpack that's mostly empty.

The Bellroy Sling Premium

The Bellroy Sling Premium
Bellroy Sling Premium, $159, available in two colors

Let's get one thing straight here, Amir: Fanny packs are not "uncool," no matter what you say! I have probably seven or eight of them (yeah, people know me in the office as the girl with the fanny packs, it's fine), because they really are the most practical kind of bag, but they also look good.

Though I wouldn't wear this one around my waist because of it's size, it makes for the perfect cross-body sling bag. I can fit everything I'd need for a day out in the city or for traveling, all without weighing myself down much.

I really like that this one has a front pocket for holding essentials like my phone and lip balm, and another larger pocket for holding everything else. It's just the right amount of compartmentalization. The strap also compresses the bag down when I don't have much in it, or expands out when it's fully packed to make it feel customizable depending on my needs for the day.

Sally Kaplan, Insider Picks editor

Aside from the expandable storage capacity, there are many other reasons we love the Sling.

You can wear it to the front for quick access to your belongings...

You can wear it to the front for quick access to your belongings...

Here's Insider Picks editor Sally Kaplan reaching into her Bellroy Sling Premium for a pair of sunglasses.

To the back for mobility...

To the back for mobility...

Backpacks are a smart option if you need to keep your arms free, but the Sling is even better because it's compact. When you need full mobility, you can move the Sling to the back with little effort. I find it's really convenient when I jump on a Citi Bike, but it's great for any number of scenarios.

Or conveniently over your shoulder.

Or conveniently over your shoulder.

Perfect for a grab-and-go lifestyle, the Sling goes can be worn just like any other shoulder bag.

The magnetic clasp on the strap makes it easy to remove.

The magnetic clasp on the strap makes it easy to remove.

You won't find any hard-to-open buckles here. This magnetic clasp is secure as ever, but easy to unfasten too.

There's a microfiber-lined interior pocket, which is great for a loose pair of sunglasses.

There's a microfiber-lined interior pocket, which is great for a loose pair of sunglasses.

This smaller interior pocket is an ideal spot for storing your sunglasses to keep them from getting scratched. You can also use it to stow smaller items that might get lost in the bottom of your bag.

The bottom line

The bottom line

At $99 or $159, the Sling and Sling Premium could cost you just as much as a full-size backpack, but you're not paying for storage capacity — it's the convenience and versatility. The design is compact but spacious enough for daily essentials you can't fit in your pockets. If you value mobility and comfort when on the go, this bag is for you.

Sally and I have different styles, but we both found the Sling easily blended into our wardrobes.

Aside from the extended leather panel on the premium version, there is no difference in size or usability between the two. If you have a smaller budget, I recommend the original version.

Bellroy Sling, $99, available in four colors Bellroy Sling Premium, $159, available in two colors
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