Why a Sling — Dipping My Toes In

Here’s what I am carrying in the slings I am testing.

Following on with my purse post, a sling is likely to be a smart carry accessory as ‘we’ move through the COVID and post-COVID times, and hopefully into a more health aware life. This is also a product of me having younger kids, but mostly me liking to have a lot of crap with me all the time.

Generally, I have been looking to slings as a way of lightening my pockets. There’s a few things I always carry with me: wallet, keys, pocket knife and flashlight. With COVID you need to add in a mask, pen, and hand sanitizer. With Texas, add in sunglasses. With kids, bandaids, extra masks for them, snack, pen and paper, and a few odds and ends. Family outing? Battery backups and charging cords are added in too.

So I’ve been working to setup a small kit that I can bring with me everywhere just as you would with a purse. “If I remember to grab this when I leave, it shall have all that I need no matter where I might go.” Or at least within reason. That’s a purse, pretty sure that’s a purse. But I am going to try and encapsulate this kit in a sling, because that’s trendy.

All of this because the last thing I need is to wind up somewhere and have no mask. No hand sanitizer, or what have you. Or a kid crying because they think a bandaid will somehow make it not hurt.

And while larger shoulder bags I have reviewed like the Filson Medium Field Bag, or the Orbit Gear Eagle Claw can fill this role, they are not quite small and nimble enough for a more general daily use situation.

Bring on the slings.

I am going to be testing a bunch to carry all this, drop me a note if you have one you think I should check out.

Current State of the Contents

Right now, here’s what I have been carrying and testing with (sometimes this scales down, as this is the maximum kit, it just depends on the size of the bag I am testing):


  • Lip Balm: always.
  • Altoids Smalls: because mask breath sucks. And full size Altoids are messy to carry. These aren’t as potent, but much cleaner to carry.
  • Mask: that’s the Aer mask in the picture, they sent it over to me to check out. It’s great.
  • Battery Backup: only plus side to the Biolite one in the picture is the durability. Everything else about it is a pass. Get an Anker one.
  • Prometheus Lights Beta QRv2: I’ve had this forever, and it is most excellent. A single AAA gives you a high CRI light, with enough power to get the job done. It also is very low drain, so it’s not a worry that you’ll go to use it and the battery is dead.
  • Machine Era Brass Pen: what I like about this is the screw down cap, which won’t come off or leak. This pen has been around the world with me, never leaked. It’s also decently small.
  • USB to USB-C Cable: for charging USB-C things. (This is something I don’t always carry in the bag.)
  • USB to Lightning Cable: for charging Lightning things.
  • Lens cleaning cloth, for cleaning lens things.
  • Field Notes: for paper.
  • Kleenex: I like these packs because they sit very flat.
  • Swiss Army Knife: in case I find myself needing to open a bottle of wine or something.
  • Extra AAA battery: yeah, why carry a flashlight and not carry extra power.
  • Small compass: for finding south.
  • Handkerchief: for using as a cloth.
  • Med Kit: has disposable surgical masks, Advil, bandaids and alcohol wipes and an empty contacts case for my contacts.
  • Dyneema Cordage: it’s not great stuff, but it weighs nothing. I should replace with something else, but it is fine for now.
  • Wet Ones Wipes: for getting stuff clean.
  • S-Biner: I normally don’t carry these, but they are very handy for hanging slings from other things like a tripod or chair.

There’s a lot of slimming I could do to this, and might still with more use. But that’s my starting kit. I do toss in sunglasses if I think I might need them, and am not already wearing them.

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