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Timbuk2 Mission Sling Review

This lightweight sling can be worn over the shoulder or as a fanny pack and the roll-top design makes it easy to stay compact and secure
timbuk2 mission sling messenger bag review
Credit: Timbuk2
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Price:  $89 List
Manufacturer:   Timbuk2
By Penney Garrett ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 15, 2020
  • Comfort - 25% 7.0
  • Packing & Organization - 25% 5.0
  • Electronics - 15% 3.0
  • Ease of Use - 15% 8.0
  • Wear & Tear - 10% 6.0
  • Volume to Weight Ratio - 10% 10.0

Our Verdict

The Timbuk2 Mission Sling is small but mighty. This simple bag can be worn across the shoulder or around the waist, and it is masterful at swallowing all shapes and sizes of items. The roll-top closure system allows you to compress everything down tight if you're only carrying a few things, or you can leave it unrolled and stuff to the gills without losing comfort. It's well-suited for short trips and more minimally-minded individuals but will be a little small if your day requires you to carry a lot of stuff. It's best for the casual commuter that doesn't have a lot of stuff but loves the flexibility aspect. We enjoyed wearing this sling as a fanny pack for long bike rides, hikes, summer festivals, and concerts.
Great volume to weight ratio
No padding for electronics
Strap buckle isn't well-placed
Smaller size
Thin material

Our Analysis and Test Results

Remember the fanny pack? Fun and adaptable, the Mission Sling is a dream come true for those that don't always want the weight of their possessions to be on their shoulders.

Performance Comparison

timbuk2 mission sling messenger bag review - the mission sling is a great bag to consider if you like options and...
The Mission Sling is a great bag to consider if you like options and are on a budget.
Credit: Penney Garrett


The Mission is a very comfortable bag, particularly if you like to give your shoulders a break from time to time. The fanny pack option is ideal when on long bike rides, and the shoulder option is great for short jaunts around town. The roll-top closure system makes it a breeze to secure everything compactly for maximum ease of movement. And while the strap isn't padded, it's wide enough to feel decent even when you're carrying a lot of weight, though the buckle may be annoying for some. You can't change its placement, and when worn on the right shoulder, the buckle ends up directly on top of the left breast area or awkwardly underneath it — not ideal for those with curves.

When worn on the left shoulder, the buckle lands nicely on the clavicle IF the bag is cinched up high on the back — if it slips down, the buckle will ride up to the top of the shoulder. There isn't a cross-body stabilizing strap, so it's also prone to moving around when worn messenger-style, particularly when riding a bike. For all these reasons, we were happiest when cycling if we stuck to using the Mission as a fanny pack.

timbuk2 mission sling messenger bag review - the buckle placement on the mission is a bit problematic. it works...
The buckle placement on the Mission is a bit problematic. It works best over the right shoulder but lands in an awkward place if the wearer has breasts. Overall the design is better suited to wearing as a fanny pack, though having both options is nice.
Credit: Penney Garrett

Packing & Organization

This sling has a decent number of pockets, but they aren't very specialized. There's one large compartment that zips and rolls closed and is secured by adjustable straps with clips at each side like a dry bag. The internal compartment has a small divider with two smaller pockets on its front. These don't zip, and they're not very deep, so things can shift around pretty easily. The back of the bag has a zipper that allows you to get into the main compartment without unrolling and un-zipping the whole thing. This is a nice feature, though, depending on how your bag is packed, you may not be able to get to everything inside.

There is also a zippered front pocket with a key clip and two small triangular-shaped zip "stash" pockets on the sides where the straps begin. If what you're carrying is relatively simple and already organized (for example, if you keep your pens and pencils in a pouch as opposed to loose), this bag will be just fine. But, if your items are delicate, loose, or in great numbers, the bag won't organize them for you or keep them particularly safe. And because of size, this probably isn't going to be your next mobile office or work-to-gym-to-school bag.

timbuk2 mission sling messenger bag review - the interior of the mission is brightly colored which helps with...
The interior of the Mission is brightly colored which helps with finding things, but the lack of very many pockets means that you will want to have some of your own organizational systems in place.
Credit: Penney Garrett


You can certainly carry electronics in this bag, particularly if they are on the smaller size, but they won't be very well protected. Some messenger bags cater to fragile laptops and tablets with built-in padded sleeves, but the Mission isn't one of them. There also aren't useful pockets for cords and chargers, so having a supplemental pouch of some kind for that is helpful. The manufacturer says you can fit up to a 9" laptop — we fit a 13" in the largest part of the main compartment, but it was snug with no room for a case. The front zipper pocket works well for a phone, though, and a Kindle fit inside the shallow inner divider nicely.

timbuk2 mission sling messenger bag review - we fit a 13" laptop into the mission but with no room to spare - the...
We fit a 13" laptop into the Mission but with no room to spare - the manufacturer suggests only going as large as a 9" device.
Credit: Penney Garrett

Ease of Use

This bag is simple to wear with easy to use zippers and a straightforward design. You can take advantage of the roll-top feature with side clips or, if you're packing to the gills, leave the top unrolled. A rear zipper makes getting into the main compartment easy even if you have the top rolled down and clipped tight. Strap adjustment is predictable and intuitive; however, depending on your waist/torso size, there may be a lot of extra webbing to contend with. An elastic loop on the strap is available to help with this.

timbuk2 mission sling messenger bag review - simple and straightforward, the mission sling offers a rear zipper...
Simple and straightforward, the Mission Sling offers a rear zipper so that access into the main compartment is always easy, even if you have the top rolled down and clipped.
Credit: Penney Garrett

Wear & Tear

The Mission is made with highly durable fabric that, while thin and lightweight, is layered strategically for extra strength. In all the time we biked, hiked, and commuted, we didn't see hardly any signs of wear. The parachute-like material could certainly get punctured or torn more readily than something like Cordura. Still, outside of some edge-case scenarios, you shouldn't have to worry much about the longevity of this bag. On top of all that, the Mission is water-resistant, though the zippers are a weak point, and water will seep in slowly given enough time. If you have a phone, tablet, or laptop close to the front pocket or near the back zipper, be mindful. The strap also takes a long time to dry if it gets saturated.

timbuk2 mission sling messenger bag review - despite a run-in with an aggressive garden hose, the durable water...
Despite a run-in with an aggressive garden hose, the durable water resistant material of the Mission Sling kept our possessions almost completely dry. Tiny spots of water did start to seep in through the zippers, but not so much as to cause alarm.
Credit: Penney Garrett

Volume to Weight Ratio

The Mission Sling has the best volume to weight ratio in our review — by a long shot. Holding 10 liters and only weighing 14 ounces, this bag strikes a brilliant balance between all the essentials. It has the smallest dimensions in our review (at least when rolled up compactly) yet offers one of the most adaptable designs for cramming all shapes and sizes of items. We carried books, large water bottles, clothing — even a circular take-out container from our local taqueria nested nicely on top for a fanny pack ride home. No tacos were harmed in the process, impressive indeed.

timbuk2 mission sling messenger bag review - we weren't sure if 10 liters would really fit, so we tested it out...
We weren't sure if 10 liters would really fit, so we tested it out with measured bags of water. Sure enough, the mighty Mission - though it looks small - can handle the load.
Credit: Penney Garrett


For the right person, this is a great value. It's an approachable price point for a very versatile bag. While it's not the best design for some applications, it's ideal for those that love being able to switch to carrying their belongings off their shoulders on the fly. It's also a fantastic supplemental bag for traveling.

timbuk2 mission sling messenger bag review - the mission sling is ideal for those that don't have too much to...
The Mission Sling is ideal for those that don't have too much to carry (particularly in the electronics department) and want to be able to use their bag in different ways.
Credit: Penney Garrett


The Mission is a fun bag that's easy to use and is not too expensive. It's more comfortable worn as a fanny than over the shoulder, but for those that pack light and want adaptability, this functional sling is a great option. While it's not optimized for electronics or hyper-organization, it does accommodate small gadgets in their own protective cases and some small loose items. For those that carry a lot of pens, pencils, and other small items, having supplemental pouches is a good idea. Lightweight with a 10-liter capacity, the Mission has the best volume-to-weight ratio in our test suite, and its water-resistant material is quite durable for how light it is. If you're looking for a well-made bag with versatility, this is a solid one to consider.

timbuk2 mission sling messenger bag review - over the shoulder or around the waist, the mission is ready for it...
Over the shoulder or around the waist, the Mission is ready for it all.
Credit: Penney Garrett

Penney Garrett
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