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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.
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $89 List | $89.00 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Versatile, adaptable, lightweight, great volume to weight ratio
Cons:  No padding for electronics, strap buckle isn't well-placed, smaller size, thin material
Manufacturer:   Timbuk2
By Penney Garrett ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 21, 2019
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68
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 8
  • Comfort - 25% 8
  • Packing & Organization - 25% 5
  • Electronics - 15% 4
  • Ease of Use - 15% 8
  • Wear & Tear - 10% 7
  • Volume to Weight Ratio - 10% 10

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 or more minimally-minded individuals but will be a little small if your day requires you to carry a lot of stuff. It's best suited for the casual commuter that has minimal requirements but loves flexibility. With a decent amount of creative pocket options and easy to use zippers, the Mission Sling can quickly and easily become a favorite — so much so that we had to bestow a coveted Top Pick award. We loved wearing this sling as a fanny pack for long bike rides, hikes, summer festivals, and concerts.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award  
Price $89.00 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$119.98 at Backcountry$169.00 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$80 List$54.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Versatile, adaptable, lightweight, great volume to weight ratioVersatile, durable, stylish, fun to useWaterproof, comfortable, lightweight, highly durable, ambidextrous shoulder strapCompact, lightweight, customization options, simpleDurable, comfortable, simple but thoughtful storage, customizable
Cons No padding for electronics, strap buckle isn't well-placed, smaller size, thin materialNot weatherproof, less classic messenger designTips over easily when set down, doesn't have very many pockets, expensiveToo small for large laptops, no padding, must purchase laptop/tablet protection separatelyMinimal features for electronics
Bottom Line 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.Transitions seamlessly from backpack to messenger to briefcase.This sleek, comfortable, and lightweight bag is highly durable and weatherproof with minimal yet thoughtful features.This messenger bag is very small and lightweight, and useful for trips with a tablet and a few items.A great messenger bag but has a lot of thoughtful competition in the industry.
Rating Categories Timbuk2 Mission Sling Mountain Briefcase Arc'teryx Granville 10 Tom Bihn Daylight Briefcase Timbuk2 Classic
Comfort (25%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
Packing & Organization (25%)
10
0
5
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
7
Electronics (15%)
10
0
4
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
6
Ease Of Use (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
6
Wear & Tear (10%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
6
Volume To Weight Ratio (10%)
10
0
10
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
Specs Timbuk2 Mission... Mountain Briefcase Arc'teryx... Tom Bihn Daylight... Timbuk2 Classic
Measured weight (pounds) 0.875 2.26 1.15 0.99 2.19
Measured volume (L) 10 13 10 8 16
OGL Volume/Weight Ratio 11.4 5.75 8.69 8.1 7.3
Dimensions (inches) 11.4 x 8.7 (11.75 unrolled) x 3.9 13 x 11 x 4.5 in 16 x 10.5 x 5 14 x 10 x 4 14.6 x 12.2 x 7.1
Shoulder preference Either Either & both w/ backpack straps Either Either Either
Number of Compartments 2 1 1 1 2
Number of Large Pockets 1 1 2 5 6
Number of Small Pockets (i.e. sleeves for pens, thin items) 5 3 0 0 4
Number of Zipper Pockets 4 2 2 3 3
Key Clip? Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Reflective Material? Yes on zipper pulls No No No No
External Side Pocket No No No No No
Sleeve Fits Laptop No Yes - 15 inch Yes - 12 inch Yes - 13 inch Yes - 15 inch
Stabilizing Cross Strap No No, has backpack straps Yes No Yes
Available Sizes One Size One Size 10L and 16L One Size XS, S, M, L
Size tested One Size One Size 10L One Size Medium

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


The Mission Sling is a great bag to consider if you like options and are on a budget.
The Mission Sling is a great bag to consider if you like options and are on a budget.

Comfort


The Mission Sling 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 strap isn't padded but is wide enough to feel good even when you're carrying a lot of weight, and the roll-top closure system makes securing everything compactly for maximum ease of movement a breeze.


In most respects, the Mission feels really good, in no small part because of how customizable its wearing experience can be. However, the buckle is large and might be annoying to some — it isn't padded in any way, and you can't change its placement on the strap. Depending on anatomy, this may be problematic. 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.

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.
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.

Depending on what you're stuffing inside it, the Mission lends itself more to wearing as a fanny than as a sling/messenger. It offers a lot of versatility in regards to what and how you pack, and it's nice to have the option to wear it in different ways for personalized comfort, but the shortcomings with the buckle could be a dealbreaker for some.

Packing/Organization


It has a decent number of pockets, but they aren't very specialized. 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.


This sling has one large compartment that zips and rolls closed. It's 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 key clip and two small triangular-shaped zip "stash" pockets on the sides where the straps begin. All in all, there's a decent amount of pockets and features, but this probably isn't going to be your next mobile office or work-to-gym-to-school bag.

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.
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.

Electronics


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, but the Mission isn't one of them. If this sling fits your devices, you will want to make sure they are protected with sleeves and cases.


The Mission doesn't have a dedicated padded sleeve for a laptop other than the shallow internal divider. While this partition will certainly help secure your device a bit, you will be taking a risk if you don't have a protective case of your own. 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.

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.
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.

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.


The main reason the Mission doesn't score higher in this category is that the buckle tends to land in an awkward place depending on your anatomy and what shoulder you're wearing it on. There's also no cross-body stabilizer strap so, if you're wearing the Mission as a shoulder bag while bicycling, there's a good chance it will shift and — particularly if heavy — slip around to your front. But outside of these issues, for the right person, this is about as easy to use a bag as you can get.

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.
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.

Wear and Tear


This sling is made with highly durable fabric that, while thin and lightweight, is layered strategically and super strong. In all the time we biked, hiked, and commuted with the Mission 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, but outside of some edge-case scenarios, you shouldn't have to worry much about the longevity of this bag.


Another bonus of the Mission is the fact that it's water-resistant. However, the zippers are a weak point, and water will seep in slowly given enough time. You will want to be careful what you put in the front pocket and near the back zipper — if you have a phone, tablet, or laptop close to either of those zippers, be mindful. The strap also takes a long time to dry if it gets saturated.

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.
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.

Volume to Weight Ratio


The Mission Sling has the best volume to weight ratio in our review — by a long shot.


Holding ten 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.

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.
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.

Value


This is a great value for the right person. 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.

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.
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.

Conclusion


The Mission, our Top Pick for a Convertible Sling, is a fun bag that's easy to use and 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.

Over the shoulder or around the waist  the Mission is ready for it all.
Over the shoulder or around the waist, the Mission is ready for it all.


Penney Garrett