Timbuk2 Mission Sling

One of my goals last year was to bring as little as possible with me so I could be less encumbered while travel or commute to work. Having a backpack often encourages me to bring a lot more stuff than I would need so I looked around for sling bags so I could limit what I could bring.

So one of the slings I bought was the Timbuk2 Mission Sling. I wanted to know if it would be a suitable everyday carry bag. It looked versatile enough for my needs so I bought the yellow colorway as it is in my opinion the best color option at the time.

The Mission Sling is a roll-top sling that can fit up to 8L. In its most compact form it’s a medium-sized sling that is more than adequate in carrying essentials during my weekends. In a pinch it can expand and be large enough to carry a jacket or raincoat.

Features

Here are the other features of the bag:

  • Water-resistant nylon (Tyvek)
  • Four zippered compartments: Front pocket, Roll-top main compartment with a zippered top and accessible zip on the back
  • small zippered pockets on both sides that connect to the straps
  • Key fob in front pocket
  • Seat-belt straps with a big buckle and gartered loops for strap management

Materials and Components

  • I am puzzled as to why they decided to use a toothy zipper on the front compartment, instead of aquaguard zips like on the smaller side compartments. Using the toothy zips makes the front pocket seem susceptible to water seeping in when it rains hard. If they wanted to make it interesting black aqua guard zips would have been enough, but then again this can be a cost consideration.
  • The Tyvek material is soft on the back and not as crinkly (in my use). It also is a little slippery as it is smooth and the material on the back uses the same fabric. It would have been nice if they put some rubbery or padded material so that it wouldn’t slip around so much.
  • I really like the straps that they used, its really smooth and I often find myself holding the straps to feel the material.

Impressions

  • I wasn’t too enthused about the color when it arrived, but I grew to love it eventually. I really like the yellow color as it is looks so urban.
  • It is spacious when it you need it to be because of the roll-top, but I often don’t need to open it up; I often use the back zipper access to get to my things.
  • It’s really comfortable… but only if you don’t fill it up with bulky and hard items like a water bottle.
  • It is large in terms of sling bags. When fully filled out it looks like a messenger bag already.
  • It looks large whenever I try to use it as a bum bag.
  • This gets heavy when you fill it up with bulky items like a water bottle and my hardbound notebook since this is just a sling bag. The straps and back have no padding to them. I often would swap the sling out with my messenger bag or 17L backpack when I don’t feel comfortable with the load.
  • I have used this sling on a few bike rides and I found that since the material is smooth it would always slip down to my chest which is a little annoying. Since the bag is a little on the large side it would have been super if it had a cross-strap like the Timbuk2 Catapult v.1.0.

Using the bag

I have used the bag on and off for most of 2019 and with it I got familiar with it’s strengths and weaknesses. For one, it’s a great looking bag and as I have mentioned in my initial impressions the color and look grows on you. It’s expandability has proven useful on a few occasions but it’s not one that I would fill with as many items; it gets uncomfortable the heavier it gets, which is sad because you miss out on the capacity.

It’s a great bag to use on the weekends when I go out on errands or the mall. On these occasions you’d just be stuffing any of these in your bag:

  • Powerbank and cable charger
  • Earphones
  • A light jacket or scarf
  • A large wallet
  • Pen and notebook
  • Keys
  • A water bottle (filled)
  • A tablet

From my experience in using the Mission Sling everything is comfortable until you put in the water bottle and/or tablet. That’s when you start feeling the straps bearing down on your shoulders, which you know will make it uncomfortable throughout the day if you plan on… slinging… the bag around. I also did notice that on heavy loads you also get to feel that big buckle dig in your shoulder. I usually wear it around my left shoulder.

How I Made It Work

Having a stiff surface like a tablet, a large wallet, or a jacket or scarf (which is the best option) against your back improves comfort. An iPad can be accommodated in the slot but will block access to the rest of the contents if you plan on accessing them through the back zipper, so I don’t use that slot for it. The two other divider slots is the best place to place a small powerbank, cables and wallet.

The two zippered pockets at the sides where it connects to the straps can fit AirPods which is great.

The front pocket has a key clip. I would often place my work ID and coin purse there, or any other small item that I would need isolated from my devices.

In using the expandable main compartment, I find that just folding it over is the simplest way of packing it versus rolling it up. I only roll it up when I really want to make the sling really small.

Did I Keep It?

Overall I really like the bag for its looks and versatility. It gets uncomfortable when you fill it up with bulkier items so I would suggest that you still keep your carry to a minimum, the roll-top is only useful when you suddenly need to put bigger items in it like a jacket or shirt.

I have kept this bag for most of the 2019 trying to see if this would be the best fit for my carry needs, and during that time I have often swapped it out for a backpack because it does get uncomfortable whenever I stuff in my insulated water bottle and/or my iPad. Some padding on the straps as well as the adjusting the placement of the buckle would have made it more comfortable. It makes me a little sad to not be able to take advantage of the nice looks and feel of this sling.

So I decided to let this go. Thankfully I have nephews that have been eyeing this bag ever since I got it and have expressed their willingness to get it off my hands and save it from collecting dust in the closet or worse, ending up in a landfill. I am not one to do that to my things these past few years, especially during my decluttering phase. I have either given away or sold the things that I no longer need.

So it’s not really a sad ending for an otherwise great-looking bag (and consequently the environment). My nephew uses the hell out of it. :)

Here’s a link to my Flickr page of photos I took of the Mission Sling.

Timbuk2 Mission Sling