Arc'teryx Mantis 2 Waist Pack Review

The Arc'teryx Mantis 2 Waist Pack is great for carrying small gear, with good organization for the amount of space, though some pockets can block other areas.

Our Verdict

8.4 /10
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  • Slim form factor makes it easy to wear just about everywhere
  • Raised pocket protects delicate gear
  • Rear phone pocket is extremely convenient


  • Lighter colorways show dirt and stains
  • On the tall side for a waist pack
  • The strap slips out of adjustment pretty easily

Technical Details

100 %

Carry-on Compliance

View 145/145 Airlines

27 %

Like the Look

Polled on Instagram

  • Capacity


  • Weight (oz)

    6.7 oz (189.9 g)

  • Dimensions

    8.5 in x 10 in x 3.9 in (21.6 x 25.4 x 9.9 cm)

  • Notable Materials

    Recycled Polyester, PFC-free DWR Coating, YKK Zippers, ITW Hardware

  • Manufacturing Country


  • Warranty Information

    Arcteryx Product Service

Buying Options

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Full Review

Waist packs have come a long way since the last century. Truthfully, most are not even worn around the waist anymore, even if designed (and named) that way. However you carry them, slings like these are small, convenient extra pockets where you can stash your phone, wallet, keys, sunglasses, and the other tiny essentials you need every day, whether at home or on a trip.

Arc'teryx Mantis 2 Waist Pack Walking
Arc’teryx Mantis 2 Waist Pack | It’s a great way to carry small travel essentials.

There are so many different styles of bags that fall under the header of “slings” that it can be hard to know what someone is talking about when they ask for one. Do you want something smaller that hangs at your side or against your chest for the bare necessities, or something big enough to carry a laptop or tablet? The Arc’teryx Mantis 2 Waist Pack seems like something we should wear like a belt, but is it right for that and your next trip? Let’s find out.

External Components

Arc’teryx uses recycled polyester pack fabric for the Mantis 2 Waist Pack, which looks much like the OG packs from decades ago. However, this one is produced in a Fair Trade Certified facility using materials that meet bluesign® criteria, including dope-dyed lining fabric that uses less water and energy to create, so it’s firmly planted in the here and now to appeal to Earth-friendly, sustainable packers. It includes an eco-friendly, durable water repellent to keep your gear drier in the rain or when you need to wipe away a stain.

Arc'teryx Mantis 2 Waist Pack Material
Arc’teryx Mantis 2 Waist Pack | You’ll have to spot-clean lighter colorways more often than darker ones.

That’s handy if you have a lighter colorway—like the Storm Glow we’re testing—since you can’t throw this sling in the washing machine. Storm Glow is a light lavender with red accents, which, unfortunately, seems to show stains pretty easily. You can also pick it up in Yukon/Amaranthus/Edziza (goldenrod with pink accents), Black Sapphire/Vitality (navy blue), or Black II (black) as of the time of this review. However, if you see a colorway you like, we recommend snatching it up. Case in point: the Storm Glow you see here is no longer an option on the site at the time of writing.

Of course, if you’re a fan of Arc’teryx as a brand, you may find the Storm Glow and Yukon et. al to be a little off-brand. We have to say that the darker colors are much closer to the aesthetic we’re accustomed to seeing from the company, although the brighter colors are a fun touch.

Arc'teryx Mantis 2 Waist Pack Logo
Arc’teryx Mantis 2 Waist Pack | Maybe you can’t fly, but you’ll feel free as a bird with your hands freed up by this sling.

All of the colorways have the Arc’teryx logo—a skeleton of the first dinosaur that evolved to have the ability to fly, the Archaeopteryx. It’s a contrasting color on the Storm Glow and Black Sapphire/Vitality and blends in on the other two options, but whichever color you’re sporting, it’s front and center on the sling.

Arc'teryx Mantis 2 Waist Pack Zipper
Arc’teryx Mantis 2 Waist Pack | YKK zippers work well, as usual.

Some colorways also have a contrasting strip of material woven through the YKK zipper pulls (or an entire zipper in a contrasting color). A word about those zippers before we move on: YKK makes some of our favorite zippers, and we’re happy to report that these function well. The main compartment zipper has two pulls so that you have options to open it anywhere along the track, while the other zippers have just one. It’s a small bag, so that doesn’t bother us much.

The other hardware on the Mantis 2 Waist Pack is a small ITW buckle on the strap. It’s small because the strap is small, so you don’t need anything bigger. Its position closer to the upper right corner of the bag means that it doesn’t hit us in the back, however tight or loose we have it adjusted. It can be irritating to have a buckle crushed into your back while riding the bus or carrying a travel backpack, so we’re happy that Arc’teryx took steps to mitigate the issue.

Arc'teryx Mantis 2 Waist Pack Buckle
Arc’teryx Mantis 2 Waist Pack | The buckle is close to the bag, so it doesn’t crush into your back.

The strap is a simple strip of webbing that attaches with a slip knot to loops on the backside of the sling. You can take it off if you wish, but there’s no other handle to carry the bag, so we never did. It includes a built-in elastic strap keeper to keep the extra from flopping around. You can also stuff the strap inside two channels along the back panel if you wish, but again, we never had a reason to ditch the strap. It is very thin to be used as a waist pack—i.e., worn like a belt—especially when you factor in that the sling is 8.5 inches (21.5 cm) tall, so it hangs more like a loin cloth than a waist pack and is hard to wear in front if you’re sitting.

Arc'teryx Mantis 2 Waist Pack Back Padding
Arc’teryx Mantis 2 Waist Pack | Breathable mesh padding lines the back panel.

However, it is great to wear as a crossbody on your front, back, or side. The back panel has a decent amount of cushy padding lined with breathable mesh to keep things light and airy, even in a blazing hot amusement park or a Roman holiday in August. It also blunts the feeling of anything resting against the back panel. It’s so comfortable and convenient that we’ll forgive Arc’teryx for naming something a waist pack that not many seem to actually wear around their waist.

Fit Notes

Arc'teryx Mantis 2 Waist Pack Side by Side
Left: Kristyne Defever, Height: 5’5” (165 cm), Torso: 17” (43 cm) | Right: Eric Hergenreder, Height: 6’0″ (183 cm), Torso: 18.5” (47 cm)

Despite its thin strap, we find the Mantis 2 Waist Pack quite comfortable to wear crossbody for most of the day. It’s lightweight and lays relatively flat against your front or back, making it the perfect companion for exploring a new city or spending a day at a sporting event. The strap may rub slightly on your shoulders if you wear it over a tank top for a longer period, as there’s no breathable mesh or padding between it and your shoulder, but you won’t feel it if you have some sort of sleeve.

The brighter colorways are much more casual than the darker tones, although it’s not a fancy bag in any color. That’s okay because we don’t typically rock a sling with a suit, so it’s not an issue.

It has a taller shape than some other crossbody bags, but it’s more symmetrical than tall and thin options, making it easy to pack a bunch of small gear or even some larger items you may like to bring along.

Inside The Waist Pack

It can hold about 2.5 liters of gear, so you may not be surprised that there are a few compartments and pockets to fill around this small bag.

Arc'teryx Mantis 2 Waist Pack in Use
Arc’teryx Mantis 2 Waist Pack | A back pocket is a convenient place to pop your phone.

We’ll start at the back, which hides one of our favorite bag features: a slip pocket for your phone. Not that it’s super difficult to unzip a front pocket to pull it out, but we find this pocket the most convenient way to carry a device. It can fit a standard or max-size iPhone and is also a good place to pop a transit pass or hotel key card. If you keep a PopSockets Phone Grip or some other stand on the back of your phone, it can occasionally catch on the lip going in or out of the pocket, but it doesn’t always, and we think the convenience outweighs the hiccup. There isn’t any means of closure on this pocket, though, so you’ll want to be sure not to turn the sling upside-down if you are using it to carry a slippery key card. However, we had no issue with a phone ever sliding out accidentally.

Arc'teryx Mantis 2 Waist Pack Pocket
Arc’teryx Mantis 2 Waist Pack | Small accessories sit happily in the front compartment.

You can also pop it in the front pocket, which opens with one zipper that runs horizontally across the bag. We used this open pocket for mints, lip balm, and hand sanitizer, but it also fits a phone and then a minimalist wallet or your passport. You’ll have to pick and choose a little, but don’t worry, there’s plenty of room in the main compartment, and it’s just as easy to access.

The zipper to get into that area is just a couple of inches above the front pocket zipper, but it has two pulls, so you can open it from either side. Against the back panel, you’ll find another zipper, which opens a large slip pocket. That’s where we typically lock down our travel wallet, passport, and cash.

There’s also a key clip in here, attached to a leash on the right side (if you’re looking at the bag or the left side if you’re wearing it). It’s long enough to pull out of the sling and have it hanging around to be ready to open your door, as long as you’re wearing the pack on your front. We find it very convenient to get into the office every day, as we can carry the sling with the zipper closed but still have the leash hanging out to use a key fob hands-free if needed. On a trip, we always like to know where our car and house keys are so we can find them easily after a red-eye flight home from a margarita-soaked vacation.

Arc'teryx Mantis 2 Waist Pack Key Leash
Arc’teryx Mantis 2 Waist Pack | There’s a leash in a zipper pocket for your keys.

Against the front panel is a large slip pocket. It almost seems like it’s raised off the bottom, although it’s not, because any gear you put in the remainder of the main compartment somewhat closes off the bottom of this pocket. Maybe that sounds like a bad thing to you, but we use it a lot to carry sunglasses, and it’s wide and deep enough to do so quite easily. However, this pocket does flop out quite a bit, so it’s not always easy to see the rest of your gear at the bottom of the main compartment, whether you’ve filled it or not. But since this is not a huge travel backpack, it’s not a big deal and is easy enough to move out of the way.

Since this bag is so wide and tall (for a sling), we still have plenty of space left for a packable tote bag, tissues, earbuds, snacks, and more. It’s large enough to accommodate over-ear headphones, a point-and-shoot camera, or even a Kindle if you like to bring entertainment on the go. Just realize that there’s no built-in padding anywhere except along the back panel, so you’ll want to protect your screens with something else or be sure to flip the bag to your back to keep them from getting squished if a friend or family member comes in for a big bear hug. Or, you know, work on your boundaries and make sure that no one enters your personal bubble. Easier said than done, we know.

Arc'teryx Mantis 2 Waist Pack Stuffed
Arc’teryx Mantis 2 Waist Pack | You can carry a lot of small gear in this sling.

Whatever you choose to put inside, we think you’ll like bringing the Mantis 2 Waist Pack along on your next trip, whether to the office, the store, or around the world. It has the right amount of space for the daily essentials you don’t want to leave behind without being so large that you might as well be carrying a travel daypack. Plus, it’s small enough to toss in another bag just in case you need it on your trip, although whether you’re heading to the beach or the bar, we’ll argue that you should bring it along.

Usage Timeline

Initial Usage

Condition: Excellent

  • Interesting attachment for the strap
  • Seems very tall, but that might be useful
  • Appreciate the eco-friendly features, from recycled and dope dyed materials to Fair Trade Certified production
2 Weeks of Use

Condition: Excellent

  • Wish it was not spot-clean only because lighter colors get dirty fast
  • Very comfortable strap, although it’s too thin to wear around the waist when fully loaded
  • Super user-friendly organization
By Kristyne Defever
Created March 27, 2024 • Updated March 27, 2024
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