Athleta All About Belt Bag Review
With soft materials and a comfortable strap, Athleta’s All About Belt Bag is a small sling that’s great for everyday and travel, though the strap twists easily.
- Super soft materials
- Easy-to-open zippers
- Good amount of space for everyday essentials
- Strap twists easily
- Overstuffing front pocket can drag bag forward
- Can only open zippers from one side, limiting quick access
0.3 lb (0.1 kg)
7 in x 2 in x 4.5 in (17.8 x 5.1 x 11.4 cm)
Polyester, Recycled Polyester, DWR Coating, YKK Zippers, Duraflex Hardware
We can spend hours extolling the virtues of the sling bag and how it can work for you. They’re the perfect pocket dump as you make your way through airport security or when you’re exploring a new destination. Whether you’re rocking a dress without pockets or don’t want your pants dragged down by extra bulk, you’ll probably be able to easily find a good use for this type of bag.
There are a ton of options when it comes to slings, though, from larger ones that can carry a tablet and travel water bottle to smaller sizes that are really only going to fit your phone, travel wallet, keys, and a few tiny toiletries. The Athleta All About Belt Bag is definitely more of the latter than the former, with (we’re guessing) about a liter of space, but is that too big, too small, or just right for you? Let’s find out!
The All About Belt Bag has more than a passing resemblance to a certain uber-popular small sling that you probably see, well, everywhere (see what we did there?). It’s about the same size, which is why we’re guessing at its capacity despite no measurements from Athleta, and serves about the same purpose.
However, dupe allegations aside, you may find its materials more your style than those you see on other slings. The polyester and recycled polyester are super soft and have a matte finish that we’re really digging. It includes a durable water repellent coating to keep moisture at bay, and it’s also UPF 50+. While you don’t need it to block the U.V. rays from hitting your skin, that protection serves to help the bag maintain the color you’ve ordered, instead of your berry red fading to a Strawberry Starburst pink. It’s also easy to wipe clean if you get a bit of makeup on it as you take it off or spill your soda. The ability to give it a little refresh is appreciated since it’s a bag you’re likely to carry on the daily.
We’re testing the Black colorway, but you can also get it in Clover Berry (red), Madeira Purple, Dark Fiber Optic (lime green), and Ecru. That way, you can get your favorite color, match your favorite outfit, or buy the rainbow. The Black goes with just about everything we own and doesn’t show dirt easily, so we think it’s a great option.
No matter which color(s) you choose, the chrome Athleta logo is centered near the bottom front of the bag. There’s a little extra bling on the YKK zippers, as well. The zippers themselves have long pulls in the same material as the outside of the bag. Both the zippers and the pulls are the same hue as the color of the bag, while the heads are the same bright chrome as the brand logo. It’s not too in your face, yet it’s just a little pop that we enjoy.
Athleta uses a Duraflex buckle on the strap, which works well and isn’t uncomfortable to wear. There’s also a rubbery keeper to contain the extra strap in check, which is good since you can wear this as a crossbody or a waist pack, and you’ll obviously need to cinch it tighter for the latter.
The strap itself is a simple piece of satiny webbing that isn’t super thick or very thin, so it wraps nicely around your waist or across your body. Our only beef with it is that it can tend to flip or twist as you put the sling on and take it off, though it’s easy enough to remedy.
On the right side of the bag, there’s a tiny loop of webbing where you can hang it on a hook if you wish or clip something small, like a small flashlight or hand sanitizer. It also gives you something to hold as you zip the bag closed. Of course, you could obviously loop the strap over a hook as well if you choose to instead.
The All About Belt Bag is definitely a casual sling, yet it blends well with dresses and skirts as easily as it does with T-shirts and jeans, which is awesome since those tend to be the outfits where you’re more likely to need an extra pocket. You probably don’t want to wear it to more formal occasions, such as with an evening gown or business suit, but it looks pretty nice otherwise, especially if you choose a more understated colorway. Or if you manage to match it perfectly to your sundress!
We find that it’s really comfortable to wear despite the lack of any obvious back panel padding. The entire outside of the sling has some structure and feels like it has a little padding all around, but there isn’t a dedicated piece of extra cushioning on the back. Nevertheless, we don’t feel the objects that we’re carrying inside, even if it’s worn tightly to the chest, so we think it’s enough to get the job done.
Inside The Sling
This is a small sling, so there’s not a ton going on, but that’s OK! There’s enough organization to help you keep your gear sorted.
At the front of the bag is a small zipper pocket. It’s very simple and lacks additional organization, but it is a great place for sanitizer, lip balm, and keys. Depending on the size of your minimalist wallet, you can probably also slip that in here, but some are too tall and hit the zipper. That’s all right, though, because there are plenty of other places for it in the main compartment.
The larger main area isn’t overly segmented, however. Instead, it has a simple mesh divider against the back panel to allow you to separate some of your gear from your other items. That means you can put your passport and wallet against the back, toss your phone in front, and still have room for gloves, a point-and-shoot camera, or a snack bar, depending on where you’re heading.
The mesh pocket is slightly raised from the bottom of the bag. However, calling it a pocket is a bit of a misnomer as it is quite loose. Instead, it acts more like a divider than an actual pocket. For example, if you toss your AirPods inside and then turn the sling upside down, they’re going to fall out. Of course, this bag isn’t huge, so they won’t be that hard to find, but it’s good to be aware of the issue. Likewise, if you have loose change bouncing around the bottom, it can get slightly obscured by the pocket, but then it’s just a happy surprise when you find it again, right?
We think this shallower pocket works better for your wallet, passport, and any paper tickets or passes you need to carry. You’ll know exactly where to find them and can put your phone on the other side of the mesh to have it close at hand.
Although it has a slightly different layout than that other, ahem, uber-popular sling (a front pocket instead of a back pocket, and only one interior pocket), it still works just as well for shopping, day trips, festivals, and parties. It’s excellent when worn crossbody if you like having your extra pocket close to your chest or around your waist if you prefer to carry it that way. Since it’s so small and lightweight, it’s easy enough to flip to your back if you need to get on a motorcycle ride at the amusement park or pull to your front when you want to pay for your ice cream.
- Super soft material
- Nice chrome accents bring a bit of bling to the bag
- Seems like a good size for daily excursions
- Very convenient way to carry the essentials
- Internal pocket acts more like a divider
- Tiny things work well in front section