HEX Evolve Sling Review
The HEX Evolve Sling’s emphasis on space and industrial design makes it a capable hauler at the cost of more versatile organization.
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- Spacious main compartment
- Made from recycled, but durable, CORDURA nylon
- Simple, low-profile design is easy to carry
- Minimal organization with few pockets inside
- All-black interior can be tricky to see into
- Strap is a bit overkill in terms of thickness
Like the Look
Polled on Instagram
0.5 lb (0.2 kg)
5.5 in x 10 in x 2.5 in (14 x 25.4 x 6.4 cm)
CORDURA Eco Fabric, DWR Coating, YKK Zippers, YKK Buckles
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Space and organization are two key aspects of any bag that we thoroughly check out. It’s best to have both, interesting when there’s a focus on one, but bad when there’s none of either. So, where among these three does HEX’s Evolve Sling land?
The answer is that there’s more of a focus on space rather than organization. That said, there’s a lot more to like about the Evolve Sling. The low-profile stance and industrial design are comfortable and eye-catching in their own way. Plus, the fabric is recycled ECO CORDURA, so it’s also kind to the environment as well. But enough with the teasers, and let’s get into the details.
Materials & Aesthetic
On the surface, the Evolve Sling doesn’t look particularly special. There are no mold-breaking in-your-face aesthetic design choices here at first glance. Instead, HEX is leaning more towards an industrial design, and you know what? We actually really dig it. The gray colorway (the only one available at the time of writing) makes it look like a truly no-nonsense sling that’s here to do the job. Even the branding at the front looks like something you’d find on construction equipment. Is it a bit left-field? Maybe. Do we approve? Absolutely.
Even better, the Evolve Sling’s fabric is recycled ECO CORDURA nylon, making it kind to the environment. In other words, it gets the best of both worlds; an industrial design without the environmental impact of the industrial era. It’s quite durable too. Granted, it’s a bit softer than CORDURA’s ballistic nylon offerings, but no part of the Evolve Sling feels subpar. Everything feels sturdy and high-quality, including the YKK buckles, zippers, and the latter’s faux leather pulls.
Overall, we’re quite pleased with the Evolve Sling’s design and build quality. We even got a handful of compliments, most of them asking what exact sling we were carrying. Something’s about the Evolve Sling is obviously clicking with people. For our part, we think the low-profile industrial design is a well-balanced one, with just enough aesthetic cues to emphasize its strengths.
Similarly, the harness system on the Evolve Sling is quite simple. There’s a compression strap on each side of the bag, adjoining the front and back panel. The compression straps are bar-tacked onto the wingtips both at the front and back. These wingtips extend quite a bit from the bag, meaning that compression mostly happens around the edges. The adjusters are simple YKK buckles that are easy to move but have just enough resistance so that they don’t move by themselves.
The Evolve Sling’s main strap is fixed in place, meaning it can’t be replaced with third-party straps. The good news is that we don’t really see a need to replace it. The strap has enough width that it doesn’t dig into our shoulders even when the sling’s packed out with heavy items. Our favorite way of carrying the sling is crossbody-style, where it sits comfortably flush against us. Thanks to the Evolve Sling’s low-profile shape, it’s easy to move around with as well.
One neat consideration HEX made with the harness system is the positioning of the quick-release buckle. We’ve seen a lot of slings have their buckles placed in the middle of their straps. It’s a safe bet to place buckles here for reasons of balance and left or right-handedness. HEX placed the buckle more towards the right, making it more accessible using our right hand (left hand if we have the sling mounted behind us). It’s a small tweak, but we think it works well enough to prefer it over a middle buckle. Plus, if you’re also wearing a backpack, having the buckle off-center means it won’t be pressed against your back.
The strap can also be lengthened through an adjuster on the left half. Like the compression straps, it’s pain-free to use, and we’re able to dial in our preferred length quickly after taking the sling out of the box. If we have one small gripe about the strap, it’s that it’s quite thick with respect to the more low-profile nature of the sling. It’s far from a deal-breaker, though, but just something we noticed.
Inside The Sling
At the back of the Evolve Sling is a rear pocket that acts as the security compartment for the bag. We keep mostly flat items like our passports and tickets in this pocket. There is no padding present to keep lumpy items from jutting out of this pocket, so best keep those elsewhere. Accessibility was a concern at first. However, the pocket’s reverse coil zipper opening is placed high enough for it to be accessed easily, even with the sling sitting close against the body.
On the opposite side of the Evolve Sling is the front pocket. The reverse coil zipper runs pretty much end-to-end across the entire front. This grants us a lot of access to the inside of the pocket, where we find HEXagon-patterned (get it?) all-black liner fabric. Admittedly, black liner fabric isn’t our favorite kind as it can make digging through items tricky under poor lighting conditions. Fortunately, the wide opening does let in a ton of light, so there’s a nice compromise there.
Inside, there’s a lone liner pocket as a means of getting things organized. It has a small hook and loop tab in the middle, which still allows access to the sides of the wide liner pocket. With this in mind, the tab is less about closing the pocket and more about splitting it to better separate items.
Finally, there’s the main compartment. The opening has dual zippers that run partially down towards the sides, albeit shallowly. Regardless, accessibility to the compartment is still good, and quite a lot of light still comes through to shine on the black liner fabric.
Organization inside, as with the front pocket, is minimal, with only a rear zippered compartment for keeping small accessories. This is where we put our earphones, ChapStick, Zippo, and small adapters. Those who are hoping for a bit more in terms of organization will feel wanting for more. On the other hand, those who are prioritizing space will dig the next part.
Quite simply, there’s a ton of space to work with inside the Evolve Sling, though there’s no information on an exact liter size at the time of writing. Loosening up the compression straps allows the front and back to bulge out even more, albeit at the cost of comfort. We were able to fit our takeout plus a few bags of candy inside, which is no small feat considering how much there was. The equivalent load would be a high-capacity power bank, smartphone, leather wallet, a bunch of house keys, and a pack of wet wipes. Even then, there’s room left to spare.
The Evolve Sling is relatively simple in its design. The limited amount of pockets does come across as basic. Admittedly, it’s not very ideal if you’re looking for something with more granular organization. On the flip side, the amount of space available makes it a good sling to bring around when hauling bulkier items, something a more compartmentalized sling might struggle with. Coupled with the industrial design, the Evolve Sling really gets the job done and does it well.
- Built-in compression straps make for a tight fit
- There’s a rear security pocket, but ease of access might be tricky
- Front pocket features a reverse coil zipper for weather-resistance
- ECO CORDURA fabric feels durable but a bit lighter and softer than regular CORDURA
- Low-profile design got a handful of compliments during testing
- Sides cinch down easily
- Main compartment is spacious—we were able to get a small takeout container and two bags of candy inside
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