Mission Workshop Notch Modular Sling Pack Review
The Mission Workshop Notch Modular Sling Pack’s large size is balanced by intuitive organization; however, the strap loosens far too easily.
- Durable, lightweight, and water-resistant materials
- Intuitive internal organization for everyday carry and travel
- Easy-to-use hardware
- Strap loosens far too easily
- Lack of padding and aeration is noticeable
- Large footprint for a small-capacity sling
9.9 oz (280.7 g)
9.5 in x 6 in x 1.75 in (24.1 x 15.2 x 4.4 cm)
YKK Zippers, X-Pac, Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU), Nylon
At first glance, the Mission Workshop Notch Modular Sling Pack looks sleek but significant for its 1.6-liter capacity. It links up nicely with other Mission Workshop gear; however, we can’t help but be curious if it’s worth the extra space. Let’s look into it!
The primary pack material that we’re working with is Dimension Polyant X-Pac. If you haven’t dealt with X-Pac before, it’s an extraordinarily lightweight fabric that boasts high durability and water resistance; however, it isn’t as durable as thicker, heavier materials like CORDURA®. It’s better in some ways and worse in others, but for a pack like this, we dig how light the materials are. Plus, it’ll fit in with other Mission Workshop gear you’ve already got on the shelf.
The external zippers are YKK AquaGuard models and keep water out of the main and secondary compartments well. The internal zippers are from YKK but don’t have the AG finish, which works out fine.
The buckle on the strap is a National Molding Stealth Warrior. It operates as you’d expect without any real issues with the buckle itself. However, its attachment to the strap isn’t great.
The strap isn’t thick enough to grip the plastic well, so the connection is loose. If you hold onto the plastic, it’ll loosen at will. For example, if you tighten the strap as much as possible and set it face down with the strap facing upward and grab it by the buckle, the sling would remain on the ground, and the belt would loosen.
While wearing it, the adjustment stays in place pretty well; however, getting it on without accidentally changing the tightness is tricky. This feels like a strap issue more than a buckle issue, but we couldn’t help but get it out of the way now.
There are various attachment points on the back panel, which are for the modularity options designed into this sling. You can use it alongside any of Mission Workshop’s rkiv® Modular Backpacks, which is neat. It straps onto the outside to add capacity, which is unique. You can leave it attached while commuting and take it off for use at the airport or your destination. However, we’ve been testing this as a sling, so let’s hop into it.
There are hefty hip huggers that attach the strap to the sling’s body. They help with comfort when worn as a hip pack but are large and in the way at other times. They look a little goofy, too, unless you’re into that kind of thing.
On a larger frame, the Notch is pretty comfortable. It feels large and cumbersome on a smaller person, especially considering it’s just 1.6 liters. It has a massive footprint with a tiny depth, which is why it feels so much larger than it is.
The strap lacks padding or aeration, but it feels adequate for a sling that can hold less than two liters worth of gear. If you’ve got the bag stuffed to the gills, you might feel it dig in a bit on your shoulder, but only if you’re wearing thin clothing. It feels more comfortable in hip-pack mode on most occasions.
The back panel feels a little rough. There isn’t any padding or aeration, which is fine, but the materials are a little more rugged than expected for the primary contact area. It’s comfortable enough but might not be sufficient for those used to thicker padding.
Overall, the fit feels more technical than it does comfortable. That’s not to say it completely negates the latter, but it feels built for the former.
Inside The Sling
There’s a front pocket that’s ideal for flat items. It has no organization, but it’s a solid spot to stow your phone, wallet, passport, and travel documents while wandering through a safe place like the airport. Regardless of where you are, it’s an excellent place for quick-use items. There isn’t a ton of padding here, so we don’t recommend packing anything that you’re worried about getting banged up on a more rugged adventure.
There’s a lot more going on in the main compartment; however, it’s not very deep, either, so you’re better off trying to stow smaller items inside. The lack of depth can also make it hard to utilize the internal organization.
The front side has a large mesh pocket with a zippered closure. The mesh is stretchy, so you can place more oversized items inside than would fit if it were just the liner material. This is an excellent spot to lock things down that you don’t want to get lost in the cracks.
On the backside, there’s a zippered pocket that sits up against the back panel. It’s well-suited for flat items, like a phone, minimalist wallet, or passport. It has some structure from the back panel, which we dig for sensitive travel documents.
There’s an elastic strap daisy chain below with four places to strap down gear. The outer two spots are skinnier than the middle two, so there are different sizes for unique equipment. The elastic isn’t super stretchy and doesn’t snap back as quickly as we’d like, but it’s a stable place to hold down gear.
We’ve got a key ring here, too. It’s a solid length—not too long, not too short. You’ll be able to open some doors without removing your keys, but for awkwardly-placed locks, you’ll have to remove them from the metal clip, which is easy to manipulate. Overall, this is one of the team’s favorite features on this pack.
The Mission Workshop Notch Modular Sling Pack works well, but it can be hard to get around how large it sometimes feels, especially for its size. The strap loosening issue feels like an Achilles heel that you must touch nearly every time you use the pack, which will deter some from using the pack, which is a bummer. Without that issue, this would be a solid vacation and commuter bag. Either way, it’s still a comfortable carry!
- The primary pack materials are lightweight and durable; however, the back panel and strap are heavy
- Hardware feels up to the tasks that they’re tasked with
- We’re curious about how comfortable the harness system is and how easy it is to add the pack to other Mission Workshop gear
- No issues with the materials or hardware
- Lack of padding and aeration can be uncomfortable
- We wish that the strap wasn’t so loose, as it affects usage