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The NITECORE SLB05 feels like a shrunken-down messenger bag crafted from durable materials with ample organization that doesn’t get in your way.

Our Verdict

8.0 /10
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  • Lightweight, durable, sleek materials
  • It wears like a mini messenger bag, which is comfortable
  • Enough organization for most uses without being overkill


  • Front two pockets have subpar water resistance
  • No dedicated tablet sleeve
  • Strap clips are hard to get used to

Technical Details

100 %

Carry-on Compliance

View 145/145 Airlines

52 %

Like the Look

Polled on Instagram

  • Capacity


  • Weight (lb)

    0.6 lb (0.3 kg)

  • Dimensions

    6.3 in x 8.7 in x 2 in (16 x 22.1 x 5.1 cm)

  • Notable Materials

    Nylon, Duraflex Hardware, YKK Zippers

  • Manufacturing Country


  • Warranty Information

    NITECORE Warranty Service

Full Review

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The NITECORE SLB05 is designed like a small messenger, and we’re here for it. Because of its size, there isn’t much organization, so we’re curious about what exactly we’ll be able to fit inside. Let’s dive in and find out!

External Components

The external materials on the SLB05 are 500D nylon and 600D coated nylon in high-wear areas. These fabrics feel durable, water-resistant, and tactical. They look sleek, too, which is a bonus.

Nitecore SLB05 Bench
NITECORE SLB05 | You can take this pack anywhere.

The zippers on this sling are from YKK, so you probably know what to expect. If not, it’s worth mentioning that YKK is the cream of the crop when it comes to zippers, and their use on this pack is no different.

The front of the pack has a piece of hook-and-loop fastener, which looks unique and enables you to add a patch if you choose. It’s an excellent way to add some originality to a technical-looking pack without compromising its sleek design. It also looks lovely without a patch if you don’t want to.

There’s a removable handle on the top of the pack, which we dig. Attach it to other gear if you don’t want to use this as a sling. You probably don’t need the handle if you plan to permanently attach it to something. That said, it doesn’t take up much room, so you might as well leave it if it doesn’t bother you or get in your way.

Nitecore SLB05 Full
NITECORE SLB05 | We’re digging the tactical look.

There are attachment loops on the sides and bottom of the pack, which is handy. We found this to be more helpful when using it as an organizer or pouch but not as much when using it as a sling. Either way, being able to attach extra gear is neat.

The backside has PALS webbing and two clips so you can use MOLLE attachments or connect it to other PALS webbing. This is handy if you’re using the SLB05 as a pouch or organizer, but it can get lost in the shuffle if you use it as a sling. You can remove the clips, so you don’t have to have them bumping into you on the back panel while you’re wearing it. That said, they aren’t that noticeable even when left on the rear panel.

Overall, the exterior of the SLB05 has a unique look that we dig. It’s sleek, all black, and the only pop of color is the NITECORE logo on the side. It’s fairly lightweight for its durability, and the materials are holding up well, even through multiple walks in the cold fall Detroit rain.

Fit Notes

Nitecore SLB05 Side By Side
Left: Eric Hergenreder, Height: 6’0″ (183 cm), Torso: 18.5” (47 cm) | Right: Kristyne Defever, Height: 5’5” (165 cm), Torso: 17” (43 cm)

There isn’t much padding on the backside, but it remains fairly comfortable. The materials aren’t very thick, so some items might poke through and cause discomfort. However, this isn’t the case in most situations.

The plastic clips will bother some users, so you can move them to the attachment loops on the side or the bottom if you plan to use them in transit or leave them back at the hotel on your daypack for safekeeping.

The strap is removable and lightweight. There isn’t any padding or aeration; it can dig in if you pack the sling completely full and wear a thin shirt or tank top. However, for most situations, it’s comfortable.

The clips to attach the strap are a little funky and are challenging to get used to. They haven’t popped off in use, which is a good sign. The clunkiness might be more of an issue if you constantly take them on and off.

Nitecore SLB05 Outdoor
NITECORE SLB05 | The strap is simple to use.

You can wear this sling in numerous ways. You can put it on your shoulder, wear it across your body, take the strap off and hold it, or attach it to another piece of gear. If you want, you can attach it somewhere in your house or car to hold a specific piece of equipment. Because of the intelligent exterior design, you can do a lot with the SLB05.

Inside The Sling

When you pop the lid over, two pockets are on the front of the bag. These don’t have as good of water resistance as the main compartment because they don’t have a closure, but they have done well in testing while walking in the rain. They’re a solid place to stow a quick-use item, like your phone or a snack bar, to fuel up on the go. If it’s really raining, you might want to move anything that can’t get wet inside the main compartment for safekeeping.

Nitecore SLB05 Stuffed
NITECORE SLB05 | We dig the organization.

A YKK zipper opening on the main compartment is easy to open and close, making getting and stowing your gear effortless.

There are two liner pockets similar to the ones we just went over on the pack’s interior, and that’s it. It’s nice to have a spot to lock down smaller gear or things you don’t want bouncing around the main compartment; however, some users might wish there was a place with a topper to stow important items.

The back wall has a fuzzy material to protect screens and other electronics. A solid amount of room is available here to store a lot of gear. You can probably make it work here if you want to bring a tablet, book, snack, or small camera. Even a larger mirrorless camera might fit if you remove the lens from the body and place it on the side.

Nitecore SLB05 Handle
NITECORE SLB05 | Time to hit the road!

Overall, we like the choice by NITECORE to leave the main compartment relatively organization-free. There isn’t enough space to warrant wholesale segmentation, and the four pockets offered are helpful for most carry situations. This isn’t a sling for everyone, but most people will be able to find a use for it in their gear arsenal.

Usage Timeline

Initial Usage

Condition: Excellent

  • The materials feel durable and easy to work with
  • We’re digging the tactical, sleek look
  • The internal organization seems insightful; we’re amped to try it
2 Weeks of Use

Condition: Excellent

  • The materials have held up well, even in the rain
  • The internal organization is minimalistic but has enough segmentation for most uses
  • We wish the strap had some padding, but it’s comfortable enough
By Eric Hergenreder
Created October 24, 2023 • Updated October 24, 2023
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