NOMATIC Navigator Collapsible Sling 3L Review
The NOMATIC Navigator Collapsible Sling 3L can fit a lot of gear for its compressed size, though the back panel and strap may not be for everyone.
- Compresses down into a small, easy to pack size
- Roomy main compartment considering its packed size
- Fits into the NOMATIC Navigator ecosystem
- Back panel can feel rigid and get warm
- Strap can dig in when sling is packed out
- Can be hard to find items inside the main compartment
0.3 lb (0.1 kg)
5 in x 9.5 in x 3.5 in (12.7 x 24.1 x 8.9 cm)
(expanded) | 5 in x 4.5 in x 2.5 in (collapsed)
Nylon, DWR Coating, Zoom Zippers, YKK Buckles
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The NOMATIC Navigator Collapsible Sling 3L collapses into its back panel to fit into small places until you need it. We’re curious if this design feature will affect comfort while the sling is in use or whether the compact size it collapses into makes it worth it, regardless. Let’s dive in!
The primary pack material on the Navigator Collapsible line is 210D nylon with a DWR coating. We see this fabric often from NOMATIC, and it does well to protect your gear from getting caught in the rain, but if the precipitation gets heavier, it’s best to head for cover.
All the zippers on this pack are from ZOOM and work as we’d expect them to. They don’t have water-resistant tracks, which plays into the weatherproofing we just mentioned.
The strap is relatively thin. However, it’s comfortable unless you pack the sling full. The strap meets the sling at a compression strap on each side. The stock size of the sling is three liters, but you can compress it down if you don’t have as much gear inside. When you cinch them down, there can be some awkward folding on the front face around the gear you have inside, but it makes using it easier when you don’t have as much stuff inside.
The buckle on the strap is from YKK. It’s small and stays out of the way, which is a plus. The construction is durable and doesn’t come undone when you don’t want it to. There are strap keepers on either side of it to keep things organized—which isn’t the case for the compression straps we just went over. It’s only a little extra strap, but if you like to keep things under wraps at all times, that may bother you.
The back panel is amply padded and has a fine mesh layer to help with airflow. There are also channels carved into it to keep things cool. There’s a big crease vertically in the center of the back panel because this becomes the pack’s shell when you compress it.
To pack this sling away, you first need to bring the strap around the front side. Then, try to contain all the fabric and straps within the footprint of the back panel. Once you’ve done that, fold the sling in half hamburger-style, so the back panel is on the pack’s exterior. Find the zipper and close it up. It helps to have one hand on zipper duty and one hand a few inches in front of that to shove in any extracurricular strap activity that pops out in the folding process.
When collapsed, there’s a small loop you can hang from using a carabiner. A Nite-Ize S-Biner works well here. If you don’t want to hang it, the compressed size is excellent for sliding into a travel backpack, daypack, or, heck, even another sling. It’s like sling-ception!
The pack is pretty comfortable when worn as a crossbody or fanny pack. The back panel is extraordinarily dense, especially for a pack of this size. It can get a bit warm and feel funky because of this, but overall it’s a smooth carry. The pack is all black, which heats up reasonably quickly. This isn’t more so than other slings we have on hand, but it does feel noticeably warm on a hot day.
The strap does the job well, but it can dig in a little if you overpack the sling. This is especially true when wearing a thin shirt or tank top. We only find this to be the case when the sling is packed to the max—a standard carry doesn’t have these issues.
Inside The Sling
The sling has just one secondary compartment on the front side of the pack. It’s a small pocket without organization, but it’s a lovely spot for a wallet or a small snack that you want to be able to access quickly. Most modern smartphones won’t fit here, but a foldable phone may do the trick. The pocket sits right on top of the main compartment, so it can be hard to access or slide more into this spot when you have the pack fully packed out.
The main compartment is a vast open area. There are two mesh pockets with elastic toppers on the front and back sides. These are handy spots to lock items down that you don’t want swimming around the main compartment. If you place heavy items in the two on the front side, it can cause the front of the pack to sack down a little, but this can be assisted by the compression straps we spoke about earlier.
The rest of the main compartment is unrestricted. You can fit a ton of gear here, but it’s easy to lose smaller items due to the size and color of the interior. The materials are black, so anything darker blends in with that. This is especially true in poor lighting conditions, as everything becomes murky.
Cinching down the compression straps doesn’t do much for the main compartment as far as size is concerned. Moreso, it pulls on the external materials to make it look nicer. There’s so much fabric to work with that you can’t make it much smaller than it comes stock, but the compression straps make things more manageable.
Overall, this is a durable, compact, collapsable sling. You can throw it in your travel backpack or daypack for use once you arrive so that you don’t have to carry it when you don’t need it. Or, collapse it and play catch with it if you get bored. Your choice!
- The back panel is a little odd; however, it has ample padding for comfort
- There’s a ton of room in the main compartment, but not much organization
- The primary pack material is lightweight and feels extremely water resistant
- Materials have held up well, durability-wise and in wet conditions
- No issues with the zippers or hardware
- Back panel can feel awkward but is comfortable on long trips with heavy loads