Notabag Crossbody Review
Whether you’re looking for a sling, a tote, or even a laptop bag, the Notabag Crossbody adapts to what you need, although the fabric can attract dirt.
- Comfortable to carry when full
- Stays on your shoulder easily in crossbody mode
- Adapts to different modes of carry
- Light colorway gets dirty easily
- Strap can slip out of adjustment
- Difficult to fit bulky items with the flat design
0.4 lb (0.2 kg)
6.89 in x 11.02 in (17.5 x 28 cm)
15.7 in x 11.02 in (extended)
rPET (recycled polyethylene terephthalate)
We like bags of all styles here at Pack Hacker, from totes to slings to waist packs and, of course, backpacks. So what happens when we encounter a bag that can adapt to be several of those styles? We get excited!
Like the Notabag Original, which is a tote and a backpack in one design, the Notabag Crossbody defies categorization with its ability to be a tote, a sling, a waist pack, and even a laptop bag. However, we know that sometimes when brands try to do too many things at a time, it backfires. Does the Notabag Crossbody make the cut? Let’s find out.
We’re testing the Cream colorway of the Notabag Crossbody, although it also comes in Black. If you plan on tossing it around on the floor of your car during a road trip, you may want to opt for the darker hue. That’s because the recycled polyethylene terephthalate fabric can pick up dirt and stains that won’t necessarily come out. While the bag is washable in cold water (yay!), a few stubborn spots remain even after adding elbow grease. Luckily, the bag can take the abuse, as the thick fabric has a textured feel similar to canvas, so it’s pretty sturdy and durable.
The convertible handles on the bag are shiny webbing that feels like a seatbelt. Notabag says the straps are also made with recycled materials, so Earth friendly packers everywhere will rejoice over this bag. While the handle looks like that of a typical sling, however, it is adaptable to different uses.
Upon unboxing, the Notabag Crossbody looks like an envelope-style bag with one shoulder strap that can extend for wearing across the body. An unbranded buckle in the middle has adjustment slides on either side, so you can loosen or tighten the straps as you wish. There are built-in elastic strap keepers, too, to contain the excess. You’ll need to do so if you snug the strap to the size of your waist and use the bag as a waist pack. It’s not a look we love, yet it does function as a slim waist pack that doesn’t bulge much, depending on what you put inside. However, it is long for wearing at the waist, even before expanding the bag.
A webbing tab comes down from the center top of the bag to snap on its front. This tab is the only Notabag branding on the bag, with the brand name stitched in white lowercase letters. Unsnap it to flip up the flap, and you’ll see the same strap peeking out from the bag, a style mirrored on the back of the bag. When you loosen the strap and unsnap it from the webbing tabs at each side, you can pull these two straps (which are just different sections of the same strap) to pull up two tote-bag handles.
All of this works well, although we have some issues with the strap slipping out of its adjustment slide when carrying heavy gear for long periods. It mostly happens on one side of the strap, so hopefully, it’s just an issue with our bag, and your adjustment stays put!
The only other hardware to mention is some unbranded snaps, which stay put as they should, although the center strap can sometimes be difficult to press together. Now let’s talk about how it feels to carry this bag!
The Notabag Crossbody is a casual bag, although the Black colorway could pass for a slim purse in the right setting. The Cream colorway looks like a tote-style bag, perhaps because of its similarity to canvas bags. Carrying it over one shoulder or across the body, it looks similar to other crossbody bags with its short and slender profile. It can be a bit difficult to carry over just one shoulder if you’re wearing any sort of coat as it wants to slip off your shoulder, yet it stays put worn across the body like a messenger bag.
Although the strap is on the narrower side, this bag is comfortable to carry for quite a while. Unfolding it to use the entire bag length and carrying two hardcover books for nearly a mile back to the library, you don’t feel anything digging into your shoulder, which is great.
Inside The Sling
While the Notabag Crossbody can be a—well—crossbody bag, we’ve also mentioned tote a few times. Yet, just over 6.5 inches is an odd length for a tote. At the top corners of the bag, however, are two more snaps that attach to the bottom corners of the bag. Pull the bag, and they will unsnap, unfolding it to a 15.7-inch length suitable for books, notebooks, and even a 13-inch laptop in a protective case like the Incase Compact Sleeve with Bionic. Notabag calls out the fact that it unfolds to laptop size, lest you wonder about sliding a laptop into a tote.
That adaptability is what we like in the Notabag Crossbody. It’s nice to have options since there are plenty of slings in the sea to choose from—or is that fish? Either way, we find this bag most useful for daily use when it’s extended.
Whether it is folded or extended, however, the inside is not strictly open space. There are two 6-inch deep pockets where you can toss your wallet, phone, AirPods, and other small accessories. The pocket on the right takes up two-thirds of the bag’s width, while the pocket on the left takes up the other third. That makes it perfect for an iPhone 13 Mini, although you may have to slide larger phones in the other pocket.
Outside of this pocket is a large metal clip for your keys. It is a very chunky key clip, though it works well and opens and closes easily. It is a large piece of metal, though, so be careful sliding a tablet or other delicate gear here without a protective case, or it may get scratched.
What you can slide in the bag is also constrained by the bag’s opening. The top is lined with the same satiny webbing, and neither it nor the rPET fabric provide any stretch. That means that what you see is what you get in with regard to the opening, which can stretch to about 9 inches deep, although that brings the side of the bags into the middle. We have no trouble sliding a laptop, a notebook, and a hardcover book in here or two hardcover books and no computer. However, if you’re trucking through “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” “War and Peace,” or the dictionary, you may be limited to just one tome.
- Interested to try all of the different ways of using this bag
- Snaps are super sturdy, almost to the point of being difficult to open
- The cream colorway looks great with the black straps
- Top won’t fold over when carrying a laptop
- Prefer using one long strap as adapting to two straps can be awkward
- Great in use as a crossbody tote bag