Osprey Daylite Sling (Shoulder Sling) Review
The Osprey Daylite Sling is ideal for quick excursions—on the trail or in the city—though it can get uncomfortable to carry on longer treks.
- Strap can switch sides for ambidextrous carry
- Ample strap and back panel padding for a small sling
- Pockets organize gear without being in the way
- Can loosen and bounce while in use
- Zippers on the stiff side
- Inflexible keeper only holds one length of strap
0.5 lb (0.2 kg)
14.17 in x 8.66 in x 5.12 in (36 x 22 x 13 cm)
Recycled Polyester, PFC-free DWR Coating, YKK Zippers, Woojin Hardware
Osprey advertises the Daylite Sling as ideal for most occasions—school, grocery shopping, farmers’ markets, festivals, beaches, hikes, and so on.
Being the thorough gear testers that we are, we decided to test as many of those claims as possible. We’ve taken the Daylite Sling to beaches, trails, shopping districts, and grocery stores (one of which was similar enough to a farmers’ market) and would’ve taken it to school if we were students. We plan to hit even more locales as we continue testing, perhaps an amusement park or two.
While it shined on a trip to Acadia National Park—no surprise as Osprey made its name in the outdoor realm—it’s been pretty good everywhere else, too. Being able to conveniently “sling” the bag forward for easy access has been particularly handy, especially when shopping.
That said—it may not be the perfect bag if you need to wear it for more than a few hours.
So let’s check it out.
The Osprey Daylite Sling fits in with other packs in the Osprey Daylite Series. It has a similar look with the same hardy zipper pulls, front logo, and sleek exterior. At the time of this review, it’s available in a half-dozen colorways, although it’s like the weather: always changing. So if you see a color you like, you should grab it while it’s there, and if nothing suits your fancy just now, wait a hot second, and something new may become available.
While we’re usually partial to black, we went for the fun “Wave Blue” this time because you gotta mix things up every once and a while. It definitely has an outdoorsy aesthetic, so we wouldn’t recommend wearing it to any nice restaurant (and, yes, we’re speaking from experience).
You’re probably not surprised this sling is durable with top-notch craftsmanship—this bag is from Osprey, after all. They’ve changed the materials to be eco-friendly in the updated version: 150D recycled polyester for the main material, 600D recycled polyester for the accent, and 600D recycled polyester on the bottom. It’s all bluesign® approved and includes a PFC-free durable water repellent, so it’s great for sustainable packers.
While the Osprey brand logo remains in the same place on the update as it was on the original, there’s now “Daylite” printed in all-caps at the bottom of the front, as well, so you know what bag you’re recommending when you get a compliment on the forest trail.
The Osprey name is also printed on the ubiquitous molded plastic loop zipper pulls. They attach with thin cords to the YKK zippers, which are slightly stiff yet work well. And when faced with the choice between a zipper that comes undone too easily and one that requires a little effort to open, we’ll choose the stiffer zipper every time to keep our gear safe.
Osprey uses Woojin Plastic hardware for the buckle on the strap. We like how the fastener is tucked away to keep things looking sleek, a look further helped by the elastic strap keeper that ensures you never have to deal with an unruly dangling strap (#danglefreeexperience). That keeper is webbing, though, with no stretch, so you may not be able to tuck more than one length of the strap through (well, one plus the original strap for a total of two), which can leave extra hanging around if you’re a smaller user.
That’s not the only hardware on the new Daylite Sling, though. There’s now also a large swivel hook with a gatekeeper clip, allowing you to change the side where you connect the strap. There’s no visible branding on this clip, but we don’t care—it works well, and, unlike the original Daylite Sling, it allows us to switch which shoulder carries the bag.
The clip hooks onto small webbing loops on either side of the bag, so you no longer have to use only your right shoulder. That’s great for lefties and anyone wanting to give one shoulder a break after five hours at Wally World. It’s something we hoped for when testing the original version of the bag, and we’re happy to see Osprey listened to our suggestion! (Or, you know, had their own bag designers put their great ideas into practice.)
The strap and back panel on the Osprey Daylite Shoulder Sling have a nice, comfortable layer of padding covered in a diamond-patterned breathable mesh material. While it won’t stave off every sweaty back, it’s a step in the right direction for a bag you’ll likely carry while exploring the great (warm) outdoors.
There’s also a loop near the top of the shoulder strap, which you can hang on a hook or use for attaching accessories. We’ve had success attaching a travel water bottle with a carabiner. While you can fit a water bottle inside the sling, it’ll take up a lot of space, so it’s nice to carry it externally.
On the bottom of the strap is a stretchy mesh pocket where you can tuck a transit card, a lip balm, or a bottle of hand sanitizer to have it close by.
The main thing to talk about with the update is how nice it is to switch sides with the strap. Maybe you prefer to carry your sling on your left shoulder, or you just need a break on one side after carrying it for hours through the Toledo Zoo. We find it comfortable on long walks to the library, even with a heavy book inside, and if it gets uncomfortable on long excursions, you now have the option to shift it between your shoulders instead of the right side always bearing the brunt of the weight.
This sling wears slightly loose, and it can slip out of place a bit as you pull it on and off. If that bothers you, use the buckle, but it’s also easy to cinch the strap back in place.
You can always wear this sling on your chest, although it’s meant to be a back pack. However, if it’s on your back and you need to grab something, it’s easy to do so thanks to the zippers going around the top and reaching both sides. You can grab what you need no matter which side you’re carrying it on. You can also put it on your front if you’re pairing it with a travel backpack through the airport, and it feels just as nice as on your back—it just looks a little awkward.
Inside The Sling
At 6L, this sling is a great size for smaller hikes and day trips. Plus, the Osprey Daylite Sling packs well. It lays flat and weighs only a half-pound. It’s also compact enough to slide beneath the seat in front of you on planes without cutting into that precious legroom.
The front pocket is an excellent spot to stash items you’ll want to grab quickly. The original had a front made of mesh, and while that was good for stuffing in slightly larger gear, the updated sling has a sturdier recycled polyester material. So you lose the flexibility while gaining durability, and since the pocket is still large, we’re happy for the update. It now opens in a short horseshoe shape across the top instead of along the left side. Since you can now carry the sling on either side, it wouldn’t make sense to keep the zipper on a side where it could open upside-down if you swing the sling to the front.
We find it a good spot for your phone and sunglasses, although a minimalist wallet and tissues also work well here. Depending on the size of your gear, you may even fit in all four. Otherwise, never fear; there’s more room in the main compartment.
That area can now also be opened on both sides thanks to a double-headed zipper that runs nearly entirely around the top of the bag, like a rainbow. Such a large opening makes it easy to pack and gives you plenty of wiggle room to open one side or the other, depending on how you’re holding the bag.
The main compartment organization now orients toward the top of the bag instead of facing the left side like the original bag. A sleeve against the back panel is large enough for an e-reader, Nintendo Switch, or small tablet, although there’s no padding on its front, so you’ll want to take care with what you place in front of the screen.
Against the front is one zippered mesh pocket in place of the two open mesh pockets on the original. It includes Osprey’s ubiquitous red key clip and leash and is a good spot for tiny travel accessories you want to be contained, like your AirPods, medication, dongles, or short cords.
We think it’s an ideal amount of organization for a bag of this size. It lets you organize your stuff but doesn’t eat into the open space of the compartment. If you don’t have an electronic device, we’ve kept sunscreen and a trail map in the sleeve, so you can choose your own adventure depending on your trip.
Aside from the pockets, this compartment can hold a good amount of stuff, and it’s great for a small camera or an extra layer or two. On our beach excursions, we’ve fit two bathing suits, two travel towels, and a small lunch. While it may have been handier to have a beach tote or backpack instead, the Daylite Sling gets the job done.
All in all, we’ve enjoyed testing the Osprey Daylite Sling. However, on longer hikes or day trips, you may wish for a full-on daypack because, despite the padding on the strap, it gets uncomfortable after a few hours. Now that you can switch shoulders, you can double that time frame, and we have to say that we haven’t run into many slings that don’t end up feeling that way after a while. It’s unavoidable when you’re carrying all the weight of your gear on one shoulder. That said, it’s great for those smaller excursions when you need to carry more than your pockets allow but not enough to justify a backpack.
Plus, we’ve got to give props to Osprey for the durable and sustainable materials they’re using in this updated version of the Daylite Sling. We find it holding up nicely against inclement weather, sweat, and carrying a lot of gear, and we have high hopes it will last for trips to come.
- Appreciate the ambidextrous carry options
- Dig the use of bluesign® approved materials
- Good strap padding for a sling
- The shoulder strap is very well padded and comfortable.
- Good choice of colors available
- Plenty of organization inside the sling.
- Easily swings to the front to quickly grab your gear
- Stashing bulky items in mesh pocket can interfere with using main compartment space
- Comfortable to carry for hours
- Still holding up nicely