Timbuk2 Slacker Chest Pack Review
The Timbuk2 Slacker Chest Pack’s simple single-compartment design doesn’t preclude it from having robust build quality, so it’s simple and substantial.
- Long key leash can reach locks with relative ease
- Single-compartment layout means you only have to manage one space
- Materials and build quality feel robust
- Key leash can get in the way if not tucked in mesh pocket
- Gear slides to one side when worn across the chest and not fully packed
- There’s only one compartment with minimal organization
0.44 lb (0.2 kg)
11.2 in x 3.94 in x 2.48 in (28.4 x 10 x 6.3 cm)
Recycled Nylon, Recycled Polyester
More often than not, going for a basic sling comes with the caveat of quality: thin fabrics, shoddy hardware, and an uncomfortable carry. You’ll have to shell out more for better quality, but better slings usually come with a lot of bells and whistles; too much if you’re just looking for something simple.
Meet the Timbuk2 Slacker Chest Pack. Not only does it feel robust, but it’s also made out of recycled fabric. Its main strength is its simple design, with just one compartment, a single strap, and a no-nonsense shape. Those looking for a mile-long list of features may want to look elsewhere. However, if it’s quality and simplicity you’re after, keep reading our review and see if this is the right sling for you.
The exterior of the Slacker Chest Pack looks more or less like any other sling. From the shape, size, and color, it doesn’t really stand out from the crowd, which is typical for Timbuk2. It’s a brand whose styling usually doesn’t break the mold. Instead, it leans into the inconspicuous and stealthy. That’s not a bad thing, per se, especially if you’re looking for a sling that won’t draw unnecessary attention.
Besides, there’s something arguably more important to set the Slacker Chest Pack apart: 100% recycled nylon and polyester fabric. Yes, using recycled materials is not uncommon, but it’s not totally ubiquitous either. They’re made from both pre- and post-consumer materials, so you can be confident that you’re wearing a sling targeting both ends of the pipeline. What’s more, the Slacker Chest Pack doesn’t feel any less durable despite using recycled materials.
The nylon fabric feels durable, particularly at the base, where it feels notably heavier than the rest. This makes sense since it’s the part that will make contact on surfaces most of the time. The YKK zipper and its chunky track also feel similarly beefy, and the zippers are paired with paracord pulls tipped with plastic casings to make them easier to grip. If we’re nitpicking, we’d say that the plastic tips are excessive, given the emphasis on being earth-friendly.
At the front is Timbuk2’s logo, and it also doubles as a loop where you can attach tiny accessories like a bike light. While we’d usually stop and move on to the next feature, we should give kudos to Timbuk2. Whereas other brands would’ve been content with a simple ribbon-like loop tacked to the front, the one on the Slacker Chest Pack is thick and substantial. If we did put a bike light here, we wouldn’t worry about it falling off because of weak stitching.
The Slacker Chest Pack’s strap feels similarly robust. It’s a simple strap that’s parallel to the pack itself. For hardware, it has an adjuster in the middle and a buckle on the right side (if you’re wearing the pack). The buckle is quite large, but you’ll barely feel it press onto you since it’s directly beside the sling. The strap itself is relatively wide but very soft, so it doesn’t feel abrasive against bare skin. Moreover, it’s also smooth enough that feeding it through the adjuster isn’t a hassle.
Complementing the robust strap is a proper back panel. Yes, it’s not just plain fabric; there is actual padding and mesh, which is more than what you can say about other slings/waist packs. The question is, does it actually help with comfort?
The answer is yes. Comfort is quite good whether you wear the Slacker Chest Pack as a sling or waist pack. It definitely feels more at home across the chest as a sling because the relatively soft structure lets the shape conform to your body wherever you position it. Of course, the padded mesh back panel helps ensure it rests gently against you.
A key observation we have about the Slacker Chest Pack is that it’s very easy to handle. You can switch from waist pack to sling mode very quickly and vice versa, and the same goes for moving the strap from shoulder to shoulder or front to back. It’s the strap’s simplicity and ease of adjustment that enable this, and we like it.
Inside The Sling
On the other hand, users may find the Slacker Chest Pack a bit too minimal when it comes to pockets. Simply put, there are no secondary pockets. It only has a main compartment, and that’s it. The closest thing to secondary storage it has is the front loop. So, if you want multiple pockets, you may want to look elsewhere. On the other hand, this main compartment-only approach is preferable if you like managing one compartment without thinking too much about organizing.
The main compartment opens in a crescent shape, giving you a wide view of the interior. A bright gray liner and a relatively shallow floor aid visibility, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble sorting through all the gear you throw inside. All of this is greatly helpful since you can fit a ton of gear in this two-liter sling.
The interior is quite roomy, even for a two-liter sling. That said, since that volume is spread out into a banana shape, packing it will require some level of strategizing. Specifically, you have to layer items back to front, with the lengthier gear sitting at the back and the shorter ones in front. Fortunately, most of the things we put inside are long and thin, like a wallet, smartphone, packet of wet wipes, and medium-sized power bank.
Unfortunately, we did not fully pack the main compartment most of the time, with a negative side effect: all of the gear inside slid towards one side since we wore the sling across the chest. One solution is to pack more gear than needed so that there’s no room for anything to move around. Needless to say, it’s not a good solution for those trying to minimize the number of items they bring. The good news is that there’s a stretchy mesh pocket at the back where you can put smaller accessories, and it does a good job stopping half the gear inside from tumbling around.
There’s also a built-in key leash that you can use to keep track of your keys. It has a rather long leash, which we like since it lets us unlock doors without detaching a key each time. However, with a leash this long, it’s necessary to store the entire length in the mesh pocket; otherwise, it can get in the way of other items.
- Digging the banana-like shape
- A bit large, but the somewhat shallow design lays nicely for a slimmer fit
- We like the bright accents inside
- Gear easily falls to one side when in sling mode
- Super comfortable in any of the carry positions
- Pretty roomy for 2 liters