tomtoc Explorer-H02 Sling Bag M Review
tomtoc’s Explorer-H02 Sling Bag M is useful for carrying casual tech, though it may be too big for many everyday essentials and doesn’t fit a laptop.
- Comfortable to carry for longer periods
- Tons of organization
- Durable, high-quality materials
- Too big for everyday essentials but too small for a laptop
- Strap slips out of adjustment
- Bounces while walking
1.1 lb (0.5 kg)
3.15 in x 14.17 in x 8.66 in (8 x 36 x 22 cm)
CORDURA® Ballistic Nylon, Polyester, Duraflex Hardware, YKK Zippers
Tablet Sleeve Size
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We don’t always need a laptop when we’re packing for vacation. Sometimes, it’s nice to leave work at home, right? That doesn’t mean you necessarily want to leave all tech behind, though, and that’s where the tomtoc Explorer-H02 Sling Bag M comes in. It allows you to carry multiple devices, including a smaller iPad or tablet, a Nintendo Switch, over-the-ear headphones, a battery bank, chargers, cords, and more.
To start, let’s address the name. The M in the tomtoc Explorer-H02 Sling Bag M refers to medium. It’s the 11-inch version of the bag, which you can also get in 8- and 14-inch styles (S and L) at the time of this review.
Whichever size you choose, this CORDURA® ballistic nylon bag is designed to be a convenient way to carry the essentials while exploring a new city. What, exactly, you deem essential will dictate which bag you choose, and while we go with the happy medium here, it has a rather large 7-liter capacity that holds quite a bit. We’re talking about multiple small devices, plus your phone, wallet and keys, snacks, light toiletries, passport and cash … We could go on, but you get the idea. We even used it to carry a large hardcover book back to the library because some of us still live the #analoglife.
To haul what you have packed, there’s a wide shiny webbing strap angling out of the top corners of each side. It’s adjustable, includes clip strap keepers, and it also has a long, thick shoulder pad. The strap is sewn to this pad, though, so you can’t slide it along the strap to lay where you like. Instead, we adjust each side to get the right placement for the pad.
There’s an adjuster on one side and a large buckle attached to the other side of the shoulder pad, both from Duraflex. We would say “front” or “back” sides, but this is an ambidextrous sling, so those indicators will change depending on the shoulder you wear it on. They’re easy to adjust, although we find the strap slips out of place as you wear it and if you pull it on and take it off over your head instead of unbuckling it. It doesn’t happen immediately, but it’s noticeable over time.
While there are no other handles, there are two side straps on the front of the bag. They kind of look like compression straps, but they aren’t adjustable, so you can’t tighten or loosen them up. You could use them as attachment points, but they’re rather thick to get through the opening of a standard carabiner. We haven’t found a use for them throughout the testing period, although we may be overthinking it; they may just be part of tomtoc’s design.
The tomtoc brand name parades down the right side of the bag’s front. The front pocket panel, bottom of the sling, and two-thirds of each side feature a water-resistant coating, and the main compartment zipper is also a water-resistant model from YKK. The YKK zippers all include Hypalon-like tabs stitched to the zipper pulls that make them easy to grasp.
The back panel features the same thick padding as the shoulder pad to prevent you from feeling the gear in your bag as you walk. That’s good because we find that this bag can bounce along with you as you walk, even when you get the fit dialed in. Fortunately, the padding on both the strap and back panel does a good job of keeping it comfortable even as it swings.
As we just mentioned, this is a comfortable sling. It’s definitely on the larger side, but the padded shoulder strap helps carry everything you packed inside. The all-black colorway—and for the 11-inch model, Black is the only colorway option—looks sleek and professional, so you can take this to business meetings, into nicer restaurants, and in planes, trains, and automobiles without fear of sticking out in the crowd.
It has the shape and styling of a messenger bag and hangs like one, too. You can wear it over one shoulder or crossbody, but we prefer the latter because it holds the bag in place more securely. Since the strap is adjustable, it’s easy to fit various body types, so this is a bag that you can share with a friend or family member. The only non-aesthetic piece to mention is that when you tighten the straps a lot, there’s still a bit of excess dangling below the strap keeper. Since it’s a clip style, it’s tricky to shove more inside, and it doesn’t seem like the clip can handle the extra.
Inside The Sling
Along with the spacious main compartment, which we’ll get to in a second, there are a few external pockets on the Explorer-H02 Sling Bag. Midway down the front of the bag, there’s a zippered front pocket. It’s pretty shallow at about 4 inches deep but is 11 inches wide and includes two slip pockets that split the width between them. There’s room in front of them, too, so you can use one for AirPods and the other for your minimalist wallet while still leaving room for a standard-size iPhone in front.
There’s also a red key leash ending in a swivel clip attached inside this pocket, so you may have to choose between your phone and keys if you carry very many and/or don’t want them to scratch your device. Don’t worry; there are plenty of other places to stow your phone elsewhere.
Along the back of the sling is a 6-by-13-inch padded pocket where you can stow boarding passes, your passport, extra cash, and other slim gear you want to keep close to your body. It has plenty of depth, so you can stow bulkier gear inside, but then you’ll feel it rubbing against your back or hip as you walk. Plus, as we mentioned above, there’s plenty of room in the main compartment for thicker and larger gear.
That section opens with a water-resistant zipper extending down to the shoulder strap, so you can open it widely to see inside. The compartment is divided into two fairly equal sections, and the padded divider protects a device on either side. On its front is a zippered pocket where you can stash small travel accessories or tech gear, although items aren’t hard to find on the bottom of the bag since it’s less than 9 inches deep. This pocket is also wide enough to hold your Nintendo Switch, if you prefer to slide it inside.
Adjacent to that pocket are two more mesh pouches. They divide the width evenly between themselves and are topped with elastic to hold your gear in place. Bulky wall chargers, cables, and battery banks work well here, as do larger phones. Since the main compartment zipper is double-sided, you can open the area just slightly to grab your phone without digging through the rest of the bag, so it’s just as convenient as the front pocket.
Overall, this sling seems made for someone who wants to travel with less tech instead of a full laptop setup. Since you can fit an iPad Air and smaller (although not an iPad Pro), plus a gaming device or e-reader and associated accessories, it definitely sits on the side of recreation instead of productivity. It could be great for students and vacation travelers who still want to bring some fun tech gear.
However, it’s on the larger side if you don’t routinely carry a lot of smaller gear or you usually need to bring a laptop. You’re also unable to compress it or cinch it smaller. If you are looking for a similar setup in a smaller size, you can try out the 8-inch version or pick up tomtoc’s Urban Sling Bag instead.
- Quite a bit of space for a sling
- Interested to test the comfort of the padded strap
- Plenty of pockets for gear
- Convenient way to carry a tablet and a Nintendo Switch
- Very wide, so may not fit all situations
- Good to use as a personal item bag on the plane