In coordination with our big video overview and guide to the seven best sling bags for everyday carry, we’re diving deep into the nuts and bolts of sling bags with a series of head-to-head reviews and comparisons.
The idea here is to go from our top-level overviews provided in the video and the main article, and get into a granular comparison to help you narrow down exactly which sling bag is right for you.
First up: A head-to-head comparison of the NutSac Sling Bag with the Alpaka Bravo Sling Max Pro. Each of the bags excels at a certain range of purposes, so let’s take a closer look at where each one might fit into your EDC setup by going through each quality in detail.
Size and Shape
- NutSac Sling: 11.5" x 8" x 3.5”, about 5 liters
- Alpaka Bravo Sling: 15.35” x 10.24” x 5.51”, 10 liters
Right away, you’re going to notice that there’s a big difference between the sizes and shapes of these two bags.
Alpaka’s sling measures in at over 15 inches at its widest dimension, making it large enough to hold a 14-inch MacBook Pro.
Comparatively, the NutsSac sling is less than 12 inches at its largest side, and is sized to hold up to an iPad Mini.
All said and done, Alpaka’s sling has about twice the total storage capacity as the NutSac sling. In our experience, the Alpaka bag acts almost more like a replacement for your backpack than a casual sling bag, whereas the NutSac sling is meant more for a pared-down EDC style.
Materials and Construction
- NutSac Sling: Waxed canvas OR 1000D Cordura
- Alpaka Bravo Sling: 1000D ballistic nylon and cutproof polyethylene
Whereas the sizes and storage capacities of these two slings are really different, their materials and construction are actually remarkably similar. They’re both made to last and can do a great job of protecting your gear, with Cordura’s sought-after toughness and durability.
Inside the bags though you’ll find some differences. The Alpaka sling, owing to its design as an all-purpose tech bag, has a microfiber lining and laptop sleeve. the NutSac sling maintains the same materials throughout the interior and exterior and includes molle webbing that’s compatible with any tactical EDC gear you might have.
The NutSac sling bag also has the benefit of being available in a heavy duty waxed canvas material. If you’re looking for a bag with a different aesthetic — and one that will age gracefully and develop a unique-to-you patina over time — then NutSac’s sling has the edge.
Overall then, both bags are especially durable, but the intended purposes of their materials and designs are quite different. Alpaka’s sling is purpose-built for tech-centric everyday carry, while the NutSac sling is more of a hybrid tactical/all-purpose sling with a smaller capacity.
- NutSac Sling: Internal molle panel, padded detachable strap, four-way zipper
- Alpaka Bravo Sling: Aqua guard zippers, magnetic buckle, large capacity
In the selection of features for each sling bag, you’ll really start to see more of the differences in design and purpose.
the NutSac sling is designed with an integrated molle panel for compatibility with tactical gear, an ambidextrous quick-change strap, and a four-way zipper for easy access.
The Alpaka sling also has a reversible strap system, but it’s made of plastic — and therefore not quite as durable. It also has Aqua Guard zippers for even greater water resistance, and a magnetic buckle for quick on-and-off. It also has more pockets than NutSac’s sling, and a luggage pass-through that would be convenient for the frequent flyer.
- NutSac Sling: Urban or tactical EDC, buy-it-for-life quality
- Alpaka Bravo Sling: Tech-centric everyday carry, digital nomads
All of those details bring us right back around to the main question here: What are each of these bags really meant to be used for?
For the Alpaka sling, it’s pretty darned clear that it’s meant as a tech-centric bag. It’s large enough to hold a laptop, lined with microfiber cloth, and almost completely waterproof. That all comes with a tradeoff of being significantly larger, and not as convenient for quick or minimalist EDC styles.
the NutSac sling isn’t going to be carrying your laptop anytime soon, but that’s by design. It’s meant more for use as a pared-down carry option — smaller than a backpack or a messenger bag, and with quick access and versatile organization options through its molle webbing.
So if you’re looking for a sling to replace your backpack or messenger bag, the Alpaka is the way to go. But if you’re looking for a smaller bag for when you don’t need a full gear loadout, the NutSac sling is the better choice.
Country of Origin
- NutSac Sling: Made in the USA
- Alpaka Bravo Sling: Made in China
NutSac stands by a commitment to manufacturing its gear right here in the United States, because we believe in Made-in-America quality and the sort of community that it can build. But we also understand that it’s pricier, as you’ll see in the next section — and that’s an element that you’ll have to balance in your final estimation of which bag is better for you.
Price and Warranty
- NutSac Sling: 189
- Alpaka Bravo Sling: $129
The price of a bag, combined with its manufacturing and materials, speaks for itself.
The warranty on any piece of gear, though, is where you’ll sometimes find differences in value.
For both the Alpaka and NutSac slings, the warranties are very similar.
Here’s the warranty for NutSac’s bags:
“Our bags are built to last. We use the best quality materials and the highest quality sewing. We stand behind our bags. We guarantee the quality of our craftsmanship and materials for the lifetime of the bag. If there is a defect in the materials or workmanship we will repair or replace the bag at our discretion. Damages not covered are those resulting from abuse, normal wear and tear, cosmetic damages that do not affect the functionality of the bag (such as scratches or stained fabrics). The NutSac bag is sewn by hand and might contain some slight imperfections.”
And here’s the warranty for Alpaka’s bags:
“We're committed to making some of the best bags in the world. If something were to go wrong, we feel like we've let you down. This is why we offer a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects. If at any time after purchase you find a manufacturing defect, please contact us at email@example.com and send us a video or images. We will assess the damage and try to repair it free of charge.
After contacting us, it might make more sense to go to your local bag repairer. We will cover the repair. Approval from us is required before taking this route.
Please note that if you send the bag back you will need to arrange and pay for your own postage and we cannot refund these costs. We can’t take responsibility for anything lost in the post so please use a tracked service.
If for some reason the product cannot be repaired, we will either: give you store credit or provide a new product of the same value.”
Hopefully, after reading through this you’ll be entirely clear on which bag is right for you. The main difference in the bags seems to be in their intended purpose — with the Alapaka sling designed as a tech-centric replacement for a messenger bag or backpack, and the NutSac sling as a compact everyday carry solution with an urban and tactical bent.