Sling Bags Head-to-Head: TomToc VS NutSac
In our continued search for the best sling bags on the planet, today we’re putting a top contender from Amazon up against our own NutSac Sling Bag.
The TomToc Explorer H02 is a crafty and affordable little bag that’s available in three sizes, and we got our hands on one to test its functionality, ease of use, and overall durability. In this guide, we’ll compare and contrast the two bags, and give you some advice on which one might be best for you based on your specific needs (and budget).
Size and Shape
NutSac Sling: 11.5" x 8" x 3.5”, about 5 liters
TomToc Explorer H02 Sling: Three sizes: 8, 11, and 14 inch; 4.5, 7, or 9 liters
Whereas our NutSac Sling is standardized at one size, TomToc’s Explorer H02 comes in three different tech-friendly sizes. The smallest of the TomToc sizes can fit an iPad Mini, while the largest can squeeze in a 14-inch MacBook.
The shape and orientation of these two bags differ greatly. The NutSac Sling is designed to sit upright on your back when you’re carrying it crossbody, while TomToc’s Explorer sits almost horizontally (more like a messenger bag).
TomToc’s bags may have the leg up here when it comes to quick accessibility, while the NutSac Sling is a more comfortable carry that keeps your gear upright and in place while you’re walking around.
Materials and Construction
NutSac Sling: Waxed canvas OR 1000D Cordura
TomToc Explorer H02 Sling: Cordura ballistic nylon, synthetic interior
The NutSac Sling offers two different materials to choose from: A rugged waxed canvas, or a heavy-duty 1000D Cordura nylon. The waxed canvas gives a more casual look and feel and takes on a lovely patina over time, while the Cordura option is more tactical and hard-wearing.
TomToc’s Explorer uses a single material — Cordura — for its exterior but does not make any mention of the denier (thickness) for that material. In our testing of the bag, it doesn’t feel nearly as tough as the fabric used for the NutSac Sling. Inside the Explorer, a different and thinner grade of synthetic material is used.
So the two bags have a very different feel when it comes to materials and construction, with the NutSac Sling being much tougher and long-lasting. The relative thinness of TomToc’s Explorer is justified by its price though, which will discuss in a forthcoming section.
NutSac Sling: Internal molle panel, padded detachable strap, four-way zipper
TomToc Explorer H02 Sling: Four compartments, hidden back pocket, multiple size options
Going further into the design of both bags, you’ll see that the NutSac Sling and TomToc Explorer hold your gear quite differently.
NutSac’s Sling utilizes an internal molle panel for extra organization capacity, a four-way zipper for easy access at any angle, and a padded detachable strap that allows for ambidextrous carry. That’s all combined with an internal sleeve pocket, and an external quick-access zippered pocket.
TomToc’s Explorer also has a quick-access front pocket that we like the idea of, but the zippers aren’t very smooth or easy to work with. Inside the bag though, the main compartment opens up into multiple organization pockets, including two elastic mesh pockets, all of which feel like they’d be great for storing and organizing small electronic gear.
Lastly, the straps on these two bags are night-and-day different. NutSac’s Sling uses a padded ambidextrous strap for improved comfort, while the Explorer uses a single strap of thin nylon webbing. The heavier your everyday carry options are, the better that padded strap is going to feel; but if you’re traveling light, the TomToc’s strap will work just fine.
NutSac Sling: Urban or tactical EDC, buy-it-for-life quality
TomToc Explorer H02 Sling: Best for tight budgets
The main differentiating factor between these two bags comes down to their durability. If you’re looking for a bag that’s buy-it-for-life quality, the NutSac Sling is the clear winner; it’s just made of tougher stuff, and comes with a lifetime warranty to back it up.
However, if you’re looking to try out the sling bag style at a very affordable price, TomToc’s Explorer is a better option. It lacks some of the durability and style that pricier sling bags bring to the table, but makes up for it with accessibility in any budget range.
Country of Origin
NutSac Sling: Made in the USA
TomToc Explorer H02 Sling: China
A bag’s country of origin doesn’t guarantee anything about its quality — you can make a great (or terrible) bag anywhere in the world — but it does speak to the company’s commitments.
At NutSac, we stand by made-in-America manufacturing because of the relationships we can build with our producers and material suppliers, as well as the sort of community it builds with the people who own our bags. That makes for more expensive bags, but we think it’s a price worth paying, and we hope you do too.
Price and Warranty
NutSac Sling: $189
TomToc Explorer H02 Sling: $42.99 to $69.99
As mentioned previously, the TomToc Explorer is one of the most affordable EDC sling bags on the market today. It’s not going to offer the same sort of quality in materials and construction as more expensive bags, but if you really need a sling and don’t have much to spend on it, TomToc will be your best bet.
But if you’re looking to invest in a sling bag that will last you a lifetime, the NutSac Sling is the better choice. It’s more expensive, yes, but it’s also backed up by a lifetime guarantee.
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.”
TomToc, on the other hand, offers a one-year factory warranty for their bags that covers any imperfections in the materials and construction.
The major difference between these two bags is quite clear: TomToc’s Explorer is designed as an affordable option with versatile sizing, while the NutSac Sling is intended as a buy-it-for-life bag that will stay with you forever. The former is about as affordable as EDC slings come, while the latter is an investment in your future everyday carry efficiency.