Sling bags are a favorite of ours at Pack Hacker. If nothing else, they’re great for a quick pocket dump while waiting in the TSA line at the airport. They have a reputation for being the polar opposite of stylish and unhip to wear when out and about exploring daily. The Carhartt WIP Essentials Bag comes in—it has all of the sling’s usefulness while remaining low-key and seamlessly blending into the streets.

It contains two compartments for your daily needs, as well as a couple of front pockets for more minor things. The front pockets are smaller than we thought and might be difficult to reach depending on what you want to put inside. During our two weeks of testing, we found the bag solid, durable, and dependable in general. Let’s start with the ingredients and work our way down to the finer points of this trustworthy daily companion.

Aesthetics & Materials

We began by stating that although we are lovers of slings in general, we are also fans of Carhartt. They’re a well-known company that makes sturdy working-class gear like heavy coats and boots. They also produce outdoor equipment such as backpacks, duffel bags, etc. Because the kit is aimed toward manual workers, the overall look is tough and durable. Bonus points for being based in Michigan, where Pack Hacker is based. Greetings, neighbors!

Carhartt’s WIP line is distinct from the company’s original portfolio, and it makes the company’s more durable clothing more accessible for daily usage. So, instead of a heavy-duty garment designed to keep anglers dry on turbulent seas, the WIP line offers a lighter alternative. This isn’t to say that the items aren’t long-lasting.

Carhartt WIP Essentials Bag logoWhen choosing a camo hue, we usually go with it, so that’s what we did here. Dark Navy, Black, and Hamilton-Brown are some of the more modest color options for the bag. The bag is composed of a strong duck canvas made of polyester. This fabric is often seen on Carhartt goods. However, it’s a little thinner in the WIP line. And we don’t mean just a smidgeon. The bag is relatively firm due to the material’s rigidity, which helps it maintain its form. The bag is also rather substantial, even when empty, so it will add additional weight to your trip backpack if you intend to use it as a daily vehicle for activities after you’ve arrived.

We can confirm that this cloth has a water-resistant coating that works well if you are caught in a deluge. We had some unusual weather during our testing period, including many days of intermittent, heavy rain. Nothing inside the Carhartt WIP Essentials Bag got wet in the sprint from the vehicle to the building, but being caught in it was no fun. We can’t tell for sure if it’ll be as effective if you’re stranded outdoors for hours in a torrential rainstorm, but the bag will keep you dry for at least a short time.

Carhartt WIP Essentials Bag YKK zippersThe bag is also equipped with YKK 5 zippers, which gives us reason to be optimistic about its quality. Though there is some chipping on the zippers themselves, we haven’t had any problems with them breaking (which would suck). However, because of the stiffness of the fabric, the zipper on the rear compartment might be a touch sticky when traveling around corners.

They’re complemented with long nylon zipper pulls to provide some traction and make zipping easier. The zipper pulls are also printed with “Carhartt WIP.” Although we prefer things with less obvious branding, it is what it is. We like the old-school sewn Carhartt logo on the front pocket.

Usage & Features

Carhartt WIP Essentials Bag fit notesThere are two compartments on the front of this bag: one tiny velcro-closed pocket and another zipped pocket. Since the velcro pocket is narrow and fashioned like a phone, we assumed it would be large enough to carry one. However, it is unlikely to fit unless you have a Nokia phone from 2008. We’re not criticizing you if you have one; this pocket didn’t work for us with an iPhone 12. Finally, we stuffed a tiny Matador Ultralight Travel Towel inside to absorb sweat on hot days, and it fits wonderfully. Put any small items in here, such as gum, hair ties, or emergency medication. Whatever makes you happy.

A vertical zippered pocket is hidden underneath the VELCRO pocket. Small flat things such as a metro card, credit card, or boarding ticket are more suited to this one (folded in half). This pocket is similar to the velcro pocket; however, it is also rather tiny. Even if you put your credit card in here, the space is so small that it’s difficult to get your hand inside to get it. Despite the fact that the pocket itself spans the full front of the bag, the entrance is very tiny. As a result, when you put your hand inside, you wind up scratching it on the zipper, particularly if you’re trying to get anything on the other side.

Carhartt WIP Essentials Bag small pocketThis compartment of the Carhartt WIP Essentials Bag is a little snug, but a tiny Matador Ultralight Travel Towel fits inside. The bag’s inside compartments are much more useful and capacious. The main compartment is divided into two halves, which are somewhat smaller than the other. Both open in a horseshoe shape, but you can see everything within due to their modest size. The first compartment provides plenty of room for your phone, keys, and wallet. Another flat zippered pocket is located at the rear of this compartment. We discovered that this pocket is a better place to keep cash, cards that need to be accessed quickly, and a boarding ticket than the front pocket.

The secondary compartment is somewhat smaller than the main compartment, but as long as it isn’t overstuffed, it doesn’t take up much room in the main box. Inside, we were able to fit a Skyroam Solis Lite hotspot, a face mask, and a set of headphones to remain connected on the road. While the lack of interior order may upset some people, we found that it was ideal for emptying your pockets at the airport. Of course, if you want to, you may carry a tiny bag inside, but we didn’t find it essential since the two different sections work as dividers to help you arrange your belongings.

Carhartt WIP Essentials Bag main compartments openCarhartt WIP Essentials Bag | The two pockets make it easy to keep track of your belongings. So, whether you’re looking for a sling to carry your valuables through the TSA line, a tiny bag to utilize when exploring a new city, or simply a bag to carry your everyday things, the Carhartt WIP Essentials Bag has you covered. After all, it’s in the name. We merely wish the front pockets were broader and easier to get into.

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