The Sling It is the second-smallest of Ortlieb's range of shoulder bags, but it's still surprisingly large and comfortable to carry.
In style and shape this is a scaled-down courier bag, with a main strap for your dominant shoulder and a secondary strap across your body for stability. There are two anchor points on the bag so you can swap the secondary strap over if you're left-handed, and a pad on the main strap helps keep it comfy.
The bag's made from Ortlieb's waterproof fabric that's also renowned for resisting most impacts and scrapes short of direct nuclear attack. You know how they say cockroaches will survive World War III? They'll be wearing Ortlieb shoulder bags.
When you fold the top flap, the top couple of inches of the bag fold too, giving a waterproof seal to protect your cargo. Inside there's a zipped pocket for valuables, a large main compartment and a sleeve for a tablet or small laptop.
The main compartment is surprisingly roomy. It just swallowed my SLR, a flashgun and a couple of spare lenses, and it'll easily take a pair of shoes and a change of clothes for the office run.
One thing it won't quite take though, is a 13in laptop, and that's annoying as Ortlieb offer notebook sleeves in 10in and 13in that are supposed to fit. You can slip in a 10in tablet, but try as I might I couldn't get a 13in laptop into the Small Sling-It.
The problem is that the 11in x 11in compartment just isn't big enough. Typical 13in laptops are 12-13in wide. Bottom line: if you want to carry anything bigger than a small netbook, get the Medium or Large Sling-It.
I'm forever rummaging in the bottom of bags and rucksacks for my keys so I really appreciated the Sling-It's key carrier. It attaches to the inside of the bag by a snap-lock buckle so it's easy to find and remove, and it's orange, so you can't really miss it against the bag's light grey interior.
Speaking of features that assist the inveterate rummager, there's an organiser with slots for pens and phones too, and that grey lining prevents black-cat-in-coal-cellar search frustration.
On the bike, it's stable and comfortable to carry, it keeps out the wet and its size means it doesn't look silly off the bike.
At £75 it's in the middle of the price range for decent quality on-bike shoulder bags. Go cheaper and you don't get Ortlieb's water resistance and durability. Go more expensive and you get larger bags with more bells and whistles like the quick-release buckles favoured by real messengers for super-quick access, side entry for pulling out small packages on delivery, reflectives and loops for blinky lights.
They're all nice to have, but unless you're delivering packages hour-in, hour-out, you can live without them. That puts the Sling-It in the Goldilocks zone for features and price.
Durable, waterproof and comfy shoulder bag; pity it won't take a laptop.
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Ortlieb Small Sling It bag
Size tested: Silver
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Ortlieb says: ORTLIEB's waterproof all-rounder. From high school and college to business and travel, the Sling-it has it covered. This bag will be your companion for adventure and any activity. The covering flap with Velcro seal offers all-round protection with fast access. The broad and adjustable shoulder strap with pad ensures comfortable transport. All sizes (except XS) feature a removable back strap for wearing the Sling-it on your back when biking. The internal features help you organize and offer plenty of room for laptops.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
_Two zippered internal pockets (size M &
_Spacious inner compartment with slots for pens, mobile phone etc.
_Removable internal snap hook for keys
_Optional accessories: Notebook Sleeves in 10" & 13.3' for size S, 15.4' for size M and 17' for size L
Tidy seams, and a general feel of having been designed and out together by people who really know what they're doing, in Germany.
Comfortable and easy to carry with a roomy main compartment, but Ortlieb need to refine their claims about the laptop size it'll swallow.
Ortlieb durability is legendary. I expect this bag will outlast me.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
You put it over your shoulder and it carries stuff. Nuff said.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Key holder, pale grey interior, clever flap design
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Claimed ability to swallow a 13in laptop not delivered.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
For construction, durability, value and usability this bag would score a 9; it really is very good. It loses a mark for claiming to be able to take a 13in laptop but not actually having enough room to do so.
About the tester
Age: 46 Height: 5ft 11in Weight: 85kg
I usually ride: Scapin Style My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding,
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.