Building the perfect travel hydration sling bag: an origin story

Building the perfect travel hydration sling bag: an origin story

We built the EDC Travel Sling to fill the gap between a fanny pack and a backpack, but in a way that wouldn't force you to pack an extra bag and go over your carry-on bag limit in today's increasingly hostile commercial air travel environment.

Like IceVents, the idea for the EDC Travel Sling came to me while I was on vacation with my wife. We were on a fall hiking trip in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee in October 2020. We originally planned for this trip to be a "quiet reading weekend" because the weather forecast called for some light rain and we had never been to this part of the Smokey Mountains before so we didn't know what to expect. I packed accordingly.

However, as soon as we arrived at our destination, my wife took one look at the trail map and decided that we had to hike them. Just like that, our plans changed completely. If you've been married for more than five minutes, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Instead of cloudy, raining and chilly, the weather ended up being clear, sunny and humid. Even a balmy 85 degrees under the lush canopy of the Smokey Mountains made for near-ideal hiking. While the weather was too hot and humid for a backpack, it was also not difficult or long enough to warrant a backpack. Four to six mile hikes are a descent workout, but they hardly require advanced load planning skills.

I needed something that was smaller, lighter and more breathable than a backpack, but way cooler looking than a fanny pack. I needed something that could attach to a backpack so that when I flew, the assembly didn't count against my carry-on bag allowance. I needed a pairing that, when fully assembled, still easily fit in the overhead bin of a Coach cabin on a narrow-body 737 or A320. I needed something that could carry a water bottle purchased in a place like the rural Smokey Mountains where I didn't have the foresight to pack an IcePlate Curve.

Problems with Backpacks for this type of trip:

  • too big
  • lack of versatility
  • too hot/not breathable
  • sub-optimal for defensive tools/personal protection
  • items not accessible during activity (iPhone/camera, snacks, etc.)

Problems with Fanny Packs for this trip:

  • looks dumb, will get you served with divorce papers
  • most can't carry hydration without being enormous and bulky
  • lacks versatility for air travel (carry on bag penalty without great utility)
  • items more accessible than a backpack, but still not super accessible 

Clearly, there was a need for something smaller, lighter and more versatile than a backpack while being cooler looking and more capable than a fanny pack. The first concepts that entered my mind were those of bandoleers for shotgun and 40mm ammo. I grabbed my iPad Pro, made a few quick sketches, emailed them to our Design Team around midnight and went to sleep dreaming about what would become the EDC Travel Sling roughly 18 months later.


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