Aer Travel Pack 2 Review
Cons: Compression straps get in the way, subpar volume to weight ratio
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Aer Travel Pack 2
|Price||$230 List||$299.95 at REI|
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|$149.00 at REI||Check Price at Backcountry|
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|Check Price at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Comfortable, compressible, good for 3-7 day trips, versatile, good organization||Comfortable, innovative, feature rich, sturdy, great for camera gear||Tapered for easy loading, comfortable harness system, adventure friendly, very light||Versatile, sleek, camera box, vented wet shoe compartment||Versatile, duffel-like ease of use, simplistic features, max volume carry|
|Cons||Compression straps get in the way, subpar volume to weight ratio||Heavy, expensive, finite amount of space||Does not sit upright, laptop sleeve unpadded||No waist belt or sternum strap, no water bottle holder, back panel not very breathable, tall||Soft body sags when not stuffed, harness system not fit for long adventures|
|Bottom Line||The durable fabric, compression straps, and organizational pockets make this travel bag a versatile option||This beautiful and comfortable pack will have the weekend getaway enthusiast, business traveler, or avid photographer swooning||With its tapered shape and backpacking pack structure, this is the perfect bag for the outdoor adventurist that doesn't want to spend an arm and leg||With its convertible camera cube, ventilated shoe compartment, and padded device sleeve this travel bag was made for the outdoor photographer on the go||A well thought out, user-friendly, and versatile pack fortified by an Ironclad guarantee and cutting edge company ethics|
|Rating Categories||Aer Travel Pack 2||Peak Design Travel 45||REI Co-op Ruckpack 40||Mammut Seon Cargo 35L||Patagonia Black Hol...|
|Packing & Accessibility (25%)|
|Volume To Weight Ratio (15%)|
|Specs||Aer Travel Pack 2||Peak Design Travel 45||REI Co-op Ruckpack 40||Mammut Seon Cargo 35L||Patagonia Black Hol...|
|Volume of Main Compartment||33L||45L||40L||35L||45L|
|Measured Weight||3.7 lbs||4.51 lbs||2.10 lbs||2.10 lbs||3.35 lbs|
|Volume to Weight Ratio (bigger is better)||8.92||9.98||19.05||16.67||13.43|
|Dimensions (inches)||21.5 x 13.5 x 8.5||21 x 13 x 6.5||24 x 13 x 10||24 x 14 x 9||22.8 x 8.6 x 14.5|
|Carry-on Size? (22 x 14 x 9 in)||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes, if squished|
|Dimensions When Stuffed (inches)||21.5 x 13.5 x 9||21 x 10 x 14||22 x 9 x 14||24 x 14 x 9||22 x 14 x 10|
|Fabrics||1680D Cordura ballistic nylon||400D nyon and polyester||recycled nylon ripstop and recycled polyester lining (bluesign approved)||600D waterproof polyester, 840D ballistic nylon||Polyester ripstop with TPU laminate|
|Frame Type||Internal framsheet||Foam padding||Ventilated mesh||Foam padding||Foam backpanel|
|Access Type||Clamshell||Top and panel loading, zips all the way open||Top loading||Panel loading||Clamshell design|
|Number of Pockets||1 main, 2 outter zipper, 3 elastic, 2 pen pockets, 1 inner zipper, 1 open top, 1 shoe compartmnet, 1 easy access top zippered, 1 mesh zipper in main, 1 opaque zippered in main, 1 water bottle||6 zip, 2 watter bottle||6 zip, 7 no zip, 2 water bottle||3 small zippered, 1 ventilated, 1 camera comparment, 1 main||9 zip, 8 no zip|
|Waist Belt Type||Padded||N/A||Padded||None||None|
|Volume Options||28L, 33L||45L||18L, 28L, 40L, 65L||35L||26L, 45L|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Whether you're off on a weekend beach getaway or stuffing your pack full of heavy winter clothes, the Aer will surely get you there in style without sacrificing comfort. This simple travel bag is both durable, comfortable, and versatile — a true one size fits all.
The Travel Pack 2 scores highly in our comfort category. Its internal frame sheet and overall structure provide optimal support, regardless of the weight. With its thick padded mesh back panel and foam shoulder straps, this bag is comfortable for any body type. The harness system, which includes shoulder and sternum straps, is completely adjustable and the pack comes with the attachment points for a removable hip belt.
The hip belt is sold separatel but it is inexpensive, so tacking it onto your order won't break the bank. It is debatable whether or not a 33-liter travel bag requires a hip belt, but we appreciate having the option. The harness system is void of load lifters, which can make a huge difference in the way weight is distributed. The Travel Pack protrudes far off your back when stuffed to the gills, but even when we were carrying a heavy load we didn't feel as though we were going to topple over backward.
The Aer Travel is a well-thought-out travel bag. From its 4 compression straps to the back panel pass-through for luggage handles, this pack renders itself very versatile. It is 33 liters and easily allows for travel of 3-7 days. If you're packing light, the compression straps do a great job of compressing your bag, ensuring that all your goodies aren't flopping around in the main compartment. They also sit over the main compartment zipper for added security. Speaking of security, the main compartment and front compartment come equipped with lockable zippers. The carry handles are appropriately padded, which makes sliding this bag under the seat in front of you or out of an overhead bin a breeze. The pack also comes with a handy zip-away water bottle pocket. When unzipped, the pocket reveals a stretchy compartment for your bottle. It is a little tight for larger bottles but stretches out over time.
The only complaint we have in this department is a bit of a double-edged sword. The compression straps cross over the main compartment zipper. From a security standpoint, this feature is great but opening up your pack can feel cumbersome as you have to unclip all 4 buckles before accessing the main compartment. You can always leave these straps unclipped, but they will dangle off the pack as there is nowhere to tuck them.
Packing & Accessibility
The Aer Travel comes equipped with a plethora of different pockets and nifty compartments. The quick-access device pocket has an asymmetrical half zip and a waterproof zipper. This compartment is heavily padded, located closest to your back, and opens separately from the main compartment ensuring your devices' safety. The lay-flat main compartment is spacious and slightly structured to ensure easy packing with or without packing cubes. It has two zippered pockets located on the flap, one of which is mesh for easy visibility. The outside pocket also offers a solid amount of organization for your smaller knick-knacks.
There is a separate shoe compartment at the bottom of the pack which fits up to a men's size 13. This compartment can also be used for dirty laundry or anything else you'd rather keep separate from the rest of your clean clothes. There are two larger zippered compartments on the front of the pack and one hidden quick-access pocket at the top. The larger of the two front pockets offer organization for your smaller trinkets via stretchy pockets. It also has a notebook slot which we love.
While the Aer is a thoughtful pack, there is still room for improvement. The separate shoe compartment is huge. It takes up about half of the main compartment when filled. This can make packing a little difficult. It can be easily ignored and packed over when unused but it is a little excessive. The quick-access pocket is right at the top of the pack. It is somewhat hidden between other zippers, but we do not suggest storing cash or your passport there if you are concerned about theft. We love the zip-away water bottle pocket but it is definitely a tight squeeze for larger bottles.
Volume to Weight Ratio
The Travel Pack 2 performs very poorly in this department. It weighs 3.7 pounds and offers a carrying capacity of just 33 liters. That said, we were able to stuff the main compartment with a lot of clothing, and the weight is distributed nicely (as long as we didn't have a large pair of shoes in the separate shoe compartment).
This pack is made mostly of durable 1680D Cordura ballistic nylon. This tough basket-weave synthetic is both durable and weather-resistant. The plastic hardware clips are made by Duraflex and all the zippers are YKK. We appreciate having known names backing the hardware and did not experience any issues in the durability department during our hands-on testing.
While the Aer Travel Pack is not the most expensive bag we have tested, it is still a bit of an investment. However, it is versatile and durable so if you are looking for an all-in-one that is going to last then it's a great option.
The Aer Travel Pack 2 performs well across all our categories but one. Unfortunately, it doesn't do so well in the Volume to Weight section. We feel that this can be easily overlooked with how comfortable, feature-rich, and packable it is. From the plethora of pockets for optimal organization to the compression straps that act as a security measure to the lockable main compartments, this is clearly a thoughtful piece of kit. Whether you are going off on a pleasure-filled weekend trip or you need something reliable for week-long work travels, the Aer is sure to do the trick.
— Hayley Thomas