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Aer Travel Pack 2 Review

The durable fabric, compression straps, and organizational pockets make this travel bag a versatile option
Aer Travel Pack 2
Photo: Aer
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Price:  $230 List
Pros:  Comfortable, compressible, good for 3-7 day trips, versatile, good organization
Cons:  Compression straps get in the way, subpar volume to weight ratio
Manufacturer:   Aer
By Hayley Thomas ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 25, 2021
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72
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 13
  • Comfort - 25% 8
  • Features - 25% 7
  • Packing & Accessibility - 25% 7
  • Volume to Weight Ratio - 15% 5
  • Durability - 10% 9

Our Verdict

The Aer Travel Pack 2 is both durable and versatile. The 1680D Cordura ballistic nylon ensures that you won't be replacing it due to wear and tear and the compression straps make this a great option for both weekend getaways or week-long work trips. The clamshell opening main compartment is slightly structured with foam making it easy to pack with or without packing cubes and the breathable padding on the back panel and shoulder straps make wearing it a breeze. Overall, the Aer is a great pack for those seeking versatility.

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Aer Travel Pack 2
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Aer Travel Pack 2
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award 
Price $230 List$300 List$149.00 at REICheck 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 organizationComfortable, innovative, feature rich, sturdy, great for camera gearTapered for easy loading, comfortable harness system, adventure friendly, very lightVersatile, sleek, camera box, vented wet shoe compartmentVersatile, duffel-like ease of use, simplistic features, max volume carry
Cons Compression straps get in the way, subpar volume to weight ratioHeavy, expensive, finite amount of spaceDoes not sit upright, laptop sleeve unpaddedNo waist belt or sternum strap, no water bottle holder, back panel not very breathable, tallSoft 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 optionThis beautiful and comfortable pack will have the weekend getaway enthusiast, business traveler, or avid photographer swooningWith 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 legWith its convertible camera cube, ventilated shoe compartment, and padded device sleeve this travel bag was made for the outdoor photographer on the goA 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...
Comfort (25%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
5.0
Features (25%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
9.0
Packing & Accessibility (25%)
7.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
9.0
Volume To Weight Ratio (15%)
5.0
6.0
10.0
9.0
8.0
Durability (10%)
9.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
9.0
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
Detachable Daypack? No No No No No
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
Laptop Sleeve Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Waist Belt Type Padded N/A Padded None None
Sternum Strap Yes N/A Yes Yes Yes
Different sizes? Yes No Yes No Yes
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.

Performance Comparison


The Aer is a comfortable and versatile pack.
The Aer is a comfortable and versatile pack.
Photo: Matthew Blake

Comfort


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.

This pack rocks nicely padded shoulder straps.
This pack rocks nicely padded shoulder straps.
Photo: Matthew Blake

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.

While it does not come with a waist belt, Aer does offer an...
While it does not come with a waist belt, Aer does offer an affordable one sold separately.
Photo: Matthew Blake

Features


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 compression straps are very handy and help keep your pack safe...
The compression straps are very handy and help keep your pack safe from theft.
Photo: Matthew Blake

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.

While the compression straps come in handy, they can also make...
While the compression straps come in handy, they can also make getting into the main compartment feel cumbersome.
Photo: Matthew Blake

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.

The easy access compartment is equipped with stretchy pockets that...
The easy access compartment is equipped with stretchy pockets that help keep smaller items organized.
Photo: Matthew Blake

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.

The laptop sleeve compartment opens separately from the main...
The laptop sleeve compartment opens separately from the main compartment.
Photo: Matthew Blake

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.

The shoe compartment takes up a majority of the main compartment...
The shoe compartment takes up a majority of the main compartment when filled.
Photo: Matthew Blake

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).

The Aer may be heavy, but its weight is distributed nicely.
The Aer may be heavy, but its weight is distributed nicely.
Photo: Matthew Blake

Durability


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.

The plastic hardware is made by Duraflex, a brand we trust.
The plastic hardware is made by Duraflex, a brand we trust.
Photo: Matthew Blake

Value


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.

Conclusion


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.

With its stellar organization and comfortable carry, the Aer is a...
With its stellar organization and comfortable carry, the Aer is a great travel bag with excellent durability.
Photo: Matthew Blake

Hayley Thomas