If you've read any of my travel columns about "traveling light" you know that I'm obsessed with finding bags that don't have to be checked and can carry your entire trip in one pack. Recently a company of our San Francisco caught my attention with their Travel Pack model, a perfect hybrid of backpack and carry on luggage that functions like your favorite luggage and backpack at once.
The Aer SF guys were nice enough to send me one of their Travel Packs for a test run, so I packed it up to the max and headed out for a seven-day trip to see how it faired. Here are my thoughts.
Packability - One of my favorite features of this bag is the ability to flip the main panel all the way back so you can pack it like you would a standard carry-on suitcase. The main compartment has ample space to pack for up to a 10-day trip if you are a smart packer and armed with multi-wear clothing from brands like Unbound, Duckworth, Y-Athletics, etc. You technically could even go longer with it if you had to and were doing a little light washing along the way. The Travel Pack also features an extra shoe compartment which is clutch if you need to have a pair of nicer shoes with you on the road. I like to roll with a pair of chucks packed in that compartment and some Chelsea or chukka boots like Clae's Richard SP for more dressed up occasions.
For you jet-setters, The Travel Pack also meets international carry on standards, so you don't have to worry about taking it overseas.
Construction - This pack is extremely well made, from the 1680D Cordura® ballistic nylon exterior to the lux YKK® Japanese zippers, the Aer guys focused on every detail. When you are carrying around a bag like this as both your travel bag and portable pack during your stay, it's going to take a lot of abuse and the Travel Pack is up for the abuse. I also loved the sealed zippers to help prevent any moisture or weather from seeping into your compartments, as you are eventually going to get caught out in the rain or snow.
Organization & Comfort - The bag has a ton of compartments for you to zip away your sunnies, passport, keys, chargers, extra batteries and whatever else you are bringing along for the ride. The padded laptop compartment can comfortably fit a 15" computer and even has space for an iPad, so you never have to worry about your computer getting damaged. To top it all off, there is an expandable water bottle pocket on the side that can also be used for an umbrella as well which is super handy.
The padded handle is great for when you need to grab and carry the pack, and the perfectly cushioned straps and back panel will keep you comfortable when it's on your back for long periods of time.
If you are a business traveler and want to travel with just one bag, the bag's compression straps can crunch the bag down, so it's less bulky and looks like a typical business bag. Just empty out your clothing and other gear, yank down the straps and you have a compact day bag you can roll with to meetings and daily activities.
Summary - If you are a frequent traveler that wants to keep your load light and compact, the Aer Travel Pack is one of the best bags that I've ever tested for this purpose. It has tons of room, easily fits under your seat and in overhead bins, is made like a tank and functions as both a travel and day pack on your trip, eliminating the need to carry two bags. It's super comfortable as well, which is key for something that you can't wheel around.
Features• 1680D Cordura® ballistic nylon exterior
• YKK® Japanese zippers
• Duraflex® plastic hardware
• Quick-access, suspended laptop pocket (fits up to 15.6” laptop)
• Lay-flat main compartment for spacious storage and easy packing
• Ventilated shoe compartment (fits up to men's size 13 shoes)
• Quick-access top pocket for small valuables
• Multiple internal pockets for accessories
• Padded top and side handles for versatile carrying
• Expandable water bottle holder
• Padded mesh back panel for enhanced comfort and breathability
• Sternum strap and load lifter straps for comfort and stability
• Internal framesheet provides structure and support
• Side compression straps for stability and security
• Optimized to meet international and domestic carry-on luggage size limits
DimensionsLength: 21.5" (55 cm)
Width: 13.5" (34 cm)
Depth: 8.5" (22 cm)Volume33.0 LWeight3.7 lbs
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