AER Travel Pack 2 review: A female model carrying the AER Travel pack 2
Credit: AER

Our Verdict

4.6/5
Updated, sleek and durable, the AER Travel Pack 2 is a compact travel bag that doubles as an EDC when compressed

Pros

  • Quality materials: The AER Travel Pack 2 is made with solid materials that’ll last you through years of use.
  • Nice and stealth design: With a minimalistic design and subtle colors, this pack is easy on the eyes without being overbearing or clumsy.
  • Great organization: Three compartments, a separate shoe compartment and many pockets in and outside of the bag make for convenient segmentation of small and big items.
  • Clever features: There are features to make your life easier such as multiple pockets, a shoe compartment, compression straps, lockable zippers, luggage pass-through, etc
  • Water resistant zippers: There are YKK AquaGuard zippers with covering flaps on the zippers in the bag to keep water out.
    • Comfortable: At 33L, carrying this bag is such a cinch even when it’s fully stuffed. A ventilated back, wide and padded shoulder straps, a sternum strap with a soft hip belt promises a pleasant wearing experience.
    • Lifetime warranty: Should your bag develop issues, AER has a lifetime warranty in which they’ll repair any manufacturing defects at no cost to you.

      Cons

      • No suspended laptop bottom

      While the bottom is decently padded, it’s not thick enough to cushion your device when it hits the ground.

      • Lacks load lifter straps

      Should you overpack the bag, you’ll have to deal with the burden of hauling around heavy load because there are no straps to help with stability.

      • Compression straps get in the way

      When in use, the straps hamper your access to the main compartment.

      • Not great for long trips

      At 33L, it’s excellent for a weekend getaway or shorter trips, but is not the best option for longer trips or overpacking.

      Pros

        • Quality materials: The AER Travel Pack 2 is made with solid materials that’ll last you through years of use.
        • Nice and stealth design: Minimal and subtle, this pack is easy on the eyes without being overbearing or clumsy.

        • Great organization: Three compartments, a separate shoe compartment and many pockets in and outside of the bag make for convenient segmentation of small and big items.

        • Clever features: There are features to make your life easier such as multiple pockets, a shoe compartment, compression straps, lockable zippers, luggage pass-through, etc.

        • Water-resistant zippers: There are YKK AquaGuard zippers with covering flaps on the zippers in the bag to keep water out.

        • Comfortable: At 33L, carrying this bag is such a cinch even when it’s fully stuffed. A ventilated back, wide and padded shoulder straps, a sternum strap with a soft hip belt promises a pleasant wearing experience.

        Cons

        • No suspended laptop bottom: While the bottom is decently padded, it’s not thick enough to cushion your device when it hits the ground.  

        • Lacks load lifter straps: Should you overpack the bag, you’ll have to deal with the burden of hauling around heavy load because there are no straps to help with stability.

        • Compression straps can get in the way of the main compartment: When in use, the straps hamper your access to the main compartment.
        • Not great for long trips: At 33L, it’s excellent for a weekend getaway or shorter trips, but is not the best option for longer trips or overpacking.    

        AER Travel Pack 2 Review 2021

        Welcome to my AER Travel Pack 2 review.

        If you’re a digital nomad or constantly on the road, you know the importance of a quality backpack with features designed with your needs in mind.

        Advertised as “the compact carry-on backpack for city travel”, the AER Travel Pack 2 could be just what you are looking for.

        More importantly, AER recently upgraded the travel bag with clever and improved features.  

        But the question remains:  is it as good as it seems?

        AER Travel Pack 2 review: Twitter image
        Credit: Twitter

        To help, I’ve done a deep dive to break down all that the AER Travel Pack 2 has to offer.

        Keep reading this AER Travel Pack 2 review to find out…

        AER in a snapshot

        Credit: AER

        A kickstarter company, the AER is a carry design company founded in 2014 by Allen Choi and is based in San Francisco.  

        Their main objective? 

        Making functional and sleek bags as well as travel accessories with features that cater to the need of modern travellers.

        Their bags usually have special compartments and pockets for your tech while serving the purpose you need – be it as a work bag, gym pack or a travel backpack. 

        AER product lineups include backpacks, gym pack, duffel bags, totes, sling bags and brief cases made for the urban setting.

        Table of Contents

        Design & Quality

        AER Travel Pack 2 review: front view of the AER Travel Pack 2 backpack
        Credit: AER

        Updated bags with iterations and new features show that brands listen to customers’ and reviewers’ feedbacks just to make their offerings better. 

        And AER is one of those brands.  

        The AER Travel Pack 2 is the updated and improved version of their flagship Travel Pack.

        One of the best things about this pack is how well it tries to maintain a low profile and minimalistic vibe. For a big travel pack with many features, you gotta love how compact the Travel Pack 2 looks.  

        For a travel bag, it’s one of the most streamlined and minimalistic bags you’ll find out there.

        At 33L, this urban pack is sleek and aesthetically pleasing such that it can be used for business travels, weekend jaunts, and even as a daypack when compressed.

        AER Travel Pack 2 review: four colorways of the AER Travel Pack 2
        Credit: AER

        I like that the AER Travel Pack 2 comes with super minimal brandings and with subdued color options- black, gray, navy, X-pac.  

        This makes sense as it attracts less unwanted attention and such darker colours don’t fade so easily with time when exposed to sunlight.

        AER Travel Pack 2 review: compressed and uncompressed view of the AER Travel Pack 2

        And did I mention the dangle-free-experience it offers?

        With four compression straps on both sides of the bag, this bag stays as sleek as it gets.

        With the straps, you can expand it into a travel pack or tighten the bag to a slimmer build to use as a daypack. Plus, you can also secure a sleeping pad or jacket to the straps, if you want to.

        Good stuff!

        Materials & Construction

        AER Travel Pack 2 review: front and back view of the AER Travel Pack 2
        Credit: AER

        The AER Travel Pack 2 obviously has a sleek and minimal design you can’t help but love, but it turns out this bad boy isn’t just for looks. I’m positively surprised by the durability and rain-resistant qualities of the materials used.

        Available in four colorways (black, gray, navy, x-pac); the construction and features are all the same with the only difference being in the unique material used in each model’s construction. 

        The disparity is only in the materials used for individual model. 

        For instance, the Black and Navy models are made of durable 1680D CORDURA ballistic nylon; the Gray model opted for 900D eco-dyed polyester while the X-PAC model is made with VX-42 X- Pac™ sailcloth exterior by Dimension-Polyant®.

        All you need to know is that each of these materials are known for their strength and sturdiness, so you wouldn’t be concerned about it falling apart in months or not able to handle abuse from everyday use.

        I aslo like that the  AER Travel Pack 2 is water resistant. 

        Along with the water-resistant exterior and AquaGuard YKK zippers, the pack keeps your everyday tech and gear the way it always should be—dry.

        To further up the ante, the zippers have flaps for extra water resistance while the front and main compartment pockets are lockable for extra security.

        That said, the laptop compartment doesn’t have lockable zippers but it’s going to be pretty much impossible to get into your laptop compartment when you’re wearing the bag.

        AER Travel Pack 2 review: images of the sternum strap, back panel and the grab handle of the AER Travel Pack 2
        Credit: AER

        Also, you get Duraflex buckles while EVA foam, EPE foam, and sponge foam can be found in the mesh back panel, the straps, and the side handles.

        For comfort, it comes with adjustable and a removable sternum strap, a beefy hip belt (sold separately), mesh back panel and padded top and side grab handles for easy movement.

        A passthrough at the back will let you stack the pack on top of rolled luggage easily, while its 33L size makes it easy to store either in overhead bins or under the seat in front of you.

        Measuring 21.5″ x 13.5″ x 8.5″ with a weight of  3.7 lbs. weight, it’s carryon sized but with enough pockets and a sleek design. 

        AER Travel Pack 2 review: the AER Travel Pack 2 attached to a rolling wheelie
        Credit: AER

        This bag does come with some trade-offs, though.

        At 33L, the pack barely qualifies as a “one bag travel”, because while it’s great for short trips, it’s however not for you if you tend to pack heavy. Only minimalists who can pack their stuff super tight for a 3–6-day trips will have a swell with this bag.

        Also, it’s mostly designed for use in a variety of urban settings but won’t do much for extreme outdoor sports and backpacking trips.

        Another design flaw is how the main compartment can be a bit hard to access with the use of compression straps because it simply gets in the way.

        Overall, the AER Travel Pack 2 is great as a large tech-focused daypack or as a travel bag for weekend getaways thanks to its premium material and features. 

        Fit & Comfort

        AER Travel Pack 2 review: the back view and harness system of the AER Travel Pack 2
        Credit: AER

        There are some interesting features and updates included in the harness system of the Travel Pack 2.

        For one, the shoulder straps are wider and more padded with thicker foams for easy weight distribution.

        In addition, the back panel is decently padded with mesh for ventilation and doubles as a luggage passthrough- sleeve to attach to a rolling suitcase.

        Also, it comes with a sternum strap that lets you lock the two shoulder straps together, so that they stay in place. As well as a removable hip belt (sold separately), which helps transfer the weight of the pack to your hips, which are the largest muscles in your body. 

        The thick side and top handles makes lifting the bag so much easier.

        I really like how the four compression straps by the sides can be used to make the pack more streamlined when it’s overloaded.

        AER Travel Pack 2 review: a male and female model wearing the AER Travel Pack 2
        Credit: AER

        This AER Travel Pack 2 review wouldn’t be balanced if I don’t highlight the less exciting features as well.

        Let’s nitpick together. 

        The new version of the AER Pack doesn’t have any load lifter straps (which allow you pull the top of the backpack closer towards your shoulders for stability) even though the old version did.  

        Another drawback is with the compression straps. The straps get in the way when you are trying to access the main compartment.  

        Nonetheless, you’ll find the Travel Pack comfortable to wear for longer periods of time, while navigating a town, or getting to an airport terminal.

        Storage & Organization

        AER Travel Pack 2 review: the top quick grab pocket of the AER Travel Pack 2
        Credit: AER

        With a 33L capacity, the AER Travel Pack 2 is set up for 3-6 days of travel, depending on how much of a minimalist you are. There’s room for your clothes, tech, accessories and even a pair of sneakers!

        What you’ll have found in this AER Travel Pack 2 review is that there many pockets and compartments for you stuff but not in a way to distract you. 

        Anywho, let’s get into the fun, shall we?

        Quick grab pocket
        Wide and easily accessible, you can stash your phone, EarPods, or snack (allegedly the most important item to take when traveling).  

        I however would have loved it to be fleeced lined so as to protect your phone’s screen or sunglasses from scratches.

        AER Travel Pack 2 review: front pocket and the water bottle pocket of the AER Travel Pack 2
        Credit: AER

        Front pocket
        On the front is a noticeable big pocket.

        It features waterproof zippers so you can throw in items bigger that can’t fit in the small top pocket  like a boarding pass, snacks (yeah, I know), tickets, headphone, etc.

        Water bottle pocket
        On the outside, you have a pocket for a water bottle or an umbrella. This lets you expand it if needed, but keep it nicely tucked in when not in use.

        AER Travel Pack 2 review: organization panel of the AER Travel Pack 2

        Organizer pocket
        I love how useful all the pockets here are. I don’t know about you but sometimes I find that there are some pockets in the organizer that stay unused no matter how you try to fit items in. it’s either they are too small, tight or too loose. 

        However, AER seems to get it, at least mostly.

        Well, there are 9 slots in various sizes, including two half-pockets, an elasticated mesh pocket, a liner pocket, two slots for your stationery, with a plastic keychain ring and a bigger divider pocket for your cables, chargers, and whatnots.

        The best part?

        This compartment with all its pockets lays flat, without taking up space so you won’t have to deal with a bulgy exterior should you decide to use packing cubes instead.

        AER Travel Pack 2 review: shoe compartment
        Credit: AER

        Shoe compartment
        AER added a separate shoe compartment if you have to travel with a pair. And if shoes aren’t your thing, you can store your towel or dirty clothes in here too. Handy, right?

        My only qualm with it is that it is at the bottom and cuts into the main compartment space when used.

        Main compartment
        A big space that lays flat and opens all the way down, you can organize your stuff with packing cubes or however you want.

        It also has a decent-sized zippered compartment as well as a mesh pocket at the top to store smaller items.

        If you are big on tech-friendly backpacks, check out my comprehensive review on what is the best laptop backpack

        AER Travel Pack 2 review: main compartment
        Credit: AER

        Laptop compartment
        Located at the back is another large and padded space that fits a 15.6-inch laptop.

        I like that the laptop compartment sits at the back and has waterproof zippers to protect your tech. It feels nicely snug and secure there and is ideally placed for load balancing as well.

        These are some thoughtful features I believe every travel backpack should have, because really, the last thing you want is your gear getting damaged after every trip!

        The less than impressive part?

        Well, the paddings at the bottom could be better. It lacks suspended bottom for protection against drops impacts especially if you are clumsy traveler with the tendency to accidentally drop your bag or set it down with force.

        This means your laptop will take a hit if you roughly drop the bag on the ground unless you buy a protective sleeve for extra protection.

        Compression straps to secure items
        The four compression on each sides of the bag are very handy aside from keeping your bag streamlined. You can use the strap secure a sleeping pad or jacket. 

        AER Travel Pack 2 review: ;laptop compartment image with the compression straps securing an item

        Price

        The AER Travel Pack 2 is not exactly cheap. This bad boy currently retails for $230.

        But most importantly, the colour design and material construction of bag you choose determines the actual price of the products.

        On the AER website, there are the Black, Navy, Gray and X-Pac edition.

        Each edition comes with its own unique price tag, so be sure to check the price after you’ve made your choice.

        If you like what you’ve learnt so far in this AER Travel Pack 2 review but you want to consider a similar travel backpack, you may check out my review of the Nomatic Travel Pack

        Warranty

        AER offers a lifetime warranty, which basically covers the practical lifetime of the bag. 

        This is however limited to manufacturing faults in materials and workmanship of the pack. 

        It doesn’t include damages that result from wear and tear, accident or airline luggage mishandlings.

        To evaluate if your used AER Travel Pack falls under their practical lifetime warranty, you can contact support@aersf.com.

        Users Thoughts/Reviews

        AER Travel Pack 2 review: Twitter image

        The AER Travel Pack 2 is a fantastic travel backpack with all the features you’d want, while still being wonderfully comfortable to wear.

        That said, the purpose of this AER Travel Pack 2 review is also to highlight the shortcomings that users have raised.

        One major caveat with the Travel Pack 2 is it’s size. It is a bit impractical for, say, longer trips. As a 33L bag with a weight of 3.7 lbs, there’s a limit to how many items you can fit into the bag. It won’t really do that much for you as a backpacking bag.

        Other complaints leveled at the bag is the lack of load lifters, and the extra cost you have to incur to get the hip belt, despite the already premium price of the bag itself. 

        Another qualm is with the price point. It’s quite expensive especially if you’re on a budget.

        It’s because of these drawbacks that I rated the pack 4.6 out of 5 in this AER Travel Pack 2 review.

        But other than that, this backpack is well made, multipurpose, stylish and is loved by its many users.

        Alternative to consider: AER Travel Pack 2 (Small)

        AER Travel Pack 2 review: AER Travel pack 2 front view
        Credit: AER

        If you don’t want something big or you have a small frame, the AER Travel Pack 2 (Small) comes to the rescue.

        Smaller at 28L and lighter at 3.3 lbs, it’s perfect for a normal and everyday use.

        It shares same features and construction with its bigger brother, the AER Travel Pack 2 (33L).

        Measuring at 19″ x 12.5″ x 7.5″ dimension, it’s the safer option you can take on a plane as carry-on luggage without any fear of exceeding the carry-on limits.

        Check it out here.  

        Final Thoughts

        Not all travel packs can survive the demanding toils of a life on the move. 

        Interestingly, in this AER Travel Pack 2 review, we have found the bag has got all the features you’d want from a premium carry-on with a very nice design to boot.

        At 33L, it has enough space for your tech gears, some clothes, a pair of shoes, toiletry set, snacks, and other smaller items.

        The minimalist design allows it to be used for different kinds of trips, including holidays and business travel and even as a daily carry when compressed.

        The only situation in which I’d not recommend the AER Travel Pack 2 is if you want a backpack for long hikes or treks in the outdoors. This pack is simply not designed for this purpose.

        But if you’re into the overall looks and like your backpack to be a sturdy and functional, then you can’t go wrong with the Aer Travel Pack 2. 

        All in all, without a doubt, I’d recommend the AER Travel Pack 2 as an everyday carry and a great travel backpack for light travelers. 

        But if you want less space, you can go for the AER Travel Pack 2(Small)  as a viable alternative.

        Should you be interested in another travel backpack, you can read my Nomatic Travel Pack review or my Tortuga Setout Laptop backpack review.

        This article is not sponsored in any way by any company. This backpack have been independently selected by myself and my team. And the only thing I receive is a small commission from our affiliate program if you buy any of them through the links and buttons on this page. It doesn’t cost you a penny. But it really helps me out as this money goes to paying for maintaining the website, editing software, my time, team and everything else that goes into preparing this post.  

        9 thoughts on “AER Travel Pack 2 Review | Should This Be Your Go-to Travel Backpack?”

        1. Stellar review!! A little pricy for me, do those guys at AER have stuff that’s a little more approachable on a lower budget? Even their smaller variant of this backpack isn’t that much cheaper lol. Perhaps a brand alternative? I’m really feeling their all-black subtle designs though.

          Julius

          Reply
        2. Thank you for your wonderful review, I always have trouble choosing a bag because I like to travel with lots of things, In this review, I like the way you explain everything about bag, Its very easy for me to find what I was looking for.

          The most important thing, it is very portable and easy to carry lots of useful things.

          Thank you, Take Care

          Reply
        3. I love the practical design of AER travel pack 2 as it has so many compartments! I’m not a traveller, but if I was, this would certainly be on my favourites list. Even though you can’t lock the laptop compartment it doesn’t matter, as it’s highly unlikely a thief would get access to your tech gadget while you’re wearing the travel pack. I also like the pocket for holding water bottles as this is a necessity when you’re walking around a city. Thanks for sharing this well written and informative review of AER travel pack 2

          Reply
        4. Hi Femi,
          This seems like a real snug fit on the back. The AER Travel Pack 2, I think, is designed with the traveller in mind, specifically someone undertaking rough journeys. Looks beautiful too.
          Thanks for this article.
          Regards,
          Aps

          Reply
        5. You have done a good job of the AER travel pack 2 review, and I can’t but fall in love with it straight away. I don’t travel often, but I will likely recommend the pack to my friends. Although it’s not very affordable, the accessories make it worth the price.

          Reply
        6. Hey Femi,

          Another excellent review of what seems to be a very solid bag that would be great for work. However, it is a little on the expensive side for me. With the pandemic currently with us and my travel habits nowhere near what they used to be, I wouldn’t see the need for me to spend so much on this kind of bag.

          Maybe in the future when/if the pandemic leaves us and we are kind of back to normal, then I might spend so much on a bag.

          Excellent review my friend, keep up the great work.

          All the best,

          Tom

          Reply
        7. Hey Femi,

          This is an interesting backpack. Not really ideal for me as I am super petite so I might just tip over with this one if I fill it up too much. I also don’t love the feel or look of the material even though it is ran-resistent which is actually great. All the pros you mention make it a great bag indeed but not something designed for petite or small-framed people. I will pass on this one!

          Cheers,
          Sasha

          Reply
        8. Femi,

          I agree with Julius, this is a great bag, but it is a little expensive for me as well. I have to admit though, I’m starting to like the bags with carry straps both from a handheld point, as well as on the back. I also do like that this one attaches to a rolling suitcase easily. When I was travelling last, that was one of my pet peeves going through the airports. I had to keep balancing my carry on to the main bag. Total frustration! Next travel, I’m getting a bag that attaches to that thing!

          Overall though, I can see the value in this one for sure.

          Thanks for a very thorough review!

          Katrina

          Reply
        9. Hi Femi,

          I love how simple this travel bag looks, and it fits my taste. It’s so convenient that AER travel pack 2 could stuff so many inside one bag, and it also allows you to wear it, put it on top of your suitcase, or carry it.

          The organizer pocket is my favorite part since I often put all my belongings into one bag and could not find where they are eventually. But, with this design, I can easily put things in 9 different size pockets, which makes things easier for me when traveling.

          Thanks for sharing this powerful travel bag today. I will take it into serious consideration very soon and share this article with my friends.

          Matt

          Reply

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