For urban adventures, the AER Travel Pack and AER Travel Pack 2 have been on our radar for quite some time now. Both versions have a beautiful aesthetic, that focuses on simplicity in terms of appearance and use. Both are 33L in capacity, ideal for a few days or even up to a week.
The 2nd edition is somewhat of an update and is slightly more expensive. Both have been a hit with backpackers and casual travelers alike, as they’ve managed to capture the features that modern adventurers are looking for.
They are perfect as a carry on for the plane, sitting under the maximum international capacity and dimensions. This allows you to skip long baggage-check lines, avoid hefty checked luggage fees, and zip through security.
They are also the ideal size for navigating crowded areas or narrow streets, as they don’t stick out too far from your back.
Today, we’re giving you our in-depth take on the AER Travel Packs 1 and 2. We want to know why these are such popular travel bags, through breaking down each and every detail to understand them at their core.
AER Travel Pack Reviews
Ok, let’s begin with the obvious – these bags are gorgeous. They look nothing like what you’d expect from a traditional “backpacker’s” bag, since they are quite subtle in the design. The best description is sleek, as not only are they highly organised, but they are also rather low-profile when you wear them on your back.
While they’re not going to be as high strength as dedicated backpacker or hiker packs, they’re not necessarily made for that. We see them being used for more urban areas, like for city travel, as they blend so well with metropolitan environments.
For business trips, they’re absolutely perfect, as their simplicity and slickness also let them blend in so well with business-wear. With a water-resistant element, they cover all bases, so your stuff is protected even if it rains.
Even though they’re not the largest travel backpacks out there in terms of capacity, they still hold quite a lot. And with the high level of organisation, you can pack smarter and lighter than you usually would.
Quick Overview of Shared Features
- Highly durable 1680D Cordura ballistic nylon exterior
- Rugged YKK zippers
- Hard-wearing Duraflex plastic accessories
- 156” laptop sleeve
- Spacious main compartment
- Breathable separated shoe section
- Outer compression straps
- Fast-access top pocket
- Multiple inner accessory pockets
- Cushioned top and side handles
- Elastic bottle holder
- Padded back panel with ventilated mesh
- Sternum strap
AER Travel Pack 1
First is the original edition, with a well-rounded front and high sternum strap for a comfortable wear. It has the same beautiful and classic look as the second version, with a black-on-black design, even the zippers.
- Dual Front Zippered Pockets
- Load-Lifting Shoulder Straps
- Rounded Front Flap Stretches for Heavier Loads
21.5”L x 13.5”W x 8.5”D
1680 Cordura Ballistic Nylon, Duraflex Plastic Hardware, Mesh
|Laptop Sleeve Size
Material & Durability
Cordura ballistic nylon is a thick, tough, and highly durable fabric that is resistant to abrasions and holes, which is an important element for a backpack for travel. We trust it to withstand the rough nature of travel, and you don’t need to be afraid of setting it down on different terrains, putting it through security, or getting it thrown around.
Since it’s quite dense, it is water resistant, plus most of the zippers stop moisture from getting through. Seeing as not all zippers are water resistant, we can’t see this lasting for more than 20 minutes in an intense downpour. In terms of splashes and moderate water exposure, we’re not worried about it.
These straps are padded only halfway down, which can be a bit of a pain if you like comfort under the arms as well. Since you can adjust them quite a bit though, and the other half is a soft, smooth nylon material, we don’t think it’s a deal-breaker. They are still quite well padded, and they don’t look or feel cumbersome.
The side handle is located near the back of the pack and has an embossed texture to it. This helps you to grab it easier, even when it’s heavy, as the handle lets you grip it better without slipping. Also, we appreciate that they’ve positioned it at the rear because it assists with lifting a heavier load.
You’ll find the other handle at the very top, also near the back. It also proves as handy when you need to quickly pull the pack out of an overhead bin, or off a conveyor belt after security. We like that it’s well padded as it’s more comfortable to hold.
This is a great idea, as we often find ourselves reusing plastic bags which are frustrating and crinkly when packing our shoes. It’s a whole separate compartment which fits large shoes up to a whopping men’s size 13. Another great aspect of this section is the dual ventilation holes. They help dirty and sweaty shoes to breathe, which helps prevent bad odors from forming.
First, you’ll probably notice the two large zippered front pockets at the top and bottom. We love these for packing smaller valuables that we need at quick reach. The other standout pocket is the top padded one, which truly helps when dealing with going through security. It’s also perfect for quick-grabs for everything you need to keep handy.
In front of the main large opening, there is a segment with tons of different-sized pockets. Then, opposite the main part, there is a zippered compartment for stashing flat or flexible items like documents, accessories, and electronics.
Moving onto the main chamber, it is completely open and bare just like a suitcase. The clamshell hinge is convenient for organizing clothes effortlessly, and it’s so much better than a top-loader in this case. You can use packing cubes and compress everything down with the outer pressure straps.
AER Travel Pack 2
This is basically the updated version of the previous model, with some different features and a slightly different overall design.
- Back Panel to Pass Through Luggage Handles
- Lockable Main & Front Zippers
- Hip Belt Sold Separately
21.5”L x 13.5”W x 8.5″D Max Dimensions
1680 Cordura Ballistic Nylon, Duraflex Plastic Hardware, Mesh
|Laptop Sleeve Size
The shoulder straps are more curved than the 1st edition, which helps it hug your body better to prevent slipping. They are also much more padded than previously, which makes it easier to wear for longer periods.
What’s more, they are even padded all the way down, instead of just halfway like before. This adds to the comfort in the underarms, as they won’t dig or feel uncomfortable.
The harness system is basically completely different. The chest strap is fully removable, you can add a detachable hip belt, and the load lifters have actually been removed. With a lack of load lifters, dangling straps have been reduced, and the weight isn’t as heavy to carry.
Again, you have the same handles on the top and side of this pack. The side handle doesn’t have ridges like before, but it’s much softer and smoother in the hands.
Also, the top one is padded pretty much the same, but feels more cushiony. An additional grab panel on the bag next to the shoulder straps has been added, which doubles as a pass-through for roller bags.
This pack weighs ever so slightly less than the previous one. This is mainly thanks to the slimmer profile and better distribution of external features. Even with a few added elements, like an additional handle and thicker shoulder straps, they’ve managed to decrease the weight to increase the comfort.
Just like the 1st, this has the same shoe divider. The difference here is that there are no ventilation openings, which actually serves well for preventing water from getting inside. It’s kind of bitter-sweet, as it keeps things dry, but your shoes can’t breathe as well as before.
It’s easy to fold out to clean, but we do recommend storing flatter shoes like flip flops or sandals. Any bigger and quite a bit of space is occupied in the main storage section.
The pockets are pretty much the same, except there is only one zippered front pouch instead of two. The top padded pocket is slightly wider. In the main compartment, the storage is more organised in the lining of the front flap. You’ve got one mesh pouch, and a zippered one.
Most Asked Questions
What Are the Differences Between the Original AER Travel Pack and the 2?
- The overall silhouette of the 2nd version is much slimmer than the original one, even when fully packed at 33L.
- There is an optional hip belt available with the 2nd which you must purchase separately.
- Quick-access pouch is wider with the 2nd to fit more items.
- Shoulder straps on the 2nd are more curved for a better fit.
- A pass-through back panel has been added to the 2nd to attach to roller luggage.
- You’ll find an additional zippered pocket in the main compartment of the 2nd.
Can I Use the AER Travel Packs as a Carry-On?
Since both of their capacities are 30L, and their dimensions are both 21.5” L x 13.5” W x 8.5″D, they pass many international carry-on standards. They are actually smaller than the maximum specifications, so they will more than easily fit in the overhead compartment or under a seat.
What Size Laptop Does the Sleeve Fit?
Both sizes can fit a 15.6” laptop. You also have a separated section for shoes, or you could also use it for separating undergarments or other accessories.
Conclusion on the AER Travel Pack
After analyzing every detail about the AER Packs 1 and 2, it goes without saying that these are ideal travel backpacks for the modern urban traveler.
With sleek all-black designs, a robust ballistic nylon construction with water resistant zippers, and plenty of organisation options, this can easily become your favorite travel companion.
You can trust it will hold up against the elements, and we love how AER have managed to balance durability and beauty in one go.