Aer Travel Pack & Dopp Kit

I love to travel, and I love bags. So when I saw the Aer Travel Pack on Kickstarter, I really wanted to back it. I selected the $194 Early Bird Bundle, which included the bag and a Dopp kit (will retail for $260). Then stretch goal after stretch goal started unlocking: gray Dopp kit, gray bag, special edition Kickstarter-green zipper pulls, and a packing cube.

I chose gray over black for better visibility among a sea of black luggage, and for a little more style. (The green zipper pulls help, too.)

Travel Pack Features

8 Compartments

The #1 thing that made me want this bag is that it combines the hands-free backpack form factor with a traditional lay-flat compartment for clothing. The bag is a total of 33L (measuring 21.5×13.5×8.5 inches), and I was easily able to fit:

  • 1 suit
  • 2 t-shirts
  • 1 polo
  • 1 dress shirt
  • 2 undershirts
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 1 pair of slacks
  • 3 pairs underwear
  • pajamas
  • belt along with a couple ties and pocket squares (tucked into a zippered pocket)

The shoe compartment is a little strange because of the way it juts into the main compartment. It’s nice to have a built in shoe bag with easy access, but you have to pack around it somewhat (maximize space by stuffing your shoes with socks, etc.). The organizational compartment between the front and the main (lay-flat) compartment contains an 1) open pocket, 2) pocket with flap, 3) velcro pocket, 4) zippered pocket, and 5) mesh pocket will hold Field Notes, Kindle, iPad 9.7” (maybe a 12.9” Pro), pens, and miscellaneous small items. A quick access top pocket is perfect for small valuables like your passport. The laptop compartment is absolutely huge as it’s meant to accommodate 15.6” machines. There’s also a convenient expandable bottle holder. The bottom front pocket is perfect for storing chargers. There’s so much space in this bag that I didn’t even know what to do with the top front pocket.

Straps & Handles

The backpack straps (like the back) are padded and while there’s no sternum strap, there’s a waist strap to help with the load. The bag also offers a top strap and side strap (just behind the bottle holder) for when you prefer to hand-carry the bag. There are 2 compression straps per side, and they really only affect the main compartment; you retain full access to the organizer with them secured.

Construction

The bag is supported by an internal frame sheet. It’s really well built; I haven’t come across a single loose thread, and the 900D heather gray polyester seems extremely durable. I like the zipper pulls (but I’d say the black ones seem better built than the green ones).

Dopp Kit

This Dopp kit has a side strap for a handle, and 3 compartments. One is a quick access side pocket. The other 2 have a few elastic straps and mesh pockets for organization. The outside has a strap that you can stick your toothbrush in if you so desire.

Does It Make a Good Daypack?

Probably not. This is a big bag, designed to be a carry-on. And it does that job exceedingly well. There’s tons of space, pockets, and compartments, but the bulk of the space is in the lay-flat compartment.

More Thoughts

Check out Ben Brooks’ thoughts. He has had more opportunity to put the bag through its paces and has a strong sense of what makes a good bag. I thought his point about the padding in the main compartment was interesting, all the more so because he didn’t suggest removing it in his “Modifications” section at the end.

All in all, I am so happy with this bag and really can’t wait to put it to good use.