Aer Travel Pack 2 Review | Updated Version Of The Popular 33L Carry-On Backpack


– In this video, I’m super excited to walk you through the
Aer Travel Pack 2 review. Aer took the first iteration
of their travel pack, made a bunch of really great improvements, really thought through the details, so we’re excited to share all those little nuanced
changes with you today. I’m Tom, the founder of Pack Hacker, and we do bag reviews
like this all the time as well as other travel gear reviews. So if you’re new to the
channel, consider subscribing. Let’s jump right into the
Aer Travel Pack 2 review. And remember, you can
follow along on our website with the written review anytime. Let’s jump in. [upbeat music playing] Starting with the exterior of this pack, we have a 1680D Cordura
ballistic nylon weave. That’s some super durable stuff. And how do we know that it’s durable? Well, we’ve been testing
the Aer Travel Pack 1 for about an accumulation of six months. Just two weeks ago one of
our testers had this thing at the World Cup in Russia, and he had no problems with
it on his trip whatsoever. So yeah, it’s durable stuff that just simply holds up over time. Tying together that
black-on-black aesthetic, we’ve got some Duraflex
buckles going on here and different flavors
of durable YKK zippers going on around the outside of this pack and on the interior as well. Of course aesthetics are in
the eyes of the beholder, so we polled our Instagram audience about the Aer Travel Pack 1 last week and what they thought
about the look of it. Obviously we couldn’t
share the Aer Travel Pack 2 because the release date is today at the time of posting this video. So if you want to get
involved in future polls, be sure to head over to
Pack Hacker’s Instagram. It’s just @packhacker. Follow us there for
future stories and polls. And to wrap it all up,
there’s a bunch of foams used on this pack. We have EVA foam, EPE
foam, and sponge foam in areas like the mesh
back panel, the straps, and a couple of the handles on the sides, which we’re going to get into in a minute. And lastly I’ll just note that there’s not a lot of dangling straps
coming off of this thing, which add to an overall
professional and minimalistic look. Alright, starting with
the exterior of the pack – we’ve got a super beefy
handle on the top here, and then a less beefy
grab handle on the side. So this is going to be good
for any quick grabs, just carrying this thing around, getting it out of an overhead bin, or in and out of a cab. Wherever you need to just
grab it for short distances. It’s a really good example
of how Aer has continued to refine and update their design. In the Aer Travel Pack
1, the first version, there was kind of a Velcro loop here that you could attach to the
top of a roller bag handle. And that’s decent, but it felt
a little clunky on the bag and they solved that in a
better way with this version, which we’ll get into in a second. And also I just wanted to point out on that side handle as well the density of the foam is about the same, but the casing that it’s
in is a little bit finer of a weave, so it’s a little
bit softer to the touch. Feels a little bit better
to grab than before. So those details, a lot of
little details come together and make for a great pack. We’re happy to see a
lot of the refinements that Aer has made to this thing. I think we could spend a really long time really getting into every detail of how the Aer Travel Pack 1 differs from the Aer Travel Pack 2. So if you’d be interested in that video, make sure to thumbs up the first comment. And if we get enough interest, we’ll sink some time into that
and create a video for it. Moving on to the next exterior component, we’re greeted with Aer’s classic stealth water bottle pocket. This basically just looks
like the side of the pack, maybe there’s a little seam here. And then you’re like, ooh,
what’s that? It’s a zipper! Boom, unzips and then we’ve
got that mesh going on here that’s going to secure longer
items including water bottles, umbrellas, anything longer
that you want to fit in here. I really like that that just
stays flush against the pack when it’s not in use, and
it looks really integrated. There’s not just a bunch
of mesh hanging out. When it comes time to use it, you just unzip it and the
feature is available to you. And there’s a D-ring right
above that water bottle pocket, so not entirely sure what this is for. We’ll ask Aer and see what they say. On each side of the bag we also have some
compression straps going on, so I think Aer has done a
great job with this again for multiple reasons. You can fit items in there, say like a yoga mat or a jacket that you just want to carry
on the exterior of the pack, and then this thing really compresses down when you tighten these. If you have this bag with
you on a longer trip, you want to take most of
your items out of it, put it in your hostel,
Airbnb, your hotel, whatever, compress this thing down, gives
it a lot lower of a profile and makes you look a
little less ridiculous if you want to use this as a day pack when you’re hitting
the city and exploring. Alright, so moving on
to the harness system, we’ve got some straps here
that are pretty thick. And it’s important to note that one of the cons in our
Aer Travel Pack 1 review that we posted about a year ago was that the foam wasn’t
quite dense enough and the straps weren’t quite
as thick as we’d like to see, so there was a little bit to
improve upon in comfort there. Happy to say that they’ve made it thicker, they’ve listened to reviewers like us, as well as comments from other people that have been using their bags, and definitely taken
that into consideration. So props to them, they’re
always trying to improve. There’s also an adjustable and a removable sternum strap here, so Aer kept this pretty
basic, just kind of went for it, which I really appreciate. You can remove this
thing if you’d like to. However, it’s not going to randomly fall off, as we’ve seen in some other bags that try to get a little bit fancier with this type of system. Aer just kept it really
simple and classic here. And of course on the other side we’ve just got that singular
D-ring here as well. Now on to a couple big changes
with the harness system here. We do have the option to
add this hip belt here, which is really great. I think that’s sold
separately, so just note that. However, we’ve also lost the load lifters on the top of here, and I reached out to Aer
and here’s what they said. “In terms of the load
lifters, one of our goals was to clean up the design and reduce dangling straps and weight. We found the load lifters
weren’t as effective as they can be on a bag of this size, so we decided to remove them.” I love that they made this
a little more minimalistic and promoted it closer to
that dangle-free experience that we’re always looking for. However, we do miss the functionality of some of those load lifters here. The trade-off that we get, though, is an awesome hip belt here, and I think this is just pretty much a perfect hip belt for this size. It’s removable, which is great. So if you don’t want to have it on, fine. Easily remove it, don’t use it. Not a problem. And it’s got about the
right amount of padding, and it’s about the right size. So it has enough padding
to be very comfortable, but it’s not super bulky. So Aer has really nailed it here. The one minor complaint here is this thing can poke you in the sides
if it’s flying around and not folded right. That’s very minor, and as
it breaks in for longer, that’ll be less of an issue. And although that hip belt
does a really great job at helping distribute the weight, without those load lifters
this thing may sag a little bit off of your back if you have
a lot of heavy items in here. Pretty minor, it’s only a 33-liter bag. Do you need load lifters
for a bag of that size? Probably not, and Aer keeps
a small enough profile to where it’s not gonna hang too much, but just a small note. And with this harness system
there is no option to hide it. Some people really love the
option to hide those straps. Personally I just view it as a backpack, so I don’t really see the
need for hiding those straps. But your mileage may vary. And lastly on this back panel we’ve got some padded mesh
back paneling going on here, and then a grab handle here that you can pick the bag up from. This is also a luggage pass-through, so if you’re using a roller bag you can just slip this on top. Keeps it nice and secure. If you are a Pack Hacker
regular and believer, there is a chance that
you may not even need to take roller luggage with you when you’re on a trip, though. Maybe you can just fit
it all in a backpack and that’s really great. But if you do want some
tips on how to continue to cut down your travel loadout, be sure to go check out
our merino wool guide and we just talk about clothing that you can bring less
of that stays fresh. Alright, there are a
bunch of great pockets and organizational features
going on in this thing, so let’s get started with the
quick grab pocket on the top. One of the updates that Aer made to this that I really like is that
it’s a little bit wider now. Before it was a bit of a challenge to fit a larger phone in
here, say like an iPhone, but now it just easily slides in. So with that older design, it
was a bit of a micro-struggle if you wanted to put your
larger phone in there. They’ve definitely updated
it with this design. Moving on to the back we
have this laptop compartment that opens up. Pretty straightforward,
no-frills compartment here. A couple things to mention here. On the positive end of things, we have a YKK AquaGuard zipper. That was another one of
our cons in the first video about a year ago, was that these zippers
on the Aer Travel Pack 1 were not AquaGuard or weather-resistant. So we tested this thing in a downpour. Definitely had some water
seep in between there, so we’re really excited and glad that Aer decided to include AquaGuard zips on this version, which definitely helps with additional weather resistance so much better than the previous version. However, there’s one
nitpick with this design of the laptop compartment. Although it’s padded here on the bottom, one trick that a lot of companies will do is they’ll actually have
a false bottom design. So actually the laptop compartment
would cut off right here or something like that, and Aer did not do that with this thing. You’re basically going way to the bottom of that laptop compartment. So although there’s
some pretty good padding on the bottom, it could’ve
additionally mitigated potential laptop damage if
they would have designed a false bottom a little bit higher. And the compartment is so big that there’s definitely room for varying degrees of
laptop sizes in here. It wouldn’t have really cut
into the size of that either. Small nitpick, not a huge deal, but just something to bring up. Moving on to the front of the pack, we’ve got a big, beefy YKK #10 zipper system here. You know, I don’t think they
needed a #10 here. It’s like a little bit overkill, but I think they do
that for the aesthetic. I am just convinced, because
it looks super slick, really ties that look together
with this black strip across. That’s just very much Aer. When I see this, I’m like,
boom, that’s totally Aer. And some things that
they’ve added to this too is there is a separate zipper garage here, which is, again, going to help with that weather
resistance in this pocket. And then also you have
these two tabs on the side that you can use to hold when you’re zipping that
zipper open and closed. It actually helps quite a bit. That thing opens right
up to a larger pocket on the bottom here that spans towards the bottom of the pack. And that gives you a lot of
room in here to put stuff into. But I like that they don’t
cut into this top area here because it leaves you a lot of room for the organizer system that
they got going on in here, and I think it’s a really good one. So let’s just take a
quick walk through that. Starting with this organizer system, on the bottom you have two half-pockets that go down about six inches. And then you’ve got a mesh pocket up here with a little bit of elasticity, and then a corresponding
liner pocket behind that and then one on the other side. Decent stretchiness here. You’re just going to be able
to organize stuff in here, as well as two spots here for either a stylus, pen, or pencil. And then you’ve got this
zipper compartment up here with a #5 YKK
racquet coil zipper. Also they’ve included a
keychain ring in here. This is plastic. We’d usually prefer metal. As we continue to try to nitpick this bag and find cons with it, we’re
going to say that’s a con, that this is plastic and not metal. Like boohoo, not even that big of a deal. But important to note that
this zipper compartment goes down to about here as well – so hefty amount of space in there. And the thing that I really enjoy about these organizer pockets is if you want to use them,
you can and it’s great. But if you don’t want to
use them, it’s fine too. If you’d prefer to use
packing cubes or pouches, this thing just lays flat. Similar to the Tortuga Setout, which is designed in a very similar way, it doesn’t cut in and force you to use it. You can use it if you’d
like and it’s always there. And then there’s a
divider pocket kinda thing going on right behind this zipper portion. For me personally, I kind of just like to stuff my
MacBook charger down there. It’s just a cable salad
pretty much anyway, so I just like to stuff it in there and kind of forget about it. Kabelsalat is actually a German word that basically describes this. Cable salad. And moving on to one of
our favorite features, at the bottom of this pack there is a separate shoe compartment here. Another difference to note between the Aer Travel Pack 1 and 2 is that they’ve chosen to remove
the ventilation holes here. That was kind of another opportunity for water to seep inside. Although that ventilation
helps with your shoes that may smell a little bit more, I’m personally glad they removed that, as no additional moisture will get in as you’re setting this bag down. Alright, and let’s move
on to the main event, the main clamshell opening here. First of all, it’s important to note that you’re going to need to
unbuckle these compression straps should you want to access and fully open up that main compartment. Could be like a slight pain, but just something to note,
that you need to do that. And if we open it up here, boom. You have got basically a
giant bucket going on here. It’s important to note that any items in this shoe compartment or in the quick access pocket at the top will cut into the overall liter capacity of this main compartment here. This is great for packing cubes. I know Aer has a couple things. Of course we always recommend
a lot of packing cubes. Eagle Creek Specter Cubes
are some of our favorites, GORUCK Padded Field Pocket if you want something with a
little bit more protection. Definitely a fan of
packing cubes over here, so we love the ability to be able to kind of organize and
customize the interior of this based on our needs and what we’re packing for that specific trip. And then we’re going to move on to the front side of the clamshell here. You’ve basically got this
mesh pocket at the top, nice YKK zipper here. This is going to be good for flatter items. It’s not a 3D pocket, so it doesn’t really stick out too much, but you have a little
bit of variance there. Better for flatter items or just ones that are a
little bit more flexible. And next this is arguably the
most secure pocket in the bag, this zippered compartment down here. You have the ability to put
more valuable items down there and just kind of keep things away from the main compartments
and the exterior of the pack – if you have items that are more expensive, say some jewelry, a watch. Maybe you want to throw
your passport down there while you’re in transit. Definitely have options
and a lot of room there in that secured pocket on the interior. At the time of publishing this video, the Aer Travel Pack 2 is released today, and we’ve been testing it for the past two and a
half weeks in Detroit. We have put the Aer Travel Pack 1 through the wringer, though, with trips to Minneapolis, Detroit, Nashville, California, and even Russia as one of our contributors was just there a couple weeks ago at the World Cup. It’s held up super well
and still looks slick. The 1680D ballistic nylon on the outside hardly has any marks on it. I think there’s one tiny blemish on it after six months of use. Hardly even noticeable. A lot of the durable
materials have held up through extensive testing on our end. So to wrap this thing up
with some pros and cons, the Aer Travel Pack 2 features a really greatly designed system with some amazing attention to detail. There is some great durability here and some very high-quality
materials are used to pull this pack together. And there are awesome features – from the compression straps on the side being able to put it kind
of into a day pack mode, to the shoe compartment on the bottom, well thought out features that they’ve done a really
great job at implementing. Moving on to some of the cons – the removal of the load lifters cleans up the design a little bit, but you lose a little bit of that utility. There is no false bottom
on the laptop compartment. And lastly, a minor nitpick is that the compression straps can get in the way of
opening that main compartment if you need to do it quickly. Aer took their already
incredible travel pack and honed in a ton of details to bring us an even better Travel Pack 2. It’s awesome to see a
company really take pride in their craft and get into
those nitty gritty details to pull everything together to make an even better
experience than they had before. The negatives are few and far between, even with our detailed eyes. You really can’t go wrong
with picking one of these up for your next trip, whether it’s for a week or a year. Thanks for taking a look at our review on the Aer Travel Pack 2. Be sure to head over to
packhacker.com/newsletter, sign up for that newsletter, and never miss an update. For everything else travel
gear and bag-related, keep it here on Pack Hacker. She’s Instagramming, she’s Instagramming. Hannah, come here. There she is. She’s helping us with the B
roll, she’s so good at it. Look at that. Gonna button this strap,
just get it out of the way. Okay. Duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh. [upbeat music playing]

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