If you’re looking for a slim, air travel-compatible bag which errs on the side of sophistication, Aer’s Flight Pack 2 has you in its sights and deserves serious consideration.
The bag, now on its second version, hits a lot of the high notes you’d expect from something in its size class. The problem is that in becoming more refined, it feels a bit more compromised than its first time around.
3-way bags — ones that can convert from messenger style → backpack → handle carry — are becoming increasingly popular. It seems like bag makers in general are figuring out how to pull off the different styles in a single bag.
“The Flight Pack 2 looks really sharp. It’s an eye catcher.”
In this case, the Flight Pack 2 has zip-away backpack straps and a detachable shoulder strap. The carry handles remain present at all times and, in the messenger position, look refined and stylish. The bag also features a pass-through to attach it to luggage for transport through an airport.
On the second go-round, it feels like Aer really nailed the look of the Flight Pack. The first version looked a little bloated and undefined, but the 2 looks really sharp. It’s an eye-catcher.
While the first version had just a single main compartment, the 2 gets a second one for more organization pockets. If you’ve tried any of Aer’s newer bags you’ll notice this section is in line with the company’s Day Pack, for example.
Now, while there’s nothing to complain about with its looks, things don’t fare as well in actual use.
“The FlightPack 2 looks best as a messenger, but it probably functions best as a backpack.”
The bag looks great in both vertical and horizontal orientation, but has lackluster function in both. 3-way bags are often tempting for buyers because they can fill multiple roles, but they’re hard for companies to perfect.
For example, I love the side water bottle pocket on the Flight Pack 2 — in backpack mode. In messenger orientation though, it’s sideways along the bottom. It feels like it’s going to fall out. But inside the bag, there’s not really enough room for a water bottle. Also, having carry handles is nice, but these block the zipper from fully extending.
I think the bag looks best as a messenger, but it probably functions best as a backpack. All the internal organization is vertical and a bit hard to work with sideways.
Deciding Factors: Is This Bag for You?
In my opinion, the Flight Pack 2 is a slim backpack that also happens to function as a messenger. And that’s how I would advise buyers to see it to avoid some frustration.
“If you know what you’re getting into, this could be your next favorite bag.”
With the addition of the extra internal section, this bag really became something much different from its previous version. There’s no longer room for a jacket or sweater. There’s also not a lot of room for miscellaneous items.
Even though it’s touted as a flight companion, it really seems more suited to a minimal daypack. It has room for a laptop, iPad, water bottle, some cables, chargers, adapters, and headphones, but not too much else. This is for smaller items you might take back and forth from the office on a daily basis.
If you know what you’re getting into, this could be your next favorite bag. If any of the warnings give you pause, however, I’d take a look at one of Aer’s other packs for a little more room or more dedicated experience.