Aer Travel Pack 3 hybrid carry
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Aer Travel Pack 3 hybrid carry

Oct 29, 2023

After coming away impressed with the brand’s Day Sling 3 bag, I was expecting much of the same when it came to the Aer Travel Pack 3 hybrid carry-on backpack and that, for the most part, is exactly what happened. The brand’s TP3 sits somewhere between a larger backpack and a carry-on suitcase – something that, at least on paper, is just what I need for most of my travels – and features plenty of organization pockets, carrying options, and a mostly subtle design aesthetic free of ugly logos and branding. Needless to say, despite not being exactly perfect, I do like this thing quite a lot. Head below for a closer look to find out if it’s right for you in our hands-on Tested with 9to5Toys review of the Aer Travel Pack 3.

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The Aer Travel Pack 3 is a hybrid carry-on backpack and travel suit case in one. Surrounded with carrying options – there’s a carry strap handle on all four sides of the bag alongside your typical backpack straps where they would be normally. The whole thing measures out at 21.5 by 13 by 9 inches.

It is made of a 1680D Cordura ballistic nylon exterior with YKK zippers and Duraflex plastic hardware. Alongside a padded, suspended laptop pocket with a soft lining (up to 16-inch laptop) in the back-most compartment, there’s also a larger lay-flat section for packing cubes, clothes and larger items joined by a third, separate section housing a host of organizational pockets and zippered pockets for accessories, tech gear, and more – all of which are held tight by a series of magnetic compression straps on the sides. You’ll also find quick-access pockets surrounding the exterior of the bag, including one on the front, a sort of sunglasses pocket on the top, and on the sides.

The Aer Travel Pack 3 carry-on backpack comes in black, gray, or olive and sells for $249.

Aer’s collection of gear spans across your carrier needs of all kinds – daily commutes, weekend trips, jet setting to Europe, and just about everything in between. You might even find it’s Travel Pack 3 form-factor useful for lugging around project materials for meetings, class, or otherwise.

It’s essentially a large backpack that doubles as a suitcase of sorts while still remaining in the carry-on category. Or more appropriately for me, a compact-size suitcase you can wear like a large backpack. Strapped across my back, it’s certainly too large for day to day use if you ask me, but it’s a solid option for long weekends or a week abroad if you don’t need one of those giant suitcases – if you’re the type to make a large carry-on work, the Aer option here delivers a little bit more space than all but the largest hiking packs, more organizational pockets than most, and you can wear it like a backpack.

It’s build quality and overall aesthetic approach and is very much like the Aer Day Sling 3 we reviewed previously. Its 1680D Cordura ballistic nylon exterior feels a bit like strong synthetic canvas, the zippers are robust without being overly industrial, and there are loads of useful amenities and organizational details throughout – a small hidden AirTag or tracker pocket, expandable water bottle sleeve, magnetic compression straps along the sides, a luggage handle pass-through strap, and more.

It’s a higher quality than it might look in pictures without being overly robust for particularly adventurous trips into the woods and the like. This is an airport, hotel, and Airbnb weekends type of bag if you ask me, and does it well.

There are compartments, pockets, sleeves, zipper pockets everywhere here, both inside and out. The whole thing is split into three main internal pockets; one with a plushy padded slot for your laptop that spans the entire vertical length of the bag that also contains a zippered accessory pocket; the front section with six internal sleeves for chargers and smaller gear as well as another zippered pocket; and the largest main compartment with another smaller zipper pocket where most folks would fold their clothes. The front and main compartment completely unzips so you can neatly pack it up and lay clothes in the way you would with a traditional suitcase – it is far less annoying and meticulous process to load up than a traditional backpack for me.

If that wasn’t enough, the exterior of the bag also has a half-length zippered pocket on the front complete with extendable carabiner clip for keys, a top-mounted zipper sunglasses compartment with a plushy interior, an expandable water bottle slot on one side and another smaller zippered accessory pocket on the other.

I’m a big fan of the compartment layout here, the laptop sleeve is in a separate easily accessible section making it simple to remove for airport security, that same section also has a quick access zippered compartment for important accessories, and the whole thing comes together with compression straps along the sides to keep everything tight and as compact as possible. There’s a lot to love about this bag and I certainly do. It might feel and look a bit large carrying it as a backpack for some, but there’s handles on every side anyway and I was thankful to have the backpack option at times to lighten the load.

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