I’ve used a lot of suitcases and travel backpacks over the years, but it took some time to find what worked perfectly for me. Mind you, a suitcase isn’t always practical for my travels. When my wife and I went to the Middle East, we purchased travel backpacks which were perfect for the occasion.

These days, I find myself travelling more for business, but not formal business which is why I always wanted a carry-on backpack. When I came across the AER Travel Pack, I became obsessed with it. It was perfect for my needs since it fits all my stuff including my laptop and made me incredibly mobile. I’ve been using the travel pack for about two years now and there’s no looking back.

Well, AER has now come out with their successor which they generously provided me with for review purposes. Read my AER Travel Pack 2 review now to find out why it’s one of the best carry on backpacks on the market.

AER travel pack 2 review

AER Travel Pack 2 features

  • 1680D Cordura® ballistic nylon exterior
  • YKK® zippers
  • Duraflex® plastic hardware
  • Quick-access, laptop pocket (fits up to 15.6″ laptop)
  • Lay-flat main compartment for spacious storage and easy packing
  • Separate shoe compartment (fits up to men’s size 13 shoes)
  • Side compression straps for stability and security
  • Quick-access top pocket for small valuables
  • Multiple internal pockets for accessories
  • Padded top and side handles for versatile carrying
  • Expandable water bottle pocket
  • Padded mesh back panel for enhanced comfort and breathability
  • Internal framesheet provides structure and support
  • Attachment points for a removable hip belt (sold separately)
  • Back panel pass-through for luggage handles
  • Lockable zippers for additional security (main and front compartments only)

That sounds all fancy, but does it live up to the hype? Definitely!

AER Travel Pack 2 review

As soon as you pick up the AER Travel Pack, it’s obvious that it’s made with quality. The frame, nylon exterior, straps, and padded mesh panel are all designed to be strong, comfortable, and light.

I simply love the new features of the AER Travel Pack 2. The optional hip belt provides support if you’re used to carrying a heavy load. There’s also a luggage pass-through which is handy for people like me when I travel with my wife and more luggage. They’ve also changed the zippers so they’re lockable for extra security.

The main compartment opens like a clamshell so it’s easy to access all your stuff. I can comfortably fit a large packing cube with one week’s worth of clothing as well as a separate toiletry bag in it. If I wanted, I could probably fit another packing cube and other stuff, but I’ve never had to.

One thing to note is that even though the AER Travel pack has a separate compartment for shoes, it does take up a lot of room from your main compartment when using it. The shoe compartment is more of a separator with ventilation holes.

The AER Travel PACK 2 retains the quick-access, laptop pocket, but they removed the velcro strap that held the laptop in place. To be realistic, this isn’t a big deal since the laptop compartment itself holds your computer in place and you would unlikely put anything else in that pocket.

Speaking of pockets, the organization panel has been redesigned. There are more than 10 pockets of various sizes which will make organizing all of your stuff easy. There are zippered and elastic pockets too to help you secure your goods.

The quick access pocket is my favourite feature since I tend to keep my passport, pens, and boarding pass in there.

aer travel pack 2 review pocket

How practical is the AER Travel Pack 2?

I haven’t tested the AER Travel Pack 2 yet on a trip since I just got it last week, but I’ve taken my AER travel backpack to Portugal, Barcelona, Los Cabos, Ottawa, Victoria, Vancouver, and the Florida Keys.

In my opinion, the AER Travel Pack is one of the best carry on backpacks on the market. Once I have it packed, I just throw it on my back and start walking.

I keep my liquids in one of the easily accessible pockets so I can breeze through security at the airport. The expandable water bottle pocket has also handy since you can bring a larger empty bottle and then just fill it at a fountain.

Manoeuvring through the aisles of the airplane is easy since the bag is on my back and I’ve never had an issue fitting it in the overhead bins. If you organize your stuff properly, you can easily access anything you need while flying from the pockets without taking the bag down.

Since I’m obviously not checking a bag when I travel with my AER bag, I can just get off the airplane and continue to my next destination. This was especially important when my flight was late arriving in Montreal where I had a connecting flight to catch. Montreal requires you to pick up your bag and check back in on some connecting flights so being mobile is paramount.

If you get tired of it being on your back, the pack also has a side handle so you can carry it like a briefcase.

Remember, the AER Travel Pack 2 has an optional hip belt which will help give you more support for those who pack their bags heavy.

You could technically use this bag as a day bag if you emptied it out and used the compression straps, but it would be long, bulky and awkward. You’re better off bringing a small day bag with you.

Final thoughts

My AER Travel Pack 2 review is positive. Some people may find $230USD to be expensive, but for a durable and practical travel backpack, you’re getting some serious value. I honestly can’t imagine travelling with another bag and would recommend it to anyone.