Aer Duffel Pack 3 Review (Updated 2023)

Aer Duffel Pack 3 review
(Updated 2023)

The Aer Duffel Pack 3 is uniquely designed as it looks like a duffle-backpack fusion that’s perfect for work/gym. 

Just like the other Aer products, this duffel pack is extremely comfortable and has a great user experience that’s never complicated— straight up awesome!

Watch our epic Aer Duffel Pack 3 review below! 👇🏼

Aer Duffel Pack 3 Overall Score

Aer Duffel Pack 3
Overall Score - 4.5/5

Overall Pros

Overall Cons

Aer Duffel Pack 3 Alternatives

Just in case you aren’t sold on the Aer Duffel Pack 3, we’ve added some alternative recommendations below. 

These recommendations are very similar to the Aer Duffel Pack 3, but have some important differences that might work better for you! 👇🏼

Alternative #1
Modern Dayfarer Backpack

Person wearing a Modern Dayfarer Backpack

 Great work + gym backpack

Alternative #2
Boundary Supply Errant Backpack

Boundary Supply Errant Backpack​ when worn

Adventure / urban pack, feature-heavy

Alternative #3
Able Carry Daily Backpack

Able Carry Daily Backpack​ when worn

Adventure / urban pack, minimalist

Aer Duffel Pack 3
Gist of the Pack

All right, now let’s actually get into the Aer Duffel Pack 3, tear it apart so you can decide whether or not this is the pack for you. Let’s talk about the gist. 

The Aer Duffel Pack 3 is an ideal backpack for somebody that’s looking for a backpack for gym and work. The gym side of the pack is the duffel style opening to the main compartment, the dual water bottle holders, as well as the ventilated shoe compartment.

And then on the work side, you got a really sweet tech compartment, nice organization for all of your tidbits of gear and a well padded laptop sleeve with a false bottom. 

Man wearing an Aer Duffel Pack 3

So if you’re the type of person that wakes up at like 6:00 in the morning, and before work, you head to the gym, you’re just pumping those weights, and then you shower at the gym and then you go to work?

Then you are the type of person that this backpack is designed for. 

And just some other quick points about this, it’s got a really unique design. I’ve never seen like a duffel-backpack fusion like this before. Well excluding the 2. And it also has a really long design. That longer shape means it rests on your back in a way that I just personally find to be like really comfortable. 

Aer Duffel Pack 3
Front of the Pack

Important points: Great functionality, expandable, so-so keyring solution, and decent padding.

Let’s talk about the front of the Aer Duffel Pack 3. Let’s start with these water bottle pockets. They look neat and tidy, but those can expand. Case in point, 1 liter Nalgene, you’re like, “Oh, that’s a nice little neat and tidy water bottle pocket. No way the one liter Nalgene fits in there.” Kaboom, with a lot of room to spare. This is great. Because you’re at the gym. You want to stay hydrated. You want to bring your protein shake. Maybe you just want to put an umbrella or something else there. Regardless, these pockets are very functional and that expandability means that you can fit a lot of different things in there.

Opening an Aer Duffel Pack 3

Now, north of each water bottle pocket, we have a quick access sort of zip pockets. These pockets are okay. They’re nice to have. Don’t get me wrong. On this side I got my AirPods. On this side I got some backup tissue, as well as my keys with the key chain solution. The pockets are a bit tight, like I said. I’m a smaller dude so my hands aren’t the biggest hands in the world. Granted the pocket doesn’t run too far deep. It’s to about here. But if you’ve got bigger hands getting to the bottom, especially if there’s a few tidbits of gear in there, you got to be rummaging around, it can be a little irksome.

Let’s talk about the key ring solution. Now this isn’t my favorite keyring solution in the world. Why you might ask? So, yeah, when it comes to the keyring solution, if you look at this, I like a keyring solution that you can sling around and just grab the key. But the key’s up here. Super difficult to get to. So you got to kind like do one of these and finangle, and do this dance. And then even then this keyring has a clip on it, a little hook so it gets snagged. But it’s worth noting, I like to wear my backpack nice and tight. If you don’t mind wearing your backpack a little looser, accessing your key becomes a much simpler affair. So if you’re wear it loose, unlocking your door with the key still attached isn’t too difficult. But like I said, if you’re wearing it tight, the way I wear my bag, then you’re going to have to take it off. And it’s going to be a process.

Keyring solution of an Aer Duffel Pack 3

And also to note about this key ring solution itself, the hardware I quite like, but you just have a little bit of functionality problems. And we see this with a lot of key rings, where there’s like this little hook right here and as you are trying to take your keys off, it will get snagged from time to time, which grows increasingly irksome. I mean, yeah, don’t get me wrong. You can just kind of like do that, but it’s actually a little bit harder than you think. So overall, not my favorite key ring solution.

But one thing that I am a big fan of is the upgrade to this top pocket right here. YKK zip, easy to open. And I got my phone in here because of the type of materials they use. Oh my God, I love this. This is like a really soft, fine, like microfiber, which means it’s going to be scratch resistant. But also there’s a really decent amount of padding in there. So fragile stuff, mainly think phone and sunglasses, they’re going to be really well protected here. I love what they did with this pocket. A big upgrade over the 2. It should be noted a lot of bags will have a pocket here with a soft material, but they won’t have this type of padding. I really am looking forward to Aer implementing this hopefully into more of their products. I love everything that is happening with this material.

Aer Duffel Pack 3
Middle of the Pack

Important points: Ventilated shoe compartment, PU-coated YKK zips, better internal materials, and well padded handle.

All right, next up, let’s chat about the whole middle section, starting with the ventilated shoe compartment. It’s located on the bottom and it extends the interior of the main compartment where we’ll show you how that works in a second. And as you can see, it’s just a good spot for your shoes. This ventilated shoe compartment can fit up to a size Men’s 13 shoes and the ventilation is quite nice. You got these three little holes right here, nice and subtle. 

Ventilated shoe compartment of an Aer Duffel Pack 3

Let’s get into the actual main compartment now. Access to the duffel style opening is with two YKK zips with a PU coating. Now this PU coating is important to note that it’s quite sticky. These are chunkier zips, it’s not something you can just like one finger. You’re not going to just like pull this down. You got to kind of engage the wrist and pull. Don’t me wrong, it’s not that difficult to do. And I love what Aer did, they have this little pole tab right here. So when you are closing the actual bag, you hold onto the tab. Good to go. Seamless experience, great design by Aer there.

Main compartment of the Aer Duffel Pack 3

And here we have the actual main compartment. And like a duffel bag. there’s no real internal organization in there. Just kind of like a throw all. I have a tech pouch from Aer as well, got another tech pouch from Modern Dayfarer, umbrella from 7-Eleven. And now you can kind of see what we’re working with here. You really only have one pocket. You got this little elastic sleeve right here, which extends to right here. And that’s it. I love the materials. Aer definitely upgraded their internal materials. The old ones just kind of felt cheap. These definitely feel a little more tough. Love the gray color, helps kind of create a little bit of an extra highlight effect because it can get dark in the main compartment. 

Aer Duffel Pack 3 when worn

But one thing to be aware of with the shoe compartments, it’s kind of like a little giblet, right. It’s just like hanging out. It’s like, “Oh, I’m a shoe compartment.” And it’s going to compromise the amount of space you have in the actual main compartment. Case in point, I now have my size nine shoes in there and they’re over three quarters to the top. So it’s just important to keep in mind that when you have your shoes in here, they’re going to take up a little bit of space. This is probably not going to be a pack for you if you carry a ton of gear. But if you just got a couple things that you throw into your main compartment, should be good to go. 

And then the last thing to note about the middle is we do have a side handle right here. It’s only on one side. I wouldn’t really recommend carrying it like this though. It’s more just like an access point to move the bag around, because carrying it like this, shoulder straps, just kind of flapping all over the place. The handle itself, pretty well padded, basic nylon webbing, nothing really to send home about it. It’s more padded than your generic nylon sort of side handle. 

Aer Duffel Pack 3
Back of the Pack

Important points: Mesh zipper pocket, false bottom, comfortable shoulder straps and back panel, Duraflex, and removable sternum straps

And finally let us discuss the back . Tech compartment, three quarters opening, gets you in right here. On this side, we have sort of just a little throw all pocket on top, mesh zipper pocket right here. Big fan of this pocket because I’m a big fan of the mesh. They upgraded their mesh as well. Never liked Aer’s mesh in the past, but this is really nice, very silky, really nice elasticity to it. I’m a mesh nerd now, but this is good mesh. And you have two smaller elastic pockets down here. Then on the flip side we have the actual laptop area, two sleeves, sort of a tablet sleeve right here and the actual laptop compartment itself fits up to a 16-inch laptop. 

Wearing the Aer Duffel Pack 3

And like I said, Aer really upgraded their materials. I love this microfiber material, very soft, very scratch resistant and there’s a nice bit of padding to it. You combine that with the fact that there’s a false bottom, comes down to right about here. Oh, that’s a really good false bottom. It’s the falsiest bottom I’ve ever seen. Those two things combined mean that your laptops going to be safe and secure. One thing that irks me about the tech compartment though, is that I do feel at this price point that the laptop compartment should have some sort of PU coding and it doesn’t. And I wish that it did. 

Should also be noted that Aer zippers have an anti theft sort of mechanism where they can weave into each other. And then now two have become one, but while that’s a pro, some people do get a little irked by the jingliness of these Aer zippers. Doesn’t bother me, but I’ve seen the comments on Reddit. I’m watching you One-Baggers. We got a top handle here. It’s actually a nice little space to be able to grab. It’s not too tight. And also the same padding that’s on the side handle. It’s adequate.

Back panel of the Aer Duffel Pack 3

And then with the back panel sort of system, very standard Aer here. They definitely seem to have nailed their entire system when it comes to shoulder straps and back panel. And allowed me to explain, we have super comfy and cozy back padding right here. I think that Aer makes the most comfortable packs in the game. It’s like a cloud. It’s the Aer mattress experience. And that comfort and that padding, that cushiness is replicated also on the shoulder straps themselves. Great ventilation on this material as well. And talking about ventilation, you can see on the back panel, you have this cutout right here, this 3D EVA molding. This just means that your back will get extra breathability as you’re on your way to the gym.

For the shoulder straps, shoulder straps, pretty basic, no hidden pockets or anything. We have our sternum strap right here, which is removable. Got a little clip right here. Also should be noted that all of this hardware is made by Duraflex, which is just a really good hardware company. And then on the bottom of the shoulder straps, we have these little nylon web holders right here or as I like to refer to them as dangle stoppers. And they do exactly as the name infers, they stop the dangle.

Aer Duffel Pack 3 and a black luggage

And then the last point is we have this right here, which I’m like, “There’s no way that’s the luggage pass through holder.” And it is. And the reason I thought there’s no way it’s luggage pass through holder, because think about it, you got this bag and you’re at the air of the port and you slide it on. It just feels like it’s, that’s wide, it’s going to be hitting people. You’re not going to be the most popular person at the airport, I feel like. It’s nice to have just as like an extra grab point, if you just want to grab your bag real fast, slide it on. But as a luggage pass through holder, I question its viability.

And also Aer gave a new little branding tag. Look at this little guy. He’s just a little guy. You’re adorable. 

Aer Duffel Pack 3
Pros and Cons (Detailed)

Let’s wrap up the review, talk about some of the overall pros and the overall cons.

Overall pro number one, this thing is extremely comfy. It’s not just the padding. It’s not just the ventilation. But it’s also the longer shape and the way that it fits your back. Pro number two is going to be the great user experience. It’s simple. There’s no unnecessary, weird features that you have to kind of to learn how to use. It’s just a really simple to use pack. And pro number three is we’re just a big fan of the new materials and the extra padding in this pocket, as well as the laptop compartment. 

But I know, I know, you’re thinking, “Aaron, you love this thing. Give me some of the cons.” Here they are. These top pockets might be a bit small, especially if you got big old shovel hands. 

Con number two is the capacity is definitely a little bit more limited, especially when compared to the 2. The two was 25 liters and it kind of opened up a little bit bigger. This guy is just a little bit tighter. It’s not super small, but I’m just saying you’re that hardcore gym guy and you got the waist belt and the weight resistant bands and all those little tidbits of things that you bring to the gym that are actually big things, you’re going to run into a capacity problem with this pack. And con number three is a non ideal location for the key ring holder. 

Aer Duffel Pack 3
Is this for You? (Detailed)

Who’s this pack for? Is it for you? I’m going to tell you? If it’s not for you, I’m going to give you an alternative recommendation that you’ll love. Let’s keep it simple. This is for you if you’re looking for an urban gym slash work pack. It’s exactly what it’s designed to be. If that sounds like you and you’re just digging the vibe and you’re like, “Yep, I want it.” We always appreciate if you make a purchase, if you use the first link in the description. That link makes sure that you get the best price and it also helps support the Nomads Nation channel.

This is definitely also the pack for you if you just kind of have like an active lifestyle in general. I’m not saying hiking active lifestyle. We’ll talk about that in a minute. But if you’re like, “I go play basketball after work sometimes.” Or, “I go to dance class.” Or if you’re a cyclist or if you play football, whatever it is, you just like, “Dude, I’m active. I will use the shoe compartment. I like the duffel style opening so I can just throw my stuff in there.” This is a pretty sweet choice.

Laptop compartment of the Aer duffel pack

But if you’re still here and you’re like, “I’m not sure if this is the pack for me. I wish that I could get a recommendation for a different gym pack.” I got you. You might want to take a pass on this pack if you’re like, “Dude, I want myself an urban gym pack, but I’m just not feeling the whole duffel design. I just wish that there was like a more backpacky urban gym pack.” Check the Modern Dayfarer Backpack instead. Watch it here.

This is also probably not the pack for you, as I was just saying, if you’re looking for a hiking pack. Yeah, this is active lifestyle pack, but it just doesn’t have the design and infrastructure to really be taken on like 2, 3, 4 hour hikes. If you’re looking though for like an urbanesque kind of a pack, but that wouldn’t look totally weird on the hiking trail, check the Boundary Supply Errant Backpack instead. You may also watch our review here.

This also might not be the pack for you if you’re looking for a hardcore gym pack. You’re like, “Dude, yeah, I need a gym pack. But this just isn’t the look. I want that I’m a Spartan Warrior who CrossFits three times a week with my eight different protein shakes.” If that’s the pack you’re looking for, Watch our review of the King Kong Plus 26 and Edge 35 gym packs!

Aer Duffel Pack 3

What are your thoughts about the Aer Duffel Pack 3? Is the key ring location as irksome to you as it obviously is to us? Do you like the main duffel compartment thing or do you wish they had a few extra pockets for organization? Or if you own this pack, please let us know what your experience has been like so far. 

We would love to hear from you, and your comments help make the internet and this channel just a better place, more educated, which means that people can find the backpack that is perfect for them.

Thanks, guys, and we’ll see you next time!

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Written by Aaron Radcliffe

City dweller. Dumpling crusher. Aaron is a serial entrepreneur, and the founder of Nomads Nation. Connect with Aaron Radcliffe -