AER Duffel Pack 2 Review (Updated 2023)
aer duffle pack 2 REVIEW (UPDATED 2023)
Check out our EPIC video review below!
Aer Duffel Pack
The Aer Duffel Pack
is PERFECT for you if...
Below is a transcript from the video review...
“Hey guys, how’s it going? I’m Aaron Radcliffe with NomadsNation and today we are in Ho Chi Minh City doing an Aer Duffel pack review. In this monster review, I’m gonna show you every last thing you need to know about this backpack, we’re gonna talk about the way it looks, the specs, the feel, the front, the back, so you can know whether or not it’s the pack for you. And you’re definitely gonna want to stick around, at the end of the video we’re all let you know the overall pros and the cons plus who I think this pack is perfect for. If you like backpack reviews smash that like button. Let’s roll.
As always, the first thing in these review that we chat about are the specs of the backpack, and with the Aer Duffel Pack 2 is two specs in particular. Number one; the price and number two; its capacity. So the price for this bad boy is $170 (a hundred and seventy US dollars) and the capacity is 25 liters. Now the price point and the capacity work perfectly for what this bag is supposed to be. This is a work/gym backpack that means you wake up to go to work first, and then the gym second. Whatever the order of events is, this is the bag that helps you do both, 25 litres is a perfect size for that. It enables you to fit both your gym stuff and your work stuff plus a little bit extra. And with 25 litres, it enables you to actually double up as like a weekend travel pack if you also need it to be that, and the price point of 170 bucks is quite good considering how high quality the Aer Duffel pack actually is, which I’ll explain in the next section.
We’re talking about the style of the Aer Duffel pack. Now style to me is so important, I mean I might be a shallow ass guy but style is just as important as functionality to me and I like the outside of me to be a reflection of the inside of me, this bag is got a sweet ass style. First off, all Aer products are really sexy, while Aer’s products are functional and durable I think their look factor, their aesthetics, the overall style is their biggest selling point. All their packs has got this black-on-blackness, they’ve got this ballistic nylon, real sleek looking center zipper right there with the waterproof lining and also very minimalist. Notice no logo, where’s the logo? It’s hard to find, but it’s actually right there. Okay so Aer kind of utilizes this urban, simple kind of cool hipster aesthetic. I’m not talking about that cuz I love that I’m a cool hipster aesthetics, look I think Aer nailed it. And what’s really interesting about this pack in particular is how they literally fused a Duffel with a backpack. So although when it’s like this, it kind of looks like a Duffel bag that you just unzip and open like that…. it’s a backpack. So I think the style on this pack is pretty cool because when you’re wearing it, it’s like it doesn’t look like a normal traditional backpack, it doesn’t have the normal backpack top with the zips and like “oh that’s a backpack”. It’s got like this different feel to it and I think they nailed it. And last thing about style is the color options, the Duffel pack actually comes in two color options. Most Aer products only come in this black ballistic nylon but the travel Duffel comes in a gray version as well, but I’m a big fan of a black.
Up next, let’s talk about the way that the Aer Duffel pack feels and that’s not just like how does it feel when you’re wearing it, but how do the materials feel? How does it feel when your hand strokes the bag as both are equally as important? The exterior materials of most Aer products, like 95% of them, all the black ones are ballistic nylon. Ballistic nylon is a material that was originally made by the army, so it’s tough and it’s durable that’s why it’s got that tough look, a little bit of like rigidness to it but also so nice and smooth at the same time. This is some of the highest quality ballistic nylon on the market, it’s made by a company called Cordura and just know that, if you don’t know what stuff Cordura or ballistic nylon is, it doesn’t matter, just know this feels some nice man. The zippers also all feel great, all these bad boys are YKK zippers, they zip nice and smooth. One thing to note though is right here we have a water-resistant lining which means that this zipper is gonna be on the stickier side okay, it’s not like it’s a bad zipper, it just requires a little bit more extra to kind of open it, but yeah more of a less the zippers are awesome. The interior materials also have a nice feel to them, I don’t love Aer’s interior materials as much as I love other company’s interior materials, specifically Tortuga. They do the best interior materials, but it’s still pretty good interior materials. And then finally with the feel it’s like how does the actual pack feel when you’re wearing it? And ultimately it’s really comfortable, we’ll cover this part in depth when we talk about the actual back of the pack with the shoulder straps back panel, but more or less the comfort is really great. It’s the gym bag dude, you don’t wanna go to the gym with like a back that’s like in pain, like you got to be doing your deadlift, deadlifts require a good functioning pack and this backpack will take care of you, this pack’s a mad comfy. One thing to like about the comfort too is that this backpack’s a little bit longer that’s to kind of get that Duffel vibe so it fits upon your entire back and your entire spine. Really nicely, overall though, the comfort is awesome.
Okay let’s chat about the front of the Duffel bag. This is a fairly minimalist gym/work bag which is cool, it works to your advantage because it’s meant to be like a Duffel bag. You don’t want like a bunch of stuff hanging off but you just kind of want the Duffel main compartment. You got a couple of side things but for the front it’s pretty simple and that’s good, that is it. Basically we have this line down the middle right here which is a water-resistant YKK zipper. I love the way that it contrasts with the ballistic nylon, it kind of draws a little bit of balance to the whole thing, I think it looks fantastic. Like I said the zipper is pretty easy to open, you just go ahead pop through all the way down and now you have access to the main compartment. So look at this, you know it’s a backpack, we’re open right now and now you’re in like kind of Duffel mode, that’s why this thing is so cool and it’s really grown on me. So in the main compartment, which I said we could talk about in the middle but we’re just gonna talk about it now with the front section, I’ve got some gym clothes, I got my shirt and then I got some work stuff, I got my Aer tech pouch, this is an Aer product. Notice the ballistic nylon, if you dig the hole Aer aesthetic they all just kind of flow and vibe together and they work seamlessly and they just look the same and it’s really easy to get addicted to Aer products. But let’s take a look at this actual main compartment, no pockets, no nothing, you are just looking at a big old Duffel main compartment and that’s it. Remember the capacity of this is about 25 liters which looks a little bit smaller right now because right here, something to be very aware of is the shoe compartment. So this is a really, possibly the most important part of this backpack (this Duffel pack) is this shoe compartment because it’s so vital to the way the bag functions.
As you can see right here well you know… let’s just go ahead, let’s go to the middle section. So right here at the bottom of the bag, we have a ventilated shoe compartment. This shoe compartment can fit up to a men’s size 13 pair of sneakers. So if you are in need of a compartment for your shoes and if you’re going to the gym after work, most people are, you’ll be smitten to know that this thing works great and I guess that the ventilation aspect is really nice. This is also a good compartment if you’re traveling okay and you want somewhere to put all of your dirty laundry. Just throw it in there and yet again the ventilation will make sure that your bag don’t smell. So notice though the relationship the shoe compartment has with the main compartment cuz when this thing’s full its jetting out okay but when not, you can go ahead and tuck it away and now you’ve got an even larger main compartment that you can kind of play with. So this is the cool thing about this pack, shoes in there less space but if you don’t have shoes you know, this is a weekend trip right there baby, I mean it’s a week-long trip. Having used the shoe compartment a few times, I gotta say the shoes slide in, they slide right out, they fit up to size 13, so unless you’re like” Andre the Giant” more of a less, this should handle your shoes.
Let’s take a look at this side and if you open this really nice YKK zipper you’ll see that we have like a side panel. It’s super simple, all we got going on is two elastic pockets. It’s a good spot for things like your wallet, battery, it’s nice, it’s really easy, good quick access and the things that are in that side panel feel secure and it looks good. It works with the whole Duffel bag feel when it’s laying flat on its back, you’re accessing Duffel stuff but when you’re carrying this, it’s also kind of easy to just go ahead and pop this zipper down to grab something out of it as well, so it works both ways, really cool. On the flip side, we have the water bottle holder. Now Aer has done something new here and something very common here. Now on one side, Aer has used a very common water bottle holder, common in the way that like they use this for all of their water bottle holders. They do like this little zip down guys, so let me show you. When you’re not using it, you just zip it right up and it just kind of folds right into the backpack and it’s not big and noisy. It looks pretty seamless, you’re like “oh your boy’s got to stay hydrated”, you just unzip it, toss your water bottle in right there. Now this is a 500 milliliter water bottle, so as you can see it can fit a big water bottle in here, I mean this is like the biggest water bottle holder I’ve ever seen. Here’s the best part, and I have never seen this on an Aer pack before and I wish that they all had it cuz you have this little elastic band right here that you can go ahead and slide, which keeps your water bottle in place. I’m a huge fan of this because without this I got to admit this water bottle holder would be devastating because nothing would stay in, even if you zip it up, it’s still not enough, I mean it’d be baby flopping all over the place. And as you can see my water bottle has taken enough damage from water bottle holders that do not keep it in place. But what I love about this is this elastic strap plus the zipper ensures that that will never happen. It does mess with the aesthetic a little bit, unfortunately it kind of pulls the water bottle to one side like that but you know better safe than sorry.
Moving on we’ve got this little hidden side pocket right here, this is great for keys, little key leash right there. I always wish some of the key leashes were magnetic. I always wish they had a retractable leash when they don’t, but at the end of the day this is a basic solution but it works. You can also keep other things in this pocket as it has a decent size to it, maybe a wallet, gym membership can go in there, extra credit cards, stash of drugs, whatever you want. Moving to the top, we have the top handle right here. It’s really firm, it’s not very cushiony but it’s got a nice feel to it and it’s a little more malleable and it looks like kind of like a gel sort of a feel. It’s got a good grip to it and it’s the same one that there is on this side. I will admit, I end up using this handle more than I really use this handle, just because the whole vibe of the backpack, it feels kind of good carrying it like this, a nice little grab, space in there and they’re pretty comfy. And then finally the last pocket is right up here which is going to be the quick access pocket which is boom right here. This is your typical quick access pocket, good for things that you want to grab in a whim, things like phone, things like air pods, you know things of that nature. I always like these pockets to have like a soft lining, this one doesn’t unfortunately but from a functional perspective it’ll keep all the things that you need to grab quickly. I’m gonna change into my gym stuff we’ll do a workout and then we’ll talk about the back of the back.
The last part of the Aer Duffel pack 2 review is the back of the pack, we already talked about the top handle, let’s move down to these shoulder straps. Shoulder straps are comfy man, most Aer packs are mad comfy and this is a great example as to why. Look at this back panel, look at the shoulder straps, we’ve got the same material going on, great mesh which provides great breathability and great padding which gives you comfort. Really when it comes to the shoulder straps and the back panel, those are the two things you want. You want it to breathe so you don’t get sweaty and you want it to be comfortable so it’s not annoying and painful to wear. And the back panel provides a little bit of ventilation too with this large center gap so a little bit of air flow can come in and out of it. And remember too with this back panel it’s longer than like most backpacks because it has this Duffel style, so it has a length to it and not as much width. This is gonna be at the top your back and this will be more towards you know your upper butt and it really just lays and fits nicely on the entirety of your back. With these shoulder straps, you’ve got a little clip right here, if you want to clip anything on to it and then finally a sternum strap. Sternum straps are great, it helps take weight off of your back and redistribute it to your chest. Great thing about the sternum strap too is that we have a dangle fighter. Thank you for your service sir, there is nothing worse in the world. Let’s see you pull your sternum strap really tight and you got all this dangle flapping around on the bottom, you got all this dangle flapping around and this right here, we got the dangle fighters and you just slide them on down, slide them on through, and now less dangle. When it comes to dangle, less is best.
Now finally to conclude the back of the Aer Duffel pack, let’s look at the tech compartment. Looking at a 3/4 opening you’re only gonna get it down to here with this zipper and then about half way down with the other zipper, boom we have our tech compartment. Now this is the feature or should I say the compartment it takes this bag to another level because you just went from like a gym pack/Duffel with a cool shoe compartment to also having a work pack. This tech compartment has a laptop holder, good for a 13-inch laptop. We’ve got a tablet compartment, good for notebooks and then we’ve got a couple of other pockets, a mesh pocket up here which is great for like chargers, maybe a Bluetooth mouse and some elastic pockets down here. This is awesome man because like I said you’ve got your gym work combo now. Like assuming you don’t have a huge digital Nomad set up with like a laptop stand, external keyboard, mouse pad, this bag can’t carry all that stuff, but if your work gig is pretty light and you just have a laptop and a few other things and it can fit in this tech compartment, if your life is I work and I gym, then this bag is like a godsend for you. A few things to be critical of, is that when it comes to Aer inside materials, I never loved their mesh, it always feels way too crisp, almost like rigid, almost like sharp, but it is a good quality, it’s gonna last. And then finally because of this limited access especially on this side, these lower elastic pockets can be really difficult to access. When this bag is really full things get tight in there and those pockets, these little elastic spots are gonna be more and more difficult to access. I actually never even used them because usually I have this thing full, I got my shoes in there, I’ve got all my tech stuff in here and this pocket is just like inaccessible at that point. But aside from that, it’s a great laptop holder. Like you want your laptop compartment to be safe and secure and have like a tightness to it, like really make you feel like your laptop is in one area, it’s not gonna be flying all over the place. And most importantly it’s good for quick access cuz you want to be able to get your laptop out real fast it’s like “ oh my god I just had a brilliant idea” and you want to walk over to your bag and just 1 2 3 pop out your laptop and then just start typing. Everyone does that ok good. Now we’re gonna take this pack back to my co-working space after a shower of course, and we’re gonna talk about the overall pros and cons and who I think this pack is perfect for, but more importantly who I think this pack is not perfect for. I’ll see you there.
Let’s wrap this review up and talk about the pros and the cons of the Aer Duffel pack 2. Pro number one; it’s an Aer product. Now I know it sounds like a kind of a cop-out, but the thing about this particular company is that most of their products are made from the exact same exterior materials, the exact same interior materials, the exact same zippers, a lot of like similar vibe but because of that, the good things about is like their City sling or their travel pack also extends to their Duffel bag, ballistic nylon, YKK zippers, these are the features that are ubiquitous with Aer products and these are the features that are awesome with Aer products. Overall pro number two for this guy is its innovation, it’s really cool. When I opened the box, I was like duffel pack, I’m like “you suck” and after about a half a day of using it I completely did a 180. You got the Duffel access but then it’s like a backpack as well, the super comfortable backpack and it’s like these two things in one and it looks good, feels like there’re just knocked out of the park. The third pro that I have for the Duffel pack 2 is its versatility. So this bag is marketed as a gym and office bag. Gym bag is you can fit your shoes in there and all your gym stuff on the inside but it’s also an office bags. It’s got a totally sweet tech compartment, it can also just be a day bag. At 25 liters, this is perfectly suitable everyday carry and the Duffel style makes it super easy to just throw your stuff in and keep on moving. Let’s say it’s a weekend, you’re not going to the office, you’re not going to the gym but you got like a weekend flight to Puerto Rico, you can take this bad boy with you. So its versatility is so cool because it can be so many different things. The last Pro is the comfort. This pack has a longer sort of a shape to it and I’m a really big fan of packs that are more on the long side and less on the wide side. I don’t know why, I just like the way it feels when it’s touching my neck and touching like the top of my ass you know, it’s really nice. And it’s not popping out on the sides, it’s not boxy, it’s got a thin profile which not just looks good but in my opinion, it feels great.
But the clapping ends now, let’s talk about the cons with the Aer Duffel pack 2. Con number one, the shoulder straps aren’t stowable. Now I hate saying cons about features that I wish existed that don’t exist, but I just feel that if you wanted to make this a true Duffel experience, you could have taken the back panel and had a little hidden section where you could throw the shoulder straps therefore fully transforming from backpack to Duffel because it never fully transforms. And sometimes I just want it to be in Duffel mode, carry on the side handle you know, carry on the top handle and the straps, the shoulder straps just kind of slap it around and it’s just not that full transition that I crave. Con number two is going to be this access pocket on the top. At the end of the day it’s a really basic pocket and the interior materials are little men. I wish there was a little bit more like Aer’s capsule pack, where the interior materials are so soft and fuzzy and like that was a quick access pocket that was like next-level. This quick access pocket is just like okay. So all that taken into consideration, everything that we reviewed, I give this pack a 4.6 out of 5 stars. It’s one of the highest ratings that I’ve given to a backpack and I didn’t have to think twice about it. I think this thing is so freakin cool man, like I’m in love with it. Bravo Aer.
But while you boys clearly very enthused about this backpack, it doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. Let me clarify who I think this backpack is perfect for and who I think can take a pass on it. This backpack is perfect for you if you’re just looking for one of the most versatile backpacks I’ve ever seen, that means if you’re a person who loves to go to the gym, loves to go to the office, loves to take day trips, loves going day excursions and loves to travel, this backpack can do all five of those things plus many more things like all at once. It’s marketed as a gym and office backpack, but it can do obviously so much more than that. If that sounds like you, then please use the links below. Next the Aer Duffel pack is also going to be perfect for you if you’re looking for an office and gym bag, should go without saying that’s what this thing is designed to be. So all the other travel stuff and the day stuff doesn’t really matter to you, but you’re like “dude 5 days a week, I wake up, go to the gym, go to the office, go home, this is a match made in heaven. You guys are gonna get along really really well.
But like I said, this pack isn’t for everybody, let’s talk about who I think this pack is not for. I don’t think this pack is gonna be good for you if you’re just looking for a basic gym pack. At the end of the day, this bag is really big, it can do a lot of things and it’s a half gym pack but it’s also like a half office pack. If you’re just looking for like a simple gym pack that can carry your shoes clothes towel water bottle and like a little like stash of creatine, this guy might be overkill for you. If that sounds like you, then check the description below, I’ve got some recommendations of some smaller and simpler gym bags that I think will be a little bit more Intune for what you need. Also I don’t think this backpack is for you if you’re a digital Nomad or are in need of like a techie digital Nomady sort of day pack. The gym feature of this is like the whole shoes and Duffel and that’s nice and simple and you get the laptop compartment boot. At the end of the day, I don’t think this bag really caters to like a digital Nomad with a lot of tech gear, in the way that other backpacks can. If you got a laptop gear with like tech pouch, with like a laptop stand, keyboard, mouse, all that stuff, I think there’s probably better options out there. Check the links in the bottom, I got some badass digital Nomad backpacks down there. And finally I do not think this pack is for you if you are in the market for a large travel pack or backpack or whatever you want to call it, this guy’s capacity is just under 25 litres. And while that is all fine and dandy for a weekend in Tokyo, maybe a weekend Bueno saris day trip to Philly,(I got mad Philly love except for the 76ers, go heat) so while I can do those kind of smaller trips it’s just not gonna be big enough for a larger trip. If you’re traveling for weeks at a time, months at a time or even years at a time, I’ve done it, this is gonna be way too small. Don’t stress though, if you like Aer or you just need a bigger backpack in general, check the description below I got links to some of the best travel packs. I recommend going with something in between 40 to 50 liters and I got some of the coolest 40 to 50 liter packs down there.
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