In the pantheon of EDC and work backpacks, there are literally dozens of immensely reputable and well-trusted bags made by tried and true companies. And while the outfit only came to market eight years ago, Aer has nonetheless managed to carve out a reputation as a producer of some of the best carry solutions on the market. In the San Francisco-based brand’s never-ending strive for perfection, Aer routinely utilizes real-world field testing and extensive user feedback to deliver updated takes on existing packs, including the firm’s Tech Pack, which has been reconfigured for its second generation. And while Aer’s spent the last few years tweaking the backpack, the work pack market has simultaneously been evolving. Curious to see how the Aer Tech Pack 2 actually performs in day-to-day work life — and more importantly how it stacks up against other leading work bags — we’ve gotten our paws on the second-gen version of the pack to deliver this hands-on review.
Video Review: Aer Tech Pack 2
Happen to be more of a visual learner? Then there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy an even deeper dive into Aer’s purpose-built tech bag from our 4K video review of the Tech Pack 2.
Out Of The Frying Pan…
Our Initial Impressions Of The Aer Tech Pack 2
Right out of the box, Aer’s second-gen Tech Pack boasts an incredibly sleek look, with a minimalistic design that sports a smooth front face that’s encompassed by beefy weatherproof zipper tracks and top and side grab handles. The second thing to catch your eye is the Tech Pack 2’s robust-looking side panel construction. Smaller details also jump out at the user such as zipper garages, subtle custom branding, and bespoke pulls — all of which suggest a highly-calculated and unmistakably premium pack. All in all, the Tech Pack 2 makes a great first impression, and that’s before even getting to the real meat and potatoes of the pack — i.e. the bevy of storage and organizational features that lie beneath its zipper tracks.
Materials & Constructions
Since its inception in 2014, Aer has built its name on producing minimalistic-looking blacked-out bags made from super hardwearing materials — an MO that’s clearly utilized on the Tech Pack 2. The main body of the bag is crafted from ultra-rugged 1,680-denier CORDURA nylon — an insanely abrasion and water-resistant construction that was originally developed for use in military body armor. The work backpack’s ballistic-grade shell has been mated to a smooth 840-denier nylon face that’s been further fortified via a matte, weather-resistant, carbonate polyurethane coating.
Minimalistic & Made-To-Last
The Tech Pack 2’s Exterior Details
Part of Aer’s second-generation signature Work Bag collection, this work-specific backpack tips the scales at 3.8lbs and measures 18” L x 12” W x 7” D. Despite its fairly minimalistic appearance, Aer has managed to bestow the exterior of the Tech Pack 2 with quite a few genuinely useful amenities. As previously mentioned, the pack boasts heavily-padded top and side handles that afford the user multiple carrying options, plus the bag features a small exterior side pocket opposite a collapsible water bottle pocket. On top of beefy and heavily-cushioned shoulder straps and a sternum strap, the back of the pack also features a heavily padded and highly breathable mesh back panel that hugely bolsters comfort. Equipped with Duraflex hardware, the backpack also features waterproof YKK AquaGuard zippers across all of its main compartments. Additionally, the outside of the Aer Tech Pack 2 also features a luggage handle pass-through and a single Hypalon Aer logo tag.
A Tank Built For Tech
Internal Storage & Features
Offering 17 liters of storage space, the Aer Tech Pack 2 conceals a plethora of purpose-built organizational features — all of which were designed specifically to accommodate the tech and office essentials used by the modern worker. Trimmed in a soft woven lining, the pack’s interior boasts a suspended laptop pocket that fits laptops of up to 16” — including a MacBook Pro — as well as a quick-access top pocket for stashing smartphones, wallets, and other commonly-used daily items. Moving on, the inside of the bag has also been treated to a myriad of interior pockets, compartments, and organizers, and a main compartment that features an additional slip for storing notebooks and magazines. The primary compartment also boasts a mesh pocket, and several smaller slips for housing pens, cables, hard drives, wireless mice, and other tech peripherals.
Our Gripes With Aer’s Tech Pack 2
As much as Aer’s second-generation tech backpack has going for it, we did still uncover a few minor downsides and gripes we had with the bag. For starters, we wouldn’t mind seeing the insanely-rugged 1,680-denier side wall construction also be utilized for the pack’s face, and based on Aer’s clear proclivity for using magnetic-coupling hardware, we were a little disappointed not to see the Tech Pack 2’s sternum strap fitted with a FIDLOCK-style item. The most significant gripe we had with the backpack is the fact this purpose-built tech and work bag lacks a second sleeve or compartment for housing an iPad or other tablet (or second laptop).
And, while the tracks covering the bag’s primary compartments — which admittedly constitute the majority of the zippers on the pack — are of the YKK AquaGuard variety, we’d really have liked to see these weatherproof items used on every exterior track, as it would afford the backpack full waterproofing and allow you to stash small tech items in any pocket without having to ever worry about water damage. It is worth noting that these are all extremely minor complaints — most of which are purely subjective, too.
What We Liked About The Aer Tech Pack 2
There’s plenty of impressive information and specs one can glean from looking at the Tech Pack 2 on Aer’s website, however, to fully appreciate everything the bag has to offer, you really do have to experience it for yourself. One of our favorite aspects of the pack is the fact its shell features a structured body. Partially inspired by the design of traditional toolboxes, the bag boasts a semi-rigid structure (even when completely devoid of contents) that allows it to stand upright on its own — a huge plus for a backpack made for storing tech and other sensitive gadgets and devices.
Another discreet highlight is the overall shape of Aer’s latest Tech Pack (which can be seen directly above). Rather than sporting a boxy profile, the Tech Pack 2 features a flat bottom and a slightly rounded front face that tapers towards the top of the backpack. This setup not only provides easy access to the bag’s zippered compartments and the bevy of tech organization that they open to reveal, but also helps it to perfectly fit the shape and contours of its wearer’s back. Additionally, the soft-lined nature of the bag also means you don’t have to worry about its interior contents getting scuffed or scratched while in transit. And, when you consider the Tech Pack 2’s objectively rugged construction, high-end tracks and hardware, premium Hypalon logo patch, soft-woven lining, and bespoke zipper pulls, the tech-focused backpack actually offers pretty solid value at just $210.
Reaching A Conclussion
Final Thoughts & Verdict
In typical Aer fashion, it’s also abundantly clear that the Tech Pack 2 was born out of ample real-world experience. What’s more, rather than trying to double as an outdoor-focused daypack or a larger travel backpack, the Tech Pack 2 was engineered from the ground up as Aer’s vision of the ultimate streamlined tech-focused work bag, boasting everything needed to carry, organize, and store one’s daily tech and office essentials — and literally nothing more. And, in this regard, Aer has undeniably nailed its objective, as the second-gen Tech Pack really does tick every box that a modern worker could hope for. It may not deliver on any particularly innovative or envelop-pushing features, though it’s still a fantastic work bag that does everything it was designed to do with incredible efficiency.
The 12 Best Laptop Bags You Can Buy
Though we’re personally of the belief that Aer makes some of the finest packs on the market, we do recognize that there are plenty of other stellar work and tech-focused packs — a dozen of the latest and greatest we’ve rounded up in our curated guide to the best laptop bags.