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The worst part of flying happens before I even get in the air.
It’s the scrum of the boarding area, where anxious passengers crowd the gate with two or three hefty carry-ons, afraid their overhead space is going to be jacked and then they’ll be forced to … check those bags for free and pick them up immediately after landing?
Honestly, I don’t get the pre-boarding frenzy.
And I also don’t sweat it, because all I ever need access to on a flight is a small bag with my headphones, chargers and electronics, along with a bare minimum of toiletries. I’ve been getting by with a combination of a slim messenger bag from Timbuk2 and a tech dopp kit via This Is Ground — all stowed tightly beneath the seat in front of me — but I’ve been hoping to narrow that tiny footprint down into one compact option.
Enter the Flight Pack 2 by Aer.
Aer, started in 2014, is an innovative San Francisco-based bag brand that makes durable, travel-friendly duffels combining two or three functionalities into one (e.g. their first pack was designed to work both for the office and in the gym).
Their Flight Pack 2 is a 14L backpack that also works as a shoulder bag or briefcase, thanks to an array of straps and handles. It’s also slim like a laptop bag, and the multiple interior pockets mean I can forego a separate “kit” to hold chargers or cords. As well, a quick-access top pocket means I’m able to grab essentials (passport, pen, etc.) quickly without rummaging around or pulling the bag off the plane’s floor.
Other perks: A pass-through back panel where I can place the pack atop my rolling luggage, the ballistic nylon exterior (material originally developed for the military as body armor) that’s definitely going to survive any bumpy flights, and a cool, olive green colorway exclusive to Huckberry.
The latter fact is important, as today (Monday) is the last day you can save a bit over 10% on a Flight Pack 2 at Huckberry, with the price down to $160. Hint, hint, any loved ones or travel companions reading this.
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