Official Review: AER Fit Pack 2 (Hardware)

By Ben Sellwood, Mar 4, 2020 (updated Feb 29, 2020) 0 2

Backpacks are handy when you need to travel and you have a variety of things to take with you. The Aer Fit Pack 2 is a $135 pack designed around everyday use, but is it actually worth the money?
Ben Sellwood

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When I got the opportunity to review a backpack, I was pretty stoked. Since high school, I have carried a rucksack, record bags, laptop/shoulder bags and flight cases everywhere I have been around the country and even the world, so getting to try out something above the norm is right up my alley. AER's Fit Pack 2 is the second iteration in AER's line of gym/work-themed essentials, and, compared to the 2016 Fit Pack 1, it features an incrementally larger form factor, but it caters for larger shoes and gadgets, and has a slightly more refined interior.

Features:

• 1680D Cordura® ballistic nylon exterior
• YKK® Japanese zippers
• Duraflex® plastic hardware
• Front-load main compartment for spacious storage and easy access
• Ventilated shoe compartment (fits up to men's size 13 shoes)
• Padded laptop pocket (fits up to 15.6” laptop)
• Quick-access top pocket for small valuables
• Multiple internal pockets for accessories
• Padded mesh back panel for enhanced comfort and breathability
• Sternum strap for comfort and stability
• Dimensions: Length: 18.5" (47 cm) Width: 12.5" (32 cm) Depth: 8" (20 cm)
• Volume: 18.8L
• Weight: 1.9lbs

The build quality is staggering as you gaze upon its unassumingly stealthy appearance. Solid, sleek, and well-presented are your first thoughts, followed by “I wonder where this zip leads to,” and a final smirk of approval as you realise how well thought out this pack is in general. Straight out the gates I found the ventilated shoe storage compartment and slid my UK size 10 trainers in there. This was perfect for me to hide them away without taking up valuable space in the main compartment, and meant that I could access them quickly without having to rummage to the bottom of the bag to find them when I wanted to change footwear. The fact that this can handle kicks up to size 13 means that the average shoe size of 9 to 12 is easily covered and allows those with bigger feet to enjoy this function too.

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For day-to-day use, this pack is utterly excellent. Its solid build quality and segmented design makes it perfect for people like me who like to compartmentalise each of my items into individual pockets to avoid wrecking anything. Keys in the smallest pocket, shoes in the bottom section, stationary in the mesh compartment, and my lunch and drink in a waterproof bag within the main section, alongside a change of clothes or towel if I'm going to the gym or swimming pool. I usually put my bag (a shoulder bag) across my shoulder for portability, but I know it’s bad for my spine to carry heavy weights unevenly. This pack lends itself perfectly for retaining posture and distributes weight across both shoulders superbly so as not to cause curvature or injury. Some days I bike to work, and this pack straps on perfectly for riding. You adjust the straps accordingly, clip in the sternum cross support and you're solid; that bag isn't going to move no matter how bumpy the trail. In testing, I also want to mention that I got it dirty with mud spatter and rain, and thanks to its water-resistance, it cleaned up no issue with a damp cloth, and it kept everything within safe and dry.

The burliness of the zips and handles give this bag an overwhelming air of quality. Every part of this has been considered and designed to enhance your experience and fulfill your needs. Nowadays we tend to carry more tech than ever and we want it to be secure and safe on our commutes. I often take my Nintendo Switch with me to work or to other people’s places, and the AER Fit Pack 2 was excellent in accommodating not only my Switch, charger and games, but also my laptop. Luckily my laptop is 15.6" in size and fits perfectly in the provided compartment, the chargers can be stowed in the mesh section too, keeping them away from scratching your other valuable items. If your laptop was any bigger though, I don't think you would get away with putting it in the designated pocket. You would have to keep it in a case in the main compartment of the bag. I tested shoving my 7.8cm deep Xbox One OG stacked with my 5cm deep PS4 OG into this and they fit extremely well in the ~20cm deep main section securely (with controllers and cables), meaning that if I really got in a bind and wanted to take both of the bigger consoles with me, I totally could without needing to carry yet another large bag.

 

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The Aer Fit Pack 2 is elite in its backpack status, with its cleverly designed construction and sheer quality in components and craftsmanship. I know that the barrier to entry on this bag is over the $130 mark, so some may find this a stumbling block when looking for a value pack, but for those who want something in the upper echelons with well-compartmentalised specifics and not just generic pouches, this is definitely the one to go for in a sea of possible bags to purchase. Bearing in mind that you have so many compartments, hardwearing interiors, a padded laptop pocket, a ventilated shoe section, padded mesh for breathability against your back when in use, and super rugged zippers, this is truly a no-brainer for those with daily needs for transporting such items, and especially for those who are sport-inclined. This is now my everyday bag, a bag for all seasons. A pack in which my tech, lunch, and change of clothes (including shoes) fit perfectly and neatly into one easy-to-wear bundle with absolutely no struggle to close and no jutting out "bag of spanners" aesthetic. It’s pure finesse, and I love it.

Verdict
What We Liked . . . Solid construction and quality materials Lightweight and rugged Variety of compartments including vented one for shoes Stylish stealthy black aesthetic What We Didn't Like . . . Not designed for 16"+ laptops or size 13+ shoes Water-resistant, not waterproof
8.5
out of 10
Overall
As backpacks go this is a stunning one. Though the price tag is over $130 RRP, the level of thought and engineering in this pack pays you back the more you wear it and appreciate it for what it does. Apart from a few fringe examples such as large laptops or large shoes unable to fit this model, I found the Fit Pack 2 entirely recommendable on every level.
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