Modern life has a tendency to be packed to the gills with activities and, sometimes, it can seem like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get through everything you want. However, some of that issue can be mitigated with a bit of careful planning. To everyday carry enthusiasts, that means more than simply coming up with a schedule. In fact, it means shaping the gear you carry with you to suit your hectic daily life.
One of the harder things to manage in this always-moving-never-stopping world is getting into the gym on a regular basis. After all, most people don’t exercise in the same clothes they wear to the office and vice versa. Sadly, most EDC backpacks haven’t taken this fact into consideration. By contrast, the folks at Aer have made that exact issue the centerpiece of their Fit Pack 2 — and they’ve executed a brilliant solution therein. We got our hands on that very bag and took it to task for the following in-depth, hands-on review.
Even for those who are familiar with Aer’s other offerings, the Fit Pack 2 may seem exceptionally beautiful thanks to its sleek external silhouette, minimalist appointments, and subtle detailing. Truly, it is not an exaggeration to say this is one of their best-looking bags. It’s also quite small when compared to, say, the brand’s famed Duffel Pack and/or its larger travel-focused offerings. However, the 18.8L of internal space is much more well-suited to EDC purposes than the larger offerings — at least for those who commute on public transportation or in cabs. When empty, it does bunch up and can wrinkle a bit, but so do most other backpacks that serve a similar purpose — making this “gripe” (if you can call it that) more of an observation than anything else.
Materials & Craftsmanship
It’s worth noting that the Aer Fit Pack 2 is actually available in two different fabrics — 1680D Cordura ballistic nylon and limited-edition X-Pac sailcloth. As the X-Pac option is a limited run, the bag we got our hands on was crafted from the former material, which is available year-round. While the X-Pac is an exciting prospect for the fact that it’s waterproof, super-durable, and ultralight, it also makes the bag $20 more expensive and, honestly, most folks are going to be perfectly satisfied with ballistic nylon — which was originally developed for use in military body armor and is naturally abrasion-, and puncture-, and water-resistant (enough that your gear won’t get wet even if you’re out in a downpour for a short amount of time).
As anyone familiar with the brand can tell you, Aer is quite adept at crafting bags and accessories that beautifully balance functionality and style. The Fit Pack 2 is no exception. There is not a fraction of this bag that seems as though it was overlooked. All the lines are clean, the stitching (where you can see it) is sturdy-yet-subtle, and everything piece of hardware down to the zipper pulls are masterfully crafted. If there’s an issue one might have, it would almost have to be that the bag is suspiciously well-made and, therefore, seems too good to be true.
What’s more, the bag was clearly built with the user experience in mind. There aren’t any confusing buckles or seemingly-pointless straps and/or attachment points. This bag was built with purpose in mind: to get you from your house to your office to the gym and back home again. Granted, that might seemingly limit its versatility, but we’re of the mind that it is plenty versatile as it is. It’s not without potential faults — sadly, there is no external or internal water bottle pocket, which seems like an oversight or a concession in the name of minimalism — but it’s also better than most other offerings in its class.
Function & Form
You might not know it at first glance, but the Aer Fit Pack 2 actually has a quartet of externally-accessible pockets — but its design does well to hide them. The first and most obvious is the front-accessed, vertically-zippered pocket. Accessed via a two-way water-resistant zipper, this particular pocket is unstructured, has no organizational pockets within, and is actually deceptively roomy. If we were to suggest a use for this pouch, it might be well-suited to stashing a small change of clothes (specifically gym clothes) or a small arrangement of EDC gear. And the reason for this is simple: the bag has another externally-accessed pocket at the bottom that shares the internal space of this pocket.
That other pocket is accessed via the bottom of the bag courtesy of a 3/4 lid-like zipper, boasts two ventilation holes, and is intended for storing your gym shoes and/or your dirty workout clothes (or anything else you don’t want intermingling with the rest of the gear in your bag because of moisture, odors, etc.). It can fit a pair of shoes up to a men’s size 13, but there’s enough room that you could feasibly stash a dirty shirt and a pair of shorts when necessary. For the gym rats out there, this could end up being your most-used compartment.
Beyond those first two pockets, there’s also a small, zippered, quick-access pocket at the top of the bag. Roughly the same size as a binder pencil organizer (for those who remember these school-ready storage solutions), this nylon-lined pocket is perfect for stashing any and all small everyday carry gear you need to access quickly but, for whatever reason, can’t go in your pockets. It’s large enough for a medium-sized tablet, but not so overwhelming that you’ll lose anything smaller and more pocketable inside.
Finally (and perhaps most importantly), there’s the large main compartment. Aside from the dedicated gym shoe pocket, this compartment is where the bag really shines. Accessed via a 3/4 zip, this slot offers the most in regards to organizational options. At the back of the bag (against the padded back panel), it boasts two vertical slots — a padded one that fits laptop computers up to 15.6″ and a second that’s slightly smaller and more well-suited to, say, a large tablet or a full-sized notebook. Opposite those slots, the compartment has a small zippered mesh pocket for small, loose items and, below that, a quartet of organizational slots — two that are roughly passport-sized and two more that could fit pens and/or pencils. As mentioned, this bag’s minimalist exterior does nothing to betray its impressive internal scheme.
Who Is This Backpack For?
In case it isn’t abundantly clear already, this EDC backpack is damn near perfect for modern professionals who lean toward the fitness enthusiast side of the spectrum. It’s professional enough to confidently take with you in an office setting, subtle enough that you’re not sending up a signal flare to would-be thieves, and beautifully minimalist to the point that it will pair well with just about any outfit and/or EDC loadout. If you’re not interested in getting in a workout while you’re out-and-about during any given day, this pack might not be for you. But, even then, you could probably figure out another purpose or two for the integrated shoe compartment.
If there is a better everyday backpack equipped to go from home to the office, then the gym and back again, we have yet to come across it. Sure, there are some concessions here and there — namely that the separate ventilated shoe compartment encroaches on the other internal compartments — but that’s a compromise worth making for an exceptionally durable weatherproof construction, minimalist design, brilliant internal organizational scheme, and more. If we could change anything, it might be the vertical front pocket and/or adding a water bottle pocket, but we also feel like those are minor gripes in the grand scheme of things and, otherwise, this pack is superb.
Aer Fit Pack 2
Minimalist ballistic nylon daypack with a focus on hauling all the office, EDC, and gym gear a person needs.
- Great Organization
- Ideal For Gym-Going Commuters
- Beautifully Minimalist
- Limited Internal Space
- No External Water Bottle Pocket
- Vertical Pocket Can Be Inconvenient
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