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Aer Day Pack 3 Review

The Aer Day Pack 3 is a comfortable way to carry your tech with a streamlined harness system and good organization, though that takes up a lot of usable space.

Our Verdict

7.7 /10
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  • Back panel padding adds a lot of carry comfort
  • Good amount of organization for daily gear
  • Stands up on its own for easier loading and unloading


  • Extreme structure feels like it impacts usable capacity
  • You must take your bottle out to fully open the main compartment zipper
  • Minimal false bottom on laptop sleeve reduces device protection

Technical Details

91 %

Carry-on Compliance

View 132/145 Airlines

91 %

Like the Look

Polled on Instagram

  • Capacity


  • Weight (lb)

    2.8 lb (1.3 kg)

  • Dimensions

    17.25 in x 12 in x 5.5 in (43.8 x 30.5 x 14 cm)

  • Notable Materials

    CORDURA® Ballistic Nylon, Nylon, Recycled Nylon, DWR Coating, Meets bluesign® CRITERIA, YKK Zippers, Duraflex Hardware

  • Manufacturing Country


  • Laptop Compartment Size


  • Warranty Information

    Aer Lifetime Warranty

Full Review

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When your company aims to make products that help pave the way for a smooth and easy journey for travelers, we have some high expectations. After all, if Aer is thinking about travel when creating a bag, shouldn’t it be the best option for your next trip?

Aer Day Pack 3 Back2
Aer Day Pack 3 | Where will you take this bag?

The Aer Day Pack 3 is the third iteration of this personal item-size bag (of course it is—it’s right there in the name). While we enjoyed the excellent size and organization of the Day Pack 2 and thought it was a good bag overall, we found the usable space to be a bit tight and the harness system a little uncomfortable. Is the third time the charm to perfect this bag? Let’s find out.

External Components

Judging by its cover, not much has changed on the Day Pack 3. We’ve got 1680D CORDURA® ballistic nylon around most of the bag’s exterior, with an 840D nylon face coated for weather resistance. It’s not super shiny, so you can blend into the crowd of commuters.

Aer Day Pack 3 Material
Aer Day Pack 3 | The materials are sleek and durable.

Aer’s branding is subtle, too, with just one Hypalon tab on the bottom right side with the brand name printed in small white letters. There’s no big logo or letters splashed across the front to let everyone know whose bag you’re carrying; you’ll just have to hope the aesthetics speak for themselves.

There’s a carry handle at the top that’s small enough to hang on a hook, yet with enough padding to make it comfortable to carry for a while. You never know when you’ll be sandwiched like sardines on a crowded train and need to take off your travel daypack, so we appreciate the creature-comfort features. Plus, the bag has enough structure to stand on its own when you want to grab lunch at a cafe. You won’t find it falling on its face thanks to the stiff materials and broad base.

Aer Day Pack 3 Zipper
Aer Day Pack 3 | It’s easy to grab the zippers thanks to the corded pulls.

YKK zippers around the bag have metal pulls with cords woven through to make them easier to grab. A cylindrical piece of plastic at the end provides an excellent grip and makes it easier to spot the black zippers against the black bag. That’s right, this bag is Black, and that’s the only colorway available as of the time of this review. If you’re familiar with Pack Hacker, you’re not surprised we’re happy about the monochrome look. If you’re unfamiliar, welcome to the dark side.

The main compartment zipper features a water-resistant AquaGuard coating. We appreciate that since it’s where you slide your laptop. The top quick-access zipper isn’t similarly coated (and neither is the front compartment), but its pull runs into a garage to keep moisture from seeping in at the end of the track.

Aer Day Pack 3 Harness System
Aer Day Pack 3 | We dig the clean look of the harness system.

As for the harness system, some things change, and some things remain the same from versions two to three. We still have two large panels of back panel padding covered in breathable mesh, but they’ve spread down to the bottom and out to both sides. The back even has a slight curve to hopefully mold a little better to your back than the “hovery” V2. We’ll get into more details shortly, but the tl;dr is that we find the Day Pack 3 pretty comfortable.

Aer Day Pack 3 Handle
Aer Day Pack 3 | There’s a side carry handle as well as one at the top.

The center air channel with a vertical luggage pass-through remains, and we’re happy to see the travel-friendly feature. If you’re already lugging rolling carry on luggage behind you, it’s really convenient to just slip a bag over the handle, and it will save your back as you’re walking the (seemingly endless) miles to your gate. There’s a wider carry handle on the left side of the bag that allows you to pop the pack on and off that handle since the bag will sit sideways on your luggage.

Aer Day Pack 3 Strap
Aer Day Pack 3 | The straps have a nice amount of padding.

However, the shoulder straps have a different look. They’re super thickly padded and lined with breathable mesh as on the Day Pack 2, but instead of a sternum strap that hooks onto and slides along a webbing strip, the Day Pack 3’s sternum strap is attached to a rail. They provide the same incremental adjustment, yet we think the rail looks nicer. Instead of a buckle on the strap, there’s a magnetic fastener from Woojin Hardware, which is fun to fiddle with and works well. There is always the chance that it can come accidentally undone—it’s something that’s happened with other magnetic buckles—but we didn’t experience that during our testing, and it’s easy enough to reconnect if it does.

The shoulder straps feature Duraflex adjustment slides, which hold nicely to the strap, and all four straps (two shoulder, two sternum) have elastic keepers built in for that #DangleFreeExperience.

Fit Notes

Aer Day Pack 3 Side by Side
Left: Eric Hergenreder, Height: 6’0″ (183 cm), Torso: 18.5” (47 cm) | Right: Kristyne Defever, Height: 5’5” (165 cm), Torso: 17” (43 cm)

Another improvement from the Day Pack 2 to Day Pack 3 is fit. Whereas our testers felt that the former had such a stiff back panel that it almost hovered over the back of the wearer, this iteration has more than an inch of back panel padding with a slight curve inward at the top of the bag. It molds much more nicely to your back and is quite comfortable to wear, even when filled to the 14L capacity.

If you’re already familiar with Aer as a brand, you’ll find that its aesthetics blend nicely with the rest of the brand’s products. It has a clean front, so you can dress it up for the boardroom and other more professional occasions or use it to pack tech for your next flight. It’s durable and sturdy enough to take the bumps and drops of travel, yet clean and polished enough to look nice when you get there.

Inside The Pack

With such a clean look, you may miss the fact that there are a few extra spots to store your gear. On the right side is a water bottle pocket that lays tight against the bag when you’re not using it. Truthfully, it lays so tight against the bag that it can sometimes be difficult to wedge a standard-width bottle inside.

Aer Day Pack 3 Bottle
Aer Day Pack 3 | There’s a bottle pocket, but it’s quite tight.

You have to work to stretch the elastic holding it, but, on the other hand, it holds your bottle quite tightly. We don’t mind making the extra effort and using the extra hand to hold it open in exchange for keeping our favorite bottle secure.

Aer Day Pack 3 Top Pocket
Aer Day Pack 3 | The top pocket is softly lined and padded to protect your gear.

At the top of the bag, there’s a quick-access pocket for your phone and sunglasses. It seems designed for delicate gear like that because it’s lined with super soft material and just as padded as the laptop sleeve. We know because it hangs into the main compartment, but we’ll get to that in a second.

First, let’s pop over to the front section, which unzips in a horseshoe shape nearly all the way to the bottom. That gives you a good amount of access to the admin panel, where you’ll store all your daily tech or travel accessories. It has nearly the same number of pockets inside as the Day Pack 2, but they’re made with different materials and oriented slightly differently.

Aer Day Pack 3 Organization
Aer Day Pack 3 | Pack your tech gear, and additional items, in the front pocket.

The light gray lining is recycled nylon that’s bluesign® approved, and the hue makes it pretty easy to spot all of your gear, whether it’s black, white, or something else. Against the back panel of this section is a large slip pocket, an addition from the Day Pack 2. It’s the right size for an iPad or a Kindle, although there’s another sleeve for those against the laptop sleeve of the main compartment, so you have options. Maybe you want to use it for a notebook, travel journal, or passport.

Aer Day Pack 3 Key Leash
Aer Day Pack 3 | You’ll know where to find your keys if you put them on this leash.

Against that is the same large zipper pocket as on V2. It’s a good size for a travel wallet, cash, and anything small you want to lock down. That includes your keys since there is a leash inside here with a gatekeeper clip. Then, there are five more stretchy slip pockets below that. The first three are immediately below it: two wider ones surrounding a narrower one that used to be divided into two for pens. Now, you can slide two pens inside the skinny one or use it for one slightly wider USB hub or dongle. The wider pockets are a good size for a travel mouse, a minimalist wallet, or a battery bank. Then, below those pockets are two wider slip pockets that work well for the wall charger and cord to your laptop or something equally bulky.

Plus, the gussets on the front panel give you extra capacity here for an extra layer or even a small packing cube. It seems odd to suggest putting extra gear in here instead of the main compartment, but you’ll understand why we suggest doing so in a moment.

A stiff panel separating the two sections stops the main compartment from encroaching on the admin panel but also means that all that extra space created by the gussets doesn’t reach into the primary area. That’s an issue we had with the Day Pack 2, as well. It still feels like the bag should have a lot more space for your gear than it does.

Aer Day Pack 3 Side Open
Aer Day Pack 3 | A J-shaped zipper gets you into the main compartment.

You get inside through a J-shaped zipper, which runs from the bottle pocket on the right all the way down to the bottom of the left side. If you look toward the front of the bag, you’ll see a zipper—that’s where you can access that frame sheet separating the main from the front compartments to remove it if you want. Above that, you’ll see the quick-access pocket hanging down, and if you flip it up, you’ll see a hidden pocket for a smart tracker. It’s actually one of the more concealed places for an AirTag, Tile, or other tracker we’ve seen in a bag. While a professional thief may come upon it eventually, it’s at least not in an obvious place, so maybe you can pull up your tracker on Find My before they do.

Aer Day Pack 3 Laptop
Aer Day Pack 3 | You can fit up to a 16-inch computer in the sleeve.

Against the back panel is the nicely padded laptop sleeve. It’s ever-so-slightly raised off the bottom of the bag to protect up to a 16-inch laptop if you set your bag down more firmly than is called for, and there’s another slot in front of it where you could slide a tablet or a Bluetooth keyboard. After you do so, however, you’ll see that there’s not much space left for gear despite a few inches of open floor. We tended to toss in our glasses (in a hard case), and a tech pouch, and … that’s it. There’s no room for lunch unless you’re simply eating an energy bar, there’s no room for a travel jacket unless it’s a really, really slim model, and there’s no room for anything else, which seems like a bit of a waste.

Looking at the Aer Day Pack 3 from the outside, it seems like you should be able to pack for a weekend trip or at least bring a change of clothing for the gym, but whether it’s from the thick amount of padding, the rigid structure dividing the compartments or something else, we struggled whenever we tried to pack this bag out. It holds your daily tech essentials comfortably, making it a good laptop bag, but, unfortunately, that’s about it. If you’re a minimalist on the hunt for a daily driver, you should definitely check it out, but if you want to bring nearly any nonessential item, too, you may want to upgrade to the Aer Tech Pack 3, which has similar organization and a few more liters of space.

Usage Timeline

Initial Usage

Condition: Excellent

  • Excited to see padding on the top pocket
  • Interesting J-zip access to the main compartment
  • Very structured, sturdy materials
2 Weeks of Use

Condition: Excellent

  • Stands upright on its own
  • Pulling your water bottle out makes it easier to open the main compartment
  • Loose threads at the end of some seams, but they aren’t raveling
By Kristyne Defever
Created March 11, 2024 • Updated March 13, 2024
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