Aer Pro Pack 20L Review
The Aer Pro Pack 20L takes design features we love from other Aer daypacks and pairs them with lighter materials and new ideas to craft a comfortable and dynamic carry.
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- Materials lightweight and durable
- Simple and comfortable harness system
- Internal organization thoughtful and easy to use
- Zipper occasionally sticks near the water bottle pocket
- Harness system can feel tight on larger frames
- Folded liner pockets are almost too flexible
Like the Look
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2.4 lb (1.1 kg)
17.5 in x 12 in x 5.5 in (44.5 x 30.5 x 14 cm)
CORDURA®, Recycled Nylon, Duraflex Hardware, YKK Zippers, Paracord
Laptop Compartment Size
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The Aer Pro Pack 20L toes the line between daily carry and weekender, with a fresh new design from Aer to fit the bill. Looking back at other Aer releases, like the Aer Travel Pack 3, the changes to the blueprint are hard to miss. The materials are lighter than we’re used to, there are different organizational methods, and a few hardware changes. Will these adjustments change the general feel of packs we’re used to from the brand, or are we in for a new treat? Let’s pack in!
The primary pack material on the Aer Pro Pack 20L is 840D CORDURA re/cor recycled nylon. It’s a nice change of pace from what we’re used to seeing from Aer. As much as we love 1680D CORDURA, the 840D is lighter and still insanely durable. Plus, it’s bluesign approved, which is an excellent shout sustainability-wise.
We typically see more AquaGuard zippers on Aer packs—but this one only features one. While they’re all from YKK, the others don’t feature water-resistant tracks. Again, this isn’t a step backward. These are high-quality pieces of hardware and will hold up in moderate rain fine. However, it’s best to head for cover if you get caught in a torrential downpour.
The hard plastic adjusters on the shoulder straps are from Duraflex. They work as you’d want them to and don’t get in your way. The sternum strap is magnetic and stays out of your way, too; however, it might be hard to open and close if you have range-of-motion issues. It doesn’t pop open when you don’t want it to, which is excellent.
On the top of the pack is a padded handle that’s comfortable to hold even for extended periods, working well for trips on the tram or wandering through the airport. When not in use, it doesn’t take up much space.
There’s a water bottle pocket on either side of the pack. It secures with elastic and just barely fits a 32-ounce Nalgene. If you have a wider bottle, it might not work. However, smaller bottles are fine because the elastic is strong and snappy.
If you only carry one bottle, you can stow a packable jacket or another small item inside. Because there are two, you can get creative with what you put inside. Or, go with two bottles to stay extra hydrated!
On the back panel, there’s a luggage pass-through that runs vertically. This means that the pack will sit sideways on your rolling luggage. It works well, and the trolley sleeve stays out of your way when you aren’t using it. Because the pack sits horizontally, you can’t easily access your gear inside while it’s on your rolling luggage. However, it’s easy to remove to grab something.
The harness system has a lot going on but is simple enough to stay out of your hair while you’re out and about, which we dig.
The shoulder straps have a slight curvature to mold the pack to your body, plus ample padding and mesh that keeps things cool. The back panel has the same padding and mesh, which helps keep you from sweating too much, even on the warmest days.
The sternum strap on a rail allows you to make micro-adjustments to the fit. It adjusts easily, which is both good and bad. Making a quick switch is nice, but it can easily get knocked out of place.
Overall, the fit for this pack is comfortable. It does ride a bit high, which may annoy some users, especially if you have a larger frame. There isn’t much extra space between the top of the shoulder straps and the pack, which may be the issue’s root. It’s comfortable overall, though it can feel a little tight at times.
Inside The Pack
The frontmost pocket on this daypack has a fair amount of organization. It spans about half the pack’s front, and has room to stow a small book or tablet. There’s a liner pocket, which works well for a phone, a pen slot large enough for a stylus, and a mesh pocket that works for a wallet or phone. Above those is a zippered compartment with a key clip and a small spot to hide an AirTag.
Inside the second-most back pocket, we’ve got more organization. There are three liner pockets made of folded and stitched liner material. It works well enough for stowing gear; however, we worry about how well the folds will hold up over time. If this is the case, stowing gear inside will be more challenging, and your items will be more likely to tumble out. This pocket has additional protection compared to the front section we just covered because it’s sandwiched between the primary and laptop compartments.
Beyond that, the laptop compartment utilizes an AquaGuard YKK zipper, offering extra protection where it counts. You probably would be a little bummed if your clothing gets wet; however, you’d be devastated if your laptop fried because it got water on it. This inclusion is welcomed and works well in use.
The sleve for your laptop is padded and has soft materials to ensure your computer stays safe and scratch-free. There’s a liner pocket to stow a book or notebook and a fair amount of open space for other flat gear. Depending on the size of the water bottle you stow in the exterior pocket, it can push into this area slightly. If your notebook isn’t a hardcover or you stow papers here, it could bend or crinkle them.
As for the main compartment, it’s accessible via a clamshell-style opening. The zipper can sometimes get semi-stuck near the top of the water bottle pocket, a problem that worsens when a larger water bottle is inside. If you pull hard enough, it moves on, but it’s noticeable enough to write about it in a travel backpack review.
Inside, there isn’t a ton of organization. A zippered pocket on the lid locks down the gear you don’t want floating around. The more you load inside here (and the frontmost admin pocket), the heavier the top becomes. This isn’t a huge deal, but it causes it to flop down more viciously when you open the pack.
A small liner pocket with an elastic topper is on the back panel. You can slide various items inside that you don’t want to move as much as the rest of your gear. It’s a small inclusion but welcome when packing for a spontaneous weekend trip.
Because there isn’t much organization in the main compartment, we recommend packing cubes and other organizers to stay on top of segmenting your gear. It isn’t the end of the world if you choose not to, but it’s helpful.
Overall, we dig this pack and the thoughtful organization it has translated from other Aer packs we’ve loved. However, these aren’t all old tricks. We like the water bottle pockets, lighter fabric, and simple design. Paired with a capable sling, you and this pack can take on the office, a weekend trip, or the road in style.
- Exterior materials feel durable and are water resistant
- Quality hardware all around—from the zippers to the hard plastic adjustors
- We’re excited to try the interior organization
- We’ve found the materials to be extraordinarily durable, even for how lightweight they are
- The zipper gets caught near the water bottle pocket occasionally, but it opens with a little effort
- No issues with water resistance; the gear on the inside stays dry
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