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Aer Tech Pack 3 Review

The Aer Tech Pack 3 is the sleekest version yet, with a straightforward harness system, a tech pocket that can replace your pouch, and a big main compartment.

Our Verdict

7.8 /10
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  • The harness system has been simplified but is still incredibly comfortable
  • We’ve found the tech organization enough to replace a dedicated pouch
  • The laptop compartment is protective and has space for extra gear


  • The main compartment zipper’s J-shape design can make loading gear awkward
  • The water bottle pocket too tight to fit larger models
  • It can be challenging to get used to where the top handle is

Technical Details

86 %

Carry-on Compliance

View 125/145 Airlines

84 %

Like the Look

Polled on Instagram

  • Capacity


  • Weight (lb)

    3.2 lb (1.5 kg)

  • Dimensions

    18 in x 12.25 in x 7 in (45.7 x 31.1 x 17.8 cm)

  • Notable Materials

    X-Pac, Nylon, YKK Zippers, Duraflex Hardware, Meets bluesign® CRITERIA

  • Manufacturing Country


  • Laptop Compartment Size


  • Warranty Information

    Aer Lifetime Warranty

Full Review

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Alas, we have come to the third iteration of the Aer Tech Pack. We weren’t certain we would see another version of this bag; however, we’re amped to have it in hand in time to release this review on launch day. Let’s dive in!

External Components

There are multiple versions of this pack available. First, there’s the traditional 1680D CORDURA® nylon version; we saw this coming. This material has been Aer’s lifeblood for a long time, and we’re here for it. It offers stellar durability and high water resistance, and it looks sleek. This version has a water-resistant coated 840D nylon face, which adds a unique texture and contrast to the pack.

Aer Tech Pack 3 Outdoor
Aer Tech Pack 3 | We’re digging the look of this thing.

The other version is VX-42 X-Pac, which is lighter than CORDURA® and more water-resistant. It isn’t as durable but can still stand on its own two feet on a rugged adventure. The bulk of this review will focus on the X-Pac version; however, apart from materials, the packs are identical.

The zippers are from YKK and have an AquaGuard finish. These add to the water-resistant nature of this pack. YKK is one of the best zipper brands, so we can’t complain about their inclusion. These things work well and don’t break; what more can we say?

Aer Tech Pack 3 Diag Studio
Aer Tech Pack 3 | All black everything.

The plastic hardware is from Duraflex, and similar to YKK, there’s nothing to scoff at here. These things just work! Some of our favorite travel backpacks and daypacks combine YKK zippers and Duraflex hardware, so we’re amped to see this pairing here.

The handle on the top of the pack is small and minimalistic but comfortable to hang onto, thanks to the padding. It’s on the backside of the pack’s top, so it can be challenging to find if you’re used to having a top-centered handle. After a while, you get used to it, and it becomes second nature.

There are handles on the left and right sides, too, which are handy for stowing and grabbing the pack from the overhead bin on the airplane. They stay out of your way when you aren’t using them, which is key for a bag with additional handles.

Aer Tech Pack 3 Logo
Aer Tech Pack 3 | The Aer logo tab.

There’s an Aer logo tab on the pack’s front right side. It feels similar to Hypalon, and the white logo contrasts the pack’s black colorway.

On the back panel, there’s a vertical luggage pass-through. That way, when you sling this onto your rolling carry on luggage at the airport, the pack is vertical to save space on your telescopic handle. This is especially helpful if you’re shorter and your handle is adjustable, as taller packs with a horizontal pass-through will sometimes make you extend the handle all the way, even if you don’t want to.

We’ve got just one water bottle pocket to work with on the Tech Pack 3. It blends in well, so you don’t notice it when you’re not using it, which we dig from an aesthetic standpoint. It isn’t the most capable pocket, but it can handle small and medium-sized (think 12-24 ounce) bottles well. If you have the main compartment completely packed out, you may only be able to fit a smaller bottle inside. No matter how full the pack is, you aren’t going to fit a bigger travel water bottle like a 32-ounce Nalgene inside.

Aer Tech Pack 3 Water
Aer Tech Pack 3 | The water bottle pocket.

The exterior of the new Tech Pack is incredibly sleek, but how comfortable is it to carry?

Fit Notes

Aer Tech 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)

The back panel is well-padded and has ample aeration to keep things cool, even on a hot day. Even so, things will get a bit sweaty as the temperature rises, but it’s no fault of the back panel. There’s a channel down the center that promotes airflow, which is much appreciated on days that require a lot of walking.

The shoulder straps have similar padding and aeration and are just as comfortable. We like that they curve slightly to form around your torso because it creates a more ergonomic fit and feel. It might not work for every body type, but all our testers find it to fit well.

The sternum strap is on a rail, so you can make micro-adjustments to the fit. The buckle is a magnet, which we’ve noticed has become very popular with other bags on the market. If you have yet to try one, getting used to it may take a while. However, once you’re used to it, you’ll have no problem with it. It can be challenging to use with large gloves in the winter, but that’s our only gripe.

Aer Tech Pack 3 Strap
Aer Tech Pack 3 | The sternum strap is simple but works well.

The sternum and shoulder straps have strap keepers, which keep things organized in typical Aer fashion. In our experience, this pack is comfortable. What can you carry inside it, though?

Inside The Pack

With tech in the name, you might wonder where you’ll put your electronics inside this pack. The large secondary compartment is the answer! There’s so much organization (and space) here that you can negate bringing a tech pouch on many trips, which is handy, we think, especially if you bring a lot of electronics on work trips or while operating as a digital nomad.

Aer Tech Pack 3 Admin
Aer Tech Pack 3 | The tech pocket.

Before we dive into the secondary compartment, it’s worth noting that the interior of this X-Pac version is orange. It isn’t burnt or light orange; it’s super bright. Similar to other aspects of this pack, this is getting incredibly popular, so we aren’t surprised to see this change from the first iteration of the Tech Pack. If the bright liner isn’t your vibe, the 1680D CORDURA® version has Aer’s traditional grey liner.

The secondary compartment opens up on three sides, so you have solid access to your tech and pack for your trip. There’s no organization on the lid, but quite a bit on the backside. Starting from the bottom, there are two large mesh pockets. Above those, there are three more: two medium and one small. Of the five, the bottom two work best for an external hard drive or a larger mouse. The medium pockets work well for a wallet or phone, and the smallest one is ideal for smaller gadgets, like a multitool, thumb drive, or stylus.

Aer Tech Pack 3 Side Handle
Aer Tech Pack 3 | It is easy to take this thing anywhere.

Higher up the back side is a zippered pocket that spans a little under half of the back wall. This is an ideal space to lock down sensitive items, like a passport, or smaller items you don’t want bouncing out of a mesh pocket and into the hubbub of the compartment.

Behind that, there’s a large liner pocket. It takes up roughly three-fourths of the back wall, so you can stow larger, flat items here, like a book, tablet, or similar-sized item. If you stuff something bigger than that in here, it can be challenging to load up gear into the smaller pockets that rest on top of it.

This compartment has a limited amount of depth, but you can stow excess gear here pretty easily. However, it’s worth noting that there isn’t a ton of padding in the external fabric, especially if you go with the X-Pac model, to protect anything you stow loose here. The compartment has two zippers, so you can get creative with packing your items here. If you place large items inside, you can sometimes see them from the exterior, which isn’t our favorite. However, it will work if you need to get the gear there!

Aer Tech Pack 3 Laptop
Aer Tech Pack 3 | The laptop compartment.

The laptop compartment can accommodate computers up to 16 inches, which is ideal for the modern traveler. The raised compartment keeps your computer from sitting directly on the floor and to protect it from the bumps and knocks of the digital nomad lifestyle. In addition to stowing your laptop here, there is another pocket inside that’s ideal for stowing a second device up to 13 inches, paperwork, documents, or a book. There’s additional space between the two pockets for other flat items. We typically don’t bring enough flat gear to use it, but it’s an excellent option for those that do.

The final secondary compartment is a top pocket perfect for everyday gear you want quick access to. The material inside is soft to protect device screens, which is handy for protecting your phone while on the go.

Aer Tech Pack 3 Phone
Aer Tech Pack 3 | The top quick-access pocket is handy.

Usually, around this point, we comment about how the main compartment is where the party is. Don’t be fooled; there is a get-together inside this compartment; however, it’s more of a cooldown after the tech-heavy secondary compartment we already went over. Inside here, you won’t find as much organization as the pack already provided elsewhere. This area is for stowing gear! In short, the benefit of this Tech Pack 3 over the (also new) Day Pack 3 is the built-in organization and dedicated pockets for gear storage that allow you to use the main compartment for, well, everything else. If you’re looking for a bag that can go right from the office to a flight, this is one to consider.

The main compartment zipper might bug a few travelers; however, here at the office, we’re split on the matter. One side of the main compartment goes down to the pack’s bottom. However, the water bottle pocket design prohibits the other side from doing so, stopping it around halfway up. This makes the angle at which you get into the main compartment diagonal and less wide-open than we’re used to seeing from Aer. What bothers the team members who don’t like this design is that the angle isn’t always straight. It can be remedied by only unzipping the other side as far as the water bottle pocket, but it can feel odd—almost incomplete. This will either be an issue for you or won’t, and it’s hard to know whether it will until you’re loading up packing cubes to head out on a trip.

Aer Tech Pack 3 Main
Aer Tech Pack 3 | The main compartment.

A hidden device tracker pocket is underneath the secondary compartment flap, and it’s more discreet than we’re used to seeing, which is a perk. If someone gets their hands on your bag, it’ll be much harder for them to find and ditch the tracker. Even if it’s not stolen, it’s nice to know the tracker is safely tucked away.

As for the main compartment’s organization, we’ve got just one pocket on the back wall. It’s crafted from the same stretchy mesh as the organizational features in the secondary compartment, making it a solid option for large and small gear thanks to the robust stretchiness of the material. The rest of the space is wide open and considerable enough to warrant using organizers like packing cubes and pouches.

A zipper on the compartment’s front side contains a frame-sheet-like piece of plastic, which does a good job of ensuring the gear you load into the main compartment doesn’t take away valuable space from the tech pocket and vice versa. You can remove this synthetic material to save weight or increase flexibility, though we enjoy its inclusion. It adds structure to the interior materials, and we’re here for it. In fact, we think it even helps the bag stand up on its own, making it easy to load this pack up pretty much anywhere, even if you only have one hand available.

Aer Tech Pack 3 | Time to hit the road!

Overall, we’re digging the changes made from the second iteration of the Aer Tech Pack to the third. The harness system is more straightforward and sleeker; the stretchy mesh material on the interior pockets looks nicer and snaps back quicker; and the orientation of the pockets feels more streamlined and easy to organize from the jump. That said, everyone travels differently, so watching a video of how we pack this bag up might help you better visualize if this pack will work for you! Be sure to check out our review video to see it in action.

Usage Timeline

Initial Usage

Condition: Excellent

  • The materials are lightweight and durable; we’re amped to put them to the test
  • No issues with the hardware so far; the zippers and buckles feel capable
  • We’re curious how well we like using the internal organization over the testing period
2 Weeks of Use

Condition: Excellent

  • No issues with the X-Pac materials or hardware
  • The harness system is comfortable and shows no signs of wear and tear
  • The interior padding has done a stellar job of protecting a laptop and other tech gear
By Eric Hergenreder
Created March 11, 2024 • Updated March 13, 2024
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