Aer Travel Weekender Review
The Aer Travel Weekender is a duffel with internal organization for small gear and ample space for clothing, though you’ll need to use packing cubes.
- Stands up on its own due to sturdy materials
- Ample organization in front pocket for small gear
- Roomy main compartment is wide enough for large articles of clothing
- The strap can get a bit sweaty when the temperature rises
- Easy to lose smaller items in the the main compartment
- Water bottles can fall out if you wear the duffel as a crossbody
2.7 lb (1.2 kg)
12 in x 19.5 in x 9 in (30.5 x 49.5 x 22.9 cm)
CORDURA® Ballistic Nylon, YKK Zippers, Duraflex Hardware
Laptop Compartment Size
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Upon initial inspection, the Aer Travel Weekender slides nicely into the easily identifiable style and modern design language we’re used to seeing from Aer. It looks eerily similar to the Travel Pack 3 but turned on its side. The Weekender feels like a reimagined version of the Travel Duffel but with a few tweaks to usher in Aer’s newest design features. We’re curious whether the Weekender will be able to take what we love from Aer’s daypacks and travel backpacks and make them work on such a large duffel bag. Let’s find out!
The duffel’s primary material is 1680D Cordura® ballistic nylon. It’s extraordinarily durable and has enough structure to stand up on its own in most situations. The pack looks professional in all settings, whether you’re going into the office, crossing a new city, or hitting the gym.
Throughout the weekender, there are YKK zippers of different varieties and sizes. Although this might seem odd at first investigation, we dig the move. They’ve placed zippers that match the job they’ll be doing, so they’re more effective. The pulls are pretty simple; each one has a short thread and a hard plastic tab on the end.
The strap utilizes Duraflex hardware and is easy to hook and detach if you want to remove it. The clips are snappy, and the attachment points aren’t in the way. If you take the strap off, they blend nicely into the water bottle pockets.
The strap is fairly basic, but there’s a thick padded section with aeration that slides left and right so you can add comfort to your carry. The aeration keeps things relatively cool on warm days, though you’ll still probably sweat a fair amount when the temperature gets up there. It’s better than if there was no padding or aeration, though.
We’ve got dual water bottle pockets on each side of the duffel. There isn’t any elastic, just simple slide pockets made from the same Cordura as the rest of the pack. The lack of elastic is acceptable for most carry situations, but if you try to wear the duffel as a crossbody (we’ll get into that), your bottle may fall out. We can stow large bottles here, too—heck, even a 32 oz Nalgene will fit inside!
To carry the pack like a standard duffel there are two handles. They connect at the top with a snap button and fabric. This handle section has some padding, which adds a fair amount of comfort. If the pack is loaded up and heavy, this will start digging into your hand after a few minutes. This is to be expected, and the duffel performs well in this carry mode at times we would want it to. The pack hangs naturally and doesn’t get in your way if you walk at a normal pace. It’s perfect for walking down the plane’s aisle, hopping on public transit, or getting out of an Uber, Lyft, or cab.
In typical Aer fashion, there’s a luggage pass-through on the exterior. It’s a simple design, but it works well. It’s on the same side of the pack as the interior laptop compartment, which is ideal. We’ve all had rolling luggage topple over forwards at the airport—this design won’t stop that from happening, but it will protect your laptop from getting smashed up.
You can carry the duffel with either hand using the handles, use the strap over one shoulder, or wear it as a cross-body bag. It’s an excellent way to disperse the weight across more than just your shoulder, even if it does make you feel like a Ninja Turtle in use.
All three ways are comfortable, but the shoulder strap methods can be a little awkward if you have a more petite frame. And, since the pack comes in at 35 liters, the same size as the Aer Travel Pack 3 and Travel Duffel, its size can be a little overwhelming on smaller frames, too.
Inside The Duffel
There’s a small, nearly hidden pocket on the back side of the pack. The zipper pull hanging out over the edge is the only thing that gives away its existence from afar. This is a good spot for your wallet, passport, phone, and other essential documents. This side will rest against your body or sit against the back of your rolling luggage, giving it extra protection.
Next, we’ll move into the laptop compartment. It’s on the backside of the pack (the side with the luggage pass-through). It has a YKK AquaGuard zipper, which is a good addition because it keeps water out of the compartment, so your computer stays dry. There aren’t any assistance tabs this time for the AquaGuard track, but it’s a smaller model, so we found they aren’t really needed.
Overall, this pocket is simple yet effective. There’s a divider in the middle, splitting the pocket into two sections. Both areas have padding on all sides except for the top where the zipper is located. You can stow up to a 16-inch laptop here—but, theoretically, you could fit two—one on either side. More realistically, it’s a good spot for your laptop and a tablet or similarly shaped device.
On the opposite side of the duffel, there’s quite a bit more going on. To keep things on par with Aer’s typical design, there’s a vertical YKK Aquaguard across the short side of the pack. It’s a reasonably large-sized pocket as it takes up half of the front face of the pack. This is an excellent spot to stow a hat, gloves, or packable rain jacket if you expect the weather to take a turn or like to be prepared. The zipper has a garage, and there’s a tab on either side to hold onto to open the zipper. This is helpful because the large AquaGuard track can be hard to open and close.
The entire front face of the pack opens to reveal a large organizational compartment. There are tons of different places for gear inside and it allows you to separate your tech from your clothes in the main compartment.
There are two large liner pockets for broader flat items like a book or a kindle. There’s a small zippered compartment for things you don’t want to get lost in one of the larger places in the pack. There are two liner pockets with elastic on the top that are good for holding onto larger charging cables. Lastly, there’s a small mesh pocket that is a perfect spot for a battery bank or a wall charger.
There’s a key ring inside this compartment, too—it doesn’t have a clip for easy additions or removals, but the cable it attaches to has a magnetic Woojin clasp in the center. You can take it off, open the door, and replace it in your pack. Occasionally you’ll open the zipper after a rough journey, and the keys will be detached from the ring. However, for the most part, it works well.
There’s a fair amount of extra storage inside here, but your ability to use it depends on how much you’ve stuffed into the pocket with the pocket with the Aquaguard track we went over earlier. If you have a pair of gloves, hat, and packable jacket inside, you won’t be able to fit as much in the second pocket.
The main compartment is where the real party is—well, at least if you like packing cubes. There’s just one pocket inside, located on the front side of the pack. It’s an excellent spot to lock down gear because of the zippered closure it offers, and considering how massive the main compartment is, small items do well here.
The rest of this chamber is free real estate. Packing cubes do well here because there’s so much room to deal with, and you can stack them easily. Loose clothes do well too, but it can be easy to lose track of things.
There’s a little padding on the bottom of the pack to protect your gear, but it isn’t adequate to throw electronics in here without a case, especially if you anticipate setting down the pack a ton.
Overall, we really dig this duffel. It has enough structure to stand up on its own two feet and enough organization to keep your small travel gear organized and separated from your clothes. In many ways, it has a similar design to the Aer’s Travel Pack Series in duffel form. Whether you’re crossing the country or going to the gym, you’re all set (and organized).
- There are three large compartments for gear—one for your daily essentials, one for your clothes, and one for your laptop
- The included strap has padding and aeration to keep things comfortable
- It’s crafted from 1680D Cordura Ballistic Nylon, so durability isn’t in question
- Each zipper was chosen meticulously for the pocket it encases
- The exterior materials hold their shape well, even when the pack is empty
- Internal organization is well laid out and works for most EDC gear