Aer is a name most readers will be familiar with by now. They threw their hat in the ring back in 2014 and have been putting out some great bags ever sense. They focus on sleek minimal designs, that are well thought out and have high functionality. And the Fit Pack 3 is just that.
|Weight||2.5 lbs||1.13 kg|
|Capacity||1141.14 cu. in.||18.7L|
|Primary Materials||1680D Codura, YKK Zippers|
Quality and Comfort
The Fit Pack 3 is my first offering from Aer. While I had been eyeballing them for some time, I had no previous experience actually handling and using the brand. That being said, I had no doubts on the quality of the bag. The fit and finish is great. After a couple of weeks of daily use, I saw little to no signs that the bag had been used.
The 1680D Cordura ballistic nylon is easy to wipe clean when the tot wants to get daddy’s bag for him (You never know what’s on a 2 year old’s paws). Inversely, the interior being treated with an antimicrobial coating to help control odours and bacterial growth works well. And I can honestly attest to that. As a distance runner, my shoes and workout cloths do not smell good. That might be why I always find myself running alone…
Like a lot of people I canceled that gym membership last year, so I run outside. And living in Northeastern PA, it can snow in July. While my workout clothes don’t weigh a ton, I do pack a few extra layers, as well as some clean non-work clothes to toss on after I work out. With weather not always my friend, my pack can be pretty bulky some days.
The Fit Pack’s sleek and minimal look disguised the fact that I was hauling around some stinky old running shoes and clothes that were about to regret their existence; all while carrying my MBP and HD’s ready to edit a music video, commercial spot or a bag review. And quite comfortably I might add.
Testing in early 2021, I was among the minority, as I did still commute into the office for work. Since spring mornings are still pretty cold, I prefer to do my runs in the afternoon when the sun has been kind enough to warm the air. So when I leave the house, I am loaded for bear.
With a full load in the bag, I find it carries very well. The straps sit well across my shoulders. I have an old left shoulder injury, and some bags seem to droop off my left shoulder, or hurt if the straps are too stiff. I found the Fit Pack 3 to wear well on me, and I didn’t have either of these issues.
In addition to the shoulder straps, we have a great top carry handle. I don’t want to sing any unnecessary praises about any product, but for some reason I love this grab handle. The padding, the feel…. it’s just great. It is very comfortable in the hand. It was one of the first things I noticed about the bag. I just love it…. it’s dare I say… the perfect grab handle.
Organization and Access
The Fit Pack 3 is nicely divided to keep your work stuff separate from your workout gear. The gist of the bag is this, the rear of the bag is set up all your work/EDC needs while the long zipper compartment in the front is for all your other….well stinky gym clothes.
With that simple breakdown out of the way, lets get into the meat. Working from the outside in, we have two exterior water bottle pockets. They are a decent size, and can accommodate a few different sizes of water bottle.
Moving to the top of the bag we have a padded quick access pocket. Aer lists this as “with a soft lining.” And it is pretty soft, I’ve been tossing my cell phone in here with no worries at all. The padding is a nice touch, as most of these pockets are just fleece lined.
Doing a 180 and hitting the bottom of the bag, here is where we find the vented stowaway shoe compartment. Aer’s specs list this as being able to fit up to a size 13 shoe. I can comment to the fact that a pair of size 9’s fit with ease. The circular zipper works well. I find that on a lot of bags a bend in the zipper results in snags, this has not been an issue with the YKK’s on the Fit Pack 3. I am easily able to unzip the compartment and get my shoes to start putting in those miles.
Going inside the front zip compartment, the Fit Pack has a large cavernous space. This is the best place to store sports clothes, given AER’s antimicrobial coating on the lining. Because let’s be real here…. people smell after working out. So having a lining that takes care of bacterial odours and growth when stuffed with sweaty clothes is really nice to have. I personally organize this large area with a few water resistant stuff sacks. It helps to organize the bag, and keeps my clean clothes away from my used workout clothes. If I were still hitting up an indoor gym, I would also toss in a small personal hygiene kit (don’t need shampoo and body wash when I’m running on the dyke).
All of my workout gear is easily accessible with the large zipper. It opens up nice and wide (think duffel bag) so I can see everything in there. There is also a stretch liner pocket across the back of the compartment. I find this useful when I’m not hauling workout cloths, and I am using this for extra EDC space. I’ll toss in something I want to grab quick and easy, that can get lost in this large open space.
And speaking of using the whole bag for EDC, that is entirely possible, though not really designed that way. The shoe compartment can easily fold down flat against the bottom of the bag, making this whole front pocket usable as an EDC. And you might need it.
The interior main compartment of the bag is a bit tight. AER’s rationale here is that work stuff is smaller and slimmer than workout stuff, but for such a small space, there is a lot packed into it. Really, it’s like a clown car of organization in there.
Across the front, the Fit Pack 3 has a 5 1/2″ liner pocket with a zipper stretchy mesh pocket on front of that. I’ve personally been using the liner pocket to toss my work ID after punching out. It’s right at the top of the bag, easy to get into and out of, and a great place to toss my ID and a pen. This backs against the padded exterior pocket. So this could be another place to toss some tech. The zipper mesh pocket is also pretty nice. I personally really like a stretchy mesh pocket, not for the ability to stuff more crap in there… but it makes it MUCH easier to get a paw in there when trying to get stuff out. So whatever I tossed in here, was pretty easy to retrieve due to the give in the mesh. If you don’t use a dedicated tech kit, this would be a great place to toss a charger, headphones or a phone cable.
Below these to two pockets, we have a series of liner pockets. Two wider ones on the outside, and two pen/Sharpie size ones in the center. These fit a nice smaller notebook. I personally use these smaller ones I bought at Art Star last time going into the city was a thing. They hold my items well, but they are a bit difficult to access due to them being farther down in the bag and the whole compartment being a bit snug .After putting some larger items in the body of the bag, this spot becomes too tight for hands to easily reach.
Spinning the bag around to the rear, AER have added both a laptop sleeve and a tablet sleeve. The laptop sleeve is padded (front and back), floating and lined with the same “soft lining” used in the exterior quick access pocket. The laptop sleeve is pretty nice. It does its job well, and my MBP slides in and out nicely. I’m not much of a tablet guy, so I used that pocket for anything flat I am carrying that day.
Now as I mentioned the body of the “work” area of the bag is pretty tight. The only real issue I had here was putting my tech pouch in there with everything else. I use an off brand pouch from Amazon (don’t judge me, I like the shape and it perfectly fits what I need). I can fit it in there, but it is pretty snug. So I have personally been putting it in the larger front “gym” pocket.
- Office commuter who hits the gym to get out that boardroom stress.
- Organized dual design to separate two completely different needs from one bag.
- Rides well on the back even when fully packed out.
- An everyday EDC bag.
- It has a bit of an unorthodox look, so the aesthetic might not be for everyone.
- Slim “work” compartment. So if you need to carry a lot of work things, you might have to use the front “gym” area for over flow.
The Fit Pack 3 has a simple and very useable design. Though it is for a very targeted audience. The bag’s name is Fit Pack, so it is designed for work/gym. But the layout does potential lend itself to one bag travel. If you pack smart and light or have a quick overnight trip, it would lend itself to this application.
As mentioned above, the work area of the bag is very slim. I feel the next generation of this bag could benefit from giving a little more space the rear of the bag. Taking a bit away from the larger gym area, would definitely help rather than hurt the overall design of the bag.
Overall the bag worked out well for me. It looks good, worked like it should, and carried around my computer and my stinky running shoes. All while being comfortable and unassuming in an office setting.