September 25, 2022

There’s an art to traveling: combining the skills of knowing yourself and your habits, maintaining mental flexibility and learning to pack in the most efficient and useful way possible will result in pleasurable and enlightening travel almost every time. (There are no guarantees in life, of course, but you know what I mean.)

There are innumerable articles and videos online that teach the best packing practices, but the way I see it, all of that is phooey unless you’ve got the right bags that work for your packing predilections. If you’ve been unsatisfied with your duffels, backpacks and slings up until now, there’s hope in the form of Aer’s new travel-focused collection.

The 2022 Aer Go Collection is the second generation of the brand’s lightweight, packable bags, which straddles the line between outdoor and city-oriented travel. The Go Collection features sleeker silhouettes and upgraded materials, and is available in three colors: Black, Lunar Grey and Olive.

I tested three of the new bags on a recent weekend trip to Big Bear, California. Here’s what I thought of the brand-new Go Pack 2, Sling 2 and Go Duffel 2.

The internal storage in the Sling 2 fits my wallet, pocket knife, cash and other essentials, while maintaining its slim profile, even when full. 

Hayley Helms

Textured zipper pulls and YKK zippers make accessing the Sling 2’s contents a cinch. 

Hayley Helms

What’s Good About Aer’s New Go Collection

The Go Collection system makes packing simple and straightforward

My favorite feature across Aer’s new line is undoubtedly the pocketing and organization. The Go Pack 2 features a spacious main compartment, a suspended 16-inch laptop pocket, an interior zippered pocket for secure storage, an easy-access front pocket with magnetic fastener, a quick-access top pocket for smaller essentials, and two exterior water bottle pockets. The grand pocket total? A whopping seven — even more surprising when you consider the bag itself only weighs in at 1.3 pounds.

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The Sling 2 packs five pockets into its tiny 9.5″ x 5.0″ package, making it easy to separate cash, cards, sunnies and smartphone with ease. The 35-liter Go Duffel 2 fit 4 days worth of clothing and toiletries with room to spare, and allowed me to separate items by category and cleanliness. I can’t stand mixing dirty and clean clothes when I’m traveling, and Aer’s new system allowed me to indulge that nitpicky side of myself.

The Go Collection is quality, made affordable

Each of the bags I tested from this collection are sub-$100, but Aer didn’t skimp on the quality to achieve its approachable price point. The Go Pack 2, Sling 2 and Go Duffel 2 are each made with bluesign approved 210D Cordura crinkle nylon exterior, equal parts durable and flexible. The crinkle aesthetic hides any travel- wear and tear, and protects your gear.

Each of the bags is outfitted with smooth-action YKK zippers, as well as easy-grip hypalon zipper pulls that have a pleasant handfeel. The Sling 2 in particular has become my new favorite EDC option: it holds all my essentials, and feels just at home on a quick hike as it does walking around town post-trek.

What’s not ideal about Aer’s new travel-focused bags

The Go Collection bags lack opportunities for customization

The Go Collection bags are each only available in one size, which can feel limiting, especially when I want to take longer trips. The duffel, backpack and sling are useful as-is, but if I do end up taking a multi-week trip, I’ll have to reach for another bag with more volume (or learn to pack lighter).

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Aer’s new bags are useful to the point that if a larger sized-duffel was released, I’d snap it up on the spot. As it stands now, these bags are my new favorites for quick car camping excursions, work trips and weekenders, but when longer trips come up, I’ll begrudgingly have to leave them at home.

Aer’s 2022 Go Collection: The Verdict

Functionality, streamlined design and affordability characterize Aer’s 2022 Go Collection. The bags won’t turn heads at the airport or the campsite, and to me, that’s kind of the point. The Go Collection is meant to integrate seamlessly with your travel plans and lifestyle, and to provide organization, durability and a clean aesthetic wherever you go. If you’re the low-profile type that’s looking for a system of bags to clean up your travel routine, this is your sign.