submitted by Mikey Bautista
Over the years, Aer has become an easy recommendation to everyone looking to buy their first (and sometimes last) EDC bag. The combination of minimalist, urban styling, the wide variety of models to suit everyday needs, the accessible price points, and the general high quality of all their products have brought them success and cachet in the carry community.
But if it’s one thing founder and lead designer Allen Choi and his team doesn’t do, it’s ceasing from innovating. Every season, every year, Aer releases new and improved versions of each of their lines; most times, they make significant upgrades or entirely new product categories, and sometimes tweak and account for customer feedback. This year, they do both.
The 2023 Pro Collection is a new line of bags designed to appeal to a wider audience of users while refining Aer’s design language they’ve cultivated over the past few years, all while making the whole enterprise of bags more sustainable. As a long-time Aer user myself, I see in the new designs a culmination of styles across their products, from the minimal front facing of the Work Collection to the open clamshell style and utility of the most recent City Pack Pro.
The collection comes with two sizes of the Pro Pack, 24L and 20L, and shares many features between them. The Pro Pack Slim offers a much more compact 12.5L volume, and the Pro Sling is an all-new 4.5L sling design that rounds out the collection while pulling double duty as a robust organizer. Unifying the line is Aer’s first use of 840D CORDURA re/cor recycled nylon for the exterior, a bluesign-approved material that’s more sustainable and lighter than their usual 1680D bags.
Speaking to Allen over e-mail about the new designs, he explained that the new collection allowed Aer to explore and experiment with new forms and details and work on some feedback regarding their core bags. They focused on the idea of refinement using lighter 840D, sleeker, tapering shapes, and even more thoughtful features. The new canvas also helps usher in a new branding direction (see the Aer wordmark top and center on each bag) for future releases, which may or may not include the luggage line they’ve teased on their socials.
The “more thoughtful features” bit is essential, as the Pro Packs seem to be vying for very valuable carry time against Aer’s other backpacks like the aforementioned City Pack Pro and core Day/Tech Packs. What distinguishes the new bags apart is the substantial sum of their parts.
In addition to the lighter exterior, both sizes of Pro Pack come with a new valet pocket that takes the spot of the usual quick access pocket at the top of the bag. Rather than just being a simple lined space, it’s an additional admin section that can fit smaller devices and gear and essentially doubles up on the front compartment, which loses the lower slash pocket found on the Travel Pack and City lines. The packs also come with dual water bottle pockets and handles on every side of the 24L, making that model extremely capable for travel as well. Another extremely welcome feature is the use of a YKK AquaGuard zipper only on the laptop compartment (which fits up to 16” machines), allowing the use of speedier and more comfortable reverse coil zippers on high-traffic compartments like the main clamshell.
The Pro Pack Slim forgoes the valet and discrete laptop pockets, full clamshell opening, and one of the water bottle pockets for a lighter grab-and-go style, as well as an option for those who prefer a much more compact carrying experience. It still shares the fit and finish of its bigger siblings, as well as key features like the luggage passthrough and a new adjustable sternum strap.
Last but not least, the Pro Sling is a minimal daily carrier suited for up to 8” tablets, featuring an organized main compartment of mesh and zippers similar to Aer’s other slings. A detachable, reversible harness is the key feature of the sling, letting you carry it on its own or act as an additional organizing pouch for your main bags.
Like all their releases, Aer’s 2023 Pro Collection is both a steady and thoughtful step forward for their bags and brings more options to the table for discerning bag users and collectors. It’s a solid first move for the year, and as always, we’re excited to see what the rest of it has in store for the brand. Check out the collection in black, navy, and olive at the link below.