Carry & Comfort
The back panel is pretty flat and structured, but the small angling at the top makes it comfortable on the shoulders. It is a relatively short bag, so it sits high enough on the back to be comfortable even without any lumbar curve.
The shoulder straps have thick foam padding and an adjustable sternum strap with magnetic hardware that will make long commutes a bit easier on the shoulders. The shaping of the shoulder straps, along with the angled gusset at the top of the back panel made this a really good fit for me. I am on the shorter side, 5’5″, so it might not fit so well on someone much taller.
The top handle is a nice tubular webbing with a foam insert. They’ve also added a second handle to the side of the bag which makes it easier to manage when it isn’t on your back.
Space & Access
From the outside, you have access to the bottle pocket on the side of the pack and two smaller pockets; one on the front of the bag, and a padded and plush-lined pocket on the top of the bag – perfect for small tech or sunglasses.
The smaller of the main compartments has a document slip pocket as well as several other small slip and zip pockets that are great for tech accessories and chargers. With most backpacks, I usually carry a cable/tech case that has all my charging bricks and cables. But there really isn’t any need with the Aer City Pack. I was able to neatly store the chargers and accessories for my phone, tablet, and laptop in this one section of the bag so that they were easy to access when I needed them.
Access to the main compartment is interesting. Due to the bottle pocket on one side, Aer has made the height of the zipper ends asymmetrical. This means that the front of the bag folds down at an angle, but you still get good access. The main compartment has a padded laptop sleeve (fits up to 16″ laptop) and a non-padded tablet sleeve, as well as two other medium-sized slip pockets. This section is rather small, but I was able to fit my large, over-ear headphones and a small rain jacket in with my laptop and tablet. Also, hidden behind the hanging pocket there is a very small slip pocket. This is meant for holding tracking devices like AirTags and Tiles.