Aesthetically speaking, Aer’s products predominantly feature a minimal, tech-forward look which suits all genders. Though, in my opinion, I would say they are slightly masculine in their appearance. The Travel Sling 2 is currently available in two different colorways, Black and Heather Gray. There is no wrong choice between the two as they both suit the overall silhouette of the bag very well.
I also am a big fan of the updated patterning of this version over the original Travel Sling, which was overall a more boxy design. This almost feels like a scaled-up version of the Day Sling, and the bag feels well-proportioned overall. Aer’s typical neutral gray interior liner works well enough to give you a clear view of the bag’s contents. But I must say, I love the bright orange liner they use on their X-Pac editions and I think it would really suit this bag’s overall look and feel.
Quality of construction is, for me, one of the most important aspects when it comes to making a purchase decision with a bag. Aer has been continuously improving their construction (not that they were ever “bad”) with each generation of products they release. The Travel Sling 2 arrived with absolutely zero construction flaws upon initial inspection. And in the subsequent months of daily use I’ve put the bag through, nothing has changed. Though I haven’t yet flown with the bag, it has been on road trips, in and out of cars, and used as a daily carry for work. I’m not intentionally “rough” on bags or equipment. But I’m also not afraid to use them and the Travel Sling 2 has exhibited no signs of construction failure. This leaves me feeling fairly confident that this will continue to be the case in a longer-term scenario.
Materials & Hardware
Aer uses quality materials on their bags and the entire exterior of the sling is constructed of 1680D Ballistic Nylon. The smooth texture of Ballistic Nylon (versus a more coarse weave like Cordura 500D and 1000D) makes it easy to clean if you do happen to get it dirty. It also means that dust and fur aren’t going to easily stick to the exterior. Thank goodness, because my Australian Shepherds’ fur is deeply embedded into just about everything I own. The interior is lined with a light gray colored pack-cloth material, similar to most of their other products.
This makes the interior visible so none of your contents will hide in dark crevices never to be seen again. No part of the interior lining is abrasive either so everything is well protected, especially the laptop sleeve which has a soft-touch lining on the back wall of the bag. It’s worth noting that this will fit up to a 16″ MacBook Pro, but it is a bit snug. Anything smaller than that will fit easily.
For me personally, zippers can make or break the user experience of a bag. Fortunately, I love the huge and delightfully smooth YKK #10RC zipper for the main compartment, which makes access to that primary space a breeze. The front pocket also features a YKK #10RC but this one is an AquaGuard zip so there is a little more resistance to open that compartment, though certainly not enough to cause usability issues.
The small valuables pocket features a YKK #5RC zipper with a locking pull. I found it easy to open one-handed, which is always appreciated. Additionally, the shoulder strap is nicely padded and features a sturdy Duraflex plastic buckle for quick release; though I seldom unclip messenger-style bags, preferring to just slide them on overhead. Overall I appreciate the quality of materials that Aer has chosen to work with. Despite the relatively affordable $115 price point, the bag still feels like a premium product.