Note: this bag was provided for review by Aer at no cost.
The next sling I have to talk about is the Aer Day Sling 2, in the limited edition X-Pac (also available in black nylon, gray, and black multicam). My first impressions of this bag, upon receiving it, were simply: oh man I really like this. The pictures of this sling on Aer’s site and here in this article simply don’t do it justice. In a lot of ways the size and rather not traditional shape of this sling make it something which both stands out as unique, but fades away when you are carrying it.
(One note about Sling testing, given the world right now, I did a different kind of testing here. I alternated between 6 different slings throughout my testing to get a sense of how different Slings measure up. And I also mostly used this running the odd errand, or long walks with the family.)
This bag actually comes in four different colors and four different materials:
- Black: this is a 1680D Nylon, which is often referred to as ‘ballistic’. The big thing to know here is that it is low abrasion (smooth feeling) and durable.
- Black Multicam (limited edition): this is 1000D Cordura. It is rough and tough.
- Gray: This is 900D Polyester. This is a very common material and my experience with it is that it is far more durable than you might think, and looks great. It almost has a canvas like texture.
Which brings us to the one I was sent to test, the X-Pac model which is a limited edition and already sold out. It’s made of VX-42 X-Pac and it is fantastic. Excellent. Superb. Aer should make this a standard offering — I am not sure I would be as happy with this in another material. Though I have no idea.
The zippers on the bag are YKK Aquagaurd zippers, and they really keep a nice look for the bag. And the strap itself is a true seatbelt style nylon strap, nice, soft, and slick. Perfect materials here.
My notes for this sling on size was “small, but ample” and that makes very little sense to those who have not handled it before. At 4.5L this bag is decently compact, but in many ways it can carry things a lot easier than other larger slings. This is because of organization within this sling, which makes it small/compact, while carrying more than the specs would otherwise indicate.
One last note about the size, is the length of this bag is quite long. At 13” long this would not work as a waist pack for most people and thus must be carried at an angle (which you have to do, more on that later). But the length means that the overall capacity is spread out, keeping the bag profile slim.
Carry and Use
Ok, the first thing that sets this bag apart is the strap positioning. It is set up such that it is made to be worn only over your left shoulder.
One strap comes out the side, that’s the top when worn on your back, and the other out the top of the sling itself. This allows the bag to sit better on your back when worn as a sling, and is far more comfortable. The downside is, if that is not how you wear your sling, then it’s not going to be great for you. But it is how I wear mine, and thus it is great.
The bag is then divided into three sections: front pocket has two interior pockets and is the largest by volume. Here you can fit a small plastic water bottle, the kind most people buy in huge quantities here in the USA. Moving one pocket back, you have a very narrow pocket which is separated by a piece of material, which itself contains a zippered pocket and two open top pockets. This entire area is also lightly padded all the way around. Lastly, against the back of the bag is a somewhat discrete slip pocket, which is the only external pocket to not have aquagaurd zippers, and while thin, it is still nearly the full size of the footprint of the bag. So it can hold a lot.
The thing about this bag is that the organization is both robust, but not in the way. There’s no loops or dedicate pen slots or glasses areas. But there is enough little pockets with enough retention that you can generally keep things in their place, which means you can more easily spread them out over the entire footprint of the bag. Thus keeping everything from bunching up and getting bulky. So even at a smaller capacity this bag often feels like it can hold more, simply because everything is much better organized in it and spread over a wider area.
The entire interior of this bag is lined with a blaze orange material — it is bright. And that brightness really helps you find stuff fast, and I love it. I don’t love this kind of lining in every bag, but for something made for quick access like this, it has proven ideal.
Something really neat about this bag is the loop at the corner. All the other slings I have, either have a central handle at the top of the bag, or no handle. On this sling Aer equipped a small webbing loop at the top corner. It still works for grabbing the bag, but this works even better than a handle for clipping the bag, or hanging it from something. Which is hugely useful when you are out and about and need to take the bag off, with the small size it is better to clip it to something (that’s why I carry an s-biner) and this loop is aces for that. (Note: some of the most consistent feedback I get from readers about slings, is how they clip their slings to hang them from stuff when they are sitting down.)
One thing I am not sure about on this bag is the double zippers on the two main compartments. I am not sure these are needed, or add anything, and I would actually prefer a single zipper. Maybe with more use the value will be more evident, but so far they haven’t really added anything (or taken away anything for that matter).
Of the slings I have, this one works really well in all my uses. It sits nicely on my back, holds the items I want to carry, in an easy fashion. The rear pocket is excellent for holding a mask, and the lack of an aquagaurd zipper there means it is really fast and easy to get to the mask.
Generally, this has been a pleasure to use when I have taken it out with the family. That the clasp is tucked away under your arm, and that Aer has included two webbing keepers on the strap itself — the entire setup is the cleanest looking of all the slings with exception to the Bellroy as that has fewer straps and zippers overall.
I really like this sling. With most bags I am a less is more person for organization, but with slings I have found that more organization is often hugely beenficial in general use. And that’s where the Day Sling 2 shines for me.
The X-Pac is excellent, it looks nice, is light, and yet these slings are not large enough to make crinkly sounds which plague larger bags using X-Pac. It is the right material for this bag, and I hope Aer restocks that run so you can get one.
The kicker for this whole thing is that the bag is only $85. That’s a great value for everything you get.
Highly recommend this sling — it is leading the pack so far.
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