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The Best Flight Bags for Pilots | Pick the Perfect Bag

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In this post I’m going to help you sort through the many flight bags for pilots and pick the perfect one for you.

During my 10+ years of flying I’ve gone through several flight bags. While some flight bags were great, others were quickly returned.

Whether you’re jumping in a Cessna for your very first training flight, or you’re a pilot with thousands of hours under your belt, I’ll help you find the best flight bag to meet your needs.

We receive commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

If you want to jump directly to the flight bags for pilots use the links below. Otherwise I’m going to first start with a few things you should consider when purchasing your first flight bag as a student pilot.

Jump to the best pilot bag for:
Student Pilots
Recreational Pilots
Airline Pilots

Click to view the specific bag.

What to Look for in a Flight Bag

The type of flight bag you buy will largely depend on the type of flying you do.

If you’re a brand new student pilot, you may want a larger aviation bag to carry all of the extra study materials you’ll need when you’re at the airport.

If you just fly occasionally, or always go on short day trips, you can usually get away with a smaller bag that will just fit your headset and an iPad/charts.

Of course, if you’re an airline pilot, or about to be one, you’ll want a much larger bag to carry all the gear you need.

Overall, you’ll want a bag made out of a durable material that won’t wear down easily.

What to Carry in Your Pilot Bag

Whatever you decide, make sure you buy a bag with enough storage space to comfortably fit everything.

Bose A20 headset in the bag

Now that you know what gear you need to store in your flight bag, let’s take a look at some of the best options on the market.

Best Flight Bags for Student Pilots

Editors Pick: Flight Outfitters Lift Flight Bag Review

Editors Pick
Flight Outfitters Lift Flight Bag
$99.95


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07/18/2024 06:16 pm GMT

The Flight Outfitters Lift Flight Bag is the bag I personally used for many years.

It’s a sturdy and highly convenient flight bag that’s easy to carry in one hand but also offers ample space for everything you could need.

There’s a separate pouch for a water bottle for easy access, or a back-up radio pocket. There’s also a fuel tester pocket, and 2 external chart pockets.

The fleece-lined headset pockets make sure that your headset will be kept in place, while the adjustable shoulder strap makes it easy to carry around the airport.

Dimensions are 12”x10.5”x9”.

What’s great about this bag is just how clearly it has been designed specifically for pilots – with lots of thoughtful compartments and design features. The manufacturer Flight Outfitters is well known for creating premium pilot products, and this bag is no different.

The pilot bag is also particularly sturdy and compact, meaning it doesn’t get in your way and you’ll never have to worry about damaging your possessions.

The bag comes in a few different colors, mainly with a black body and colored accents. The fleece interior is lined orange to make it easier to find in the dark.

This is the best pilot bag for flight instructors because much of the time you don’t need to carry much gear. You really just need a headset, iPad, and a few other small training aids (plus snacks and water for those busy days).

The drawback is that this bag is relatively small and with very specific pockets. That is to say that it isn’t quite as versatile as some other aviation bags on this list. Some buyers might also prefer a leather aesthetic.

Pros

  • Compact Size for essentials
  • Popular with private pilot students and flight instructors
  • Well-thought out pockets
  • Extremely durable

Cons

  • Small in size
  • Can’t be easily cleaned
  • Only one color option available

Notice Title

Discover the best gifts for pilots in our latest gift guide article.

Mygoflight PLC Lite iPad Bag

MYGOFLIGHT PLC Lite iPad Aviation Flight Bag
$129.00


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07/18/2024 04:07 pm GMT

As the name suggests, the Mygoflight LC Lite iPad bag was designed around the iPad. And, given that nearly every pilot you’ll meet flies with an iPad or tablet, there’s a huge market for this type of bag.

As you might expect then, the bag features a large, padded iPad pocket that has a handy pass-through slot for charging.

It likewise comes with the usual headset pocket, and fuel tester pockets, organizer pocket (with key ring), and more.

Its compact size once again ensures that it won’t get in the way, and makes it perfect for fitting into cockpits or under chairs.

The front of the bag unzips entirely, which means you’ll be able to easily get in and access all the things you need.

Measurements are 14”Hx11”Wx6″D. This makes it just slightly bigger than the previous entry.

The bag only comes in one color, which is black.

Like the previous option, this bag is very structured with very clearly defined compartments for specific roles. If you stick your headphones inside, this doesn’t leave a lot of space for additional items – such as lunch or any books.

Pros

  • Good looking, Premium Bag
  • Front-Opening
  • Nice large pocket that can fit up to an iPad Pro

Cons

  • Lacks external pockets to store items like a water bottle or fuel tester.
  • Less resilient than the previous offering from Flight Outfitters

AirClassics Dispatch Pilot Bag Review

AirClassics Dispatch Flight Bag
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This bag is the smallest on the list and less rigid than the previous two options. It functions just like a standard shoulder bag. This will appeal to some readers and not others.

While it isn’t rigid, it is made from a durable 600D polyester and the interior tablet pocket is also padded.

The interior is also very spacious with two separate pockets including the main compartment and smaller area for charts and any other small documents. The large space provides room for headsets, along with one or two other items.

You’ll also find a front pocket with space for pens and spare batteries, side slots for fuel testers, flashlights, and water bottles, and an adjustable strap. Note that the water bottle pocket is not specifically intended for that role and won’t fit all bottles.

The interior is lined blue to make it easier to find what you’re looking for in the dark.

While the front compartment is front opening, the two main pockets need to be accessed from the top.

Dimensions are 11.5”x9”x4.5”.

Pros

  • Compact Bag for the bare essentials
  • Blue Interior for easy visibility
  • Looks more like a “regular” bag, making it slightly more versatile

Cons

  • More difficult to access everything
  • Fewer specific pockets

Best Flight Bags for Private Pilots

Design 4 Pilots Cross Country Bag Review

This bag is a little different from some of the others on the list so far. This is shaped more like a gym bag, being a longer and more oblong design.

That said, it’s still a rather compact bag and the simple handle makes it easy to carry in one hand.

This shape gives it a much larger main compartment, which the manufacturer describes as “cavernous” (perhaps a tad generous!).

There’s certainly a lot of room in here for books, a kneeboard, and some extra gear compared to the first three bags.

It also comes with many of the benefits you associate with the Flight Gear brand, such as a high visibility interior for easily finding things in the dark, exterior pockets for fuel testers and water bottles, and a comfortable padded strap.

That said, it only comes in a single color and has fewer “specialty” pockets for pilots. It also lacks any additional reinforcement that would make it more durable.

Pros

  • Design provides large interior space
  • Still easy to carry one-handed/store
  • Affordable

Cons

  • More difficult to access everything

Best Pilot Backpack

Myogoflight PLC Pro Pilot Flight Backpack Review

MYGOFLIGHT PLC Pro iPad and Laptop Water Resistant Ballistic Nylon Aviation Flight Bag
$299.00


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07/18/2024 07:59 pm GMT

This pilot backpack is taller than many of the others we have looked at, at 16”x10”x3”.

This gives it a shape more like a suitcase or even a backpack – and it can be worn on the pack or attached to a separately sold “luggage cart.”

This versatility makes it a strong choice for a lot of pilots.

Likewise, the amount of storage it affords will also be very beneficial for many. The entire front compartment opens up, allowing easy access to the roomy interior.

Here, you’ll be able to store an iPad in a pocket, as well as numerous other gadgets and tools in the mesh pockets on the opposite side. These are perfect for headphones, cables, chargers, and more. A handy strap is also perfect for fuel-testers.

The only downsides here are the price and the fact that it is somewhat large, meaning you’ll need a bit more storage space for it.

Pros

  • Lots of storage
  • Versatile system can be worn as a backpack or pulled on a luggage cart
  • Plenty of pockets

Cons

  • One of the most expensive options
  • Bottom of bag isn’t reinforced

This is easily one of the best backpacks for pilots.

Best Pilot Bag for Airline Pilots

BrightLine Flex B7 Flight – Echo Review

Best for Airline Pilots
Brightline Bags Flex B7 Flight Preconfigured Modular Bag
$287.00
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07/18/2024 04:24 pm GMT

The B7 Flight-Echo is the best flight bag for airline pilots.

As an airline pilot, I personally use this bag and have seen many other airline pilots use this, or another Brightline flight bag.

This is a much larger bag that has a thicker depth and a whole lot of pockets.

Seriously.

This bag has pockets everywhere.

In fact, it has three separate attachment points for shoulder straps – and even three pockets right on the front!

It definitely took a while to remember what pocket was storing what.

The bag also comes with a big adjustable water bottle pocket and a particularly strong main handle with slots for a J-hook.

The B7 Flight is designed specifically for airline pilots but is suitable for everyone else too. The huge number of pockets, compartments, and zippers means there is plenty of room for all the gear you need.

And with a whole lot of storage space, it’s ideal for a large number of personal uses as well. This will easily hold an iPad AND a keyboard, including cases. You can even fit a 13″ MacBook Pro in here, along with a ton of adapters and documents!

And you can actually fit two sets of headphones in (which may not be that helpful as an airline pilot flight bag).

Despite all this, it’s actually rather compact and easy to carry in one hand – though it might create a few more space challenges than some of the other options we’ve looked at so far.

It’s a durable pilot bag, though it isn’t specially reinforced as some other options on this list are.

One other handy feature of this bag is its ability to separate into different bags. So if you’re headed to the airport to fly IFR and need more gear you can bring the whole thing. If it’s a VFR day, you can separate the bag and take just take a third of the bag.

No other brand on the list has this unique functionality.

Pros

  • Premium bag that’s extremely versatile
  • Huge number of compartments
  • Ability to split into separate bags

Cons

  • Can get rather heavy when fully loaded with gear
  • Not specially reinforced
  • Higher priced bag

Flight Outfitters Bush Pilot Rucksack Review

Flight Outfitters Bush Pilot Rucksack
$99.95
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07/18/2024 04:59 pm GMT

Flight Outfitters rucksacks make great bags for pilots, and this flight bag backpack is no different.

If you need to haul more stuff around the airport this aviation backpack is exactly what you need.

Unike other bags, this one has a drawstring opening at the top instead of a zipper. Here, there’s ample internal space for all your gear. However, you’ll want to store your headset in its own bag inside.

There is an iPad/laptop sleeve, and enough space around the rest to fit a host of other items.

Pros

  • Opens all the way
  • Easy to Carry

Cons

  • Headset doesn’t fit in the bag very well

Flight Outfitters Bush Pilot Bag Review

Flight Outfitters Bush Pilot Bag
$129.95


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02/18/2024 03:38 pm GMT

This bag comes in a light canvas that has leather accents.

It stands out immediately from the crowd thanks to its color scheme, while the leather elements make it feel premium without limiting the practicality.

The padded headphone pockets (two of them!) mean you don’t waste precious internal storage, of which there is plenty.

The interior is large enough to store a lot of additional items, while the metal-reinforced handle is enough to hold weightier items.

This is another pilot flight bag from the excellent Flight Outfitters, and again comes with a lot of extremely thoughtful design features.

For example, the Bush Pilot Bag features a pass-through strap on the back which lets you easily slide it over rolling luggage handles. The orange interior meanwhile makes it easy to find things in a dark cockpit.

We love this bag, but it’s a shame the design won’t be to all tastes.

Pros

  • Premium design
  • Reinforced handle
  • Suspends headphones in the pocket

Cons

  • Headphones pocket takes up a lot of space

Best Leather Flight Bag

Lightspeed Aviation – The Gann, Leather Flight Bag

Lightspeed Aviation – The Gann Leather Flight Bag
$299.00


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07/18/2024 04:14 pm GMT

For this writer, a flight bag should be a premium item for a successful professional. And for this writer, a premium bag should be leather.

That’s what makes this such a standout option, along with many other excellent features such as the center zipper that opens to reveal a large interior compartment that is more than spacious enough for headsets, charts, and all your other gear.

The front is divided with an organizer pocket for useful items and documents. A zippered rear pocket is great for storing iPads, and the side pockets are ideal for water bottles and fuel checkers – or you can use it for storing a transceiver thanks to the handy antenna-on storage feature.

There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can check out the bag first and return it if it’s not for you.

Of course, there is a trade-off with leather and this option is not as structured or reinforced as some others. It’s also not likely to hold up as well to the weather. But if you want something really premium with lots of pilot-centric features, the Markham is a cut above.

Pros

  • Lots of highly useful compartments and pockets
  • Great size and comfortable to carry
  • Extremely premium design

Cons

  • Expensive
Lightspeed Aviation – The Gann Leather Flight Bag
$299.00
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07/18/2024 04:14 pm GMT
Flight Outfitters Bush Pilot Rucksack
$99.95
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07/18/2024 04:59 pm GMT
Flight Outfitters Bush Pilot Bag
$129.95
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02/18/2024 03:38 pm GMT
Best for Airline Pilots
Brightline Bags Flex B7 Flight Preconfigured Modular Bag
$287.00
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07/18/2024 04:24 pm GMT
MYGOFLIGHT PLC Lite iPad Aviation Flight Bag
$129.00
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07/18/2024 04:07 pm GMT
MYGOFLIGHT PLC Pro iPad and Laptop Water Resistant Ballistic Nylon Aviation Flight Bag
$299.00
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07/18/2024 07:59 pm GMT
Design 4 Pilots Brand Pilot Bag Cross Country Flight Bag
$149.00
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AirClassics Dispatch Flight Bag
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Editors Pick
Flight Outfitters Lift Flight Bag
$99.95
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07/18/2024 06:16 pm GMT

Best Pilot Bag Brands

When looking specifically at pilot bags, there are a handful of brands that stand out for producing high quality bags.

Brightline Bags

Brightline Bags is known for their modular and customizable pilot flight bags. Their Flex B7 Flight Preconfigured Modular Bag is a popular choice among pilots, featuring a 4.9 rating on Amazon.

As an airline pilot, this is the flight bag I use and can personally attest the high quality nature of these bags.

With a modular design, it offers loads of pockets and compartments to store items, and it is made from sturdy components and materials. This bag allows you to easily organize and carry your gear.

Flight Outfitters

The Flight Outfitters Lift Flight Bag is another excellent option for pilots.

As mentioned above, this flight bag is excellent for student pilots. Flight Outfitters has made flight bags for years and produces some of the best selling flight bags for student and private pilots.

If you’re looking for a high quality option that doesn’t break the bank this is it.

Jeppesen

Jeppesen is a well known brand in the aviation industry, and their flight bags are no exception.

They offer a range of pilot flight bags with different features and designs, catering to the varying needs of pilots. From compact bags for students to versatile bags for professionals, Jeppesen has a reliable selection to choose from.

I’ve used the Jeppesen student book bag and, while it isn’t a flight bag, it is a great option if you want a bag specifically for hauling books to and from the airport.

ASA AirClassics

ASA AirClassics is recognized for producing quality flight bags for pilots. Their ASA AirClassics Flight Bag is a popular model amongst pilots, featuring multiple compartments to keep your gear organized, durable materials to withstand heavy usage, and a comfortable shoulder strap for easy carrying. This makes it a reliable and efficient choice for pilots at any level.

Want to go even deeper on what makes the best pilot bag? Check out this section.

Top Flight Bag Materials

The material of your flight bag is really what determines its long term durability. There are obviously pros and cons to the most common materials.

As you select your flight bag here’s a few things to consider for each material.

Nylon Flight Bags

Nylon is a popular choice for flight bags due to its durability, lightweight, and water-resistant properties.

It can withstand daily wear and tear and protect your gear from harsh conditions. Nylon bags are also easy to clean. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of nylon flight bags for pilots:

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Water-resistant
  • Easy to clean

Cons:

  • Less premium feel
  • May fade over time

Leather Flight Bags

Leather flight bags for pilots provide a classic, timeless appeal.

High-quality leather is not only durable but also ages beautifully, making these bags a long-lasting investment. However, they tend to be heavier and require more maintenance.

Pros:

  • Stylish and timeless
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Ages well

Cons:

  • Heavier compared to other materials
  • Requires regular maintenance
  • Susceptible to scratches and scuffs

Canvas Flight Bags

Canvas flight bags offer a more casual alternative to leather and nylon bags.

Made from heavy-duty cotton, canvas bags are highly resistant to wear and tear, and their breathability makes them ideal for carrying equipment and gear without trapping moisture. They’re also easy to maintain.

Pros:

  • Casual look
  • Eco-friendly and breathable
  • Heavy-duty cotton offers durability

Cons:

  • Less water-resistant than nylon
  • May not be as stylish as leather options

What to Know About Flight Bags for Pilots

What features should one look for in a high-quality pilot flight bag?

When choosing a pilot bag, consider features that make the bag durable, functional, and easy to organize.

Look for materials like water-resistant fabrics, sturdy zippers, and strong stitching. The bag should be lightweight, have adjustable compartments, and feature pockets to store essential items like your headset, logbooks, tablets, and other essential gear.

Make sure the bag is comfortable to carry, either with a shoulder strap or a handle.

Which flight bags are best for students vs. professional pilots?

When you’re a student pilot, a more compact and affordable flight bag is ideal.

The Flight Outfitters Lift Flight Bag and MyGoFlight iPad Flight Bag are good options.

For professional pilots with more experience and a larger number of items to carry, consider the Brightline Bags Flex B7 Flight Preconfigured Modular Bag. That’s the bag I carry as an airline pilot and I’m really happy with it.

How do leather flight bags compare to other materials?

Leather flight bags, like the Lightspeed Aviation Markham Leather Flight Bag, are often more stylish and offer a luxurious touch compared to bags made from other materials.

However, they can be heavier and might require more maintenance to keep them in good condition. Other materials like water-resistant fabrics are typically lighter, easier to maintain, and more affordable.

What makes Sporty’s and BrightLine bags popular among pilots?

Sporty’s and BrightLine bags are known for their durability, functionality, and organization capabilities.

They offer a variety of sizes and designs to accommodate the needs of different pilots.

These bags often feature customizable compartments, pockets for specific items, and water-resistant materials, making them suitable for various flying situations.

What’s your opinion, what’s the best flight bag for pilots?

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