Flight Tote Update: We Cant Break Em

We sentenced three top-pick compact flight totes to a year of hard duty. MyGoFlight, Sportys and Flight Outfitters impress with durability and usability.

When I rounded up over a half dozen compact flight totes for a shootout in the January 2017 Aviation Consumer, the Sporty’s iPad Bag and MyGoFlight PLC Sport Bag were easy winners. They were just the right size for housing the stuff I typically take flying—mainly action cams and accessories, a Bose headset and an iPad Mini. Plus they have enough compartments for stuffing in other small items like chargers, snacks, wallet, keys and glasses.

tote bag

The real test was to see how the bags hold up after hard use and abuse so I planned this follow-up. I wasn’t gentle. As it happens almost every time I head to the airfield, the flight tote is stuffed to the max almost to the point of not being able to close the zipper. While I fully expected to break at least one of the three I use the most, I’m happy to report all are holding up surprisingly well.

As I expected it would, the $69.95 Sporty’s HP iPad bag became the permanent storage tote for all of my action cam gear. This includes a GoPro, two Garmin Virbs, a set of USB chargers and cables for each, plus a stabilizer, a few mounts and a compact tripod. The Sporty’s HP ultimately became my full-time headset storage bag because I continue to like the built-in headset hangar that keeps my Bose A20 from getting crushed when I overstuff the main compartment. The padded tablet pocket is just the right size for the iPad Mini with a case. Sporty’s included the custom embroidery option on my demo and it’s held up perfectly.

These compact totes are small enough that I’ll often carry two of them, which includes the $139.99 MyGoFlight PLC sport. It proved to be incredibly durable after it took a hard hit with a rolling nosewheel one night. I’ll often stuff a change of clothes and some toiletries in it, which puts considerable stress on the zippers, but they haven’t broken yet. It measures 14 inches high by 13 inches wide and 6 inches deep. I wish it had a pocket for storing a water bottle.

One bag I initially dissed because I don’t care for sling pack designs is the Flight Outfitters $79.95 Thrust bag, but it turned out to be an excellent day-trip bag. It does accommodate a water bottle and is deep enough for stuffing in a sweatshirt, has a sunglasses pocket that’s easily accessible, plus the mesh organizers are good for housing cables and other small stuff.

flight tote group

Flight Outfitters recently sent me the $139.95 Bush Pilot Folio. It measures 18 inches high by 11 inches wide and 6 inches deep and has two leather-strapped organizer pockets. It also has a rear strap for attaching to a roll-aboard. What’s cool about the Folio is you can take it into a business meeting and not feel like Joe Pilot—good if you use your airplane for work travel. It also makes for a capable logbook storage bag.

But what I like best about Flight Outfitters is its obsession with getting its new products in the hands of aviation pros for real-world feedback. Any time the company releases a new product, it’s on my doorstep in short order for evaluation. That makes my job easier, plus the quality makes it easier yet to recommend most of its products. Contact them at www.flightoutfitters.com and at 513-688-7300.

Editor in Chief Larry Anglisano has been a staple at Aviation Consumer since 1995. An active land, sea and glider pilot, Larry has over 30 years’ experience as an avionics repairman and flight test pilot. He’s the editorial director overseeing sister publications Aviation Safety magazine, IFR magazine and is a regular contributor to KITPLANES magazine with his Avionics Bootcamp column.