A pilot with a flight bag? What a clich. For me, a large and well constructed backpack works just fine, thank you. Plus, a backpack works the best for my short motorcycle commute to the airport and is easy to deal with in the cabin. But a recent run to the airfield made me consider using the Sportys Navigator bag thats been a permanent ficture on my office floor.
The backpack is stuffed with my iPad, at least one cockpit mount, two headsets, comm radio, flashlight, windshield cleaner, eyeglass case, bottled water, snacks, wallet and hand sanitizer.
Since many of my flying missions are for reviewing products, I bring along camera gear-photo and video hardware. I have a dedicated camera bag, which is another small backpack. Then, there is the GoPro action camera. Its certainly small enough for stuffing in the camera bag or backpack, but my growing collection of accessories are not. There are various mounts, battery chargers, housings and audio cables that now live in a dedicated bag. That is three bulky bags of stuff.
The Navigators main compartment is roomy enough to accommodate the camera bag, the maintenance logbook bag I use for the GoPro stuff, plus the tablet and mounting hardware. The headset bag fits nicely in one of the two side pockets, while a variety of other pockets easily accommodate the stuff I cram into my backpack. At 10 by 22 by 11 inches, it works as a tailpack on the motorcycle. I dont like the amount of space it occupies in the cabin-thats the appeal of a backpack.
While some pilots might not carry as much camera gear, I suspect a growing number are lugging action cameras and accessories, and certainly tablet computers and mounts. For them, I recommend the durable $99 Sportys Navigator bag. No camera or tablet gear? I say get a high-quality backpack.