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The Best Flight Bags for Every Type of Pilot in 2021

80.3k views | 22 min read | Posted on July 06, 2021 by Senne Vandenputte | Last update August 26, 2021

The Best Flight Bags for Every Type of Pilot in 2021

Flight bags come in many different sizes and prices. Depending on the type of pilot you are, another aviator bag will be a better fit for you.

Some pilots need a more stylish bag to match their personality. Others want something that will fit the most items possible and cost as little as they can find. No matter what type of pilot you are, we are sure you’ll find something you like below.

In this guide, we will help you pick the best flight bags and discuss what you need to look for!

The Best Flight Bags for Every Type of Pilot in 2021

In a Hurry? See Our Top Picks

Just click on any image below to see price, ratings and reviews on Amazon.

Flight Outfitters Lift Pro Travel Bag Flight OutfittersCheck Price on Amazon
MyGoFlight - Flight Bag PLC Pro MyGoFlightCheck Price on Amazon
Lightspeed Aviation - The Markham, Leather Flight Bag LightSpeedCheck Price on Amazon

Now, let’s dive into some of the best flight bags for every type of pilot. The list below is divided into different categories based on the type of pilot you are and your budget. Of course, flight bags that are good for one type of pilot can be just as good for other pilots, so feel free to pick any bag you like.

If you’re interested in learning what to look for when buying a (new) flight bag, make sure to read our buying guide below!

The Best Flight Bags for Student Pilots in 2021

Every type of pilot is different and has different needs. For student pilots, we found a few interesting aviator bags at an affordable price, something that’s important if you’re just starting out in aviation and have to pay for all your flight training.

Another important aspect for student pilot flight bags is that they need room for books and paper, because you will often carry books with you as a student pilot.

1. Jeppesen – Student Pilot Bag

Jeppesen's Student Pilot Bag is the most affordable flight bag on his list, and therefore perfect for student pilots on a budget.

While compact, Jeppesen’s sturdy Student Pilot Bag provides plenty of storage space for all your aviation essentials. In addition to the double-zippered main compartment, the bag features 7 exterior storage pockets for easy organization and quick access to all your must-have tools. Three of the outside pockets are ideal for pens, flashlights, a fuel tester, and similar size items, while additional compartments are well suited for aeronautical charts, a calculator/E6B, a plotter, and more. It also features an interior key clip for easy storage and peace of mind.

What we like about this bag:

  • Made especially for student pilots
  • Dedicated pockets for charts, pens, etc.
  • Weighs only 16 ounces
  • Affordable

What we don’t like about this bag:

  • Quality of materials could be a little better
  • No zippered pockets

Check Price on Amazon
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2. ASA Pilot Flight Bag

The bag you want for your everyday flying: big enough to hold everything you need but compact enough to carry and store easily. It’s made of fully padded nylon for extreme durability.

The ASA Pilot Bag is the simple, no-frills bag of choice for everyday flying because it’s big enough to hold a pilots essentials yet compact enough to carry, transport, and store easily. This bag is a favorite among both fixed-wing and rotorcraft flight instructors who often recommend it to their students for solo and cross-country flights.

What we like about this bag:

  • Affordable
  • Compact
  • Good and practical design
  • Plenty of space for a small bag

What we don’t like about this bag:

  • May not fit all your gear
  • Built quality; stitching can come undone

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3. Gleim Padded Flight Bag

With an attractive and durable design, the Gleim Padded Pilot Bag makes an excellent carry-on for all of your flights.

This flight bag was created for easy, in-flight organization and quick access to your flight equipment. It contains an exterior, padded headset compartment, front, rear, and side pockets, a cell phone pocket, pen slots, and a place to keep your IFR goggles. It also has large dividers inside for easier organization.

What we like about this bag:

What we don’t like about this bag:

  • Durability
  • Lack of padding
  • Bulkier headsets may not fit in the side pocket

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4. Simple Flyer Alpha Pilot Headset Flight Bag

The Simple Flyer Alpha Flight Bag holds all you need for a day flight or training flight. With a large outer pocket for your headset, a protected inner pocket for your tablet, and an inner tactical pocket you have room for all of your gear.

All in all a lot of bag for the money!

What we like about this bag:

  • One of the highest-rated bags: 4.7/5 (100+ reviews)
  • Affordable
  • Available in 2 colors
  • Right-sized
  • Plenty of room and dedicated pockets for iPad, headset, radio and even some drinks

What we don’t like about this bag:

  • Zippered pockets on the front may become too tight for easy use

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The Best Flight Bags for Private Pilots in 2021

For private pilots, price is still a deciding factor, but practicality, built quality and the number of compartments are just as important. Especially when you start flying with passengers, additional storage for your passengers’ headsets can become very convenient.

1. ASA AirClassics Flight Bag

With a clean, sophisticated and professional look, the ASA AirClassics Flight Bags have been designed and engineered to be supremely functional. They re able to stand up to the toughest treatment possible and still look great at the end of the day.

The large, single-pull, divided and zippered main compartment, along with the headset pockets on both ends, are fitted with large, sturdy zippers for easy handling. You can count on ASA s AirClassics Flight Bags to bring many years of utility and pride.

What we like about this bag:

  • Low-key look
  • Heavy-duty construction

What we don’t like about this bag:

  • Not quite large enough to fit everything they advertise: fits less gear than some other smaller flight bags
  • More expensive compared to similar bags

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2. Flight Outfitters Lift Pro Travel Bag

Though this bag is small, it features both external and internal pockets and plenty of open room to pack a powerful storage punch. Durable nylon and reinforced braided steel handles make the bag long-lasting, while the adjustable shoulder strap will keep you traveling in comfort.

The Lift Travel Bag has a water bottle/backup radio pocket, Fuel tester pocket, 2 external chart pockets and more internal compartments for batteries and other gear.

What we like about this bag:

  • Looks great
  • Very heavy-duty, including the handles
  • Excellent dedicated and well thought out pockets
  • Great padding inside for precious gear
  • Fits all the gear you need

What we don’t like about this bag:

  • Perhaps a little pricey
  • Contradictory reviews on Amazon about built quality (no issues at all with our bag!)
  • Small side pockets for fuel tester not very secure: lost my fuel tester more than once

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We wrote a review about the Flight Outfitters Lift bag here on the website! You can read our review here:

3. Flight Outfitters Lift XL Flight Bag

The Lift XL Pro is ideal for professional pilots who prefer an understated, all-black look. As a larger version of the top-rated Lift Pro Bag (discussed above), the Lift XL Pro adds more room for storage (including two headsets) and more organization options, all while retaining the signature design features that make Flight Outfitters bags so useful in the cockpit.

What we like about this bag:

  • Heavy-duty, including the handles
  • Excellent dedicated and well thought out pockets
  • Great padding inside for precious gear
  • Fits all the gear you need
  • Space for 2 headsets
  • More and larger elastic mesh pockets than smaller Lift Bag

What we don’t like about this bag:

  • A little bit wide (may become bulky in smaller/crowded cabins)
  • Side mesh pocket can be slightly too tight to fit a handheld radio

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4. MyGoFlight – Flight Bag PLC Sport

The PLC Sport Flight Bag is a smaller version of the Flight Bag PLC Pro. Just enough room to carry one headset, an iPad/EFB, a handheld radio, and other gear. It has a modern style and sleek exterior, but it is loaded with pockets to give you the style, storage and functionality like never before.

The PLC Sport can stand up on its own, making it easy to load and access gear. It is also equipped with a laptop pocket that fits laptops up to 13 inch.

What we like about this bag:

  • iPad/Laptop (up to 13″) storage compartment
  • Heavy-duty
  • Comes with a shoulder strap
  • 4 side pockets
  • Outstanding customer service

What we don’t like about this bag:

  • Quite expensive
  • A little tight on space

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5. Brightline Bags B4 SWIFT VFR Flight Bag

The Brightline SWIFT is often recommended as the ideal VFR flight bag. It’s designed to hold one or two full-sized headsets plus a handful of charts, and/or an iPad, plus all the small stuff you’ll want along for the ride. It also serves as an unbeatable carry-on personal bag when traveling on commercial flights, or just as a terrific daily bag for a wide variety of personal and professional uses.

What we like about this bag:

  • Modular design: interchangeable components to customize your bag
  • Color-coded sections for easy and quick use
  • High quality, well thought out design

What we don’t like about this bag:

  • Quite expensive
  • Somewhat heavy at +- 5 pounds
  • Tall and narrow, may fall over when placed on the floor

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6. MyGoFlight – Flight Bag PLC Pro

The PLC Pro is MyGoFlight’s best selling flight bag. It has a modern style and sleek exterior, but it is loaded with pockets to give you the style, storage and functionality like never before. Just like the MyGoFlight Flight Bag PLC Sport, the PLC Pro can stand up on its own, making it easy to access and store your stuff. This model can also fit laptops up to 16″, compared to the 13″ limit on the cheaper model.

What we like about this bag:

  • Convenient backpack design
  • iPad/Laptop (up to 16″)  storage compartment
  • Heavy-duty
  • Fits two headsets
  • Outstanding customer service
  • 4 side pockets

What we don’t like about this bag:

  • Expensive
  • Zippers may break

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7. Flight Outfitters Seaplane Duffel

The Flight Outfitters Seaplane Duffel is a rugged, water-resistant duffel bag, made for remote fishing trips, cross-country flights in old taildraggers, and any other adventures you can dream up. The huge center compartment can haul almost anything, from clothes to hunting gear, and features a padded bottom layer for protection. Best of all, the Seaplane Duffel remains flexible enough to stuff into cramped luggage compartments. You can even roll it up and pack it away in another bag when not in use. It’s your go-anywhere, do-anything bag—whether you’re flying or not.

The Seaplane Duffel bag is available in 40L and 60L.

What we like about this bag:

  • Large
  • Affordable
  • Flexibility: can be used for other travels as well
  • Easy-grab side handles
  • Comes in 40L and 60L

What we don’t like about this bag:

  • No shoulder strap (or ways to attach one)

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9. ASA Flight Bag +

The ASA Flight Bag is large enough to fit everything a pilot needs and more without being too bulky to manage. Made with durable, water-repellent 600D polyester, this bag has sturdy comfort grip connectable handles, a non-slip detachable carry strap, heavy-duty zippers, and reinforcing straps that go around the bag for extra strength.

What we like about this bag:

  • Reinforced straps
  • Affordable
  • Good padding

What we don’t like about this bag:

  • A little heavy for its size

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The Best Flight Bags for Professional Pilots in 2021

When you’re a commercial pilot, the price of the bag becomes less important than the overall quality, durability and ease of use. The flight bags below are all an excellent choice for commercial pilots!

1. Alpine Swiss Rolling 17″ Laptop Briefcase on Wheels

Carry all you need to carry for work or travel with ease with this large rolling briefcase with telescopic handles and plenty of room. And it is lightweight! Made from the best possible materials and providing a great value. This briefcase is roomy, well designed and sturdy.

What we like about this bag:

  • 4.6/5 Amazon rating with over 1400 reviews
  • TSA approved
  • Carry-on size
  • Great price for value

What we don’t like about this bag:

  • Built quality
  • Wheels may break easily
  • Not made especially for pilots/aviation

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2. Jeppesen – Black Captain Pilot Flight Bag

From binders to headsets and other gear, the Jeppesen Captain Pilot Flight Bag is fully-padded and holds it all. The Jeppesen Captain Pilot Flight Bag is durable being made from polymer with a water-resistant PVC coating on one side.

What we like about this bag:

  • Plenty of room
  • Two detachable headset bags
  • Detachable transceiver/GPS bag

What we don’t like about this bag:

  • Little padding
  • Bottom prone to getting wet
  • Internal dividers may not stay in place well

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3. ASA Bag-Pro-1 Pro Flight Bag

Designed with padded 600D polyester, non-slip detachable carry strap, and connectable comfort grip handles, this Flight Bag Pro has capacity and convenience for every pilot’s flight needs.

Focusing on a clean, sophisticated and professional look, these bags are designed and engineered to be supremely functional, able to stand up to the toughest treatment possible, yet still look great at the end of the day.

What we like about this bag:

  • Lots of different compartments
  • Good built quality
  • Detachable chart wallet
  • Sturdy feet on the bottom

What we don’t like about this bag:

  • No key-ring tethers
  • A few extra zipper pockets may have been convenient

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4. Lightspeed Aviation – The Gann, Leather Flight Bag

One of our personal favorites: The Lightspeed Gann Leather Flight Bag. Since we started writing pilot gear guides on Hangar.Flights, this flight bag has been one of the most popular flight bags our visitors have purchased.

And it’s not hard to see why: this stylish, superior quality carpenter-style flight bag was made for the cockpit and is a great companion to the pilot who has everything – and likes to take it along. The Gann features purpose-built pockets for headsets, iPads, and transceivers, and rugged, but wing-friendly, textured PVC bottoms.

It is handmade from full-grain, oiled South American cowhide in espresso brown with contrasting black leather pocket flaps. Uncoated for authentic look and wear, they will become more supple with age and use, while taking on a rich patina. Each hide has its own distinctive grain and markings, making each bag as unique as the pilot who owns it.

What we like about this bag:

  • Excellent quality: Feels & smells premium
  • Very stylish carpenter-style bag
  • Real leather
  • Large transceiver pocket
  • Can be a great weekend bag as well

What we don’t like about this bag:

  • Pricey
  • Possible stretch marks on leather over time

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5. Lightspeed Aviation – The Markham, Leather Flight Bag

Just like the previously-mentioned The Gann flight bag, Lightspeed's The Markham Leather Flight Bag is handmade from full-grain, oiled South American cowhide in espresso brown with contrasting black leather pocket flaps. It again offers pockets for headsets, iPads, and transceivers, and rugged, but wing-friendly, textured PVC bottoms.

The Markham is a slightly less expensive option compared to The Gann flight bag.

“Set off on your own record flight with a flight bag as beautiful and daring as the pioneering aviator and writer whose name it bears.”

What we like about this bag:

  • Excellent quality: Feels & smells premium
  • Very stylish carpenter-style bag
  • Real leather
  • Large transceiver pocket
  • Can be a great weekend bag as well
  • Side pocket tailor-made for large water bottles

What we don’t like about this bag:

  • Pricey
  • Possible stretch marks on leather over time
  • Smaller bag than the LightSpeed Gann (will fit less gear)

Check Price on Amazon
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The Best Pilot Backpacks in 2021

Some pilots might prefer a backpack-type of flight bag, as it could be more convenient in some cases. Below are a few great backpack options for pilots!

1. Rothco Vintage Canvas Flight Bag

If you’re more into backpacks, the Rothco Vintage Canvas Flight Bag is a great and stylish option.

This canvas backpack features a washed 14oz canvas material for that vintage look and feel, a large zippered main compartment, inner zippered pocket, small hook and loop side pocket and a front pocket with contrasting lettering reminiscent of a flight bag and metal clasp closure with a gold pull tag.

What we like about this bag:

  • Nice vintage design
  • Affordable
  • Compact size
  • Comes in 3 colors

What we don’t like about this bag:

  • Small
  • Built quality could be a little better

Check Price on Amazon
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2. ASA AirClassics Pilot Backpack

ASA has been an established brand of pilot gear for many years. The backpack version of their AirClassics flight bags line is a great option if you’re looking for a pilot backpack that’s a little more ‘low profile’, and offers plenty of room and compartments for all your gear.

Made of durable fabric and supported by a heavy-duty water-resistant bottom, this backpack keeps books and supplies organized and protected. Four zippered compartments provide ample room for just about anything a pilot-on-the-go needs.

What we like about this bag:

  • Good value for money
  • Good for student/private pilots
  • Convenient backpack

What we don’t like about this bag:

  • May not fit all the gear you need
  • Quality could be better

Check Price on Amazon
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The Best Leather Flight Bags for Pilots in 2021

If you want the highest quality and overall best appeal, a leather flight bag is the way to go.

1. Lightspeed Aviation – The Gann, Leather Flight Bag

Although we already included The Gann flight bag above, it would be a shame to not mention it again when talking about the best leather flight bags. Again, we highly recommend this quality flight bag if you’re looking for a decent leather bag that will last many years.

For the pros and cons, make sure to read them above!

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2. Lightspeed Aviation – The Markham, Leather Flight Bag

Another leather flight bag we mentioned before in this guide, but worth including again as well in this category of flight bags.

For the pros and cons, make sure to read them above!

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3. Augus Leather Briefcase Messenger Bag

The Augus Leather quality bag is made of 100% full-grain leather and provides all the space you need to organize your flight gear, phone, laptop, passport, and even clothes, effectively helping you both inside and outside the cockpit.

A strap on the back enables you to attach the briefcase firmly to the luggage, which makes this bag perfect for professional pilots traveling often with trolley suitcases.

What we like about this bag:

  • Great quality
  • Stylish leather bag
  • 100% full-grain leather
  • Good price for quality leather bag

What we don’t like about this bag:

  • Not made specifically for pilots/aviation
  • Lacks some convenient dedicated pockets for odd-sized gear
  • Leather may scratch

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4. Bosidu Leather Messenger Bag

The Bosidu Leather Messenger Bag is made of high-quality leather to be both fashionable, practical and provides a professional appearance. It offers plenty of room for headsets, documents, tablets and anything else you need to take with you on flying trips.

What we like about this bag:

  • Great quality
  • Stylish leather bag
  • Inexpensive
  • Laptop Compartment

What we don’t like about this bag:

  • Not made specifically for pilots/aviation
  • Lacks some convenient dedicated pockets for odd-sized gear

Check Price on Amazon
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5. Samsonite Columbian Leather Flapover Case

Samsonite, who doesn’t know the brand trusted for its high-quality travel bags and suitcases. The Samsonite Columbian Leather Flapover Case is made from luxurious Colombian leather and features a medium-sized shape with a padded laptop pocket and three interior pockets to hold all your required pilot gear. The bag also includes a rear compartment to hold files and documents, plus an organizer with slip pockets, pen sleeves, and card slots.

What we like about this bag:

  • Samsonite quality
  • Stylish leather bag
  • Laptop Compartment

What we don’t like about this bag:

  • Not made specifically for pilots/aviation
  • Lacks some convenient dedicated pockets for odd-sized gear
  • Imperfections and color variations in the leather possible

Check Price on Amazon
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Things to Consider When Buying a Flight bag

Whether you’re a student pilot taking your first lessons, a private pilot going for a $100 hamburger on a Sunday or a full-time professional pilot, you need a proper flight bag or aviator bag to carry all your precious gear, such as your aviation headset, handheld radio, portable GPS, etc.. Not only is a flight bag a must-have for every pilot, it also defines your style as a pilot and is, therefore, a great style accessory if you value that. Every flight bag is different and fits other needs. But how do you decide what kind of bag you need? To help you answer this question, we will first cover some important things to consider with flight bags.

Type

The first difference between flight bags lays in the type of bag. Some flight bags can be carried as backpacks, others require a strap around your shoulder or just a simple handle to carry by hand.

Size & Weight

When it comes to flight bags, size does matter. Depending on your own unique needs, you will have to go with a different size of flight bag. This mostly depends on the stuff you are carrying with you on your flights. Is your flight bag paperless? Great, then a smaller flight bag will do the job. But if you need to carry multiple headsets and books or other documents, you will have to make sure there’s plenty of space for those and go with a larger model.

Another aspect that will influence the desired size of your flight bag is the space you have in the airplane. Tucking a big bag away in the small space behind your seat might not be ideal and could cause damage to the flight bag and aircraft. You have to make sure that your flight bag is big enough to fit all your gear but small enough to not make it a hassle on board.

Compartments

A flight bag is only as practical as the number of compartments it has to store your gear like headsets, radios, books, charts and logbooks. Keeping your stuff organized before, during and after your flights is important, and could one day even save your life during an emergency.

Finding that one pen during turbulence, untangling your headset wires and finding the right chart can be a struggle. Modern flight bags can prevent this by helping you organize all your stuff and make it easy for you to find the things you need, whether it’s on the ground or 30,000 feet in the air.

Best Pilot Flight Bags

Material

Flight bags are made of different materials. The material has a big impact on how protective the bag is, but also on the price.

Traditional hard case bags provide the most protection for your stuff. These bags are usually wheeled trolleys and often used by commercial pilots who have the needed storage space in the airplane.

A second popular material is standard nylon or polyester. Flight bags made out of these materials are often less expensive but still provide very decent protection. In the list below, you will find that we often use denier as a measure of the fineness of a fabric. As a rule of thumb, the higher the denier, the stronger the fabric. It is best to select a minimum of 600-1800 denier polyester toward the least expensive end and 500-100 Denier Cordura or 1800 to 2500 Ballistic Nylon at the more expensive end (source).

The last category of flight bag materials is leather flight bags. These are usually the more expensive ones that are slightly heavier but provide great protection, are durable and look very stylish. You can find our selection of leather flight bags at the end of this guide.

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Price

Just like headsets, flight bags come at different prices, depending on the size, material and brand. Your budget will play a major role in deciding which flight bag to go with.

Conclusion

We discussed a few key points to keep in mind when choosing a flight bag, but in the end, it all comes down to your own preferences and taste. The type of flight bag you want, the color, material and size all depend on how you are planning to use it and what gear you need to put in it.

Below are some of our top picks when it comes to the best pilot flight bags:

Flight Outfitters Lift Pro Travel Bag Flight OutfittersCheck Price on Amazon
MyGoFlight - Flight Bag PLC Pro MyGoFlightCheck Price on Amazon
Lightspeed Aviation - The Markham, Leather Flight Bag LightSpeedCheck Price on Amazon

Your flight bag keeps all your precious pilot gear safe and protected. Just like a good Aviation Headset, handheld radio, flight jacket and pilot watch, it’s an investment that will keep paying off, flight after flight.


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