Every pilot needs a good flight bag. Something that can hold all of their gear, and that they can keep handy during their flights. And if that’s what you are looking for, you’ve definitely found the right review!
At A Glance: Our Top Picks for Pilot Flight Bags
I will tell you about the ten best flight bags for pilots. Bags that are suitable for various types of pilots.
Some of the bags featured here are great for students who are mostly looking for something that can store all their books.
Other bags are perfect for veterans and have a designated spot for all your gear – from your aviator glasses to your fuel testers.
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Best Mid-Range Flight Bag
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Most Functional Flight Bag
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Best Luxe Flight Bag
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Best Budget Flight Bag
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The Lift Flight bag by Flight Outfitters is an excellent option because it comes in several different sizes. This makes it easy to get a bag that’s just right for you. I adore the smallest of the three bags – it’s great for those quick VFR flights when you simply don’t need too much equipment.
The smallest bag can still fit a tablet, a headset, a radio, spare batteries, a fuel tester, a flashlight, your documents, and some other stuff.
It’s a compact bag designed to hold only your necessities, so it’s definitely not an option if you’re looking for something that can hold clothes and toiletries as well. But if you want to keep things simple, this is an excellent bag for you. You can see its dimensions and weight in the product info box below.
What about the bigger bags? They can fit all of the items mentioned above, plus a lot of other stuff. The Lift XL and XL Pro also feature padded laptop sleeves, luggage straps, removable dividers, and more spacious external compartments.
They’re the better option for those flights when you need all the gear you can carry, but that is also their downfall.
The XL and XL Pro bags are a lot bigger than the standard Lift bag. The smaller Lift is some 10” wide and the larger two are about 18” wide – that’s a huge difference. If you need the extra capacity, then by all means go for one of the bigger bags. But if you like keeping things simple, go with the standard Lift – it’s one of the best compact flight bags money can buy.
Looking for a roomy flight bag? Then consider getting the Flyboys Large Crew Bag – it is bigger than standard flight bags, and it can hold a lot of stuff. This bag is made from 1680D ballistic nylon, with a PVC armor base and thick padding throughout. The exterior of the bag is water and abrasion-resistant, so you know your things inside will stay protected at all times.
There are rubber feet at each corner of the bag, which elevates it a little bit. This is very useful for those times when you have to put the bag down on the ground, as it keeps the bottom of the bag clean and dry.
The Flyboys Crew bag is one of the best options for the budding student pilot. It’s a spacious bag, with thick padding and plenty of compartments for all your must-have items. The thing that makes this bag excellent for student pilots is the removable internal dividers. They allow you to divide the interior into three compartments max, making it super easy to organize all your books.
Of course, you can use those dividers however you like, which makes this bag suitable for different types of pilots. The main compartment of this flight bag is very spacious and can fit quite a lot of items.
Actually, it’s big enough to fit a helmet and other items – that should give you a good idea of how big the bag is. And it makes this bag a good option for pilots that like to carry a change of clothes and some toiletries in their flight bag.
The external compartments will still let you organize all of your other necessities. There are five external compartments total, one of which is the perfect size for your company-issued iPad. And there’s also a retention sleeve for flashlights, but that’s inside the main compartment of the bag. You also get two external slip pockets, which are just the right size for your photo ID and certificates.
Nowhere does it stay that you have to give up on being stylish just because you have to carry a flight bag. In fact, I think the Bush Pilot Folio bag is proof of that – with brown leather accents on camel brown exterior, it looks like a very sophisticated bag.
And it is still incredibly functional. Flight Outfitters is a brand created by aviation enthusiasts, who know what a good flight bag should look like. This particular bag is an excellent option for pilots who like to keep it simple – it’s rather small, but it has just enough space for all your must-haves.
The exterior of the bag features a dedicated iPad pocket, as well as compartments for your fuel tester, flashlight, and radio. There is five external pockets total, which should be plenty of room to fit all the items you need handy during flights.
The interior of the bag is quite spacious. It features a padded laptop sleeve with an organizer section and a zip pocket, as well as a roomy main compartment that can easily fit a change of clothes.
And in case you normally bring a carry-on suitcase on flights, you will find the shoulder strap on the back of this flight bag incredibly useful. It lets you mount the bag on top of a suitcase, making it much easier to move around with multiple bags.
The Bush Pilot Folio bag is made from canvas, which is a high-quality material. It is used in premium garments, due to the high manufacturing cost.
But it is one of the best materials you can ask for – the canvas has decent water resistance without any extra coating, and it is also incredibly durable and abrasion-resistant.
If you want a bag that will let people know you’re a pilot from miles away, the B7 Flight-Echo is what you are looking for. It’s one of those bulky square bags that only pilots carry, but there’s a good reason for that.
The B7 Flight-Echo is the ultimate customizable bag. It doesn’t have plenty of compartments – it is actually made up of different compartments. They are all removable, and you can attach as many of them as you like. This is a really great option because it lets you turn it into the perfect flight bag for you. You can make it as small or as large as you need on any given day.
This bag is designed to fit up to two full headsets, up to two iPads, a full suitcase of charts, a water bottle, and all the smaller items you could possibly need. With an abundance of small pockets and compartments, it’s going to be one of your go-to bags for IFR flights.
But it is deceptively bulky. The bag can actually fit much less stuff than you’d think, which is a real letdown. You won’t be able to fit a change of clothes inside the B7 Flight-Echo, and it’s a good option only if you’re okay with also carrying a suitcase.
The bag is great for storing smaller flying gear and keeping everything organized and handy, but it’s not the best option if you want a roomy main compartment.
One thing I absolutely love about this bag is the external water bottle pocket. It’s a unique feature that you won’t find on many other flight bags and a very convenient one at that. The pocket keeps a small water bottle handy, but it still keeps it away from your electronics and papers.
Looking for an affordable flight bag? Then get the ASA AirClassics bags – with a price tag well under $100, this is one of the cheapest flight bags I managed to find. And I don’t mean cheap in a bad way – it’s still a very good bag, but with an affordable price tag.
This makes it a great option for new pilots and student pilots, who can’t afford to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on a premium flight bag (yet). It’s a good short-term alternative; I’m afraid an affordable long-term alternative is something that still doesn’t exist.
Flight bags are items that go through a lot of wear and tear, so it’s completely normal that they eventually start to fall apart. With a really good (and really expensive) bag, you can easily get more than five years of use.
But with the more affordable ones, you’ll be lucky if you use them for a couple of years. Which is fine – by then, you should be able to afford one of the premium flight bags.
The AirClassics bag is made from 600D polyester, which is a tough and durable material, but not as sturdy as nylon or canvas. It has a very spacious main compartment, which can easily fit several books, making it a great option for students. And there are multiple other external compartments that can hold your headset, radio, iPad, and all the other necessities.
However, just because a compartment is designed to hold a headset, it doesn’t mean you can actually fit one. The external compartments of this bag are surprisingly small, and bigger headsets won’t fit inside them. You could keep it in the main compartment, but that kind of defeats the purpose of the handy external pockets.
Overall, this is definitely not the best out of the ten flight bags you will see here. But it is a good first flight bag – it will help you realize what it is exactly that you are looking for in a flight bag. And you don’t have to spend a lot of money to learn that!
The Pro Crew bag by Aerocoast is another popular option. It’s one of the more affordable bags featured here, with a price point under $150. It’s not exactly a cheap bag, but it’s certainly not as expensive as the fancy leather options.
And it’s still a really good flight bag. The Pro Crew features an interlocking ergonomic grab handle, which is a unique feature. It also comes with a padded shoulder strap, so that you’re comfortable no matter how you decide to carry the bag.
It has a big main compartment with multiple internal pockets, including a padded laptop compartment that can fit a 15” device. And there are even more external pockets – my favorite is the upper accessories compartment, which is perfect for smaller items you want to have easily accessible.
The two front compartments are also very spacious; one features an organizer panel, and the other is just the right size for a tablet.
And there are also two smaller side compartments, as well as a large slip pocket and a luggage strap in the back. If you’re looking for a bag that will let you stay organized and keep all of your items easily accessible, this is definitely one of the best options.
But it is far from perfect. The downside of this flight bag is that there’s no information on its exact materials. I can tell you that it has a water-resistant exterior, which is most likely made from nylon or polyester.
In addition to that, the bag doesn’t exactly have dedicated spots for transceivers, headsets, fuel testers, or flashlights. And that is because the Pro Crew bag tries to be a good bag for all cabin crew and not just pilots.
Sometimes, you just want to look cool. You can afford to spend a couple of hundred bucks on a flight bag, and you want something fancy and stylish. Best case scenario, something that gives off Tom Cruise in Top Gun vibes. If that’s the case, the Gann flight bag is easily one of the best options for you.
With a genuine leather (cowhide) exterior, this flight bag is not only stylish but also really high quality. The durability of cowhide is amazing, and you get a limited warranty for the first year. However, keep in mind that leather is sensitive, and if you really want the bag to last, you will have to take good care of the bag.
I recommend applying leather treatment products every couple of months, especially on the parts of the bag that get the most wear and tear, which are usually the straps. The bottom of the bag can also get damaged really fast, which is why I love that the Gann doesn’t have a leather bottom. Instead, the bag features rugged PVC material on the bottom, for enhanced durability and abrasion resistance.
And it’s not just a cool-looking flight bag. The Gann is very functional, with a spacious main compartment and enough pockets for everything you would want to carry. That includes dedicated compartments for your headset, iPad, transceiver, etc.
There are only two exterior pockets though, so you won’t be able to have everything super handy. But, with the padded dividers inside the main compartment, it won’t be a problem to organize your gear and keep it easily accessible.
This flight bag also features a luggage strap in the back, making it a great option for pilots that want a bag they can mount on top of their carry-on suitcase.
Here’s another affordable option for student pilots. The HP Captain’s Bag is under $100, making it one of the least expensive flight bags featured in this review. And it’s actually a great option for student pilots, with its spacious main compartment that will easily fit all of your books.
But, the bag is smaller on the inside than on the outside. It features two very large side pockets, which make it look a lot bigger than it actually is. The main compartment is by no means small – it measures 12” x 8” x 12” and it has four pockets inside, which is more than enough for books or even a change of clothes and some toiletries. But it does look bigger from the outside.
It’s made from durable ripstop nylon, as are all Flight Gear bags. It should be able to handle a lot of wear and tear; in case the bag gets damaged, you can always make use of the three-year warranty. In addition to that, it’s also worth noting that nylon has pretty good water resistance, and will keep the contents of the bag dry in light rain.
This flight bag features a lot of exterior pockets, which is why I absolutely love it. There are two slip pockets designed to keep a flashlight and a fuel tester handy, in addition to the two padded headset pockets.
There are also two slip pockets that can fit charts in the back, as well as small slip pockets in the front (designed for a smartphone).
And that’s not even half of it. The bag features a zippered front compartment with a key clip, an organizer panel, and a zippered pocket. The iPad compartment is inside the main compartment, but it’s accessible from the outside – there’s a zipper at the top of the bag, which lets you take the iPad out, without actually opening the bag. Talk about ease of access!
If you’re a broke student pilot, this is the bag for you. It’s the cheapest good flight bag I could find – the HP Crosswind bag is just under $50, making it an excellent option for pilots on an extremely tight budget.
And it’s still a good bag. Its exterior is made from ripstop nylon, which is both durable and water-resistant. It will hold up well even with daily wear and tear, and you even get a three-year warranty. Which is pretty insane for a bag that doesn’t even cost $50.
The main compartment of the bag is very roomy, with more than enough storage space for all your books and a kneeboard. There’s a padded iPad pocket inside, which will keep the device safe and easily accessible.
And you can add more pockets inside the main compartment with Flight Gear’s Gear Mods. These are small removable compartments that you attach inside the bag. They’re compatible with all flight bags from this brand – if you decide to stick with Flight Gear when it’s time to upgrade the bag, you would be able to make use of the Gear Mods.
The bag features several exterior compartments, which help you have the important stuff easily accessible. There are external slip pockets for sunglasses, fuel testers, and water bottles, as well as a large zippered pocket for a headset.
The HP Crosswind bag is certainly not as elaborate or functional as some of the other flight bags you saw earlier. But that’s fine – this is made for student pilots, who are not carrying all the items professional pilots carry. And it’s definitely the best flight bag in its price range.
Last, but certainly not the least, is the Markham bag by Lightspeed Aviation. The brand is a favorite among many pilots and cabin crew members, because of the excellent quality of its items. Which normally come at a high price tag, due to the premium materials.
And that’s true of the Markham bag – it’s not exactly cheap, but its price point is justified. The exterior of this flight bag is made from cowhide leather, which gives it that luxurious feel. It’s an incredibly stylish bag, great for those pilots who are looking to add a bit of luxe to their routine.
This is not just a pretty bag; with a spacious main compartment, an external quick-access iPad pocket, and side pockets for both a water bottle and a transceiver, the Markham is an incredibly functional alternative.
The bag has several other external pockets, but none of them are big enough to fit a headset. That item is supposed to go inside the main compartment, which is rather roomy. But there are no dividers inside it – you can buy an additional padded insert if you want to have extra organizational capabilities. Otherwise, you won’t actually be able to organize anything inside the main compartment.
Which is fine if you want to use it for a change of clothes and headset, but not fine if you’re looking to use it for books and other gear. If it’s the latter, I would recommend that you also get the padded insert – it’s inexpensive at some $25, and it will really help you make the most of this awesome flight bag.
This is one of the more important things you need to consider when buying a flight bag. Multiple compartments are great – they help you stay organized, which makes reaching for things during your flight quick and simple. But they also take away from the overall capacity of the bag.
The flight bags featured here all have enough storage space and compartments for all the standard things pilots usually carry – headset, high visibility vest, iPad, flashlight, etc. But think about the non-standard items you always have in your bag – a jumper, books, chocolate? Do you put spare clothes in the flight bag, or do you bring a suitcase on your flights?
Finding a bag tailored to your needs is the only way to ensure you’re buying luggage that you can actually use. So, look for a bag that seems just right for you, something that has enough room for the items that you normally carry in a flight bag.
A flight bag is an item that’s going to be right next to you in the cockpit, so the size of the bag is obviously important. Buy a bag that’s too big and you won’t be able to keep it next to your chair. Get a bag that’s too small, and you won’t be able to fit everything inside it. So, look for a bag that’s just the right size.
I’ve featured flight bags of many different sizes here, and you can see the dimensions of each one in the product infoboxes. The recommended size for an average flight bag is just under 18” x 14” x 12”, and I’ve shown you lots of options that are in that size range. Those bags will fit into most cockpits, and you will be able to keep them on the chair next to you.
But I’ve also featured larger and smaller bags, so it should be easy enough to find a flight bag that’s the right size for you. Just make sure to check its exact dimensions to avoid any surprises.
A flight bag is something that you are going to use very often. So, you need to look for a bag that is made from premium materials. The best flight bags are usually made from either canvas or heavy-duty nylon, with some decent polyester options.
Leather bags are also really popular, but I’ve decided to not feature many of them. And that’s because they are really expensive but not as durable as canvas or nylon bags. Yes, leather is an expensive and premium material, but it doesn’t always do well when faced with daily wear and tear. The shoulder straps are the ones to go first, with leather crumbling at the spots where it touches your jacket.
But the more durable the bag, the higher its cost. Really good pilot flight bags can set you back several hundred dollars, and even the more affordable options are usually more than $100. I did try to find some affordable options – bags that student pilots could easily afford – but I decided not to include many of them. Cheaper flight bags are generally not as good as the pricier ones, and they hardly qualify as the best pilot flight bags you could buy.
So, if you were hoping to get a decent flight bag for very little money, I’m going to have to disappoint you. But, you could check out other types of carry-on luggage – under-seat bags and totes usually roomy enough to fit all of your flight gear, and they are not too expensive.
A decade ago, you would have definitely needed a giant bag to carry all the different documents and charts. But, since everything is on iPads these days, you pretty much just need a bag that can store it safely. Many pilots opt to carry backpacks, totes, or garment bags, instead of a traditional flight bag.
If you’re not so keen on getting a flight bag, definitely look for some other luggage types. I can recommend some amazing carry-on backpacks and tote bags, that are excellent alternatives to bulky flight bags. Any bag can work, as long as it has enough space and compartments for all of your necessities.
Not sure which bag is just right for you? That’s okay – go with one of my top four options, and you won’t be disappointed. The three bags are aimed at pilots with different budgets, so there’s an option for everyone!
For student pilots on a tight budget, I highly recommend the HP Crosswind bag. The bag is seriously cheap, but it still comes with a three-year warranty – absolutely amazing. And it has everything a student pilot might need, including a durable exterior, enough space for your books, and several external pockets, and a compartment for all your other gear.
If you can afford to get a mid-range bag, go with a Flight Outfitter Bush Folio bag. It is made from canvas with leather accents – two really premium materials. The bag is not just incredibly durable, but also highly functional, with plenty of internal and external pockets for all your necessary gear. This includes dedicated pockets for an iPad, a fuel tester, a flashlight, a laptop, and a transceiver, as well as plenty of space for a headset and other gear.
For those of you that are looking for something premium and luxe, I have two great options. One is the Gann bag from Lightspeed Aviation – a stylish and luxurious bag. It’s great if you want a really premium bag that will last you for years, and that has more than enough space to fit all of your must-have gear.
But if you’re more about organization and functionality than about style, go with the Brightline B7 Echo Flight bag. It’s highly customizable, making it an excellent long-term option. You can add and remove compartments however you see fit, and really customize the bag for each flight. But it’s nowhere near as stylish or cool-looking as the Gann bag, so choose wisely!
These four bags are really the best of the best. But the other six are really good as well – they’re all rated very highly by lots of happy pilots, so any one of them is a safe bet. Head over to Amazon to see their prices and color options!
And if you’re still not sure you found a good bag for you, check out our related posts. Maybe you would be happier with a backpack or an under-seat tote? We have plenty of other options!