Many students wonder what flight bag (if any) to buy. If all you are carrying is just a few charts and an iPad, a small messenger back is sufficient. However, if you would like a purpose built flight bag, with compartments for laptops, iPads, fuel strainers, portable radios, sectional charts, headsets, and other accessories, here are a few suggestions below.
Flight Outfitters Waypoint Backpack
This is a farily large flight bag, with inner padded fleece lined compartments for a large laptop and tablet. There is an additional inner compartment that can be used to hold a headset case and logbooks. There are multiple outer pockets for glasses/foggles, fuel strainers, pens, pencils, flashlights, water bottles, and more. It also comes with a caribiner, and multiple loops where additions fasteners and accessories could be attached. This is my bag of choice for longer trips when I have a lot of items to carry with me. In addition to backpack straps it has a wire reinforced carrying handle. At around $129 it is one of the mid-priced options. Update: I now have to recommend against this backpack. Although I feel like the compartments and overall design are the best I have seen, the reinforced steel cable in the handle has now broken lose from two of the backpacks even when lightly loaded. I repaired mine with a bolt and washer in one case and by drilling out the rivet in the other and replacing it with a larger rivet (which promptly tore looose again).
Flight Outfitter Lift Flight Bag
The Flight Outfitter Lift Flight Bag is a less expensive (and smaller) option than the Waypoint bag. One nice option is a fleece lined headset compartment with a loop fastener to hold the headset in place, as well as to hold extra batteries.
It also has compartments for a water bottle/back-up radio pocket, Fuel tester pocket, 2 external chart pockets, Fleece-lined electronic accessory pockets (ADS-B / GPS / Iridium), 4 internal mesh organizers for cables and charging cords
and a braided wire reinforced carry handle. At around $99 it is a cheaper alternative to the Waypoint bag. Update: This bag also has the same design flaw with the reinforced handle as the Flight Outfitter backpack above, so buy with caution.
MYGOFLIGHT PLC Sport iPad and Laptop Water Resistant Ballistic Nylon Aviation Flight and Travel Bag
As to be expected of the brand, this is a premium flight bag, but it does have a premium cost. It is water resistant with backpack straps and a reinforced carrying handle. It has room for a large laptop and iPad in inner compartments, space for a headset, overnight travel supplies, quick access pockets for water bottles, radios, charts, books, and a hidden interior pocket for high value items. This premium bag does come at a premium cost of around $179. MyGoFlight makes similar smaller bags at a slightly lower cost.
Simple Flyer Alpha Pilot Headset Flight Bag
This is a durable bag with a large headset pocket and an inner pocket for an ipad. It has several external compartments for water bottles, sunglasses, foggles, radios, ADSB-receivers, and more. At around $45, it is a budget friendly option.