How do you find the right flight bag for you?
It’s what works for you.
I know we have all seen amazing looking flight bags in catalogs like Sporty’s, and believe me, I too have fallen in love with the idea of a modular Brightline bag that could hold all of my flight gear in order. With time though my approach to my flight bag has changed dramatically. When I was a student pilot I kept all of my must haves with me in the plane, all in one crossbody messenger bag. My headset, my ipad, some paper charts, a kneeboard, flashlight, foggles, some duct tape, and a few folded plastic bags…just incase.
During my instrument training I upgraded to a Quicksilver backpack so that I could better hold all of the additional paper charts and references I carried. As much as I enjoyed having quick access to everything, it is not every day that I need all of my charts, books and IFR gear. To that end I keep my IFR and night gear in a headset bag that I can slip into my backpack when I need the extra tools. I have seen other pilots keep the essentials in their headset bag and carry that out to the flight line with them, while they leave their heavier items behind.
The method you choose is totally up to you. You can buy a purpose built flight bag to haul all of your gear around in, you can use your favorite backpack, or you can arrange a combination of options. I would encourage anybody who is just starting out to look at what other students at your school are using; what works for them in their operations. Obviously different environments will change the list of equipment you want to bring. If you are on a training flight your packing list will look very different from a cross country flight to visit family. I have a favorite bag, I’ll write about later, that like to use for trips where I need to take flight essentials plus a weekend worth of clothes and supplies.
Shop around some, and see what feels right for you.
Look for more on this topic from our feature writers in the coming days to see what has worked for them in the past and what works for them now.