When it comes to pilot gear, long gone are the years when the whiz wheel and bulky electronics ruled the day. The recent introduction of tablets, compact personal cameras and smart watches, along with a slew of other products, has changed the way we fly, giving us new information at our fingertips, new ways to ensure our safety and ultimately new ways to enjoy our time in the air. Now more than ever, pilots have the luxury of a nearly endless array of flying products from which to choose, not to mention a variety of top-quality bags with which to carry the gear. For those navigating the marketplace for some new pilot swag or those simply taking notes for their flight bag wish list, we’re here to help. To that end, we’ve put together five different flight bags jampacked with products geared toward a wide range of pilot personalities. Whether you’re someone who prefers to minimize baggage by carrying just the essentials or someone who would rather have the latest high-tech gadgets on hand in flight, these bags offer something for everyone.
A lighter load that packs a punch.
13-inch shoulder bag that gets softer with age | Tan, waxed, cotton canvas | Zipper internal pocket and two exterior pockets | Multiple color options | $239
An ultralight headset with great sound | Dual balanced-armature speakers | 29 db to 47 db noise reduction | Head weight under 2 ounces | $525
3. iPad Mini
Apple’s reliable product in a more compact package | 7.9-inch retina display | 16, 32, 64 and 128 GB options | Wi-Fi plus cellular | from $299
The one-stop shop for all preflight and inflight planning | Maps and charts | Inflight weather | AF/D | Terrain awareness | from $74.99 per year
5. Stratus 2
Subscription-free weather at a bargain price | ADS-B traffic | Attitude indicator | GPS | $899
6. Spider S5
Real-time tracking for enhanced safety and communication | Bluetooth | Watch automated tracking | Speed up and slow down messages | $1,795
7. GoPro Hero 3
Stellar video from a smaller and lighter action cam | 4K video | 12 MP photos | Wi-Fi | Waterproof | $399.99
The ultimate in portable tech.
A combination backpack/briefcase with a place for everything | Compartment for laptop and tablet | Multiple mesh pockets | Headset storage for two | $159
Incredible comfort and quietude | Active noise reduction | 15.7 ounces | Bluetooth | 5-year warranty | $850
Subscription-free weather and much, much more | Attitude indicator | Bluetooth | GPS | ADS-B traffic | $849
4. GARMIN VIRB
An action cam that delivers stellar video and lasts longer | HD 1080p | 3-hour battery life | Water resistant | GPS data | from $249.99
A watch that lets you ditch the smartphone Galaxy products compatible | 1.63-inch screen | 1.9 MP camera | $199.99
Top of the line Android tablet | WQXGA display | Multiwindow | Wi-Fi plus cellular | $529
7. Garmin Pilot
The go-to electronic flight bag for Android devices | Nexrad | ADS-B traffic | AF/D | From $75/year
8. SPOT Gen3
Pocket-size GPS emergency messenger for a bargain price | Motion activated tracking | Custom messaging | Unlimited tracking | $169.95
Where luxury and utility meet.
1. Osprey Ozone
An incredibly light, versatile bag on wheels | 6001 aluminum frame | Extendible handle | Rear pocket panel | $229.95
2. AKG AV100
A purpose-built aviation headset from one of audio’s most trusted names | Hybrid active noise canceling | Map light LEDs | $1,099
3. iPad Air
A stunning retina display in an unbelievably thin package | 9.7-inch retina display | 16, 32, 64 and 128 GB models | Wi-Fi plus -cellular | From $499
4. WingX Pro
A great-performing EFB that goes with a large array of portables | Synthetic vision | Interactive weather | AF/D | $99/year
Sophisticated style for true professionals | 48 mm diameter | Black titanium | Caliber -Breitling 17 | $5,100
6. iLevil SW
All-in-one portable for info on any device | ADS-B weather | Traffic | AHRS | iOS/Android compatible | $1,195
No-fuss reliability and style.
A time-tested navigation essential | 2-inch leather binder | Steel hinges | Safety lock | Binder: $100; USA chart service: $1,388
Proven sound and consistency | Soft head pad | M-7A noise-canceling microphone | $345
A bag with unmatched American craftsmanship | 8-ounce saddle leather | Shoulder pad | Adjustable strap | $1,175
Ultra user-friendly portable radio | Built-in weather receiver | Full ILS display | 5-year warranty | $369
Easy to read, a -pleasure to wear | Stainless steel | Caliber H-31 | 41 mm diameter | $995
The ultimate classic pilot eyewear | 100 percent UV -protection | Prescription ready | $150
Must-haves for learners on the move.
Organization with fliers in mind | Tablet sleeve | Headset pocket | Laptop compartment | $64.95
Great fit for all-day wear | Active noise reduction | 1-inch-thick ear cushions | Auto shut-off | $569
Guaranteed vision both in and out of the cockpit 9-volt battery | Red, white, off modes | $24.99
4. iPad Classic
The tablet that started it all | 9.7-inch retina display | 16 GB | Wi-Fi plus -cellular | $399
Easy-to-use electronic flight bag with a slim price | Charts | Route planning | Weather | $49/year
Accurate time-telling on the fly | Shock resistant | 200 m water resistant | Auto LED light | $99
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