Flying is all about keeping up with details, especially when it comes to gear. From logbooks and headsets to bottles of water and pens, there’s a lot to keep up with on every flight. Every pilot needs a flight bag, but they’re not all built the same. Here’s a rundown of some of FLYING’s favorite pilot luggage bags, along with the essentials most pilots stash inside them.
Quicklook: Best Pilot Luggage Options
- Most Popular: Flight Outfitters Lift Flight Bag
- Best Modular Pilot Bag: Brightline Bags Flex B7 Flight Modular Bag
- Best Simple Pilot Bag: Simple Flyer Alpha Pilot Headset Flight Bag
- Best Splurge: Lightspeed Aviation “The Gann” Leather Flight Bag
- Best on a Budget: Jeppesen Student Pilot Flight Bag
5 Best Luggage for Pilots Options
Here are some of the standout flight bags on the market based upon the size, price, and capacity.
Flight Outfitters Lift Flight Bag
This tough bag is designed by a private pilot, and it shows. There’s dedicated, fleece-lined storage space for your headset and electronics. The carrying handle is also reinforced with braided wire for heavy loads.
Best For: Staying organized in the cockpit
Dimensions: 9″ x 10.5″ x 12″
Weight: 2 pounds
- Sturdy construction
- Large headset pocket, iPad pocket, accessory pockets
- Steel-reinforced carrying handles
- Orange interior that increases visibility and makes items easier to find
- Fleece-lined electronic accessory pockets
- Water bottle, backup radio pocket, fuel tester pocket, external chart pockets
- Adjustable shoulder strap
- Size may limit for some pilots needs
Brightline Bags Flex B7 Flight Preconfigured Modular Bag
In addition to providing seven inches of storage depth, this soft bag slightly expands in every direction. Additionally, you can store headsets, charts, and an ipad–with room to spare! The FLEX Systems module allows you to add other FLEX System modules and create a custom bag.
Best For: Configurable storage of cockpit essentials
Dimensions: 14″ x 8″ x 12″
Weight: 5.6 pounds
- Configurable design allows you to scale up or downsize capacity based on your flight
- Capable of carrying two full-sized aviation headsets
- Plenty of storage options
- Capable of carrying flight gear, along with personal items
- Some purchasers have complained about long term durability
Simple Flyer Alpha Pilot Headset Flight Bag
This Simple Flyer Flight Bag has a straightforward design for all the cockpit essentials. It comes with a large headset pocket and a protected pocket for your iPad. It also has a large exterior pocket for water, as well as organization for must-haves, including pens, phone chargers, sunglasses, and handheld radios.
Best For: Compact organization
Dimensions: 15.28″ x 14.61″ x 3.19″
Weight: 1.56 pounds
Materials: Rip-stop nylon fabric
- Large headset pocket
- Compact size
- Comes in black or pink
- Roomy organization for the price
- Solid construction
- Some purchasers have complained about pen pouch placement and the smell of the material
Lightspeed Aviation’s “The Gann” Leather Flight Bag
This all-leather bag features a carpenter-style opening that allows unfettered access to the inside. Interior compartments are lined, and a large transceiver pocket features a cut-out flap for the antenna. It also comes with a 30-day money back guarantee and a one-year limited warranty.
Best For: Staying organized in high style
Dimensions: 15″ x 12″ x 5″
Weight: 3.65 pounds
Materials: Full-grain leather
- Uncoated leather will soften with age and use
- Purpose-built pockets for headsets, iPads, and transceivers
- 30-day money back guarantee, one-year limited warranty
- Premium style and quality
- Can be easily stashed behind the pilot’s seat
- No exterior water bottle pocket
Jeppesen Student Flight Bag
This multipurpose pilot bag comes with plenty of exterior pockets to keep you organized. If you’re not sure about the need for a shoulder strap, no worries. It’s removable. The bag’s material also comes with a PVC coating that adds water resistance.
Best For: Best multipurpose bag for the price
Dimensions: 11″ x 5.5″ x 16″
Weight: 12.8 ounces
Materials: Polymer with a PVC coating
- Seven exterior pockets
- Three small exterior pockets for pens, flashlights
- Interior key clip
- Double zipper opening
- Reinforced base
- Generous size
- Made of nylon material
What Should a Pilot Pack In Their Luggage?
A pilot’s bag is a receptacle for all needs foreseen, as well as those that could be handy in an unforeseen emergency. The bag should have room for:
- Your headset (and perhaps a spare headset, if you’re an instructor)
- Pilot certificate
- Snacks, such as protein bars or peanuts
- Extra batteries
- Small first aid kit with a space blanket
- Handheld radio
- Airplane Manuals
How To Choose the Ideal Pilot Luggage
While selecting the best pilot luggage is highly subjective to personal preference, it starts with pockets to keep your gear organized and within easy reach throughout your flight.
Quality and Durability
When choosing how to schlep your gear, pay attention to the quality of the material used in the construction of pilot bags. Nylon and rip-stop fabric can offer durability without a lot of added weight.
Flight bag size is a critical detail. It needs to be big enough to carry everything you need in the cockpit, but not so bulky that it can’t easily be thrown behind your seat.
Storage and Organization
Have you ever been midflight and in need of lip balm? Sitting behind the controls is not the place you want to be while rifling through a bag looking for a needle in a haystack. Dedicated storage pouches and pockets on flight bags are key to staying organized.
Once you have an idea of the type of pilot bag that works for you, consider customizing the exterior. Many bags on the market are black, which means they could be prone to mixup during pit stops. Make your bag instantly identifiable by tying a colorful flight cord or ribbon to its top handle, or get fancy by having your name embroidered on the front.
A good flight bag is going to be with you through it all, so think about how you roll. Do you prefer a long shoulder strap that could allow you to wear it cross-body style? Do you prefer greater control by keeping your bag in your hand? Choosing a bag with versatile carrying options keeps things flexible.
Enhance Your Bag Game
An easy, sure-fire way to take your pilot bag game up a notch to pro-level is by having the most current issue of FLYING poking out the top. Subscribe to FLYING here.
Pilots use specially designed bags geared for organizing cockpit essentials, such as headsets, pens, and plotters.
A pilot carries at least one bag with all flight essentials inside it.
Commercial pilots are typically able to fly for free or at a discount.