Every time before I start a new adventure one of the main questions is how to transport my drone? Do I carry it in a case, will it pass as hand luggage or do I find a backpack which is safe enough?
Last month I had the chance to try out Manfrotto’s Aviator D1 Backpack during my trip to Italy. I’ve used the Phantom’s original case and a hard-shell backpack before but Manfrotto’s dedicated drone backpack has so far been the best solution for transporting my drone. The pack has an elegant look and a surprisingly functional design which outperforms many other carrying options I’ve tried before.
When choosing the right bag my main aim is to try and fit everything into one piece of luggage, that can ideally go into a plane’s overhead compartment. Fortunately, the Aviator fulfilled that criteria. Moreover, I was not only able to comfortably stow the backpack above my head but it also fitted easily between my legs when on the return flight all overhead bins were full.
Taking a look around the Aviator backpack, I liked the understated black and red design which is made out of durable and water-resistant nylon. Its compact format doesn’t hint at a drone backpack at all, which is useful when you don’t want to let everyone know what you’re carrying with you.
Despite its neat size the backpack is able to safely store my laptop, an iPad Pro, one DSLR camera, hard drives, a range extender, camera filters, three batteries, a few spare propellers, the remote controller and of course my Phantom 4 drone itself. On the sides I found some conveniently located pockets which were ideal to stuff my passport, headphones and other techie things like cables and adapters which I need within hands reach.
Compared to other drone backpacks I used, the Aviator D1 comes without a hard cover shell, and it really doesn’t need one. Its entire setup is well thought through and with plenty of padding, my drone feels safe and secure, even if the bag takes a hit from time to time. The soft shell gives the backpack a lot more flexibility and reduces weight, but if you’re still doubtful about the safety of your drone engines, I recommend buying a set of protector caps which you can pick up for a few dollars at most drone equipment suppliers. It’s incredibly hard to make something both secure and convenient, but I feel Manfrotto’s Aviator strikes that balance very well.
To pack and unpack your drone you simply unzip the main compartment, which gives direct access to the drone and has some extra pouches for all your main accessories. The easy access became especially useful at airport security, who often want to take a quick look at my gear. During my Italy trip, I got away with simply unzipping the backpack and showing them the contents without having to take out the drone or pass it into security staff’s hands.
My favourite aspect about this pack, though, is the quick-mount system that can secure the drone on the outside of the backpack. If you need to change location fast, just unzip the front pocket to insert the drone without detaching its propellers. Discovering this feature was a little delight for me. It easily saved me 5 minutes between changing locations which comes in useful when every minute counts.
Overall fit of the Aviator was great and I have no complaints about the long-term comfort of this bag. I’ve had it on my back during long hikes all around Emilia-Romagna and Cinque Terre and never felt any discomfort or itching.
Overall my adventure to Italy with the Aviator was a pleasing success and I have since taken it on further trips around Turkey’s Anatolian heartland and Dubai’s deserts. I am always planning new adventures and undoubtedly the Aviator will become a regular travel companion.
Thanks for reading and if you like to see more from my trips feel free to check my Instagram account: www.instagram.com/fevonos