- Buyer's Guide
From the densely fogged alleys, there’s cold silence in the sleeping metropolis… save for the neon signs buzzing overhead, painting the puddles below with a saturated glow. From the mist, a low rumble trembles through the steel and glass. The Tokai returns.
(Overly-dramatic introduction, I know, but let’s have some fun, right?)
One of the biggest and best collaboration launches we’ve ever had, with one of the Carry Community’s favorite brands, comes back for a sequel.
We’re proud to announce the Aer x Carryology Tokai Backpack.
Soaring Again With Aer
Our friends Aer probably don’t need any introduction, but we’re going to give them one anyway. Based in San Francisco, they stormed onto the scene with their Aer Fit Pack, and never left, delivering a brand that does it all: style, minimalism, versatility, utility, and affordability all in one complete package.
They’re leaders in the industry, and no stranger to the annual Carry Awards, racking up an unprecedented three 1st place titles. That’s no easy task.
And for all these reasons above, we were stoked when Aer hit us up back in 2019 with interest in doing a collab project. Later, we launched the Tokai Sling, a nod to Japanese streetwear: “Tokai” is Japanese (都会) for “urban” or “city”.
It sold out in just over a minute. For many, the Tokai Sling, inspired by the City Sling, is one of their favorite sling designs out there, and a grail piece for our hardcore carry collectors.
So after the dust settled, we decided to go round again, to develop a sidekick for the Tokai Sling – a backpack inspired by streetwear, and a complementing piece for everyday adventures.
After the launch of the Tokai Sling in 2020, Allen Choi reached out with a new pack he’d designed, the Aer City Pack, and we got our hands on some production units before they launched.
Just like the City Sling, it was compact, perfectly designed for city essentials, and had an ultra-clean exterior – and with its contoured back panel designed to curve with your shoulders, its on-body comfort was top-tier.
After months of testing the City Pack, we knew it was one of the best compact daypacks in the industry – and the perfect partner to the Tokai.
City Pack’s Greatest Hits
• Padded, suspended laptop pocket with soft lining (fits up to 16″ laptop)
• Quick-access top pocket with soft lining
• Smart organization for your everyday essentials
• Contoured back panel for enhanced comfort and excellent fit
• Exterior water bottle pocket
• Smart tracker pocket designed for AirTags or Tile trackers
• Padded, quick-grab side handle for versatile carrying
• Luggage handle pass-through
Keeping It Tokai
First up, color. With the same philosophy as the Tokai Sling – a balance of loud/quiet, calm/rush, black/white, rugged/elegant, patterns/solids, and, of course, yin/yang.
It would be inspired by all of these, and give a nod to the flair and expression of Japanese streetwear. A culture that continues to inspire us here at Carryology HQ.
We opted to put an all-black front face on the backpack, with MultiCam Black wrapped around the top, bottom, sides, and back. Onlookers see stealth black from the back, until the pack angles for that camo pop.
Of course, our signature feature, a high-vis interior in bright orange is throughout the main “3/4 clamshell” compartment. This is made from a custom water-resistant nylon ripstop fabric that’s bluesign® approved.
Playing with the yin/yang concept like we did with the sling, the front lower accessory pocket and the admin accessory compartment are the panels that we flipped vice versa, lined with MultiCam Alpine (VX42) or MCB (X50). A playful nod, hidden away, but enjoyable for the user when accessing your gear on the go.
Containing the pattern, we selected waterproof Dimension Polyant X-Pac, in two fabrics, White in VX42, and Black in X50.
A fan favorite, X50 and VX42 is brutal stuff. The front faces are made from Cordura’s 500D and 420D nylon, commonly used on military packs and gear. On that face, there’s a DWR (durable water repellent) coating, to create those sexy water beads. Then, it’s sandwiched via Dimension Polyant’s proprietary lamination process with a mid-layer of black post-consumer recycled polyester, an X-PLY® at 22° for strength and anti-stretch, and finally a 0.5 mil shiny polyester film on the back face.
To keep all these waterproof X-Pac panels closed up tight and keep out the weather, we opted for YKK’s AquaGuard zippers. The three main compartments all use a chunky matte-finish #8 zipper coil for durability. The top accessory pocket uses a svelte #6 zipper to keep things tidy.
Allen and Andy also told us about their new zipper pullers, which we were totally on board with incorporating into the collab. An Aer-debossed cylindrical plastic puller at the end for grip, all woven through mini YKK metal zipper pullers via orange nylon cording, a pleasure to use. Most importantly, they’re much quieter than the previous designs.
Magnets Are Key
We decided to pimp out the key lanyard, with a Korean-made magnetic “Magic Short” key lanyard with a metal keyring. Stronger, more functional, and a little more badass.
The sternum strap also utilizes magnetic hardware, making it easy to pop open and shut with one hand. We kept branding minimal, so the Aer and Carryology logos are debossed into the hardware itself, black on black. Gloss into matte.
If you’ve been following what we do, you know we love the technical goodness and weatherability of Hypalon (the stuff used in Navy SEAL inflatable boats). Its matte black looks would work in tandem with the black X50 for a super-clean face, and give some variation to the handfeel. And while we were at it, we added a zipper garage in Hypalon too, for that extra notch of weatherproofness.
Bag It Up
And the last finishing touch – each Tokai Pack comes with a black ripstop nylon dust drawstring bag with orange cord for shipping and/or storage. We’ve added gloss black Aer and Carryology logos to the exterior of the bag, keeping it subtle and classy. Use it for a laundry travel bag, for dirty boot storage inside your pack, as an emergency bag in the car door pocket, or whatever you can dream up.
Launch Date and Time
Friday, Dec 9th (6pm EDT New York time)!
The link to purchase will be in the Exclusive Release article here on the Carryology website which will be posted at the time/date listed.