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So maybe you got a DJI Phantom drone for Christmas or you‘re a FAA Part 107 certified drone pilot. Either way, finding a way to organize and carry your drone and all its accessories is a challenge. Hard cases work well when they can be carried but sometimes the path less traveled is the destination. That‘s where the Manfrotto Aviator Drone backpack comes to save the day.
Manfrotto makes several backpacks for different drones, but I fly the DJI Phantom 4 Pro, and the test Aviator backpack is made for that drone. Manfrotto is a heavy hitter in the photography community and they applied their knowledge to create drone backpacks. The Aviator pack feels heavy duty and it is a very capable backpack. The materials used are sturdy and details down to the zipper pulls are fantastic. Manfrotto uses hard plastic to hold the thin corded zipper pulls open, so fingers go in the loops easy and they work great with gloves.
The Manfrotto Aviator has nicely padded shoulder straps and load lifters are there to draw the pack close to the back and keep the load over your hips. Its hip belt has enough padding to give good support for the weight that you are likely to put in the pack. Although the back is nicely padded and there are channels to provide some air flow, my back got a little hot even in the cooler weather.
Organization in the pack is very good and there‘s a lot of space for gear. I loaded the Manfrotto Aviator with every piece of drone gear I have. I fitted a DJI Phantom 4 Pro, the controller with all the cords, 10 propellers, 4 batteries, the 4-battery charger, a car charger, an iPad in its case, a landing pad, a remote lanyard, sun shades for a phone and tablet, the rain cover, and my memory card case. Manfrotto designed the Aviator to hold a DSLR camera with a lens in the top pouch but I partially filled it with drone gear. You can even strap a tripod for your camera to the outside of the pack using provided straps.
The front of the Manfrotto Aviator zips open and exposes the main compartment. Normally, the drone goes in with the camera away from the back, but Manfrotto snuck in a really unique feature. You can leave the props on your drone and still carry it in the backpack. With the propellers on, the drone sits in with the camera toward your back and the four arms and propellers stick out of the back panel. A unique flap clips down and holds the drone in place, and this makes getting the drone out and flying on a moment notice easy. Well played Manfrotto. A thin side pocket on either side of the pack makes space for maps, paperwork or something thin like the pack cover.
If you like to use an iPad for flying, Manfrotto thought of that too and provides a pocket for it. A long zipper on the left side of the pack opens a compartment right behind the back panel. For this pack, a 17-inch laptop fits in and my iPad in its case fits into the tablet pocket. Since I didn‘t carry a laptop, I stuffed my landing pad into the laptop compartment. I had to squeeze it into an oblong shape, but it did fit.
The Manfrotto Aviator backpack carries well. I hiked a few miles on several occasions with it and never had an issue. The suspension length is not adjustable so try one on for size if possible. I am 6‘ 1” tall and the bag fits me well. Protection for the drone and other contents is good and the fabric is treated with a water-resistant coating. Manfrotto included a rain cover in the bag for wet days.
The Manfrotto Aviator Backpack for DJI Phantom drones sells for $199.99 on the Manfrotto website. This backpack oozes quality, and it has well thought out storage. The Aviator works great as a backpack, and all day outings into the countryside should be no problem. I highly recommend it when you expect to carry the bag all day. Click HERE to visit the Manfrotto site and check out all of their gear.
Thanks to Manfrotto for sending out the Aviator backpack for testing and review. We have to live on a budget too and being able to write these honest reviews hopefully benefits everyone.