First impressions: the Co-Pilot
I have been searching a looong time for an everyday work bag that didn’t look like a plain old laptop bag – and found one in the Co-Pilot. I anticipate this also being my non-work everyday bag, especially when my toddler doesn’t need me to cart around as much “schtuff” around for her.
Caveat, I have a Lenovo X200 tablet PC with one of those extended batteries – this PC is not on the fit list for the Co-Pilot and I was well aware when I ordered it. The tablet will only fit in the Co-Pilot if I leave one corner slightly unzipped (theft/weather is not an issue with my commute), or it will zip completely if I remove the extended battery first. I may eventually trade in the battery for the smaller kind. I am also very gentle with my stuff so I am also not concerned with not having a Cache or Brain Cell for it. Since I am rarely in my actual office at work (generally zooming between meetings or working on week-long kaizen events in different parts of the hospital) portability is my #1 priority. I may upgrade to the Pilot (when it arrives!) at some point if this set-up doesn’t end up working for me.
I also find that having smaller bag will prevent me from carting around unnecessary items since I trend towards the ‘and the kitchen sink too’ category on the packing spectrum. I’ve now unloaded the Kensington messenger-style w/ backpack straps bag that’s been on loan from a co-worker for the past 3 months while I’ve been doing some serious bag introspection. Reading that sentence back to myself, it sounds ridiculous! LOL… but after carting the Kensington bag around for that long, I’ve realized what my preferences are and how the Co-Pilot really meets them.
For one, I prefer the zipper style of the Co-Pilot, instead of the flap style of messenger bags (Café Bag owners, don’t shoot! …and that’s not to say I would never purchase one in the future, either!). I like being able to zip open just the section of the bag to get the items I need without opening the whole bag. With the Absolute Strap, I can wear it as a shoulder bag (which I do most often) or cross-body. I also really like the grab handle at the top, to carry it like briefcase.
As I mentioned, in the main compartment I’ll be toting my laptop. In the pockets, I have a large moleskin notebook and a mini clear organizer pouch for usb drives, memory cards, etc. I like the location of the o-ring in here, as it does not impede access to the 2 pockets
In the exterior back pocket I have a small gray cosmetic kit to hold personal care items (which will be replaced by a small organizer pouch in ultraviolet dyneema once available!). It would be nice to have an o-ring just below the top edge of this exterior pocket on either side (though I’d prefer the right side, since I’m a righty) to secure a pouch, so I wouldn’t worry about contents slipping out by accident.
Moving to the front of the Co-Pilot, in the left section is my work-issued blackberry in the ultrasuede pocket. It would be nice to have a second ultrasuede pocket in this section too, for those non-iPhone folks who carry iPod, cell and camera (though now that it’s coming to Verizon, I’ll have to give that serious thought!). Alternatively, I would even go for a mesh pocket sewn into the front wall of the left and right sections. That would be a good place to stash your keys without worrying about them scratching up the other contents, or providing some protection for sunglasses. Speaking of, also in this section will be my sunglasses and a mini organizer pouch for use as a wallet for less frequently used items (thanks for the tip maverick!) like shopper cards and the like.
In the center section, I don’t usually carry a water bottle around, but I appreciate having that option. I just worry about condensation from a bottle since it would be sitting up against my laptop. Has anyone had experience with this yet? For now, I will be keeping my laptop charging brick, travel mouse and house/car keys on a 16” key strap in this compartment – I love that there’s an o-ring in here too!
review continued below (max of 5 pics per message...)
First impressions, continued
In the right section, I have 3 Sharpie fine point pens (great pens!) and a Sharpie marker. I also have my kiwi organizer wallet with 8” key strap (which I will swap out for a crimson one - yay for color-coding!), chapstick, gum and a pack of facial tissues.
In the spirit of continuous improvement, I have a very minor suggestion about the location of the o-rings in the left and right front sections: it seems to me that a better spot for these would be along the front wall of the section, rather than the back, and closer to where the zipper shuts. I imagine that eventually with multiple items on key straps, the straps may get in the way of accessing the items stored in the ultrasuede pocket or the pen pockets. I don’t want to detract from the fabulousity of this bag at all - it is just a small convenience thing, particularly since I check my crackberry umpteen times a day!
The other thing that surprised me was the size of this bag. Reading dimensions and translating that to a 3D object was tough for me. I tried to scope out more pictures of people with their Co-Pilots and tried to gauge if it would dwarf me (the reason I didn’t jump on a Zephyr)… I was happy to find it wasn’t too big for my preference. Here’s a picture of me holding my lovely new Co-Pilot, for reference, I am 5’2” and the top of the bag hits right at the top of my hip.
Darcy, I know y’all are super busy over there – any chance a project for 2011 would be to take photos of all your bags on a mannequin so we can better compare sizes of bags? And perhaps pictures of all the organizer pouches next to a dollar bill (or other item) that could be used as a frame of reference?
I am excited to go to work tomorrow just so I can try out my new bag! Will post another review once I’ve gotten some mileage my new Co-Pilot… cheers!
My first impressions also
I am amazed at how much stuff I can "stuff" in this bag. I'll have to provide photos at some later date.
But it is my daily work bag.
However,since I now carry my Kindle and FJN, my netbook won't fit. Solution is to tether the FJN when I need to carry the Netbook.