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Thread: Co-Pilot excels under the seat in front of you

  1. #1
    Registered User snowbot's Avatar
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    Co-Pilot excels under the seat in front of you

    I bought a Cardinal and Steel Co-Pilot a couple of months ago. I started taking the bag to work with me. There were a few things I loved instantly: my coffee transport system fit in the water bottle pocket, and my iPad and a file folder fit in the main pocket. What I really didn't like was the placement of the O-rings. I felt they got in the way phone pocket and the pen pockets. All in all, I was less impressed with the Co-Pilot than any Tom Bihn bag I've purchased (well, excepting the passport pouch).

    I recently took a work trip to Brazil. I spent plenty of hours on planes (in Economy) and a bunch more in airports. I also spent way too many hours in meetings and presentations given that there was a gorgeous beach 100 m from my hotel. During the course of this trip, I learned that the Co-Pilot excels under the seat in front of you. It's also not too shabby in the airport. And if you are packing light, it's acceptable as a meeting bag/pseudo-purse.

    Well, duh, you may be saying. It's called the Co-Pilot! Of course it should be good on an airplane. Having made a bunch of trips recently with my MCB, I can say that the fact that my water bottle doesn't fit wonderfully in it when the bag is fully packed has always been annoying on the airplane. The fact that the bag didn't fit upright under the seat in front of me was a bit annoying, too. Neither of these is true for the Co-Pilot. It also carries more then the MCB. I had no trouble fitting a file folder, my iPad, phone, eyeglasses case, eye mask, inflatable travel pillow, headphones, medium clear pouch with travel documents, pens, a small spoon, TB wallet, hand salve, lip balm, medications, arm-warmers, and probably a few more things. I had no trouble getting stuff in and out of the bag while half-asleep and I didn't even have to put it on my lap. There was even space for my feet, too.

    I've decided that there is space in my bag stable for the Co-Pilot.

    P.S. I still don't like the placement of the o-rings.

    P.P.S. The Co-Pilot is a little rough around the edges. My travel shirts got pilled when carrying the Co-Pilot for an extended period of time.

  2. #2
    Registered User nukediver's Avatar
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    Wow, your post echoes my sentiments almost exactly! I was in Houston, TX a week or so ago for a professional class, and only took my Aeronaut and Co-Pilot. I waffled between the Co-Pilot and my Plum MCB, but opted for the Co-Pilot because it was black. I would be touring a few teaching hospitals, and wanted something "professional" looking. I loved how the Aeronaut performed (almost goes without saying), but wasn't sure about the Co-Pilot. After my first (of 4) flight, I was totally sold on this bag as a travel companion. The back pocket was a great place to stick my boarding pass, as well as my Passport Pouch (I loped the strap through the Co-Pilot strap so as not to lose it), and a magazine or two. The water bottle pocket held, well, a water bottle. And being able to have the bag stay upright under the seat was great. And lo and behold, I even had room for my feet!

    I have to agree with you on the placement of the O-rings. Every time I reached into a pocket to get something, I had to wiggle my way around the straps. Even overloaded with class materials, a book, water bottle, and all that other stuff I managed to carry, the bag was comfortable on those days I toured the hospitals. I even had one or two people comment on how they liked that I was able to carry so much in such a small bag. I don't *think* I scared them away when I started selling them on the virtues of TB bags...

    While I won't always reach for the Co-Pilot as an EDC, it will ALWAYS be the first bag I grab as a carry-on for air travel.

  3. #3
    Registered User ncb4's Avatar
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    When the Co-Pilot was first introduced, I didn't warm up to it right away either; the stated dimensions seemed too small for my needs, as I tend to pack even for trips to the library as if I were expecting the zombie apocalypse. (This is a weakness I'm trying to overcome.) And I thought perhaps that all the compartments would further reduce the effective useable space. (If that comment makes any sense.) Then late last summer, inspired more by the colors available than the bag itself, I ordered one (Cardinal/Steel since Indigo/Solar had just sold out.) And all my reservations about the bag proved to be false. The Co-Pilot is yet another TB bag that seems to magically hold more than you think it could. And it turned out that I love the compartments! Like you, snowbot, I'm able to carry both my iPad and my purse stuff in it. In fact, over the autumn and winter, I found I was going to it more and more as what I call a day-trip bag, preferring it to either my Imago or Cafe bags (both medium and large). I always carry a thermal mug with me, and that center bottle pocket is far better for that than just stuffing it inside an Imago or Cafe bag. In fact, I like the CP so much that I just bought a second one. My Cardinal/Steel has become a dedicated camera bag for my small-sized DSLR kit; and I finally got my hands on an Indigo/Solar from a fellow forum member. That is now my day trip bag; and though it's been a while since I flew, it's encouraging to know from both snowbot's and nukediver's experience just how great the Co-Pilot is for plane travel.

    But I have to agree: the O-ring placement is a bit awkward. In the main compartment, it would work better for me if there were two O-rings, one on each side, rather than a single one in the center. I'm not quite sure where the O-rings could be placed in the two side pockets. What I do is attach my OPs to a Key Strap, and then attach the strap to the O-rings. That gets the OPs out of the way of the pen slots or Ultrasuede pocket.
    jeffmac likes this.

  4. #4
    Registered User Lani's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowbot View Post
    The Co-Pilot is a little rough around the edges. My travel shirts got pilled when carrying the Co-Pilot for an extended period of time.
    Just as a note, this doesn't happen with my Dyneema fabric version of the Co-Pilot, because the fabric is so much smoother.
    Lani Teshima: A Dyneema diva with a closetful of Tom Bihn products!
    Publisher, The Travelite FAQ: Don't get saddled with baggage—free yourself & your mind by packing lightly!
    Editor, MousePlanet: Detailed park guides, daily news & stories from all over the Disney kingdom | Technical writer | Marathoner

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    I've really been enjoying my new dyneema Co-Pilot as an everyday bag. The only odd thing about it (odd in that it takes some getting used to) is that the bag itself is so much lighter than the strap when it's not heavily loaded. I keep thinking I should have a wimpy strap to use when I don't need the serious lifting power of the strap that comes with the bag. I do look forward to using it the next time I fly - it seems ideal!

  6. #6
    Registered User snowbot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lani View Post
    Just as a note, this doesn't happen with my Dyneema fabric version of the Co-Pilot, because the fabric is so much smoother.
    I've thought a bit abut a Dyneema Co-Pilot for this very reason, but I worry that I would miss the ultra-professional look of the non-Dyneema version.

  7. #7
    Registered User snowbot's Avatar
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    I forgot to mention that I was selected for a bag search at Customs. The very polite Customs agent complimented me both on my bags (Co-Pilot and TriStar) and my packing skills. I think that the packing cubes made his job easier.

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    That's great, snowbot!

  9. #9
    Registered User Lani's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowbot View Post
    I've thought a bit abut a Dyneema Co-Pilot for this very reason, but I worry that I would miss the ultra-professional look of the non-Dyneema version.
    Ahh, true. Well, you could always Sharpie up the white lines like I did with one of my PCSBs! hehe.
    Lani Teshima: A Dyneema diva with a closetful of Tom Bihn products!
    Publisher, The Travelite FAQ: Don't get saddled with baggage—free yourself & your mind by packing lightly!
    Editor, MousePlanet: Detailed park guides, daily news & stories from all over the Disney kingdom | Technical writer | Marathoner


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