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Thread: Co-pilot: Oh so close!

  1. #1
    Registered User PGJohnson's Avatar
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    Co-pilot: Oh so close!

    3/31.
    Today was my birthday and I finally got my hands on the treats I gave myself (The order actually arrived on 3/13 but I made the mistake of suggesting to my family I not get the bag and other goodies until the today. I am proud I lasted so long!).

    My initial surprise was how small the Co-pilot really is. I guess I was spoiled for space after having used my Synapse for everything. My intention was to use the Co-pilot as an everyday carry bag or small briefcase for those situations (rare) that my olive green Synapse won’t work for and also use the Synapse bigger loads. This is still my intent but given all that I have been carrying each day with the Synapse I’ll definitely have to slim down.

    I am mixed over my choice of the Absolute strap. It is a great strap and look forward to using it if I get a Tri-Star or Western Flyer but it dwarfs the Co-pilot. I’m probably going to spring for the Standard strap if I keep the bag.

    Current Packing list:

    Rt. front pocket (facing the bag)
    - Pens (ballpoint, pencil, rollerball)
    - Glasses case (hard)
    - Small dyneema organizer pouch on 8” strap

    Left front pocket
    - Mini padded organizer pouch
    - Mini dyneema organizer pouch (both pouches connected to 8” strap)
    - Keys
    - Phone

    Middle front pocket
    - Water bottle or coffee thermos

    Main pocket
    - Two 10.5 x 8 inch spiral notebooks
    - 12 x 9 inchFile folders
    - 6.5 x 4 inch Agenda
    - 3 x 5 inch notebook
    - iPad in neoprene cover or Lenovo x220 with no protection (the latter is a VERY tight squeeze)
    - Cords for the above

    After all that there is precious little space left.

    Granted this is my first day with the Co-pilot and after lusting after it since last summer I perhaps created a mind version that was a bit different from the reality. I have yet to really try it out. My current feeling is that this was really designed to be adjunct to larger luggage carrying all those essentials you need at the airport or train depot and travelling and not necessarily what I had intended it to be. Oh but for a couple of inches horizontally, one vertically and ½ inch wider!

    To be continued…..


    4/1.
    The fact that I cannot get a folder for an 8.5 x 11 inch paper in the Co-pilot has sealed my doubts that this bag and what I need. I’m sad. I love the design, the colors and if I did not need to occasionally add folders or my Lenovo to my things I need to carry it could very well serve as my EDC bag. My budget will not allow me to keep it. It is going back for an exchange for an iPad Cadet. Looking at its dimensions it has the space I need and I’ll just have to live with carrying my water bottle or coffee thermos. : (

    For those of you considering the Co-pilot: Just be aware that its size with regards to file folders. If this is of no concern than pull the trigger. It is a very well made bag with an ingenious design and could very well serve as an EDC at home or abroad. I would keep it but for my budget and hence the trade for the Cadet. I wish I knew when the bigger brother of the bag was coming and I might be willing to wait for that yet my needs are rather immediate.

    Alas.

    If anyone out there has experience with the iPad Cadet please let me know what you like or dislike about the bag.

    Thanks,

    Pete

  2. #2
    ceb
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    I've always thought that this was a huge mistake. Increasing the dimensions to fit an A4 sized sheet of paper would make this case desireable to those of us that carry a 12/12.5 inch laptop like the Lenovo x220/230 or a handful of papers.
    When in trouble, obfuscate.

  3. #3
    Registered User dnarud13's Avatar
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    I hear what you're saying about the Absolute strap w/ the CP; I got the same setup and it may be overkill. Fortunately, I don't have to worry about paper files and it fits my Surface perfectly. I hear rumor of a larger bag of same design called the Pilot is in the works, maybe hold out for that.
    [2003] Brain Bag (w/Snake Charmer & 3 Monolith/Brain Cells)
    - [2010] Aeronaut (w/Absolute, 1lg/2sm Packing Cubes, Travel Tray & 3D clear cube)
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    - - - Small dyneema Shopbag
    - - - - Various TB stuff (organizers, straps, whistles, etc.)

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    Sorry, I have no personal Cadet experience to share, just wanted to say: Happy Birthday, Pete!

    I was most impressed to read of your restraint in receiving a TB order on 3/13 and waiting over two weeks to open it. Wow!

  5. #5
    Registered User ncb4's Avatar
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    Pete, first a belated Happy Birthday: so sorry the Co-Pilot wasn't for you, but maybe the rumored Pilot will suit you better. I have two older Co-Pilots, an Indigo and a Cardinal; and I am continually amazed at what I can get in there. I somehow manage to squeeze in my Macbook Air 11, inside a protective slipcover and with a bit of padding that I added on the bottom of the main compartment as well. I don't carry file folders though; I could probably squeeze one in, but the corners would have to be bent a bit to do so.

    Note however that I ordered and returned an Aubergine Co-Pilot because I swear it was smaller than my two older ones. I took all the DSLR camera gear that I was lugging around in my Cardinal CP: and it wouldn't fit in the Aubergine one. Interesting. My only guess is that there was more give in the dye lots of the Ballistic fabric used in the Indigo and Cardinal CPs.

    As for the Absolute strap, I agree: though I need it when I'm using the CP for a camera bag, it is overkill when I'm using the CP as an EDC. I'm not fond of the Standard Strap either though, but I had two smaller padded straps that came with my Brain Cells. I love those straps, and they work perfectly with the CP: soft on the shoulder, grippy, not too big, and they really do seem to make the load easier to carry.

    Hope you find the bag that is right for you.

    ~Nancy

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    I have kept my Co-Pilot but I have to agree with you on the review. Just a tad bit bigger so you could fit normal sized file folders would make it much more useful. I know this is my own personal issue but I think it would also make it much less purse like which is something I just can't shake each time I use it.

    Lately I have used to on the many trips to the doctor office with my aging father. It really is overkill as I just have the iPad for notes and a few other things like phone and cough drops and water. The one thing I started to do was print copies of my dad's med list and doctor list (after a while you get tired of filling out that information). It still annoys me that to make a simple piece of paper fit cleanly I have to fold it in half and put it in the outside sleeve.

    One day when I am not so lazy I will try to eBay it. I think what I want/need is something more briefcase like. Even though I wanted to leave that world behind that style does have it's uses when you are traveling with laptop/tablet and some papers.

    Here's an idea for another thread ... I think the key is the papers. I try to be paperless but there are times when you need to carry them and have them handy. For me a backpack isn't suited for that. You really need a briefcase that sits upright on the floor or counter so you can look into it.
    Owner of : Imago, Aeronaut, Brain Bag, Smart Alec, Synapse, Co-Pilot

  7. #7
    Registered User PGJohnson's Avatar
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    I sent back the co-pilot and the absolute strap on Friday. : (

    Just received word my Cadet is on its way. Once I have it and test it I'll post an update and my thoughts in case others have had similar issues I had with the co-pilot. It really appears it would be a great bag for travel (what I believe it was built for) or an EDC if you only never need to carry A4 or letter sized documents or folders.

    The exchange was flawless. Tom Bihn really has the best customer service (in addition to the most outstanding bags) that I have ever experienced!

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    I recently went through this same dilemma and decided on an iPad Cadet for EDC use. I have been loving it so far although I've only had it for about a week. I think I would have preferred the front compartments of the co-pilot as the Cadet front section is fairly small, but the back section is perfect for an ipad mini and some books/papers. I have not used it with a full size ipad or netbook, but it should be good for that too provided you don't need too much space for books and papers. In the front I keep minimalist chargers (dual usb plug, lightning cable, short micro usb cable) in a small clear OP and some small odds and ends like chapstick in a mini dyneema pouch. Keys on a 16" key strap, gum, extra earbuds, and pens in pockets. I haven't really found a use for the ultrasuede pocket, since I always keep my phone in my pants pocket. My camera (Sony RX100) fits but I don't often need that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ceb View Post
    I've always thought that this was a huge mistake. Increasing the dimensions to fit an A4 sized sheet of paper would make this case desireable to those of us that carry a 12/12.5 inch laptop like the Lenovo x220/230 or a handful of papers.
    Yeah, I agree this was a huge mistake. Making the CP slightly smaller than an A4 page really limited the market to the US and to me it just seemed very US-centric.

    I travel a lot and always have to carry some A4 papers in addition to my laptop (Lenovo x200s) and water bottle. Yes I'm a 2 bag traveler - WF goes in the overhead bin, second bag under the seat for easy access. Currently I'm using a Swift as the second bag. The Swift is lovely, but not ideal because it's open at the top. I'll be ordering a 'Pilot' if it's every launched.

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    ceb
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    Quote Originally Posted by notmensa View Post
    Yeah, I agree this was a huge mistake. Making the CP slightly smaller than an A4 page really limited the market to the US and to me it just seemed very US-centric.

    I travel a lot and always have to carry some A4 papers in addition to my laptop (Lenovo x200s) and water bottle. Yes I'm a 2 bag traveler - WF goes in the overhead bin, second bag under the seat for easy access. Currently I'm using a Swift as the second bag. The Swift is lovely, but not ideal because it's open at the top. I'll be ordering a 'Pilot' if it's every launched.
    Not even US sized papers fit easily in the co-pilot so this isn't US-centric. I'm sure that they had a good reason for designing it this way but I wish I knew what it was.
    When in trouble, obfuscate.

  11. #11
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ceb View Post
    Not even US sized papers fit easily in the co-pilot so this isn't US-centric. I'm sure that they had a good reason for designing it this way but I wish I knew what it was.
    The reason: we could always make any bag "just a little" bigger to accommodate the next biggest thing, whether that's a laptop (13", or 15" or even 17") or papers or file folders. But then those of us who don't need a bag sized to fit those things would be left with a bag bigger than we really need. The plan has long been to introduce a Pilot, which will fit U.S./A4 papers and 13" laptops. Stay tuned!
    Current Carry: Founder's Briefcase (every day carry), Small Cafe Bag (every day carry), Shop Bags (groceries, extra random stuff), Aeronaut 45 (travel), Synapse 19 (day hikes), Smart Alec (longer day hikes), Skookum Dog Road Duffel (Medium) (travel), Clear Organizer Wallet, Travel Stuff Sacks, Organizer Cubes

  12. #12
    ceb
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darcy View Post
    The reason: we could always make any bag "just a little" bigger to accommodate the next biggest thing, whether that's a laptop (13", or 15" or even 17") or papers or file folders. But then those of us who don't need a bag sized to fit those things would be left with a bag bigger than we really need. The plan has long been to introduce a Pilot, which will fit U.S./A4 papers and 13" laptops. Stay tuned!
    My wallet is starting to really dislike you A Pilot would be great!
    Darcy and notmensa like this.
    When in trouble, obfuscate.

  13. #13
    Registered User Lani's Avatar
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    Yep -- as others have said, it sounds like you might want to wait for the larger "Pilot" bag!
    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!
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    I think I'm going to wait around for a "Pilot" as well. The smallish size has kind of kept me off, although I love seeing how it looks carried on the shoulder. But I just love that center water bottle holder!

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    I understand about some people wanting to use it for papers and etc, but I love the size of the copilot. Basically, I use it for my iPad and other misc stuff. Anything bigger goes in my Synapse which has now become my EDC as I have had to carry larger books lately. I purchased the copilot to extend storage of Synapse when I travel. However, last 4 day trip everything I needed fit in my Synapse 19.
    dorayme likes this.
    Synapse 19, Co-pilot, Travel Tray, PCSB, Western Flyer, all in Dyneema, Side Effect and pouchmania

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