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  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2014

    Hello and New Pilot

    Hello folks, I'm new here and have enjoyed reading about folk's experience and thoughts about TB bags and I finally figured I could provide some, hopefully, insightful comments from my own experience.

    As background, I have owned a TB Empire Builder for several years now. While it has served me well, I'm finally realized that I do not need to take home my whole office every day, what a liberating epiphany HA! I searched around for a smaller in volume briefcase than the EB and was swayed to a well known leather "Saddle" brief case, they just look really distinctive and unique. I figured I would try another leather briefcase even though I had used them in the past and found them quite heavy. Long story short, I loved the leather case, but found that I was lugging around a lot of weight while still not carrying my laptop regularly. Soooooo..... I decided to try another TB bag.

    Like many folks here, I probably spent way too much time going over reviews, pictures and videos prior to making a decision, but, I finally put in an order for a TB Pilot, black ballistic nylon w/ steel interior just about a 10 days ago. I received the pilot plus a bunch of accessories yesterday and happy dance! First impression after opening the box was how great the bag looked and that it appeared to be bulletproof and meticulously crafted, no surprise to anyone here. I was concerned that the bag was a little smaller than I expected. Perhaps its just me, but even though the physical dimensions are on the TB website, I have a hard time picturing objects in my head and really need to put my hands on it to get a sense of size. Well, putting that concern aside, I started to unpack my current bag and load up the Pilot.

    First thing a found in so doing was how efficiently organized the space was and the bag just gobbled up my gear without looking bloated and messy. Very cool and how did the engineers do that? Most importantly, however, I found that I can easily fit everything I had in my old bag, PLUS fit my laptop in a cache and still come in with less weight that my thin leather brief case! Carrying the bag w/ the absolute strap makes carrying it even more pleasurable. Finally, I was concerned that the case may not appear "professional" enough, but the bag is quite handsome all packed up and should easily fit into my work environment. Long story short, even though the Pilot was not designed as a business brief case, I think that for my needs it is just perfect!

    Thanks for reading my long winded first post and I look forward to comments!

  2. #2
    Forum Member scribe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Cambridge, UK
    Welcome to the forums! I just got my first Pilot a few weeks ago, though I haven't used it yet since it's more of a overnight bag/long-haul personal item for me. OTOH I'm using a Co-Pilot as a mini-briefcase, as it's the perfect size for my iPad plus a few notepads and other bits of stationery.
    Work EDC: SE + S19 (summer); SE + SA (winter)
    Leisure: some combination of SE/SCB/MCB/Swift/FJN/DLBC/Imago/SSB
    Travel: WF + Pilot/DLBP + SE/SCB or SA + SE/SCB
    General organisation: More pouches, stuff sacks and cubes than you can shake a keystrap at!
    Favourite TB colours: aubergine, forest (sniff!), linen, wasabi, UV
    Hoping for: A new dyneema colour for YSSs; a Linen Side Effect; the return of Portable Culture!

  3. #3
    Registered User Ineffable's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Welcome @Roverrich!

    I've just found the joys of the Pilot as well (just under a week using it as my EDC bag) and like you I'm quite impressed. I have to say what really seals the deal for me is how well the 3D Organizer Cubes (in any material) and the Side Effect fit so well in this bag and really help to solidify it's shape. Each of the front side pockets has a 3D Cube and the 2 interior slots within the main compartment hold another Cube and my SE. I have a ballistic which helps a bit with the rigidity but these slim cubes help the bag exude confidence (perhaps I'm personifying the bag a bit too much? I think not!)

    Best of luck transitioning into your new bag and look forward to seeing some pictures of how you have it organized! We're a bit nuts for that kind of stuff here =)
    Synapse25 | Pilot | Aeronaut 45 | CoPilot | Large DOP | SideEffect | 3D Organizer Cubes | Q-Kit | #1 & #2 Stuff Sacks

  4. #4
    Forum Member ncb4's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    I second what @Ineffable said: photos, we want photos! No pressure there, right?

    Welcome to the forums, @Roverrich, and I hope this isn't your last post. I'm glad to hear how much you are loving your Pilot. Although another forum member adopted mine, I may one day get another Pilot. I love the design of what I call the "Aviator" bags—the Pilot and Co-Pilot. I still have my Co-Pilot and will never let it go; it's the perfect size for me as an EDC. Sometimes I use it as a camera bag for my mirrorless Fuji xe-2; sometimes I use it for electronics. My iPad Air and Apple wireless keyboard in a Moshi Origami case fit nicely, and I can even squeeze a Macbook Air 11 inside the CP as well. Amazing!

    Like you, I'm in love with 3D Organizer Cubes, and I did like how they fit so perfectly into the side pockets of the Pilot.

    Congratulations on your new Pilot!


  5. #5
    Registered User itsablur's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    Welcome @Roverrich!

    Glad you are enjoying your Pilot. I picked one up a month ago when they were still available in Steel 400d Dyneema (perhaps the last time we'll see that fabric ) and have been using it as my EDC for several weeks now. It has deposed my Co-Pilot, even though I really don't need to typically carry more stuff than the CP can hold on a daily basis. I think I just really like the lightness and more "casual" feel of the 400d material.

    I do second (third?) what @Ineffable says about how the Pilot seems to perfectly sized to fit other TB accessories. Everything just slides into a pocket like it was meant to from the start!

    Great bag.
    Own: Aeronaut 45 (Navy/Iberian), Aeronaut 30 (Steel/Ultraviolet), Night Flight (Coyote/Steel), Guide's Pack (Steel), Synapse 19 (Olive/Steel), Daylight (Navy), Aeronaut Packing Cube Backpack (Wasabi), Founder's Briefcase (Black), Pilot (Steel 400d/Steel), Co-Pilot (Black/Iberian), Side Effect (Black/Ultraviolet), Travel Tray (Iberian), various cubes, pouches, sacks, and straps


  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Thanks folks for the warm welcome! I'll try and take pics when I return home from work, and I'll check out the side effects bag. Till later...

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    NJ, USA
    I keep waffling on whether or not to get one (and it seems you folks bought up all the last Black Pilots...). It seems like a great addition to my S19, but on the other hand, that means two bags...(been debating whether I get a pilot or smart alec, or something else....). I think for travel (overnight business travel, which is what I would do if I have to travel for work, and it's thankfully not often), a pilot + S19 seems like a great combo.

    But for everyday, I'm not sure I would want two bags.

    (I know, you'll all tell me to just buy the pilot AND the SA...) haha

    Anyway, curious if you folks combine the Pilot with something else, or just use that for EDC?

  8. #8
    Forum Member bermudajes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Michigan, USA
    @carl0, my boyfriend just replaced his college backpack with the Pilot. He plans to use it for his EDC once he transitions to an office environment. I think the only time he'd carry it with another bag would be for travel.

    FWIW, I'm planning on stealing it for short (1-2 day) work trips. Should make the perfect bag - room for a change of clothes, 3-1-1 bag, notebook and folder, iPad Mini, snacks, and purse essentials. Rarely do I have to carry much for work.
    travel light.
    live light.
    spread the light.
    be the light.

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    NJ, USA
    Thanks, bermudajes. I carry too much usually... :-)

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Ok, let me see if I did this correctly, here are a couple of pics of the Pilot loaded up:
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    Main back section holds a notebook, a Maxpedition EDC organizer, Macbook Air 13" in a cache and a few files. Front pockets hold iPad mini, leather Daytimer (had it for 20yrs and can't get rid of it), pens, spork, LiIon battery and 3D cube w/ cables. The water bottle pocket holds a Kor Nava bottle, but I can't seem to locate that pic. Enjoy.

  11. #11
    Forum Member adalangdon's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    I didn't think the Pilot could hold a big A4 binder, but it can. The CP can also hold A4 notepads very comfortably, although the dimensions would have you think otherwise. I confess to never having felt the TARDIS effect with my Synapses, but I'm experiencing the full effect of it with my Pilot and CP. Enjoy!

  12. #12
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Tell us what's in each bag???
    Last edited by gulfcoastgal; 08-28-2014 at 07:22 PM.
    Gulfcoastgal. .....

    ISO. Cork LS Did LS ever come in Indigo or sapphire or red?? Yes would love!
    ISO. Red LS / Swift. & Azalea Swift & INDIGO swift
    In my TB fleet:
    Swift: Turquoise !
    LS:Turquoise ! /Azalea/black dyneema
    Shop bag: big : Black / Solar
    Shop bag Small: Black /Solar/UV
    PCSB: Iberian x2 /UV
    SE: solarx2/Black dyneema x2
    Aeronaut: cardinal in A-45. / Black Dyneema in A-30
    Field journal : awaiting red blend

  13. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Ok so here is a summary of the bag load out:

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    In the wasabi 3D Cube:
    - Macbook Air power brick
    - Dongle adapter
    - USB to ethernet adapter
    - iPhone charger
    - Multitool, Gerber diesel buried under all the other stuff

    In the Maxpedition organizer from L to R:
    - WD40 lube pen
    - Exotec fire starter
    - Stanley microscrewdriver
    - 4Steven's penlight
    - Fisher space pen
    - 4" tweeters
    - Sharpie
    - On the key holder a pair of folding micro tweezers
    - Army surplus can opener
    - Black med vial of Ibuprofen
    - Red med vial of allergy pills, saline solution in single use plastic tubes
    - Hank of 550 paracord
    - In back pocket, stainless ruler, matches in Exotec case, Snow Peak Spork and scissors.

    In the front pockets of the Pilot, I carry the Wasabi 3D cube and pens/pencils/nail clipper, aux battery in one section and in the other side an iPad mini and my daytimer.

    This covers just about anything that I can encounter during the work day. I'd be interested in seeing what others carry in their EDC / Work bag

  14. #14
    Forum Member blackbird's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Northeast US
    @Roverrich - your photos look great! Thanks for posting -- I'll admit, it is making me covet a Pilot of my very own, or maybe perhaps a CP, in the ballistic material. I currently have a CP in Dyneema, but am thinking a ballistic one with more structure would also look more professional.

    I have a question about your med vials. They look awesome and I think would be the perfect solution for my med needs. I can't seem to find anything beyond glass med vials online. Would you mind sharing where you got them? Thanks in advance!
    "A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions." — Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

  15. #15
    Forum Member sturbridge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    -5 GMT EST/EDT
    @med vials- I have similar looking ones that I got at my local pharmacy (CVS) near the pharmecist counter

    I also have a hard time visualizing bags, even when I cut paper to the size of the item. Every Tom Bihn bag has been smaller than I imagined, but has held way more stuff that one would think would fit in that small size.
    So far: SE in black/iberian and coyote/steel, SSB in black dyneema, Steel dyneema/steel Pilot, Vintage Buzz in black, PCSB and numerous pouches, 3D cubes, straps. Still waiting for the perfect weekender bag which would be a slightly larger Night Flight or a slightly smaller Skookum duffle.

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