I wanted to show how much can fit into the Co-Pilot and the Pilot, both of which I have. I've mentioned before that these bags are great for the crowded Boston subway. I can pull my things in and out, one-handed, while the other hand is grasping a pole or straphanger. And unlike with a backpack, I can keep an eye on my things, while I'm texting or reading or watching the crazy guy across the aisle talk to himself. The Co-Pilot had already supplanted my other bags for every day use, and when the Pilot came out, I was thrilled that I could carry the extra things I need on certain days. I'm a big fan of having one bag only, and I'd rather spend a few minutes transferring my things from one to another rather than be one of those people who is walking around with five bags hanging off them.
The Co-Pilot can fit quite a lot. Here is a picture of what I typically carry in it. Some things (such as my sanitizer, and a second flashlight), have been left out of the picture.
RIGHT POCKET (left of photo): 3D clear organizer cube with Swiss Army Knife, tissues, and some first aid items. Key ring.
MIDDLE POCKET: Umbrella and flashlight. It is a super-bright flashlight with crenellated edges. I hope I never have to use it, but the idea is that if you shine it in someone's face at night they would be momentarily blinded and disoriented, and give me the chance to run. This is a pretty hefty-sized flashlight, but it still fits next to the umbrella. A thermos could fit in this pocket instead. Or, sometimes, I put my gloves and scarf in there.
LEFT POCKET (right of photo): Snacks, including the world's best yogurt. Pens. Pocket pouch with my work ID and transit pass.
BACK MAIN COMPARTMENT: ipad Mini in case, Jottbook journal, microfiber wipes, and Side Effect, which has my wallet and other necessities.
The iPhone moves around. It's usually in my pocket, but it can fit almost anywhere in the Co-Pilot.
One of the issues with the Co-Pilot is that on days I take classes after work, I carry additional notebooks and textbooks of varying sizes. They will sometimes fit in the back compartment, but it becomes a struggle, particularly with the Side Effect taking up space. So I was thrilled, when the Pilot was introduced, to find that it will carry the Side Effect in one of the front pockets, freeing up the space in the back for books and papers. The back compartment is also larger than the one on the Co-Pilot, of course. Even the pockets seem to be larger, and they will fit my iPad Mini more easily, so that the main compartment is clear for other things.
Pictured below is the typical load for the Pilot. The umbrella isn't shown but it is in the middle pocket. It may not be obvious from the perspective, but the textbook shown is fairly hefty. It would fit in the Co-Pilot, but didn't leave room for much else. In the Pilot there is room to spare.
When I bought the Pilot I purchased a second Side Effect as well, so I'm showing that one. It's made of olive parapack, with a UV interior, and it's brilliant.
The Co-Pilot was purchased before Tom Bihn switched to the reversed zippers that you see on the Pilot.
Hope this helps anyone trying to decide between these two sizes. I'm not showing other uses of these bags, such as for travel, but the Pilot could easily fit a change of clothes (not necessarily jeans but a lightweight material) in the back, along with a slim technology such as the iPad or even a small computer. I have used it to carry my gym clothes, sans shoes. A front pocket could hold a 3-1-1 bag of toiletries.