Pilot and Co-Pilot
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.
What made you get the steel Pilot this time? My co-pilot and Pilot are both black.
Just for something different. It is still pretty low-key and all purpose, but I liked the UV interior. The black Co-Pilot has a wasabi lining.
I can relate to the subway comment. I did another stint on the subway today and my usual 4 km or so of running errands getting from one place to the next. I love my S19, but not having to take my backpack off when I hop on the subway or on a streetcar is a welcome idea. The Co-Pilot is a great bag for urban living. I have class tomorrow (I went back to school for a bit to hone old skills) and I was surprised when I was able to fit a standard letter-sized notebook in the large compartment. I love your comparison of the two bags. Maybe I can make space for a Pilot sometime in the future? :)
@bchaplin These are nice pictures of the Pilot and Co-Pilot, and the accessory color combinations are great. I like the mixture of Aubergine Side Effect and the Wasabi Dyneema 3D Clear Organizer Cube with your two bags. (I have both these accessories, and a Steel Ballistic Nylon Co-Pilot -- no Olive Side Effect in 420d HT Parapack Nylon, but a 3D Mesh Organizer cube in Olive Parapack). Your Olive Side Effect looks really good against the Steel Pilot. Will have to look out for the Aubergine/Wasabi pocket pouch combination.
@yohopee My Pilot is the same 400d Black Dyneema/Wasabi combination that you reviewed as a Co-Pilot. I liked your later addition of the Co-Pilot in use on the subway. These posts that show the bags and contents as they're actually used are very helpful.
@moriond, plus admit it, we all love to look at carry-related photos and videos. I was so certain that the Co-Pilot would be perfect for me. It took me months to decide, I watched every single video out there, at least five times each, looked over Flickr photos and anything I could find on the web, searched and read the Forums, took measurements, daydreamed. I don't think that any other purchase that I make takes me this much research and effort. I know I am not the only bag geek out there. :)
If this helps others with their purchase decision, I am more than happy to contribute. The Pilot has now made its way into my brain. It's time to explore this avenue. The steel colour is yummy, too.
" The steel colour is yummy, too."
Having both the co-pilot in black and steel ballistic, there r times the needle goes in one particular direction.
When I want more of a casual feel I tend to shy away from the black,
Also if I'm making runs around town, at Home Depot, out drawing, museums it's the steel.
Out to the theater, dinner, travel most of the time- its the black.
Terrific photos and info, @bchaplin, and lots of great comments, too!
Question: will a pretty full Side Effect fit into the open pockets in the main compartment of both the Pilot and Co-pilot? Many thanks! :)
Yes to both, but I can't speak to a really packed ballistic SE (low squishiness factor) inside the CP side pocket. Mine is a dyneema SE, and that is a just-right fit. The Pilot side-pockets are sized for the Pilot small packing cubes (or should it be the other around?), which are considerably bigger than the SE, so a full-to-bursting SE in any fabric will go in with rather a lot of room to spare.
Originally Posted by bubmum
At the moment, I can try only my Co-Pilot. My Side Effect is dyneema. It fits if it is full but not bursting, but I have to ease it into the pocket. Normally I do not bother since I need to access my SE frequently, and it is more practical to just leave it in the main compartment.
Thank you, @bchaplin and @adalangdon, for checking! That's very helpful! :)
@bubmum One accessory you might consider adding to any Side Effect you get that is stored inside either the front compartments of a CoPilot or Pilot, or placed into the pockets in the main (back) compartment of either of these bags, is a Handle loop with snap hook. This tethers to the side Effect, and makes it easier to pull the Side effect out. Here's what the attached handle Loop looks like:
The Pilot front side compartments have more room than the CoPilot's does. When you use the two Side Compartments, and the side Effect is very full, it becomes harder to access the lined pockets for phones or pens, etc. at the back of each side compartment, if you use these. There's also a bit more room in the pockets in the back main compartment, because they don't need to allow for the space taken up by the central water bottle compartment when dividing up the available space. Plus when removing a Side Effect, especially with the assistance of a handle loop strap, you only have to pull directly up, and not angle the bag out. If space is tight, you'll find Dyneema or Parapack SEs will slip out more easily.
Thank you, @moriond! Great reply, info, and picture. :) I appreciate it.
bchaplin, thank you for mentioning how useful the Co-Pilot and Pilot are on the subway in Boston--I work in Boston, and, while I hate to go anywhere without my Synapse 25, after a particularly unpleasant commute last Tuesday I thought of what you had written and decided to try my underused Co-Pilot instead. It's making the crowded subway rides much more comfortable, and I'm going to continue using it until the public transit system is running smoothly again. I wouldn't have thought to make the change if I hadn't seen your post.
I feel your pain. when the T is not running at all, it makes life tougher. I too have noticed that accessing things from a crossbody or shoulder bag is easier than backpack. the latter is easier on the body and back for heavy loads but for lighter carrying and/or short hauls, I am digging the pilot and the daylight briefcase.