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  1. #1
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    Please comment on your co-pilot

    I just saw the co-pilot in person last week, and my organizer geek response was triggered immediately. I'd love to hear from anyone who uses one about likes and not-likes. For example, does the water bottle pocket really hold a bottle or a small thermos - without encroaching on the other 2 side pockets? I read on one thread that file folders don't fit, but could I squeeze a letter sized folder or two in there if it's not full of other stuff? It would be nice to be able to use this as a work bag on rainy days, without having to put all my papers in the open pocket.

    Right now I usually use my MCB when travelling, because it looks pretty chic yet holds a lot and is comfortable. But I love the further organization of the Co-Pilot, and I think it is really sharp looking (and light!) in the dyneema fabrics. Still, I worry that the many compartments might suck up too much useable space.

    So whadya think?

  2. #2
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    I really like my co-pilot and have had one pretty much since it was introduced. While I generally do not carry water bottles, I do keep 2 hard shell glasses case in there when I use the bag and they fit easily without impacting surrounding spaces. The 17 oz water bottle I am looking at now would easily fit without taking much, if any space from the other pockets. Letter-size file folders will fit in the co-pilot but the upper corners might get bent a little - the papers in the file are fine, however. My only wish for the co-pilot is that it was about 1/2 wider so my MacBook air in a cache would fit more easily. (it does fit and the safety of the laptop does not seem compromised but it is a tiny bit snug). Overall the bag will hold much more than you might guess just looking at it.

  3. #3
    Volunteer Moderator Badger's Avatar
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    I really like my co-pilot, but there are definitely things about it that require you to manage your expectations. First, I can carry an 18-oz. Klean Kanteen with a screw-top cap. If I wanted to carry my 27-oz., I'd need to buy a flat cap for it. However, the bottle fits width-wise with no problem. Second, regular file folders won't fit without some bending. Hope this helps.

  4. #4
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    I have only had mine since Christmas, but I am a big fan of the organizational structure. I use it when I am carrying a tablet instead of a laptop and took it to a week long trade show.

    My only complaint is that I wore it sort of messenger style and having it behind me with all those zippers made me a touch paranoid...

  5. #5
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    Thanks - this is so helpful!

    rabergnc, I noticed you're selling your Cadet. I take it you decided the Co-Pilot was a better fit for your use (or are they just completely different?)

  6. #6
    Registered User Lani's Avatar
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    I have a steel Dyneema Co-Pilot, so I'll try to answer your questions. It's not my everyday bag (for that, I typically use the Packing Cube Shoulder Bag), but I do use it when I'm needing to pack extra things.

    Quote Originally Posted by kmcg View Post
    does the water bottle pocket really hold a bottle or a small thermos - without encroaching on the other 2 side pockets?
    Yes, but. The "but" part is that if you have a tall water bottle (like a 1-liter bottle), what happens is that it gets a little snug and harder to zip the zipper around the bottle. You will be in far better shape with a shorter bottle.

    My current water bottle crush is with the Nalgene On the Fly bottle. It's slimmer than Nalgene's regular water bottles, but what I really love is that it uses a flip-top snap that you can open and shut with one hand, in one swift motion... and when shut, the snap turns into a loop so you can hold it or dangle it from the loop. Extremely well designed. Well, as it turns out, it's a tad too tall for the Co-Pilot... plus, when you pack a liter of water in your Co-Pilot, it actually feels pretty heavy. AND lopsided if you don't have much in the main compartment.

    My solution? I got a kid-sized version of the Nalgene OTF bottle (you can get it online from their website). They also say you can screw the OTF bottle top onto any other Nalgene bottle, so if you have a smaller (shorter) one, you can try that.

    With the 12-ounce bottle, it plops into the central compartment nicely and doesn't feel like it's yearning to be let out.

    Regardless, the bottle--unless it's a REALLY wide bottle--will not really encroach on the two side pockets much.

    Quote Originally Posted by kmcg View Post
    I read on one thread that file folders don't fit, but could I squeeze a letter sized folder or two in there if it's not full of other stuff? It would be nice to be able to use this as a work bag on rainy days, without having to put all my papers in the open pocket.
    Unless you want your papers to get all crumply, it's not possible to store letter-size paper in a Co-Pilot. That said, if you're willing to fold it in half, it will fit perfectly---you can even tuck it into the pocket in the main compartment.

    From a size perspective, imagine this: The size of the Co-Pilot is perfect for an iPad. You can store an iPad in the main compartment, and you will have plenty of room for additional things.

    Quote Originally Posted by kmcg View Post
    Right now I usually use my MCB when travelling, because it looks pretty chic yet holds a lot and is comfortable. But I love the further organization of the Co-Pilot, and I think it is really sharp looking (and light!) in the dyneema fabrics. Still, I worry that the many compartments might suck up too much useable space.
    The main thing to know about the Co-Pilot is that it's very boxy. The way they sew up the corners, this bag holds its shape even when empty. If you're looking for the same streamlined feel of a Cafe Bag, you're not going to find the same thing with a Co-Pilot.

    That said, the Co-Pilot is very sharply designed. It's about the size of a school lunch box, resized for adults. It looks like a petite briefcase--well actually, I can't think of any other bag that quite looks like a Co-Pilot. But because it holds its shape, you can stuff a lot of stuff in there and still keep things organized. If you're flying, you can even stick your 3-1-1 kit and makeup bag in there, along with your iPad/netbook, smartphone, small water bottle, etc.

    The main thing with the Co-Pilot is that it's great if you want to keep things organized. Even the Dyneema version holds up its shape really well. It's a great alternative to the Cafe Bags or Packing Cube Shoulder Bag if you don't want to have to spend three minutes trying to fish up different items from your bag (well, you could use organizers as an option).

    Now... I am a huge Dyneema fan. I held out on getting the Co-Pilot until they introduced out in steel Dyneema, and I've never regretted the purchase. It's not my everyday bag, but it's great for any occasion where I want to carry a bit extra... like my iPad, snacks and a water bottle, etc.

    Hope this answers some of your questions!
    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

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmcg View Post
    Thanks - this is so helpful!

    rabergnc, I noticed you're selling your Cadet. I take it you decided the Co-Pilot was a better fit for your use (or are they just completely different?)
    They are different beasts in my mind. The cadet is a more traditional brief case-type of bag. It is slim and designed to carry a limited amount. The cadet does fit the MB Air better and fits letter size (A4) file folders better, but for the types of things I carry on a day to day basis, the co-pilot works better for me. It has greater flexibility in terms of what can be carried and I like the way the pockets organize things a bit better than the cadet style. For instance my glasses cases fit better in the co-pilot as there is more depth available. (That said, at the moment, the Smart Alec is working better for my current carry!!) I have to say I will miss the color combo of the cadet - my copilot is steel/solar which I do like but I find the black/iberian combo of the cadet very striking and it appeals to me. (That combination was not available when I purchased my copilot....I think....).....

  8. #8
    Registered User Lani's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmcg View Post
    ...could I squeeze a letter sized folder or two in there if it's not full of other stuff? It would be nice to be able to use this as a work bag on rainy days, without having to put all my papers in the open pocket.
    Hi KMCG -- I just got home and wanted to test it out to make sure, and it turns out you *CAN* fit letter-sized paper in there. But it's a relatively tight fit. What you might consider, is take a file folder and cut it down to where it's just millimeters bigger than the letter-size paper. That will protect the paper, but will still fit in the Co-Pilot.
    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

  9. #9
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    Wow - thanks for such detailed responses. If it comes to actually purchasing the Co-Pilot, I can take a bunch of junk down to the store and try it out, but this is great to hear from people who actually use the bag!

  10. #10
    Registered User 123veo's Avatar
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    Check out this thread: A4 paper in Co-Pilot?
    It's got some pics that I posted of file folders, books, etc. that I could fit in my co-pilot (which I LOVE).

  11. #11
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    Perfect! I didn't see that thread when I did a search, so thanks for the link.


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