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Tom Bihn Forums: Community discussion on travel bags, laptop bags, and backpacks. Tom Bihn has been designing and making bags since 1972. The best materials and innovative construction.

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  1. #1
    Registered User gonty's Avatar
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    Jul 2009
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    Will a Co-pilot work for me?

    I'm thinking about putting my Ristretto for iPad onto eBay and grabbing a Co-pilot as my everyday bag but thought I'd seek the wisdom of the forum to get a better idea of whether it will suit my needs.

    I would like my daily carry to be able to include the following:

    Items I think/hope will fit in front three pockets:
    • phone
    • wallet
    • mini pouch for coins
    • mini pouch for earbuds
    • mini pouch for work name badge and security tag
    • mints
    • field notes note book
    • pens
    • keys
    • sometimes a water bottle


    Items I would expect to carry in the main pocket:
    • iPad
    • book (obviously very in size)
    • rhodia A5 notepad in cover
    • lunchbox (usually a flat square one just a bit bigger the size of a sandwich)
    • small pouch containing a packet of moist wipes (so useful with little kids)
    • a folded up shop bag or envirosax etc for bringing books to and from the library (work) or other extra bits.


    Add to that occasional extra bits and pieces in mini or small pouches.

    I can't fit all that in the Ristretto. Even just fitting a hardback book without the water bottle or lunchbox can be problematic. I can get it in there, but then find it difficult to get things out of the front pockets or to find pouches hanging and squished in the main pocket.

    So, do Co-pilot users think this lot will fit and be reasonably accessible. Often I won't be carrying this entire load. If I'm reading an ebook, there's no novel. I'm not always carrying a lunch box etc. My gut feeling is I should be OK and I think the horizontal format will make things more accessible than the vertical Ristretto.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    Jonathan

  2. #2
    Registered User nukediver's Avatar
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    Apr 2011
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    I think you'll be more than ok - I used to carry a Ristretto for iPad and found that it worked well as a minimal-carry bag, but I was hard pressed when I wanted to add just *one more thing* to the bag. Currently I rotate between my Synapse, Large Cafe Bag and Co-Pilot. From what you've listed above, I think you'll find the Co-Pilot to be an excellent choice.

  3. #3
    Registered User
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    Dec 2012
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    Conifer, CO
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    Those things should easily fit in the co-pilot. I would say I have many more things in my daily use of my co-pilot.
    Synapse 19, Travel Tray, PCSB, all in Dyneema, Side Effect and pouchmania

  4. #4
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    I think it will all fit. However, I have had a harder time getting used to the Co-Pilot. I love the Synapse; and loved the MCB (which got taken from me!). The Co-pilot tends to be a tight fit; maybe a Dyneema version would be better. It is the first TB bag that I own that I truly have a love/hate relationship with. It is just right for many things, but not right at all for many every day things including letter sized paper!

  5. #5
    Registered User gonty's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for the responses.

    Nukediver - I agree. The Ristretto has been great for a minimal carry buy struggles with "one more thing". I'll still have my MCB as a more minimal carry if I need it, but my wife has adopted my Synapse so I don't have that option to expand to.

    Shiva - I have agonized for some time over the Co-Pilot's inability to carry A4 paper comfortably but have decided it doesn't matter that much to me. I can't carry it in the Ristretto I'm currently using and it's not very often I need to. On those occasions, I carry a large organizer pouch separately. If/when Tom does make a larger Co-Pilot, I suspect it will not have the same compact feel that I love about the current model.

    I'm more concerned about everything being zipped. I like the security of zips, but really love the flap arrangement for easy access. I'm sure I'll learn to live with it.

    Of course, now all the colours I'd like are back ordered. Oh well, quality is worth the wait.

    Jonathan
    PS for those in Australia I will soon list an excellent condition Ristretto for iPad on eBay Aus.

  6. #6
    Registered User gonty's Avatar
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    Now I just have to deal with that other Tom Bihn related affliction - colour indecision.

    Was all set to order black/wasabi, but steel/ultraviolet and navy/iberian are both tempting. I currently have bags in all three colours, so I can't even blame my indecision on not knowing what they look like.

    And don't anyone dare suggest I should get multiple co-pilots!

    Jonathan

  7. #7
    Registered User nukediver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gonty View Post
    And don't anyone dare suggest I should get multiple co-pilots!
    I have resisted this urge for almost a year.....

  8. #8
    Registered User
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    I'm really glad I took the chance on Nordic Dyneema for my Co-Pilot. Pushed my boundaries a bit, looks great, and is a great EDC bag for me.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by gonty View Post
    And don't anyone dare suggest I should get multiple co-pilots!
    Awww! I have a Little Swift in Kiwi, another in Forest, another in Cardinal, another in Navy, a second one in Kiwi that lives at work for when I need a small bag to carry work stuff.... I also have a Steel Swift and a Nordic Swift on the way. When Nordic becomes an option in the Little Swift I guess I'll get it!

    I don't knit, I just use them as a handbag (what in the US is called a "purse").

    Audrey

  10. #10
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    Well... if one love a bag design and many wonderful colors are used to make it, one does what Falconea, many others and yours truly have done, match a great design with many colors.

    I needlework and Swifts make great purses/handbags as well.

  11. #11
    Registered User gonty's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the feedback folks. I have just ordered a Co-Pilot in Black/Wasabi.

    Sadly, they're backordered until late March.

    Jonathan


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