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Thread: Co-Pilot or Cafe Bag as an EDC?

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    Registered User Jeff A's Avatar
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    Co-Pilot or Cafe Bag as an EDC?

    Is anyone using their Co-Pilot as their EDC? Or is it better suited for airline use? I have a Synapse 25 but sometimes I want to carry less. Considering a Co-Pilot or med/large cafe bag. Thanks for any advice.

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    I have a Synapse 25, Large Café Bag and a Co-Pilot picking the best for EDC obviously depends on what you want to carry.

    I originally purchased the café bag, but found that the one compartment design didn’t really work well for me. I also found the large size to be more than I really needed and the bag was a little too “floppy” for me. I think a medium would have been a better choice and have considered buying one.

    I purchased the Co-Pilot after reading so many great reviews and quickly saw why people like it. While the bag is small it has great organization and can carry a surprising amount of gear. However, regardless of the great design it is still a small bag and I’ve had issues fitting some books, magazines and other items in the bag. However, the smaller size also forces me to be disciplined in what I carry and reduces the amount of junk I end up lugging around.

    For my particular needs the Co-Pilot was the best choice for EDC, but like many I am eagerly awaiting the release of the new Pilot bag to see how it may work for EDC.

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    Registered User blarson94's Avatar
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    I use a LCB (Cordura Navy/Cayenne) as my one personal item for air travel. I keep a large clear pouch holding papers and file folders, an iPad, ThinkPad X230 laptop and two medium pouches with key straps for cords, chargers, etc.

    Works great for me as it fits under the seat on long transcontinental flights with all the stuff I need right under the seat in front of me. I hate putting my larger bag under there as I like the leg room. I plan on getting an Aeronaut, but until then, I use a eBags TLS Mother lode Weekender junior (2538 cu. in.) as my carry-on bag.

    The LCB works great when I'm at a customer site without having to transfer things in/out, and I can transport all the essentials with me without having to carry it all in the TLS bag, which looks rather sloppy, in my opinion.

    I used to put the X230 and iPad and pouches in the TLS, but it got too hard to pull things in/out at TSA checkpoints or at foreign airports where they want the iPad & the X230 out. The LCB allows me to pull these out quickly without opening my carry-on.

    Hope that helps...


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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    I use the co-pilot for my EDC. I find the organization to be just right for my use, because I know exactly which pocket to open for which item, which helps a lot. The one-compartment style doesn't work as well for me, because I can't stand it when someone is waiting for me to hand them a business card and I'm digging for 2 minutes into the compartment! Using the two front zipper pockets for items I need quickly is fantastic. The inside pockets will fit a kindle or small notebook. The main compartment easily holds an iPad, and is (barely) large enough for files. If you need to carry some files, I suggest using the flexible plastic ones, as they preserve the corners of documents really well. Also, if you don't plan on carrying a water bottle every day, the water bottle pocket is also handy to carry miscellaneous small items.

    On days when I need to carry more than a few papers or bulkier items, I carry the Imago and use lots of pouches. That has worked well for me also because I can fit things I need quickly in the front slip pocket and zipper pocket.

    Hope this helps!
    Indigo/Solar Western Flyer, Aubergine/Steel Tri Star, Nordic/Steel Aeronaut, Indigo/Solar Synapse, Cocoa/Wasabi Small Cafe Bag, Black/Wasabi Small Cafe Bag, Black/Steel Co-Pilot, Aubergine/Hemp/Steel Imago, Wasabi Dyneema and Nordic Dyneema Small Shop Bags, Solar Dyneema and Nordic Dyneema Large Shop Bags, Indigo, Wasabi Dyneema, and Plum 3D Organizer Cubes, Wasabi Dyneema Travel Tray, Wasabi Dyneema Large Yarn Stuff Sack, Small, Mini and Pen/Pencil Pouches, an assortment of key straps

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    The Large Cafe Bag used to be my EDC with a Swift and travel carry with a Brain Bag.

    But, The Crew produced the most beautiful UV Synapse 19 and Large UV Shop Bag , I bought both.
    I also got the Nordic Synapse 19 and a Small Cafe Bag in Nordic/UV as pure impulse purchase which turned out to be really smart.


    After reading what's under your airline seat? I decided to retire my, now vintage, Cordura Large Cafe Bags and switch to Dyneema items for casual/out of the U.S air travel.

    A Large Cafe Bag has to lay flat under the seat, otherwise it doesn't fit. Parapack seems to be slicker, so probably easier to wipe clean and get thorough results.


    I believe a Synapse 19 is worth thinking about, it fits under the seat nicely with room to spare for my size 10 shoes, it however has to be laid flat and Small Cafe Bag which I take care to keep upright.

    I seriously considered the Co-Pilot but the Synapse 19 has more room, next time I will bring a Large Shop Bag to protect both the Synapse and the Small Cafe Bag. Or keep the Synapse empty in the main carry-on and just use it at the destination.


    You could also use a Large or even a Small Shop Bag to protect the Large Cafe Bag which is a really nice travelling companion.

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    Registered User dnarud13's Avatar
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    Last year, when I was in the market for a new EDC I was going to get a MCB or a Ristretto. Then I got to thinking around vertical v horizontal bags. The verticals seemed to involve having to dig deeper for items and the flap gets in the way. That's why I went with the CP. Horizontal gives broader access to my gear/organizers and a simple zip opens it up without trying to maneuver around a flap. Individual compartments organize and give access to just what I want.
    [2003] Brain Bag (w/Snake Charmer & 3 Monolith/Brain Cells)
    - [2010] Aeronaut (w/Absolute, 1lg/2sm Packing Cubes, Travel Tray & 3D clear cube)
    - - [2013] Co-Pilot (w/ Cache, Clear Org wallet, S.O.S., 3D Clear & mesh cubes, Passport pouch)
    - - - Small dyneema Shopbag
    - - - - Various TB stuff (organizers, straps, whistles, etc.)

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    Registered User Jeff A's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone! I'm buying an Aubergine/Wasabi Co-Pilot from another forum member, which is great since that combination is backordered through March. It's going to my girlfriend as her EDC and first TB bag

    Related question: my new Side Effect is arriving next week (plus a few extra pouches and the mystery forum gift). Would the Side Effect take up a big part of a medium Cafe Bag if placed at the bottom? Thanks!

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    Registered User Moose's Avatar
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    My SE takes up maybe half the space in my MCB. It is a snug fit but still works well for me. My SE is a mini purse and I always put it on top. I hook everything to an O ring so nothing falls out.
    Moose
    List exceeds allowed characters. So I'll just say I'm plum and kiwi loving FOT!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moose View Post
    My SE takes up maybe half the space in my MCB. It is a snug fit but still works well for me. My SE is a mini purse and I always put it on top. I hook everything to an O ring so nothing falls out.
    Moose
    In practically all my Tom Bihn bags I use one Side Effect to hold smaller pouches. Sometimes I use two. In the medium cafe bag if using two I stand them up next to each other. If using one, it still gets stood up because there is usually a water bottle standing along side of it. Then there is still bunches of room between the SE's and the interior pockets.

    Note,
    If using the SE's as interior organizers I find the dyneema ones slide in an out easier. (I expect the Parapack to slip just the same)
    (That's on my next order ;-))

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    Registered User Ms. Ferret's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff A View Post
    Is anyone using their Co-Pilot as their EDC? Or is it better suited for airline use? I have a Synapse 25 but sometimes I want to carry less. Considering a Co-Pilot or med/large cafe bag. Thanks for any advice.
    Cafe Bags are my EDC (usually a Small) around town -- I've been carrying them for so long that I get frustrated with any other kind of purse. I use Organizer Pouches, Pocket Pouches, and sometimes a Side Effect for more organization. The offset buckle of the Cafe Bags means I can reach into the bag for my thermos, sunglasses, pen, hand sanitizer, or reusable bag without having to open the flap or unzip a pocket. I don't EDC my Co-Pilot because it's heavier, and its thicker profile isn't as flat and unobtrusive at my side on buses and ferries/while walking.

    OTOH the Co-Pilot is great for flying -- the Cafe Bags are floppier and don't stand upright, and the non-zippered main compartment means I always feel like I need to check around under the seat to make sure nothing fell out mid-flight. This might also be a consideration if your EDC bag is going to spend a lot of time riding in a car.

  11. #11
    Registered User Jeff A's Avatar
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    I'm so close to ordering a MCB in Nordic Dyneema/Ultraviolet. I absolutely my Black Dyneema/Wasabi Side Effect that just arrived yesterday. Another question about the outside flap. Is it a loose fit when it is clasped shut? Ms. Ferret mentions she can reach into the MCB to grab items. I'm a bit worried that it's a bit loose and small items may fall out. Does Dyneema do a good job of repelling rain or does it get wet quickly? Thanks for the help!

    On a related note before I got into Tom Bihn I purchased a Bed|Stu Trapper John messenger bag. Currently I'm placing my Side Effect, iPad mini, other TB pouches, etc. in this bag when I don't need the bigger Synapse 25. The MCB would effectively replace the Bed|Stu. Also the ability to use the waist strap with the MCB while biking is very tempting!
    Steel-Ultraviolet Western Flyer (rolling-luggage-version) | Black Cordura-Wasabi Synapse 25 | Black Dyneema-Wasabi Side Effect | Aubergine-Wasabi Co-Pilot | Navy-Iberian Co-Pilot | Iberian Travel Tray | Nordic Large Shop Bag | Ultraviolet Travel Stuff Sack Size #2 | Ultraviolet Small Clear Organizer Pouch | Kiwi Q-Kit | Steel Nano Parapack Pouch | Wasabi 3D Organizer Pouch

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    Registered User Jeff A's Avatar
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    This is driving me nuts! I can't decide over the MCB or the Co-Pilot. The Co-Pilot goes up in price on Monday so I have to decide this weekend. I'm worried that the MCB will be a toss-everything-in-the-bag but it's way more relaxed/sling over your shoulder type of EDC bag.

    I'm giving my girlfriend her first Tom Bihn bag tonight (Aubergine/Wasabi Co-Pilot). It's absolutely stunning! Just for fun I packed it full of stuff, including my Side Effect, a few pouches and my iPad Mini. It still had room to spare. A very deceiving bag especially based on how small it is.

    The Pilot is also tempting but that's more of a briefcase-style bag (with the killer Co-Pilot organization) and probably not the best for an all day carry bag. Thoughts?
    Steel-Ultraviolet Western Flyer (rolling-luggage-version) | Black Cordura-Wasabi Synapse 25 | Black Dyneema-Wasabi Side Effect | Aubergine-Wasabi Co-Pilot | Navy-Iberian Co-Pilot | Iberian Travel Tray | Nordic Large Shop Bag | Ultraviolet Travel Stuff Sack Size #2 | Ultraviolet Small Clear Organizer Pouch | Kiwi Q-Kit | Steel Nano Parapack Pouch | Wasabi 3D Organizer Pouch

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    Hi Jeff!

    Is ordering the Co-Pilot and the MCB an option? There are times I want to carry the one, and times I want to carry the other. If I was forced to pick, I would go with the Co-Pilot because i prefer its zippered compartments for when I am traveling. I also think the Co-Pilot allows you to be more lazy with packing your stuff inside of it - it has a lot of organization built in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff A View Post
    This is driving me nuts! I can't decide over the MCB or the Co-Pilot. The Co-Pilot goes up in price on Monday so I have to decide this weekend. I'm worried that the MCB will be a toss-everything-in-the-bag but it's way more relaxed/sling over your shoulder type of EDC bag.

    I'm giving my girlfriend her first Tom Bihn bag tonight (Aubergine/Wasabi Co-Pilot). It's absolutely stunning! Just for fun I packed it full of stuff, including my Side Effect, a few pouches and my iPad Mini. It still had room to spare. A very deceiving bag especially based on how small it is.

    The Pilot is also tempting but that's more of a briefcase-style bag (with the killer Co-Pilot organization) and probably not the best for an all day carry bag. Thoughts?

  14. #14
    Registered User Jeff A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maverick View Post
    Hi Jeff!

    Is ordering the Co-Pilot and the MCB an option? There are times I want to carry the one, and times I want to carry the other. If I was forced to pick, I would go with the Co-Pilot because i prefer its zippered compartments for when I am traveling. I also think the Co-Pilot allows you to be more lazy with packing your stuff inside of it - it has a lot of organization built in.
    I wish I could afford both right now. Wished the Co-Pilot was still offered in Nordic Dyneema. Does the regular Navy have the same awesome sheen to it like the Aubergine? Next: Solar or Iberian on the inside? I have only seen Wasabi interiors. Steel/Ultraviolet also is an option.

    I agree that the built-in organization is incredible and you don't have to rely on extra pouches, even though it's fun to do that, haha! I'm amazed that my iPad mini with Otterbox defender case fits in each main compartment pocket, that's amazing! You can really cram a lot of stuff in the CP.

    Maybe I'll get a MCB in the spring so I can take it with me on more casual trips and use it when biking.
    Steel-Ultraviolet Western Flyer (rolling-luggage-version) | Black Cordura-Wasabi Synapse 25 | Black Dyneema-Wasabi Side Effect | Aubergine-Wasabi Co-Pilot | Navy-Iberian Co-Pilot | Iberian Travel Tray | Nordic Large Shop Bag | Ultraviolet Travel Stuff Sack Size #2 | Ultraviolet Small Clear Organizer Pouch | Kiwi Q-Kit | Steel Nano Parapack Pouch | Wasabi 3D Organizer Pouch

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff A View Post
    I wish I could afford both right now. Wished the Co-Pilot was still offered in Nordic Dyneema. Does the regular Navy have the same awesome sheen to it like the Aubergine? Next: Solar or Iberian on the inside? I have only seen Wasabi interiors. Steel/Ultraviolet also is an option.

    I agree that the built-in organization is incredible and you don't have to rely on extra pouches, even though it's fun to do that, haha! I'm amazed that my iPad mini with Otterbox defender case fits in each main compartment pocket, that's amazing! You can really cram a lot of stuff in the CP.

    Maybe I'll get a MCB in the spring so I can take it with me on more casual trips and use it when biking.
    JeffA- Yes! The ballistic Navy has an incredible sheen to it that is beautiful. The photos do NOT do it justice. The ballistic Navy is my favorite...
    ...and I second maverick, get both when you can. The CP and MCB are both awesome in different ways...

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