Original designs. Made in the U.S.A.
@ncb4, I am late to the party, but I do believe you will LOVE your new Pilot. I recently acquired one in black dyneema/Iberian. I am glad I sprung for it.
My first dyneema bag was a steel dyneema/solar Co-Pilot (replaced my beloved black ballistic/Iberian CP) and I never looked back. I replaced it with a Nordic/steel Co-Pilot, which I still have. I appreciate the heavier material of the Nordic. The CP is a great camera bag for me since I do not have a lot of gear. I bought a black dyneema/wasabi CP before the price went up to use as a dedicated camera bag. I use a mini Courierware camera pouch inside my CP. I like this pouch because: it it fits nicely inside a PCSB also. I use the PCSB as a camera bag, instead of my CP, if I am toting my Synapse 19 at the same time.
Lately I have been rotating use of my Co-Pilot, LS or Pilot. I use the Pilot on medical appointment days to carry a folder and a light sweater. I can actually carry the folder and the sweater in the LS, but the LS looks fat. I can also put my sweater inside the CP and the folder in the CP's outside pocket, but I always worry about the folder sliding out of the pocket. I keep my TB wallet, mini OP for cash and other daily bits and bobs in a black dyneema SE which I move to whatever bag I am using for the day.
The outside pocket of my CP and Pilot do gape open. The gaping used to bother me, but I remember that my first CP (black ballistic/iberian) had the same issue. I personally would not mind a Velcro tab that goes over the pocket. Sew the tab to hang from the top seam and make it long enough so it can lay flat inside the pocket behind a big magazine stuffed in it. I only use the outside pocket to stuff a large magazine or similar size item that I don't put inside the bag for whatever reason. At the end of the day, my CP and Pilot serve my needs. I like the 3 separate pockets on the front and the pockets inside the big main compartment. The open outside pocket has been useful for stuffing a magazine, but I do wish it has a tab to keep content secure and also help avoid the "gape" look. One of my shop bags will become a regular resident in this pocket if it were secure.
Instead of a grippy attachment that Tom has pretty much left behind because of the complaint on how noisy it is, why not use a tab with button, like the Swift or Little Swift closure mechanism or snap buttons similar to the Yarn Stuff Sack yarn guide or the 1" Cafe/Ristretto Messenger Stabilizer?
I think a zipper would be more usefull, I understand the convenience of a open back pocket but that usually means a gaping pocket after some time of use. I have experience that in my Cordura Cafe Bags, Cordura being the floppiest of the 2 other exterior TB fabrics I have extensive experience with: Ballistic and Exterior/Travel Dyneema.
If one wants to mitigate the risk of losing Pouches or any items with a handle, a loop or any other attachment point, in a gaping back pocket, one can use a Double Carabiner, the upper part affixed to the bag handle and a Key Strap or an Utility Strap clipped to the other side.
I don't have one but, I think the Handle Loop threaded on the lower Carabiner would be more elegant. One could even use two, one with an O ring and one with a Snaphook.
This need to be investigated further.
My bad - This sentence "I personally would not mind a Velcro tab that goes over the pocket." was supposed to say,
"I personally would not mind a NON-Velcro tab that goes over the pocket."
I agree with backpack - the tab used on the Swift and Little Swift could be adapted for the back pocket of the Pilot and Co-Pilot.
My experience with the Ballistic version is different than yours. The outside pockets on my Ballistic CP and P do not gape: both are tight as a drum (so far).
The gape on my Dyneema Pilot was one reason it took a few weeks for me to warm up to it. With the bag partially packed, the rear pocket would hang open 6 inches or more; with the bag fully packed, though, the gape is much smaller and less troublesome (but I still limit that pocket to nothing more valuable than a magazine).
I really like the boxy, relatively structured feel of the Ballistic CP and P so, as my first Dyneema bag, the Dyneema Pilot ran up against my preconceptions for how it should handle and perform.
Now that I've adjusted those expectations a bit, I'm perfectly happy with it the way it is, even though I suspect I might use the rear pocket a bit more if it had some sort of simple (non-Velcro!) closure.
Current Traveling Companions:
Black Ballistic: Tri-Star (w/Iberian), Co-Pilot (w/Iberian)
Steel Ballistic: Aeronaut30 (w/UV), Pilot (w/UV), Western Flyer (w/Iberian)
Black Dyneema: Synapse25 (w/Wasabi), Pilot (w/Wasabi), Side Effect (w/Wasabi)
Whether it is the ballistic or dyneema versions, I have never used the back pocket for anything valuable. Sometimes I will throw something in that pocket if I am really in a hurry (running for a bus, etc.), but will quickly take it out and put it somewhere more secure as soon as I remember. Aesthetically, I think it would be nicer if it could be secured at the top to close. A zipper or hook & loop closure would do it. However, due to the zipper at the bottom, I still would be cautious about what I put in that pocket.
Please bring back the Portable Culture patch!
I could fit everything I needed in my Co-Pilot, and it wasn't too heavy for me. But once I dedicated that to my cameras as "their" bag, the hunt was on. I hesitated between buying another CP or the larger Pilot. What you wrote in your post assures me that I made the right decision in getting the Pilot. So thanks!
@Walker, @bb93fo57, and other users of the Pilot in 400d Dyneema,
I've enjoyed reading all the responses. I agree that part of preferring the 400d Dyneema version of the Pilot is liking both the lighter weight and the moldability/texture of the Dyneema fabric. I'm going to make a few more non-standard uasage suggestions.
First off, as noted, packing this bag more fully alleviates the tendency to droop or sag, as does using it with a 13" MacBook in a cache with rails. I've already mentioned that carrying an A4-sized plastic file folder box in the back pocket relieves drooping of the back pocket/sagging even when the Pilot is completely empty.
If you are carrying the 400d Dyneema Pilot relatively unfilled, you can insert the Horizontal Freudian Slip into the back compartment, which does away with both the sag and the gaping of the back pocket. This is something that works with the 400d Dyneema version of the Pilot that I would probably not recommend with the Ballistic Nylon version, based on extrapolating my experience with using Ballistic Nylon and 400d Dyneema versions of the Side Effect. (See my pictures and discussion on using the 400d Dyneema Side Effect to hold my iPad Mini in case in the Side Effect is a Good Match to the iPad Mini thread.) In the 400d Dyneema version of the Pilot, the Horizontal Freudian Slip will fit into the back compartment with the top edge under the zippered section and the bottom edge sitting a little forward from the bottom back edge of the back compartment.
Because of the flexibility of the 400d Dyneema, the Horizontal Freudian Slip sits there easily without stressing the bag, and in addition to being able to transport pens, stationary items, and papers in the Horizontal Freudian Slip, you could also, for instance, put clothing items into either the Large Packing Cube for the Pilot, or use the Eagle Creek Large Pack-It Sac. (Nancy and others, for links to all the relevant Eagle Creek Pack-It Sacs, see my reply in the Laptop / briefcase ability in TB luggage thread. I tested the Specter 2 version of the Large Pack-It Sac for the Pilot back compartment. It's possible that using the original (non-Specter) version of the Large Pack-It Sac in the Back Compartment is stiff enough to also keep the Dyneema Pilot from sagging when empty, but I don't have this. The Sil-nylon of the Specter 2 cubes is great for weight conserving, but you have to use the contents to give the Sacs or cubes in Sil-nylon their shape, whereas the TB packing cubes provide more structure when not fully packed. The small Pack-It Sac in the set of 3 Specter 2 Sacs is a good fit to either of the front pockets of the Pilot, and the triangular clip attaches easily to the o-rings there, but again, you may want something more structured than the Sil-nylon)
Using the Horizontal Freudian Slip as an organizer for medical records and pens, etc. with either the Eagle Creek Pack-It Sacs or the Large Pilot Packing Cube for clothing could be a convenient combination for medical/physical therapy appointments. I suspect that the Freudian Slip works less gracefully with the Ballistic Nylon version of the Pilot, both because seaming at the top of the top of the bag is stiffer and because the lack of give in the Fabric and the more fixed shape will not allow you to insert the Horizontal Freudian Slip without stressing it. someone who has both slip and Ballistic Nylon version of the Pilot could do more testing, but from reading earlier comments, this combination might not work well in the Ballistic Nylon Pilot.
Can anyone point me to a photo of a Black Dyneema Co-Pilot/Pilot? thread, this Pilot is Black Dyneema/Wasabi. (I know, wishful thinking about the Iberian! )
Swift and Little Swift thread. Those Levenger Briefcase Folders also fit inside the Co-Pilot, but they haven't sold them since late 2008/early 2009. (Just as well that all the ones I purchased back to 2004 are still holding up.)
I think that if Tom designed a Freudian Slip that would fit in the Pilot, using that would also alleviate floppiness and pocket sagging. As it is, there are a number of items that I use with the Pilot that take care of this issue. For example, if I'm traveling and want use the original Breve for iPad to carry iPad, power brick, and accessories, that bag in the back compartment also immediately alleviates the sag/droop issues (and can be secured with a handle loop and Double Carabiner through the loops for the cache on rails to easily swing out.)
HTH. Just my thoughts. YMMV. I do find the 400d Dyneema version a convenient design for me, and more packable as a personal item Than the Ballistic Nylon version would be. I'll probably order the Ballistic Nylon version if it is released in Aubergine.
Last edited by moriond; 04-27-2014 at 10:52 AM.