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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
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    4

    Pilot or Co-Pilot?

    Hi all,

    There are so many great reads on these forums! I've enjoyed absorbing all of the details. I have my own question, perhaps you all can help out. Do let me know if this has already been discussed, and where I can find that topic.

    I'm planning a trip to Europe in a few months. I've already decided to buy (invest?) in an Aeronaut 45 - I'm done with roller bags.

    My typical travel gear up to now has been a 22" roller and a 27L Eagle Creek backpack. However, I plan to wear the A45 as a backpack, so now I'm considering getting another smaller bag for my personal item on the plane. After reading everyone's great reviews of the Pilot and Co-Pilot, I think I'm sold. My question is... Which one?

    I'm leaning towards the Pilot since I'd like to use the bag as a work briefcase in future (something more formal than my backpack), and it doesn't look like the Co-Pilot will fit a 13" laptop.

    I like the idea of a tad more space, but I'm wondering if it's going to feel too big to carry on my shoulder with the Aeronaut on my back. I'm also wondering about how well it fits under an airplane seat.

    Anyone have any advice? Anything else I should consider when choosing between the two? I should also mention that I've considered alternative bags but I just love the design of the Pilot/Co-Pilot.

    Cheers!
    Last edited by tehoneac; 05-02-2015 at 06:57 AM.

  2. #2
    Forum Member
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    Feb 2015
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    180
    If you're considering dyneema, I think you'll find the CP and the Pilot visually very close in size, due to the fact that a fully packed CP and an under packed pilot sort of "settle" to look very similar. I have the CP and my husband has the Pilot. Both great bags, and you'll want the Pilot for that 13" laptop. Someone else will need to advise if you're more interested in the ballistic, as they are much more structured. I will say that either - in my opinion - is the perfect travel companion to the Aeronaut, and both fit easily under the seat. I find myself tending to carry it by the handle when using the Aeronaut as a backpack, just because it can be less ideal to have two straps over one shoulder, but doable when necessary.
    Pilot or Co-Pilot?-image-jpg

  3. #3
    Forum Member
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    Mar 2015
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    Tampa Bay
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    The Dyneema Pilot might be the most versatile bag Tom Bihn makes. First the Dyneema makes is super light. Much lighter - to me - than the ballistic. I have both and the Dyneema one is the one I reach for first - EVERYTIME. It fits under pretty much any seat and I tend to keep mine upright when flying and have another bag next to it. In the middle pocket I have a 32 oz Hydro Flask that fits in there perfectly. I recently bought an Absolute Strap and I have to admit, it's well worth the money.

    When I'm traveling, once I get to where I'm going, I use my Dyneema Pilot as my carry around bag. I wear mine across my body. It's fantastic because when it's empty - you don't know it's there. No kidding.

    I use my bag everyday to take in this very 13.3 Asus UX305 in to work. I also used the same bag for camera lenses during The Masters as I lugged around that bag all day. I never even knew it was there to be honest.

    I would encourage you to go for the Pilot over the Co-Pilot. I had the same question, and then I saw how small the Pilot was and the fact that it wouldn't hold my computer was a deal breaker for me. Now, the only decision you need to make - Dyneema or Ballistic ? ? ?

  4. #4
    Forum Member marytattoo's Avatar
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    Mar 2015
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    1,488
    Right now I don't think the CP is available in dynema, so that might make your decision easier?

  5. #5
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    May 2015
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    Thanks everyone for the replies, these are great! I especially appreciate the comparison photo from Bijouxandbeads.

    To be honest I wasn't even considering Dyneena since I felt it wasn't quite as professional compared to the black ballistic. But I do have several Dyneema items already and I have to admit the fabric seems really versatile - light, strong, water-repellant. Everything you'd want from a bag like this. Both are offered in Iberian interior too - my choice - because why not make the decision even harder :P



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  6. #6
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    159
    If you ever want to carry a 13" laptop, then go with the Pilot -- it simply won't fit in the Co-Pilot.

    The Pilot is a great bag, and I've never had a problem carrying mine (in Ballistic, not Dyneema) on planes with an Aeronaut 45 over my shoulder or an Aeronaut 30 on my back. It fits just fine under airplane seats, even on smaller commuter planes (in my travel experience).

    Personally, I prefer the slightly smaller size of the Co-Pilot, and recently switched back to the Co-Pilot (also in Ballistic) after buying a new 12" Retina MacBook (which fits in the Co-Pilot just fine). The Co-Pilot holds an amazing amount of stuff, just not any 13" laptops.
    Aeronaut (Original in Hunter Green), Aeronaut 30 (Forest), Smart Alec (Hunter Green), Pilot (Forest), Co-Pilot (Coyote), Synapse 25 (Black Dyneema), Two Large Shop Bags (Iberian and Steel), Passport Pouch (Iberian), Two Travel Trays (Solar stays in the Aeronaut, Iberian stays home), more than a dozen accessories.

  7. #7
    Forum Member
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    Feb 2012
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    Morgantown
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    153
    @BJ Nemeth, does the 12" fit with or without cache? I rarely carry my laptop (11" MBA) but might need to upgrade it for more space come fall (the laptop, not the CP). I'm having a serious infatuation with my CP and would hate to upgrade to a Pilot simply for the rare occasions I need to carry a laptop.

    Actually, down the line I figure I'll need a Pilot in addition to my CP, but that should be awhile yet.

  8. #8
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    Jul 2006
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
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    159
    @jennygoat -- I don't have a TB Cache for the 12" Retina MacBook, but I do have a larger one for the 13" MacBook Air. As a test, I put the 12" MacBook into the larger TB Cache, and folded over the top -- it still fit in my Co-Pilot and was easy to zip closed. (Obviously, a properly sized TB Cache would fit even better.)

    Personally, I think the size of the 12" MacBook is so small that the thickness of the TB Cache becomes substantial compared to the size of the computer. Since I have a Ballistic Co-Pilot, I've opted to try a thinner laptop sleeve that will offer less protection but use less space inside my Co-Pilot.

    If I had a Dyneema Co-Pilot, then I think I would want the additional protection of the TB Cache.
    Aeronaut (Original in Hunter Green), Aeronaut 30 (Forest), Smart Alec (Hunter Green), Pilot (Forest), Co-Pilot (Coyote), Synapse 25 (Black Dyneema), Two Large Shop Bags (Iberian and Steel), Passport Pouch (Iberian), Two Travel Trays (Solar stays in the Aeronaut, Iberian stays home), more than a dozen accessories.

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