View Full Version : When did Co-Pilot zipper change occur?

05-20-2015, 08:50 AM
Hey all,

Loving my recently acquired Pilot.

Considering acquiring a Co-Pilot for some Medical equipment as I love the Pilot layout.

I was doing some browsing of Tom Bihn photos (as we all do - there aren't enough!) and I noticed the Co-Pilot once had a "covered" zipper.

I'm unfamiliar with the YKK craze, nor the benefits or downfalls of this system, but It did look much more water repellent.

Can anyone educate me with the differences between the two, or direct me to a blog post?

Basically the images now show a heavy duty zipper, the old was a zipper with a plastic sheath.


05-20-2015, 10:02 AM
The "new zippers" are just the "old zippers" flipped around. There were some problems with the older style zippers showing wear when the water resistant layer was on the outside so TB decided to change the zippers to a more traditional layout with the teeth showing. Since it's the same zipper, just sewn in the other direction the water repellent abilities of the zippers should not be affected. I don't know when the change hit the co-pilots but I think we can expect all bags to change this way if they haven't already.

05-20-2015, 10:14 AM
@jess explained it well.
If you have a look at your Pilot's zippers "from the inside" you should see the look you saw on the photos on the outside of the bags. (I can see the shiny, water repellent zipper side on the inside of mine).

05-20-2015, 11:45 AM
From what I recall:

The new zipper orientation (right side up with the teeth showing) started with the Pilot. The reasoning and benefits were described by Darcy in an introductory post:

Pilot Intro (http://forums.tombihn.com/general-bag-discussion/6954-new-pilot-available-pre-order-january-2014-a-8.html#post56699)

Here is a good comparison shot of the two types of zipper orientation (front bag is a Co-Pilot with the older reversed zippers and the back bag is the Pilot with the new zipper orientation) - thanks @gochicken for posting this picture!


From what I read, the Pilot was the first to get the new zipper orientation (and has only ever been made with the new zipper orientation) and the Co-Pilot received the new zipper orientation sometime in Feb 2014 if I read @Darcy's post response to @Walker 's question and @Drbob's observation correctly:

Ordering Co-Pilot with new Zippers Question (http://forums.tombihn.com/general-bag-discussion/6954-new-pilot-available-pre-order-january-2014-a-20.html#post57903)

DRbob Notices Co-Pilot new Zippers! (http://forums.tombihn.com/general-bag-discussion/6954-new-pilot-available-pre-order-january-2014-a-28.html#post58737)

IMHO opinion, the new zipper pulls are a bit more aesthetically durable (in the older style, the exposed rubber - note not plastic - sheath can wear with exposure to UV and rough zippering but not impact water resistance). However, the new zippers are harder to pull. Of course, the old zippers are more "stealthy" which I like. I did a post a while back on this if it is of any use:

Zipper Change Discussion (http://forums.tombihn.com/questions-about-bags/8597-zipper-questions-synapse-25-a-post82367.html#post82367)

As always, I defer to @moriond as she is the "the source" :)

Hope this Helps


05-20-2015, 01:05 PM
As always, I defer to @moriond as she is the "the source" :)

Hope this Helps

Wow! @tpnl has pretty much nailed this answer, and inserted the main thread links I would have referenced, including the explanatory post that Darcy gave about the reason for switching to the new zipper design in her post introducing the Pilot. A few more details as to when this all happened. As @tpnl summarized, the switch over to the "reversed" zippers was planned for a while, but first showed up in the release of the Pilot (very end of January 2014, with most people receiving the first pre-orders at the beginning of February.) It was also accompanied by a switch from using small, black anodized zipper tabs and heads to using larger zipper tabs in silvery, gun metal grey, and these changes showed up almost immediately in the production of the new Side Effects in February 2014.

In @taminca's 13 February 2014 thread titled Something's different on the Side Effect (http://forums.tombihn.com/thoughts-tom-bihn-bags/7181-somethings-different-side-effect.html), pictures show the new, more prominent, gun metal grey zipper tabs and zipper head standing out more prominently against the black zipper teeth. This thread is interesting reading because Darcy posted a number of explanations of the changes they were planning, and how they were also planning to offer different color cord zipper pulls (http://www.tombihn.com/blog/cordcolorsknots), which were indeed part of the November 28 accessory debuts, and the March 10, 2015 introduction of Ultraviolet Cord Pulls. (http://www.tombihn.com/blog/accessory-debuts-small-q-kit-luggage-tag-more)

The tabs replaced the earlier black cord pulls used on the Side Effect and the Synapse, although for the Synapse 25, the transition to the new zipper design took place in early November 2014. You can see some pictures of the differences in the pictures shown in my post (http://forums.tombihn.com/questions-about-bags/8822-difference-between-old-new-zippers-s25-post86271.html#post86271) (#4) in The difference between old and new zippers S25 (The difference between old and new zippers S25 http://forums.tombihn.com/questions-about-bags/8822-difference-between-old-new-zippers-s25.html) thread, which offers yet another explanation of these zipper changes, if you want to supplement the excellent links @tpnl has already given.

The larger gun metal grey tabs replacing small black zipper tabs and heads hit the Little Swift zippers around the beginning of March 2014, and they also stopped anodizing the button closure on those bags. The switch to the silver zipper heads and tabs is probably most noticeable against Dyneema bags (especially Black 400d Dyneema), where they stand out more prominently against the fabric and the black zipper teeth.

For the Co-Pilot line, I think the switch to the new zippers happened around mid-to-late March 2014. It's noticeable that the zippers on the Nordic/Solar Co-Pilots offered for pre-order then, and shipped in early April 2014, are reversed with respect to the earlier Nordic/Steel Co-Pilots. A second, visible difference in the new design is that parallel lines of black stitching appear on either side of the zipper, showing up on the outside of the bag. If you examine the region to either side of the front water bottle pocket opening of Pilot or Co-Pilot, you'll see this clearly, for example. Again, this stitching is more obvious against the Dyneema fabric bags than against the solid color Ballistic Nylon.

Functionally, I have no problems with either zipper on the Co-Pilot. I actually find the older zipper styles a bit easier to open and close on the Co-Pilot and other bags. The Pilot uses heavier duty zippers, and is generally harder to open and close one-handed than the Co-Pilot. Also, not all bags and accessories that use the lighter weight zippers have the larger gun-metal grey zipper heads and tabs: the portable Daylight Briefcase and Packing Cube Shoulder Bags have the older, smaller zipper tabs (and are also easy to open and close one-handed).



05-20-2015, 01:48 PM
Thank you all so much!