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Pilot as Work Bag

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    Pilot as Work Bag

    Hi All,

    I am looking to get some insights on using the Pilot as a work briefcase. I have been using a B&R Small Brief (circa 2015 iteration) for several years. The bag has served me well and I particularly like that there is enough room for me to store work files, especially when I'm flying/traveling to various client sites during the week. However, finding the room to fit in a wireless mouse and laptop charging block has been difficult - the bag ends up looking stuffed once I stack both on top of the laptop in the dedicated laptop sleeve.

    I just received a new work laptop - HP Elitebook 840 G7 - and I have been looking at the Pilot as a potential replacement for a daily work bag. Here are the things I would like to carry in the bag:
    • Laptop - 14" inch
    • Wireless mouse
    • Charging block
    • Manila folder with paperwork (usually no more than 10-20 sheets)
    • Magazine
    • Notepad (letter sized)
    • Memo pad
    • Pen + pencil
    • Water bottle (Nalgene 16 oz HDPE) or coffee mug (Fellow Carter Move mug)
    • Granola bar
    • Additional space for things picked up over the course of a work day
    If you have used the Pilot bag as your work bag, I would appreciate your insights regarding durability, ease of use, spacing constraints, positives/drawbacks, etc.

    Thanks!

    #2
    I used a Pilot as my work bag for a few years and loved it. A Pilot will hold all of the items you list with room to spare. The only exception is the Fellow mug because I don't know the size of the mug. I used an Absolute Shoulder Strap with mine and the bag was never heavy. Material is a matter of preference; I tried both a ballistic and a halcyon Pilot and preferred the halcyon for its flexibility. Both materials are very durable; no worries about either ripping.

    The only reason I stopped using the Pilot for work and went to a Synapse backpack is because I went from a 14" laptop to a 13" and the Pilot was too big for daily use.
    Last edited by Shortie; 10-14-2021, 06:19 PM.

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      #3
      Until the pandemic the Pilot (in Black ballistic) was my primary work bag. Just actually did an in-person work trip for the first time since February '20 and used it, in fact. Everything you mentioned should fit. The middle bottle pocket is fairly wide, and should accommodate all but the super big sized thermoses and mugs. I used a Contigo like this, and I could fit an umbrella next to it if I needed to within that pocket.

      In terms of constraints, I'd say just check the Cache and laptop dimensions in particular. I carried a MacBook Air 13" for the most part, which is a fairly wide laptop for a 13", and it was fine, but I have a 14" Thinkpad and it is a tight squeeze. Usually, I use a large Snake Charmer and tuck that in a front side pocket, or sometimes even in the main compartment, without issue.

      Agree with shortie that the Absolute Shoulder Strap is the way to go, that's how I carry it.

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        #4
        Per the HP website, the dimensions are 12.84" x 9.22" x 0.71". The PIlot dimensions are 15.4" x 11.4" x 5.1" so I'd like to think that even with a thin(ish) sleeve, I should be fine carrying the laptop in the main compartment. The Fellow mug that I have is the 12 oz at 3" diameter x 6.2" tall.

        Fortunately, I have an Absolute Shoulder Strap from a Western Flyer bag that I use for work travel. I bought it thinking I would use it often, but after using it only once, it turned out that I preferred hand carrying the bag while running from gate to gate at airports.

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          #5
          I usually carry a backpack for work but I have used a Pilot.
          Laptop in its own padded sleeve & some paper files in the main compartment; Nalgene water bottle in the center pocket; cords etc. in one side pocket; 3DOC or EC in other pocket.
          Usually I use the mini Op-Tec strap (basically the mini of the Absolute strap)
          I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too! My search unicorn is the Sapphire Dyneema original Small Shop Bag...

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            #6
            Originally posted by nlf View Post
            Hi All,

            I am looking to get some insights on using the Pilot as a work briefcase. I have been using a B&R Small Brief (circa 2015 iteration) for several years. The bag has served me well and I particularly like that there is enough room for me to store work files, especially when I'm flying/traveling to various client sites during the week. However, finding the room to fit in a wireless mouse and laptop charging block has been difficult - the bag ends up looking stuffed once I stack both on top of the laptop in the dedicated laptop sleeve.

            I just received a new work laptop - HP Elitebook 840 G7 - and I have been looking at the Pilot as a potential replacement for a daily work bag. Here are the things I would like to carry in the bag:
            It'll work great for that! Pre-covid I used a halcyon pilot as my briefcase for about 4 years holding a 15" Dell and sometimes also a 15" MBP. The back pocket is great for quick-grab papers, notes & files, the interior pockets great for power bricks, batteries, & cords, and the front pockets great for food, doo-dads, and I especially liked the center pocket for my Yeti.

            My word of warning is the center pocket is lined on the sides with a very water permeable mesh (which is a strange choice IMO for an "umbrella" pocket!) - thus if you put ANYTHING in the center pocket that's wet (like an umbrella) or a water/coffee mug that can leak (like a Yeti with the magnetic top) it'll seep into the adjacent pockets.

            One thing I particularly liked about the halcyon version is it's VERY packable - so, for business trips, I'd typically totally empty the Pilot and line the bottom of my S25 with it for air travel; then, once I got to my hotel, I'd swap out all the stuff in my S25 for the Pilot and now I"m briefcase ready without having a backpack.

            I bet I sold ~20 Pilots / Western Flyers this way because people I'd met in the office with would see me in the airport and ask how the heck I'd packed all my clothes and a briefcase in my WF / S25 setup. At least a few people placed orders right then and there!
            Last edited by GrussGott; 10-15-2021, 09:57 PM.

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              #7
              I might be the only one here who didn’t have a great experience using the Pilot as a briefcase. I had a Coyote 1080 Pilot and used it almost everyday for a year, for office and business travel but have since sold it.

              A few things on the bag didn’t work out for me as a work briefcase - the inability to stand upright, the single handle and it’s ever so slightly taller than the space under the plane seat in front of you that you need to push the top of the bag down a little. I have since switched to another brand and strangely enough, its 11L feels larger than the Pilot’s 13L.

              It does make a good travel bag though - especially the water bottle pocket and it’s very light for all that structure.


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