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Chicagoan Reviews His Favorite Bag: The Co-Pilot

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    Chicagoan Reviews His Favorite Bag: The Co-Pilot

    Let me first give you a small bit of background about myself before I shift focus to the bag I'm reviewing:

    I commute by car to a seated office job on weekdays, I come home to a suburban apartment where I park my car in a lot (and need to access my keys three times before I’m back inside my unit), and most my travel consists of weekend overnight trips reached by car where I stay at places without elevators and televisions (so I hand carry all my luggage and often pack my own snacks and entertainment).

    My packing style traveling by plane or car is the exact same as when I go backpack hiking: small items I need to access quickly and often are kept in a smaller bag on my front side, and larger items I don't need until I reach my destination are kept in a larger bag I carry on my back.

    Before discovering Tom Bihn, I didn't carry much on me: keys in my front pocket, a wallet in one back pocket, and my phone in the other pocket. I became interested in photography, and wanted a bag I could carry both a camera and all the aforementioned items, so in 2017, after a LOT of internet research, I settled on buying and using a Side Kick, tested it on a family summer vacation to Disney World, and became sold on not only the product, but the brand. I carried a Side Kick as my EDC (every day carry) for five years and until 2022, when I switched full-time to carrying a Co-Pilot.

    So how did another bag unseat one I had been using for half a decade?

    Let's get right into it.​

    This is a review of my favorite bag and the one I use most often: the Co-Pilot.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	75260B31-A82A-498D-9D71-FA2721D76672.jpg Views:	0 Size:	5.44 MB ID:	342904

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    This one is Ursa 525 Ballistic/Dawn 210 Ballistic and was purchased in January of this year (2022).

    I've used it every day since, and not only at work and home, but out to the store, along to the campground, and even wading through waist-deep creeks while out hiking. When I say "it comes with me everywhere," that's not one bit an overstatement.

    The ballistic fabric is both sturdy and supple - it helps keep the bag standing without support, but also breaks in like a baseball glove and will conform to your hip instead of resting flat atop it. It also sheds pet hair like Teflon! We've not one, but three cats at home, and pet hair brushes right off without the need for a lint roller.

    The brown color is a favorite. I generally don't buy black or gray bags and prefer the darker neutral colors like Ursa, Coyote, or Deep Blue. They transition seamlessly from professional to casual settings and the darker colors don't show wear or dirt as much as the lighter fabrics.

    Here's what I carry on a daily basis:

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    Front Center Pocket: bottled water.

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    Front Right Pocket: organizer pouch (contains primary car key fob, ID, cash, cards, door key, finger bandages, lens wipes, spare pair of contact lenses), key strap, swiss army knife, sunglasses.

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    Front Left Pocket: 4 multicolor ballpoint pens, key strap with house and work keys, secondary car key fob.

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    Main Compartment: small, medium, and large power banks.

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    Back Left Inside Pocket: vaccination card, digital camera inside soft-sided case (also contains spare memory card and spare camera battery).

    Back Right Inside Pocket: lip balm, rewetting drops for contact lenses, sodium bicarbonate tablets ("Tums"), short lightning-to-USB cord, medium micro USB-to-USB cord, long lightning-to-USB cord, wall plug charger, pocket comb.

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    Even with all that stuff inside, there's still plenty of room left over!

    When I travel by plane, I'll use the extra room inside the main compartment for a tablet, charger, pill box, and my quart-sized liquid toiletry bag.

    I only own hand-carry luggage, so I always keep the bottom of the back outside pocket zipped, and most often, it's where I'll tuck my smartphone on my way into or out of a building (leaving home, work, etc.) where I can quickly grab it once I get back in the car or house.

    The shoulder strap is NOT the stock "Standard Strap." When I order a new Co-Pilot (yes, I have more than one!) I always include a note in my order to substitute the Simple Strap. Why? I like the grips on the bottom side of the shoulder pad, because I wear winter coats with a slippery nylon outer shell and it helps keep the shoulder strap from slipping off. It's also a lot more packable and when I set it down on a desk, I'll loosely fold the shoulder strap and tuck it into the back outside pocket to keep it from dangling.

    Why do I like this bag so much?

    It carries crossbody - everything is always in front of me where it's easy to see and grab.

    All compartments open from the top, which keeps items from falling out, so I can carry the bag around unzipped. The top side access (combined with the crossbody carry style) also helps make things easy to find and access, and allows you to organize the contents in a way that you don't have to move or remove one item to access another, and can keep the contents inside the bag so you don't risk forgetting something you removed and leaving it behind.

    Closes with zippers, and offers more weather protection than zipperless bags that close with a top flap (like the Cafe and Maker's Bags), but offers easier access than bags with a built in flap over the zipper (like the Paragon, or the Le Petit and Grand Derriere bags). The newer RC (racquet coil) zippers are an improvement upon the old Aquaguard zippers, and are better able to navigate the right angle closure of the front left and right compartments. They're easier and quicker to open, which is helpful for weatherproofing against rain or snow, as well as securing the contents prior to stashing the bag under a plane seat before a flight.

    O-rings inside both the left and right front pockets allow me to clip my keys and wallet someplace I can reach them without removing the bag. I wouldn’t carry a bag every day if I had to first take it off to get either my keys or wallet, so it's super important to my EDC requirements to have easy access to both.

    The bag is self-supporting and can stand up on its own, so not only does it keep my belongings visible and accessible while I'm wearing it, but I can set it down atop my desk at work and have easy access to the contents while I'm seated. I appreciate this most when using the bag as a personal item on flights, because I can remain buckled in my seat but still able to get anything I need from my bag without rummaging through it blindly or having to dump out the contents.

    Unlike the Pilot, the main compartment's pockets are sewn onto the back - not the front - side of the main compartment, which keeps the bag resting against the wearer's body, instead of tipping it forward and away from them. I still don't understand why Tom Bihn doesn't mirror this layout on the full-size Pilot, because even filling these pockets, I still have plenty of room to fit not only a small tablet computer, but even my quart-size ziploc bag of toiletries.

    The main compartments are generously gusseted, so when you need more organization, you can utilize the two large pockets inside the main compartment, but when you need more volume, they easily compress flat against the back of the compartment and allow you to utilize the larger volume.

    It's sturdy, too. I don't try to abuse my bags, but I also don't baby them, and even after 9 straight months of daily use, the only visible wear is some light fraying along the urethane-coated backing on the Aquaguard zipper tracks (which TB has confirmed is just part of the bag's "breaking in" process and won't obstruct the path of the zippers).

    I really don't have any recommendations when it comes to places the bag could be improved, other than making more colors than they do presently (like Coyote!). I think it might revitalize interest in older "classic" designs if they were to be made in colors and combinations they had not been prior.

    I'm sure there's something I might have left out but ask me any questions you might have, and I can comment on this post with answers to build upon the review!
    Last edited by Chicagoan; 09-21-2022, 07:27 AM.
    I own a LOT of Tom Bihn bags, but here are the ones I'm using right now:
    Everyday Carry: Cambiata
    Hiking Daypack: ADX31

    Car and Plane Travel: CP, TS, and SZTSB

    #2
    Thanks for the review and write-up of your carry inventory! :)

    My "coffee shop work bag" is a Medium Cafe Bag which I use to carry my iPad Pro in its keyboard case and with a collapsible easel stand in the main compartment, with a mini ghostwhale pouch clipped and tucked into one pocket with a small USBC wall charger and a couple USB-C/Lightning cables inside. In the front zipper pocket I carry my micromini-pouch first aid kit plus whatever other items I'm carrying like my AirPods, an Anker battery charger, etc., and I can tuck an E-reader or notepad or something else in the back pocket.

    I do also have a Co-Pilot, though, and I've used it a few times when I'm traveling and need just a little more space or security. The iPad Pro just fits in the main compartment, the ghost whale pouches clip into either side front compartment, and there's plenty of room to fit a few other travel items and keep them all zipped securely when running around an airport or tossing bags into a car. So even though i don't use it daily like you, I'm glad to have it. :)
    ---
    My Bags: Burnt Orange Medium Cafe BagSide Kick Luminary 15Co-Pilot Aeronaut 30
    Canary Large Shop Bag Dawn Large Shop BagAubergine Everyday Cubelet
    With: Island Packing CubesTravel Tray Cubelet Dawn Wallet

    Comment


      #3
      Fantastic review/use case. The CP was my first TB bag and I’m using it right now as my carry-on/day-carry bag for a 2-week trip in Italy. If you told me I could keep just one of my TB bags and I had 10 seconds to decide which, I’d probably pick my CP.

      Having said that, whenever I use it extensively I’m reminded of what I don’t like about it and what you seem to have conquered: lack of visibility and quick accessibility. These are hurdles I find the Pilot — with a bit more room — doesn’t present.

      On visibility, I am constantly hunting through my CP on this trip for where I put my wallet, my passport, the overnight flight meds, the beard comb, etc. It’s easy to fill and damn easy to crowd because it is so compact and has so many deep storage options into which small things can sink and disappear. After reading your review, I’m thinking the CP benefits mightily from a) using it frequently (so you develop a system) and b) using TB ancillary storage products clipped to the CP’s O-rings to execute that system. It’s not a pick-up-stuff-and-go bag like some others — it requires forethought, especially if you’re stuffing a book, a notebook, a planner etc in there.

      On quick accessibility — like you, I do love being able to swing it quickly to my front a la a sling when worn crossbody. But again, the pockets and compartments are just too tight for me to pull things out of quickly—especially if I’m carrying a tablet, a book, a notebook, pens. My Olympus OM-D E-M10 lives in the front right pocket on travel, but even with a pancake lens that small camera takes some time to pry out of there.

      I can conquer all this with a Pilot. But I don’t want to carry a Pilot around on travel, because it looks like what it is so beautifully: a briefcase. Maybe I need to get over that.

      Questions for you:

      - Is there stuff you’ve just decided is not coming along — either EDC or for travel — because of the constraints of the CP?
      - Do you worry about the Racquet Coil zippers as a security risk on travel? It’s funny — I do like the resistance of the Aquaguard zippers; they give me confidence using the bag on trips that I’ll feel anyone trying to get them open long before they actually get inside…

      Many thanks again for sharing your thoughts on a bag I love and want to use more.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Cooner View Post
        Thanks for the review and write-up of your carry inventory! :)

        My "coffee shop work bag" is a Medium Cafe Bag which I use to carry my iPad Pro in its keyboard case and with a collapsible easel stand in the main compartment, with a mini ghostwhale pouch clipped and tucked into one pocket with a small USBC wall charger and a couple USB-C/Lightning cables inside. In the front zipper pocket I carry my micromini-pouch first aid kit plus whatever other items I'm carrying like my AirPods, an Anker battery charger, etc., and I can tuck an E-reader or notepad or something else in the back pocket.

        I do also have a Co-Pilot, though, and I've used it a few times when I'm traveling and need just a little more space or security. The iPad Pro just fits in the main compartment, the ghost whale pouches clip into either side front compartment, and there's plenty of room to fit a few other travel items and keep them all zipped securely when running around an airport or tossing bags into a car. So even though i don't use it daily like you, I'm glad to have it. :)
        Thanks for the kind words, and for sharing your own experience with the same bag, Cooner! It's always fascinating to hear how differently people can use the same bag.

        My biggest gripes with the general design of the Cafe Bags were:

        1.) flap closure,

        2.) lack of organization in the large main compartment, and

        3.) the only practical place for a wallet and keys to clip in was the zippered front pocket which requires unbuckling the flap to access.

        I use a Microsoft Surface Go as my "travel computer" and it actually fits well inside the main compartment of the CP.

        I've not been a fan of the GWOPs - they just don't function well as a wallet because you either have to unzip just the top, and let the contents slide out, or fully unzip the pouch on two sides, which make it even easier for items to spill out. Problematic at home, and even more problematic when out at a store, or on a plane. I do use one, though - it holds a basic first aid kit I carry when backpacking.
        I own a LOT of Tom Bihn bags, but here are the ones I'm using right now:
        Everyday Carry: Cambiata
        Hiking Daypack: ADX31

        Car and Plane Travel: CP, TS, and SZTSB

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by PilotIsMyCoPilot View Post
          Fantastic review/use case. The CP was my first TB bag and I’m using it right now as my carry-on/day-carry bag for a 2-week trip in Italy. If you told me I could keep just one of my TB bags and I had 10 seconds to decide which, I’d probably pick my CP.

          Having said that, whenever I use it extensively I’m reminded of what I don’t like about it and what you seem to have conquered: lack of visibility and quick accessibility. These are hurdles I find the Pilot — with a bit more room — doesn’t present.

          On visibility, I am constantly hunting through my CP on this trip for where I put my wallet, my passport, the overnight flight meds, the beard comb, etc. It’s easy to fill and damn easy to crowd because it is so compact and has so many deep storage options into which small things can sink and disappear. After reading your review, I’m thinking the CP benefits mightily from a) using it frequently (so you develop a system) and b) using TB ancillary storage products clipped to the CP’s O-rings to execute that system. It’s not a pick-up-stuff-and-go bag like some others — it requires forethought, especially if you’re stuffing a book, a notebook, a planner etc in there.

          On quick accessibility — like you, I do love being able to swing it quickly to my front a la a sling when worn crossbody. But again, the pockets and compartments are just too tight for me to pull things out of quickly—especially if I’m carrying a tablet, a book, a notebook, pens. My Olympus OM-D E-M10 lives in the front right pocket on travel, but even with a pancake lens that small camera takes some time to pry out of there.

          I can conquer all this with a Pilot. But I don’t want to carry a Pilot around on travel, because it looks like what it is so beautifully: a briefcase. Maybe I need to get over that.

          Questions for you:

          - Is there stuff you’ve just decided is not coming along — either EDC or for travel — because of the constraints of the CP?
          - Do you worry about the Racquet Coil zippers as a security risk on travel? It’s funny — I do like the resistance of the Aquaguard zippers; they give me confidence using the bag on trips that I’ll feel anyone trying to get them open long before they actually get inside…

          Many thanks again for sharing your thoughts on a bag I love and want to use more.
          Thanks, @PilotIsMyCoPilot!

          1.) Does using this bag prevent me from carrying items? Not at all.

          I can fit all the EDC items pictured, plus a tablet, two-week pillbox, quart-sized toiletry bag, and a 3DOC with cables and chargers. If it fit a basic change of clothes (underwear, socks, and shirt) it would literally be the perfect bag for me.

          So why don't I get a Pilot?

          Because the 2 interior pockets work MUCH better sewn against the back panel of the main compartment. I bought and test-packed a Pilot, and found that the bag tips away from me because of the inside pocket locations, and it makes carrying the bag around unzipped much more precarious.

          However, if they made the Pilots exactly like they make the CPs, I'd buy one in a heartbeat, because the extra capacity would finally allow me to use it as an overnight bag.

          I will add...if I'm flying, and want to maximize on the amount I can carry between a "personal item" size bag and a "carry on" size bag, I might take an SN22 over the CP so I can carry as much as possible (assuming I'll bring home a souvenir or two). I don't ever check a bag when flying, so it is important that I'm able to fit everything I pack (and bring home) between the two bags I'm allowed onboard.

          2.) If I'm going to carry the bag through a crowded area, I'll swing it across the front of my body (not behind me, not at my side and against my hip, but literally in front of me) and keep all the compartments fully zipped. I rely much more on where I wear my bag (and not how well I keep it zipped or even locked shut) to keep my bags secure.​
          Last edited by Chicagoan; 09-21-2022, 11:38 AM.
          I own a LOT of Tom Bihn bags, but here are the ones I'm using right now:
          Everyday Carry: Cambiata
          Hiking Daypack: ADX31

          Car and Plane Travel: CP, TS, and SZTSB

          Comment


            #6
            Cheers on a thoughtful review! The Pilot and Co-Pilot are two bags I've never really understood - I've seen that lots of people really, really love them, but when I think about how I myself would use them, it just comes up "???". Part of that is that I'm just not naturalized to crossbody bag carry, I suppose. I bought an old Ristretto on eBay earlier this year that I'll be trying out soon (now that I've got the ultrasuede shoulder strap wrap attached). I also commute to work by car, at least on the days I go to the office, and outside of my mechanical keyboard and food tupperware, I think I could get a spring/summer daily loadout to fit in a bag like that. Reading your review gives me some insight into what's cool about those two bags, and how they can be used in a versatile way.

            The Pilot and CP seem to have been designed foremost as air travel "personal item" bags, and I've always thought, "Well, I never really have to fly for work, so I doubt it would be worth splashing out for something expressly made for that," but it's cool to see you've taken the CP's strengths and flexed it into a daily carry bag for you. How much does your daily packed-out CP weigh? I've read from longtime cross-body/shoulder-carry bag users that it takes its toll on the muscles after a while if there's any real weight to it, and you're using the simple strap, which doesn't have much in the way of padding. Since you even take your CP on day hikes, I figure if there was some amount of discomfort, you'd be well aware of it.

            I've gotta ask, though...what's up with the four four-color pens? That's like...carrying sixteen pens' worth of ink!
            Last edited by ittoujuu; 09-21-2022, 11:44 AM.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by ittoujuu View Post
              Cheers on a thoughtful review! The Pilot and Co-Pilot are two bags I've never really understood - I've seen that lots of people really, really love them, but when I think about how I myself would use them, it just comes up "???". Part of that is that I'm just not naturalized to crossbody bag carry, I suppose. I bought an old Ristretto on eBay earlier this year that I'll be trying out soon (now that I've got the ultrasuede shoulder strap wrap attached). I also commute to work by car, at least on the days I go to the office, and outside of my mechanical keyboard and food tupperware, I think I could get a spring/summer daily loadout to fit in a bag like that. Reading your review gives me some insight into what's cool about those two bags, and how they can be used in a versatile way.

              The Pilot and CP seem to have been designed foremost as air travel "personal item" bags, and I've always thought, "Well, I never really have to fly for work, so I doubt it would be worth splashing out for something expressly made for that," but it's cool to see you've taken the CP's strengths and flexed it into a daily carry bag for you. How much does your daily packed-out CP weigh? I've read from longtime cross-body/shoulder-carry bag users that it takes its toll on the muscles after a while if there's any real weight to it, and you're using the simple strap, which doesn't have much in the way of padding. Since you even take your CP on day hikes, I figure if there was some amount of discomfort, you'd be well aware of it.

              I've gotta ask, though...what's up with the four four-color pens? That's like...carrying sixteen pens' worth of ink!
              Thanks, @ittoujuu!

              Ironically the place I use this bag least often is on an airplane!

              If I'm lucky, we take one family summer vacation that requires round trip airfare, and that's the one time a year I fly. This year we actually flew twice, but that's an exception, and not a regular thing. I carried the CP as my personal item on both trips.

              But given how little I fly, I don't really ever think of it as a bag specifically for plane travel.

              Interesting you bring up the issues of weight and shoulder strain. I used to carry a Side Kick, which has a 1" wide strap, and you do hit a point with that bag where it becomes to painful to overload because the narrow strap isn’t wide enough an area to comfortably redistribute the weight.

              Most of the carried weight comes from the camera, three power banks, and bottle of water. If it weren't for those, it would weigh very little (I was amazed at how light the empty bag was when I was taking pictures last night).

              The Simple Strap is plenty comfortable enough for me, at least carrying the amount I do currently. When I'm wearing a tank top, I will slide the hard rubber shoulder pad down the strap so it doesn't irritate my skin or leave marks.

              But it has helped me to shift my items from the SK into the CP, where there's more bad and more strap to help disperse the weight. And since I do carry this every day and everywhere I go (formal events are the only times I don't!) I guess I'm just used to the weight at this point.

              Ha!

              Yeah, the pens. It's not a flex, because, why?

              But yeah, four's a lot.

              My day job is working as an architectural designer (I design commercial roofing insulation systems) and I like 4-color pens because I can use 1 pen to make 4 different types of notes on the same page. It's helpful in the office, but really helpful when I have to go out to a job site and survey a rooftop, because I can't be fumbling with four different pens when I'm several (or dozens) of stories above the ground.

              It's also nice to know if one color goes dry, I've got three others to use.

              And if you carry four of them, it's like carrying 16 regular pens. Your math checks out. ;-)
              Last edited by Chicagoan; 09-21-2022, 01:55 PM.
              I own a LOT of Tom Bihn bags, but here are the ones I'm using right now:
              Everyday Carry: Cambiata
              Hiking Daypack: ADX31

              Car and Plane Travel: CP, TS, and SZTSB

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Chicagoan View Post
                Thanks for the kind words, and for sharing your own experience with the same bag, Cooner! It's always fascinating to hear how differently people can use the same bag.

                My biggest gripes with the general design of the Cafe Bags were:

                1.) flap closure,

                2.) lack of organization in the large main compartment, and

                3.) the only practical place for a wallet and keys to clip in was the zippered front pocket which requires unbuckling the flap to access.

                I use a Microsoft Surface Go as my "travel computer" and it actually fits well inside the main compartment of the CP.

                I've not been a fan of the GWOPs - they just don't function well as a wallet because you either have to unzip just the top, and let the contents slide out, or fully unzip the pouch on two sides, which make it even easier for items to spill out. Problematic at home, and even more problematic when out at a store, or on a plane. I do use one, though - it holds a basic first aid kit I carry when backpacking.
                Very welcome! Absolutely, different bags for different folks, it's fun to compare. :)

                Interestingly, the reason I ended up with a MCB (and it was the first Tom Bihn bag I planned to order, although I got it much later because it was in a pre-order run) was mostly aesthetic … Some time ago I'd determined that, for whatever reason -- probably my casual, queer, artistic, slightly Bohemian self-image exerting itself as I get older -- I was absolutely done with having a coffee shop bag that looked anything remotely like a business briefcase or black nylon laptop bag with visible zippers and pockets everywhere. I used a couple cheap tan or coffee-colored canvas backpacks and shoulder packs for awhile, but they were a bit t0o small height and width-wise and too bulky thick-wise. For the few items I carry, I don't need a lot of internal organization, and the 3" thickness of the MCB is just about perfect … and it just LOOKS more like an artsy shoulder bag than a laptop/tablet carry case. I will say, I do like the burnt orange color, but if TB ever released one in a natural-color hemp-style canvas material, I'd probably jump on that. :)

                Also, I still tend to rely on my pants pockets -- keys and TB wallet in my front right pocket, cel phone in my left front pocket -- force of habit after so many decades, so I don't need space for them in my bag. :)

                And as for the flap, I can see why a lot of people wouldn't like that. In my case though I'm actually glad that it's JUST a flap … the last few bags I had tried to incorporate zipper pockets onto the pouch, so they were way too bulky when empty, and flopped around heavily and dangerously when I stored anything in them.

                I imagine an MS Surface is probably similar in size and thickness to an iPad Pro, and yeah -- it's a great travel computer and it fits very well in the CP. While I prefer the MCP for local trips to the coffeehouse for the afternoon, the CP was very handy when traveling a few times now.

                Hmmm, GWOPs … I couldn't see using one as a wallet, no. My "charge pouch" (which bounces between my CP, MCB, or SK depending on which I'm carrying) has a very short USBC-MicroUSB cable and a short USBC-Lightning cable folded up and stuffed in the very bottom, and a very small 20W USBC charger with a collapsible plug with a longer USBC-USBC cable wrapped around it, which takes up most of the space in the mini-GWOP. It holds everything well enough and I like that I can move it from bag to bag and it'll cover pretty much any device I have on my in a pinch. I also have a first aid mesh supermini-GWOP in the front pocket that holds a couple vials of Tylenol/Ibuprofen, a couple band-aids, and a couple packets of hand sanitizer and antibiotic ointment. I'll sometimes tether my AirPods in a micromini pouch just so I don't lose track of them.

                Anyway, enough rambling for now … Yeah, fun to compare notes. :D
                ---
                My Bags: Burnt Orange Medium Cafe BagSide Kick Luminary 15Co-Pilot Aeronaut 30
                Canary Large Shop Bag Dawn Large Shop BagAubergine Everyday Cubelet
                With: Island Packing CubesTravel Tray Cubelet Dawn Wallet

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Cooner View Post

                  Very welcome! Absolutely, different bags for different folks, it's fun to compare. :)

                  Interestingly, the reason I ended up with a MCB (and it was the first Tom Bihn bag I planned to order, although I got it much later because it was in a pre-order run) was mostly aesthetic … Some time ago I'd determined that, for whatever reason -- probably my casual, queer, artistic, slightly Bohemian self-image exerting itself as I get older -- I was absolutely done with having a coffee shop bag that looked anything remotely like a business briefcase or black nylon laptop bag with visible zippers and pockets everywhere. I used a couple cheap tan or coffee-colored canvas backpacks and shoulder packs for awhile, but they were a bit t0o small height and width-wise and too bulky thick-wise. For the few items I carry, I don't need a lot of internal organization, and the 3" thickness of the MCB is just about perfect … and it just LOOKS more like an artsy shoulder bag than a laptop/tablet carry case. I will say, I do like the burnt orange color, but if TB ever released one in a natural-color hemp-style canvas material, I'd probably jump on that. :)

                  Also, I still tend to rely on my pants pockets -- keys and TB wallet in my front right pocket, cel phone in my left front pocket -- force of habit after so many decades, so I don't need space for them in my bag. :)

                  And as for the flap, I can see why a lot of people wouldn't like that. In my case though I'm actually glad that it's JUST a flap … the last few bags I had tried to incorporate zipper pockets onto the pouch, so they were way too bulky when empty, and flopped around heavily and dangerously when I stored anything in them.

                  I imagine an MS Surface is probably similar in size and thickness to an iPad Pro, and yeah -- it's a great travel computer and it fits very well in the CP. While I prefer the MCP for local trips to the coffeehouse for the afternoon, the CP was very handy when traveling a few times now.

                  Hmmm, GWOPs … I couldn't see using one as a wallet, no. My "charge pouch" (which bounces between my CP, MCB, or SK depending on which I'm carrying) has a very short USBC-MicroUSB cable and a short USBC-Lightning cable folded up and stuffed in the very bottom, and a very small 20W USBC charger with a collapsible plug with a longer USBC-USBC cable wrapped around it, which takes up most of the space in the mini-GWOP. It holds everything well enough and I like that I can move it from bag to bag and it'll cover pretty much any device I have on my in a pinch. I also have a first aid mesh supermini-GWOP in the front pocket that holds a couple vials of Tylenol/Ibuprofen, a couple band-aids, and a couple packets of hand sanitizer and antibiotic ointment. I'll sometimes tether my AirPods in a micromini pouch just so I don't lose track of them.

                  Anyway, enough rambling for now … Yeah, fun to compare notes. :D
                  I actually love the MB, but I'm a fussbudget about the TB hang tags and it's sewn into the MB in such a way it frays with very little use. So that bag wound up being sold on eBay. It was a little large, but I was able to take it with me once on a business overnight and not have to carry any other bags.

                  Fun fact: I don't put anything in my pants pockets. That's a good deal of the reason why I always carry a bag on me.

                  The other? I'm quickly learning that it's very likely I have adult ADHD and it makes my life a lot easier to stick to the routine of keeping all my important items in one same bag, so I don't ever misplace them when I lose my train of thought bouncing from one task to the next.

                  Flaps don't work for me mainly because one of my hobbies is photography, and that requires a place I can quickly access my camera.

                  I made the switch years ago from a laptop to a tablet, and the Surface Go is probably the most agreeable compromise - it runs a Windows OS, has a proper keyboard (with a trackpad!) as well as a built-in, easel-style stand. I tried making an iPad Mini work, but Apple still hasn't figured out how to make a small tablet computer with enough power supply to perform large file transfers - the only tablet they make that can is the iPad Pro, and that's a lot larger and a lot more expensive.

                  For me, bags with a lot of built-in organization work best. Not having to buy additional accessory products saves money, sure, but it also means I don't have to navigate a tangle of key straps and organizer pouches every time I need to get something small out from my bag. Some people love being able to put different things in different size and color pouches, but it drives me nuts.

                  But more than anything I think it helps when you can find a bag that works so well you're able to use it long enough to establish a routine and have a specific place for every single thing that goes in that bag. If you asked me where any one thing in my bag was at a given time, I could tell you the exact compartment.

                  Thanks for playing some ping-pong with me about our personal organizational styles! Always fun to hear how other folks make the bags work for themselves.
                  I own a LOT of Tom Bihn bags, but here are the ones I'm using right now:
                  Everyday Carry: Cambiata
                  Hiking Daypack: ADX31

                  Car and Plane Travel: CP, TS, and SZTSB

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Chicagoan View Post
                    Thanks for playing some ping-pong with me about our personal organizational styles! Always fun to hear how other folks make the bags work for themselves.
                    THAT should be the new name of these threads lol
                    “Commander, I always used to consider that you had a definite anti-authoritarian streak in you.”
                    “Sir?”
                    “It seems that you have managed to retain this even though you are authority.”
                    “Sir?”
                    “That’s practically zen.”
                    -Terry Pratchett, Feet of Clay

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Chicagoan View Post
                      Thanks for playing some ping-pong with me about our personal organizational styles! Always fun to hear how other folks make the bags work for themselves.
                      Absolutely yeah! Sounds like you've found the bag to perfectly fit your style. Glad to exchange notes :)

                      I also ordered a two-pack of those Native mint tablets which should arrive today; we'll see how they do! :)
                      ---
                      My Bags: Burnt Orange Medium Cafe BagSide Kick Luminary 15Co-Pilot Aeronaut 30
                      Canary Large Shop Bag Dawn Large Shop BagAubergine Everyday Cubelet
                      With: Island Packing CubesTravel Tray Cubelet Dawn Wallet

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Cooner View Post

                        Absolutely yeah! Sounds like you've found the bag to perfectly fit your style. Glad to exchange notes :)

                        I also ordered a two-pack of those Native mint tablets which should arrive today; we'll see how they do! :)
                        Nice!

                        The Native toothpaste tablets are my favorite reasonably priced and readily available ones (I love LUSH but they're expensive and require tracking down a shopping mall). Much easier finding a Walgreens than a LUSH.

                        They foam well, don't leave a lot of residue, and the flavor is more natural mint than breathmint. I'm actually not a big fan of mint-flavored toothpastes in general, and I don't mind the Native tabs!
                        I own a LOT of Tom Bihn bags, but here are the ones I'm using right now:
                        Everyday Carry: Cambiata
                        Hiking Daypack: ADX31

                        Car and Plane Travel: CP, TS, and SZTSB

                        Comment


                          #13
                          The Pilot and the Co-Pilot are may favorite personal bags for airline travel. If TB just added removeable shoulder straps to them - they would be my perfect personal bag/backpack.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Walker View Post
                            If TB just added removeable shoulder straps to them - they would be my perfect personal bag/backpack.
                            As in backpack straps, like the Stowaway has?
                            I own a LOT of Tom Bihn bags, but here are the ones I'm using right now:
                            Everyday Carry: Cambiata
                            Hiking Daypack: ADX31

                            Car and Plane Travel: CP, TS, and SZTSB

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Chicagoan View Post

                              As in backpack straps, like the Stowaway has?
                              Yes - backpack NOT shoulder straps - my bad!

                              Now that TB figured out using loops to attach removable shoulder straps, could they figure out loops for the Pilot/Co-Pilot to attach removable backpack straps?

                              Comment

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