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Chicagoan Reviews His Favorite Bag: The Co-Pilot

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  • Chicagoan
    replied
    Let me share something I originally wrote as a comment to a similar question asked on Reddit.

    This is just a summation of my own personal experience with fabrics, but it might help some:

    “Ballistic: more durable, less flexible.

    Halcyon: more flexible, less durable.

    1050d ballistic is more durable than 525d.

    525d ballistic is more flexible than 1050d.

    210d ballistic is most often used as a liner fabric because it lacks the rigidity for most bags to hold their form. Sometimes they make bags with 210d exteriors but it’s mostly a novelty and something they’ll only do for the first batch of a new design.

    1000d Cordura is a fabric they no longer use, and while probably the most durable of the aforementioned, it’s a pet hair magnet. The ballistic nylons and Halcyon shed per hair very easily.

    I own bags in all these fabrics, and in my personal experience I’ve found that 525 ballistic is the best compromise between weight, durability and flexibility.

    When able, I try to buy bags with both a ballistic exterior and interior - because of the flexible nature of halcyon, it bends a lot more often in a lot more places than the ballistic fabrics and the waterproof coating on the back side breaks down more quickly.

    A scuff is only superficial damage, and no matter which fabric you choose you’ll still have a bag that will last a long time. Some fabrics just show wear more than others do.”

    I think there was more head-scratching about ballistic vs. halcyon when the fabrics were more different than they are now.

    Folks used to like ballistic because it was brawny, thick, stiffer fabric. Better at self-supporting and standing up without tipping or slumping over. Better at taking a beating.

    And folks used to like halcyon because, by comparison, it was much more flexible, a little lighter in weight, and more easily packable.​

    The ballistic got thinner (525 down from 1050 and now somewhere in the 600s with their new house ballistic) and the 400 halcyon remained the same, so in terms of denier, they’re not as far off as they used to be.

    So the ballistic will scuff a little more easily (like the halcyon) but it’s also a lot more like the halcyon, too, when it comes to pliability.

    TL;DR: I usually go with ballistic, because I like being able to choose from a wider range of colors, and at this point the fabrics are similar enough that color is the only reason I choose between one fabric and another.
    Last edited by Chicagoan; 09-28-2022, 06:18 PM.

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  • epeterson
    replied
    Thanks Chicagoan for this review -- any thoughts on ballistic vs. halcyon? I don't really have a sense as to which fabric "works better" for this bag, if that makes sense....

    I had been looking for a shoulder bag a bit bigger than the Side Kick, but I'm not completely thrilled with the MCB or the Icon...and I hadn't even considered the Co-Pilot! So thank you for that!

    Leave a comment:


  • Chicagoan
    replied
    Originally posted by moriond View Post
    I have 1 Co-Pilot in Steel 1050d Ballistic Nylon/Solar from the first production batch of the Co-Pilot and another in Steel Dyneema/Solar (after they went to 400d Steel Halcyon). Both are great
    This thread is halfway to becoming a Co-Pilot fan club - and I’m totally alright with that.

    I’m just as attracted to the shiny objects of new designs as the next person, but it’s funny how, over time, the bags I come back to are usually the older “classic” designs.

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  • moriond
    replied
    I have 1 Co-Pilot in Steel 1050d Ballistic Nylon/Solar from the first production batch of the Co-Pilot and another in Steel Dyneema/Solar (after they went to 400d Steel Halcyon). Both are great

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  • G42
    replied
    Originally posted by Gumby View Post
    Mine is Steel Dyneema (long-ago retired), which I absolutely adore -- kind of like a casual Friday version of black. It still looks great after all these years!
    This!
    chill Steel

    Leave a comment:


  • Gumby
    replied
    Santa brought me a Co-Pilot back in 2013, and I don't think I've ever loved a bag more than I love this one. I used it for my daily work bag for about five years. I now alternate between my S19 and a Paramour for my work bag, but I still pull out the Co-Pilot for those times when I don't need to haul a laptop. Mine is Steel Dyneema (long-ago retired), which I absolutely adore -- kind of like a casual Friday version of black. It still looks great after all these years!

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  • Walker
    replied
    Chicagoan, I understand the challenges that adding backpack straps to a bag as short as the Pilot/Co-Pilot presents. I like your idea, "added loops (like they do for the Gatekeeper Straps) that could be used to attach a la carte backpack straps (sold separately) so the option was there for folks willing to purchase them, . . . "

    StatsChick, the Pilot/Co-Pilot are the best personal carry bag. I have one of each since forever. They do look like a little piece of luggage but no bag beats the organization they offer.

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  • StatsChick
    replied
    I had already been eyeing the co-pilot, and this thread made me want it even more! Just bought one used and I’m so excited! Thank you for all of the detailed info!

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  • Chicagoan
    replied
    Originally posted by Walker View Post

    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?
    "Short" bags are tough to navigate when it comes to doubling as a backpack, mostly because you'd need to wear them about as high as they go (keeping the back against your back, and not having off it and pulling you backwards) if you wanted to wear them healthily, and for taller users, it's an awkward carry.

    I'm 6' tall myself and was thankful when they made a larger, 15L version of the Luminary because the height of that bag matched my torso length much better than the 12L did - I did try and make the L12 work before they made the L15, and the sternum strap came up so high it almost touched my chin! Kidding, but it's a small bag problem I face with bags like the L12, or Zeitgeist, or Paradigm.

    The Stowaway cheats a little, because it opens like a book and doubles its height/torso length once you unzip the two halves apart.

    Bag height and torso length aside, straps would be tricky to stow unless they were made from a fairly flat, flexible webbing (like the Stowaway straps, or the straps on the original version of the DLBP).

    Backpack straps (and convertible bags) are really divisive. Some folks like the versatility. Others would claim they buy specific bags for specific purposes, and would rather have a bag that does one thing REALLY well, than a bag that proves mediocre across a wider use case.

    My thoughts? I wish they added loops (like they do for the Gatekeeper Straps) that could be used to attach a la carte backpack straps (sold separately) so the option was there for folks willing to purchase them, but for those who didn't want/need the versatility, they could save a few bucks and some bulk.

    The Stowaway is one of my favorite bags, but I only ever would carry it crossbody, over the shoulder, or in-hand (briefcase style). Why? I wanted to use the compartment housing the backpack straps for extra storage capacity.
    Last edited by Chicagoan; 09-23-2022, 12:00 PM.

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  • Walker
    replied
    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?

    Leave a comment:


  • Chicagoan
    replied
    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?

    Leave a comment:


  • Walker
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Chicagoan
    replied
    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!

    Leave a comment:


  • Cooner
    replied
    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! :)

    Leave a comment:


  • G42
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:

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