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Pilot or Co-pilot?

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    Pilot or Co-pilot?

    I have been travelling with an original Aeronaut plus an Empire Builder briefcase. I have not been carrying a laptop or a lot of work-related stuff when travelling, and while I love the amount of space the Empire Builder affords, it sometimes seems bulky to haul around, and it impinges on legroom when stowed under a seat on a plane. So I'm thinking about replacing it with something smaller--I'm looking at the Pilot or Co-pilot. I'd like to be able to stuff a jacket and some books in the bag, as well as ipad/phone/travel documents, etc. Any strong feelings about travelling with either of these (in tandem with the Aeronaut)? Does the difference in size between those bags translate into a meaningful difference in airline legroom or comfort carrying them while travelling? (I'm a six-foot male, if that matters.) Is one a better candidate than the other to double as a work-related briefcase (I'm a teacher), or should I expect to stick with the Empire Builder for that? Any insights are very welcome, thank you in advance.

    I have a Pilot and CoPilot, and my husband has a Pilot and an Empire Builder. The pilot and the CP are basically the same depth (5" vs 5.1"), so standing upright under seat takes the same amount of room. I highly recommend the Pilot for your circumstances. It is already much smaller than the EB (although highly efficient); compared to the EB the CP is TINY!


      Jacket + book(s) + tablet + papers is a job for the Pilot, particularly if your papers are 8.5 x 11 and you want to keep them neat. I can get an iPad air with a slim folio cover (no padding), a medium sized book, and a pullover that compresses down pretty small into a stuff sack in the main compartment of my Co-Pilot, but that's really going to be it. A magazine or file folder could stand up vertically in the back pass through pocket but that doesn't afford them any protection.


        @BeeTee - Welcome to the forum!

        Have you seen this video by @itsablur on the Pilot:

        Pilot Review

        Based on this and using my own Pilot, as long as your jacket was of the light windbreaker variety and your books were not too thick or big (perhaps fit in the front side pockets or in the main compartment if thin?), the Pilot should be able to handle what you want to put in it. Also, a Pilot packing cube may be helpful to pack your windbreaker.

        The Dyneema version can "stretch" a bit more and provide a bit more flexibility than the Ballistic version as far as space is concerned.

        If you could provide some more info on the type of jacket and the dimensions of the books you want to carry, it would help in determining how well the Pilot will do for you. If not the Pilot, the Cadet might do.

        I have also seen people put a lot of things in the Daylight Briefcase (DLBC) and from my own experience with it, it might work (jacket in zippered back pocket leaving room in the main compartment and front for tablet and some books).

        Hope this helps
        Last edited by tpnl; 08-09-2015, 11:20 AM.
        TB Ballistic Black/Iberian Dyneema backpacks and briefcases for every occasion together with my cherished Nordic and Solar Dyneema!


          I love the compactness of my Co-Pilot. However, I eventually bought a Pilot so I can carry regulars folders inside.

          I do not like to stuff my bags full and I like to be able to retrieve and put items back without having to move other items. So I like the extra room that the Pilot provides.



            Thanks to all of you for the advice, just what I needed! I'm going to give the Pilot a try... it sounds large enough to be truly useful, but small and light enough to make for slightly easier travels than the Empire Builder, at least in some situations.


              I own both the Pilot and the CoPilot. Both are Dyneema bags. If I could only own one, though, my choice would clearly be the Pilot, as it isn't appreciably larger than the CoPilot, yet it will carry papers as well as my laptop if I need it to. The CoPilot functions very nicely as an iPad and around the town bag, but I think it would be a challenge to fit all the things you mentioned into it comfortably.