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  1. #1
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    Just when I thought I had it all figured out...

    ...It appears I don't.

    Disclaimer: This may belong in two separate threads, and if it does, I apologize in advance for confusing everyone. Smilie

    For several months, I've been using a Co-Pilot as my EDC. I've been planning to use it as my personal item when I fly to London in two months. However, I'm starting to have second thoughts about the CP as EDC and as a travel companion, for a couple different reasons.

    1. I'm experiencing back pain suddenly. I always have some low-level aggravation, but lately it has really amped up, causing me to question whether I can use my A45 on my trip. I may have to use a wheeled bag and check it. If that is the case I will need a carryon tote bag of some sort for things I don't want in the main bag, plus I will be allowed a personal item. That said...

    2. My CP has been seeming awfully heavy to me lately. I've really pared down as much as I could, but maybe I need to do more. My husband suggested I stop taking the CP with me at lunchtime when I go for walks or to the library. Just take my COW and my phone (Samsung, non-smart) along. However, I want to bring my camera in my POP (mini or small, can't recall which I have). Which brings me to...

    3. Perhaps I need something to put these smaller things in when I go for a walk. However...

    4. I tried an SE (ballistic) back in the summer, and found it too small. I often need to take my reading glasses and sunglasses with me when I go out and the former is in a hard case that's as small as I can get it to be (my glasses are a retro-Wayfarer-type and have large frames). Plus...

    5. I am really now on the fence about an EDC while I'm in London. I thought I'd use the CP for that but honestly, I think it will be too much.

    6. I'm not a backpack person.

    If I have not lost you here, I'm relieved. I still need to do practice packing (which I plan to do over Easter break) so I can see if the A45 is a reality or just a dream at this point.

    Some more info: I am staying in one place in London, so will need to carry my stuff at the airport(s) and on the Heathrow Connect and the Tube. It's a short walk (three or four blocks) to my guest house.

    Thanks for listening!

  2. #2
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    @ladyinblack, one suggestion, if you haven't tried it already, is an OpTech mini SOS strap, as that may make carrying weight in the CP more comfortable. It is like a more petite version of the Absolute strap. The other suggestion would be a small or medium cafe bag, but if it is the weight that is the issue, the enhanced strap on the CP might do the trick. While many love the SEs, I have struggled when using them at times when I want to carry water with me, especially during summer, as I find them too small.

    The most important thing though is to listen to your body. If you are having back pain, while I am not a doctor, I would not attempt to carry something heavy that is likely to aggravate your back.

    Good luck!
    "Do one thing every day that scares you." - Eleanor Roosevelt
    "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." -Ferris Bueller

  3. #3
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    I haven't tried the OpTech strap, though it has been in my Amazon wishlist for months. I do want to carry water with me (which of course I realize adds more weight), which was one reason I bought the CP. I don't carry it all the time, but it's nice to know I can if I want to.

    Quote Originally Posted by NWhikergal View Post
    @ladyinblack, one suggestion, if you haven't tried it already, is an OpTech mini SOS strap, as that may make carrying weight in the CP more comfortable. It is like a more petite version of the Absolute strap. The other suggestion would be a small or medium cafe bag, but if it is the weight that is the issue, the enhanced strap on the CP might do the trick. While many love the SEs, I have struggled when using them at times when I want to carry water with me, especially during summer, as I find them too small.

    The most important thing though is to listen to your body. If you are having back pain, while I am not a doctor, I would not attempt to carry something heavy that is likely to aggravate your back.

    Good luck!

  4. #4
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    As someone with a chronic pinched sciatic nerve I feel for you... back pain can be truly debilitating. While Tom Bihn bags are great and lighten your load, the best way to travel comfortably is make difficult decisions and decide what is absolutely essential vs what is nice to have. For business trips I now mainly use the copilot (my 11" MacBook Air fits perfectly) with fewer office supplies, a smaller set of medications / first aid items, minimal office supplies, etc. Previously I was using a packed Pilot, but by letting go of things I thought were essential I have shed 6 or 7 pounds from my load... and trust me, this makes a huge difference. It took lots of packing and repacking and eliminating things one by one to get to the point where I had everything I needed, but without carrying all those things I "might need". An example: Turns out that a 9.5" x 5" Moleskin soft cover notebook is as professional and functional in a meeting as a legal pad encased in a leather portfolio, but MUCH lighter.

    It sounds like the Side Effect is probably the right size to carry comfortably for you. Perhaps by minimizing what you carry and by utilizing pockets (in London a jacket is good to have along much of the year) you can make it work.

    Feel better and good luck finding a solution and enjoy your trip.

  5. #5
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    Thank you, giantsteve. I'm considering the Dyneema SE, as folks have said it has a lot more give than the ballistic. I will be wearing a short raincoat in London and can definitely put some things in my pockets. It's funny--I usually only keep gloves and a hat in my pockets. I do need to rethink things!

  6. #6
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    I wonder if a 3DOC would work. If I'm not mistaken, it is larger than an SE. Will it fit inside a CP comfortable?

  7. #7
    Forum Member Pokilani's Avatar
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    I'm sorry to hear about your backpain! I'm going to second the mini Op/Tech strap. I use it for my DLBC and it works wonders. I can carry that on my shoulder or cross body and it feels even better than the SCB, which doesn't have the option to change the strap. Plus, I will usually have more in my DLBC than in my SCB. It's a pretty small investment for its worth in comfort. The other nice thing about your CP is that if you do have some issues, you can hand carry it at times too. I have also used it for the PCSB. It's much lighter than the CP, but doesn't have the advantage of the handle.

  8. #8
    Forum Member Pokilani's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ladyinblack1964 View Post
    I wonder if a 3DOC would work. If I'm not mistaken, it is larger than an SE. Will it fit inside a CP comfortable?
    The 3DOC is much smaller than the SE. You might be thinking about the PCSB (packing cube shoulder bag).

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ladyinblack1964 View Post
    I wonder if a 3DOC would work. If I'm not mistaken, it is larger than an SE. Will it fit inside a CP comfortable?
    No, the 3D Organizer Cubes are smaller than the Side Effects (1 liter vs. 1.5 liter capacity). @Miking posted some pictures comparing the two accessories:





    That's a Wasabi Dyneena 3D Mesh Organizer Cube beside a Black Ballistic Nylon Side Effect.

    For completeness, the same thread shows a post where @terayon shows how a Packing Cube Shoulder Bag is substantially larger than a Side Effect:

    Just when I thought I had it all figured out...-e4u6ebyd-jpg

    Just when I thought I had it all figured out...-8e5a4ena-jpg

    HTH

    moriond

  10. #10
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    Oh, right! Honestly, I think all these initials are going to drive me crazy! LOL


    Quote Originally Posted by Pokilani View Post
    The 3DOC is much smaller than the SE. You might be thinking about the PCSB (packing cube shoulder bag).

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the photos! That works very well.

    I've considered the PCSB as well, for the trip. For EDC use, though, will it fit in the CP?

    Quote Originally Posted by moriond View Post
    No, the 3D Organizer Cubes are smaller than the Side Effects (1 liter vs. 1.5 liter capacity). @Miking posted some pictures comparing the two accessories:





    That's a Wasabi Dyneena 3D Mesh Organizer Cube beside a Black Ballistic Nylon Side Effect.

    For completeness, the same thread shows a post where @terayon shows how a Packing Cube Shoulder Bag is substantially larger than a Side Effect:

    Just when I thought I had it all figured out...-e4u6ebyd-jpg

    Just when I thought I had it all figured out...-8e5a4ena-jpg

    HTH

    moriond

  12. #12
    Forum Member Amy's Avatar
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    ladyinblack, I have a copilot which I love and use most of the time now for my work EDC, but I too find it makes me feel lopsided and weighted down if I have to walk long distances with it. Two straps is significantly more comfortable.

    My suggestions:
    - use your rain jacket pockets. I bought a Scottevest trench coat with 18 pockets, and I can carry a ton of stuff in it without feeling lopsided or weighed down. (With the scottevest, I usually don't need a bag at all.) Even a non-scottevest coat will have enough pockets to allow you offload some stuff from your shoulder bag.
    - If you have to carry water, consider a collapsible Vapur water bottle. It's flexible and easy to put in a bag, clip on a strap, or put in your pocket. When water's done, it folds flat and weighs almost nothing.
    - If you can't get all your daily carry stuff to fit in pockets and a smaller, lighter bag, then consider getting over the idea that you're "not a backpack person", at least while traveling. I HIGHLY recommend the Daylight Backpack in black dyneema. It's capacious enough to hold a ton of stuff and carry comfortably, yet it folds up flat. You can carry it on one or both shoulders. In floppy dyneema, it doesn't look like a student backpack at all and doesn't feel bulky-- it'll match anything you wear, fly under the radar aesthetically, and won't embarrass you or make you feel touristy.

    Enjoy your trip!
    Donít make something unless it is both necessary and useful; but if it is both necessary and useful, donít hesitate to make it beautiful. ó Shaker Philosophy

  13. #13
    Forum Member Pokilani's Avatar
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    +1 to what Amy said. I wore my Dyneema DLBP all over London. It's stealth-like and super comfortable. It doesn't look like your typical school backpack at all. I also made sure I had a rain jacket with lots of pockets on the days where I limited myself to the SE or 3DOC.

  14. #14
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    You know what is really funny? Last summer I bought a French Blue DLBP. It was gorgeous, but I returned it. I didn't think it was large enough to take to my grad school residency. When i put a lightweight sweater in it, it seemed to eat all the space.

    Perhaps the Dyneema would work better. I see it is out of stock at the moment.

    @Amy, I do have a collapsible water bottle. It's great b/c I can put it in the freezer partially filled and then fill the rest with water. A lifesaver in summer.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ladyinblack1964 View Post
    Thanks for the photos! That works very well.

    I've considered the PCSB as well, for the trip. For EDC use, though, will it fit in the CP?
    If you're thinking about carrying the PCSB filled to capacity (e.g., with a stiff camera insert that goes all the way out to the corners) then you might find it a bit of a snug fit for the main Co-Pilot compartment., and hard to get out. Otherwise, it's possible to carry the PCSB inside the Co-Pilot, simply because the Packing cube shoulder bag is Dyneema, and flexes. It's a better match to the Pilot, which is large enough that you can even insert it into the Pilot's back pocket.

    Take a look at the pictures in the Pilot fits into packing cube backpack and vice versa images for an idea of scale. By the way, that thread shows combinations with the Pilot and Packing Cube Backpack (which I know that you don't want to use), as well as a picture of the Packing Cube Shoulder Bag fitting into the back pocket of a Pilot, but it also shows that even bags as large as the Packing Cube Backpack can be rolled up to fit into a small stuff sack. That's also true for the Packing Cube Shoulder Bag -- you could easily roll it up and stuff it into the smallest (size #1 or "mini") Travel Stuff Sack when it's empty.

    Excerpting some pictures (for the PCSB and Pilot fit):




    This showed the (large!) Packing Cube Backpack for Tri-Star/WF rolled up into a size #1 Travel Stuff Sack. It's even easier to roll a much smaller PCSB and store it into a size#1 Travel Stuff Sack if you're short on space. Though in most cases you could just use the PCSB.



    To give you an idea of how close the size of the Packing Cube Shoulder Bag comes to the length of the Co-Pilot, I'm going to point you to the Make your own Pilot (or First Class in Economy Class) thread:

    Here's a picture from that thread that shows a fully packed Packing Cube Shoulder Bag linked to the outside of a Co-Pilot:



    If you don't pack the PCSB really full out to the corners, especially if you don't put hard edges all the way along its maximum length, then you can fit it inside the main Co-Pilot compartment. (Maybe someone else can take a picture of the PCSB inside the Co-Pilot?) The PCSB does take up most of that compartment in the Co-Pilot that way. But it's also possible to roll it up when empty.

    HTH

    moriond
    Last edited by moriond; 03-15-2016 at 01:44 PM.

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