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  1. #1
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    My Pilot: A travel success and an EDC fail

    Last month, I bought a black halcyon Pilot. My primary use for it was as a personal carry-on for air and train travel. For work travel, I'm usually carrying a tablet, sometimes carrying a laptop, and always carrying papers. The middle compartment comes in very handy for water bottles or a travel umbrella. It worked so well on three one-night work trips that I decided to start using it as an everyday carry. I've found that while it certainly can be used for EDC, it's not all that great. I'm writing this for those who may be considering a pilot for EDC use vs. one of the other Bihn briefs. Here's why I don't love my Pilot for EDC and find myself shopping for yet another bag:

    • It sags when it's not reasonably full. I'm sure Cordura holds its shape better than Halcyon, so that's not a deal-breaker.
    • If you carry papers and things that don't take up the whole large compartment, things slosh around.
    • I often carry a business brief by hand, not on my shoulder. The single handle doesn't feel as strong or balanced as the double handles on other bags.
    • It doesn't look like a business brief. I know that's largely a matter of taste. If blending in to a busines setting is important to you, you're probably better off with a Cadet or a Founder's.


    I don't regret buying the Pilot. I do, however, realize it isn't going to do double-duty for me. Bihn bag acquisition and collecting is becoming an obsessive hobby for me, so I'm not sad to be shopping for an EDC bag in addition to the Pilot. But for those who prefer not to spend money or time on multiple bags, I'd say consider your intended use carefully. For travel, the Pilot is awesome. For a business EDC brief, maybe not.

  2. #2
    Volunteer Moderator aedifica's Avatar
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    OTOH I am loving my new Pilot as a schoolbag. I think part of the difference is my different tastes, and part is that I have ballistic nylon rather than halcyon. For me, my laptop, folder, and notebook fit perfectly in the main compartment (there's a little bit of room left over, but not much) and the front pockets hold: a Side Effect with purse stuff in it, a water bottle, and a Travelon packing square with school things (pen/pencil case, external battery, and a couple of other similar things). I rarely use the single handle, so I haven't formed an opinion on it, and I don't care about looking business-y, just tidy.

    Enjoy your search for the right EDC for you!
    I have a bunch of great bags. Favorite color combos include Aubergine/Island, Navy/Solar, Forest/UV, Original Halcyon/Wasabi, Cloud/Viridian... and now also Seapine/UV!

    I've fulfilled my dream of palindromic-colored nested bags! Navy/Ultraviolet Pilot with Aubergine/Island Side Effect inside: blue purple purple blue. Forest/UV A45 with Aubergine/Wasabi Co-Pilot inside: green purple purple green.

  3. #3
    Forum Member Artdime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Texan@heart View Post
    • It sags when it's not reasonably full. I'm sure Cordura holds its shape better than Halcyon, so that's not a deal-breaker.
    My ballistic Pilot also sags quite a bit. I like the bag but was surprised by that.
    Today is a good day for a good day!

  4. #4
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    [QUOTE=I am loving my new Pilot as a schoolbag.[/QUOTE]

    The great thing about these bags is how wide the range of fans and uses they have. The needs of a middle-aged male traveling to business meetings (me) differ from those of a student. The Pilot is a very versatile bag, and I wouldn't want to discourage anybody from getting one. It's just not as purpose-built for EDC in the corporate world as some of the other briefs like the Cadet or Founder's.

  5. #5
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    I use my ballistic Pilot as an EDC and find it quite stiff and IMO it holds its shape well without all of the extra weight and space taken up by padding that the cadet has. I decided against the halcyon because i wouldn't have it full all the time and i still wanted it to keep its shape. I do wish it had two handles tho. But otherwise it suits me perfectly.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Texan@heart View Post
    The great thing about these bags is how wide the range of fans and uses they have. The needs of a middle-aged male traveling to business meetings (me) differ from those of a student. The Pilot is a very versatile bag, and I wouldn't want to discourage anybody from getting one. It's just not as purpose-built for EDC in the corporate world as some of the other briefs like the Cadet or Founder's.
    I tend to disagree. Though my intention was to use my DLBC for EDC, and the Pilot for travel, I've found I've used the Pilot every day I've been at a client site since getting it, and it blends in perfectly. Though, mine is Ballistic. I purposely avoided Halcyon since I believe the checked pattern doesn't fit in the corporate world. (Yes, I know that many people use black halcyon, but I don't have any and therefore can't see what it looks like, the various white grid ones I have definitely don't fit.)

    The big benefit to the Pilot over the DLBC is being able to stash my coffee cup in the water bottle pocket and getting it out of sight. Much more professional looking in my opinion to only be carrying around a single bag vs a bag and steel coffee cup. Don't know why, I can't explain it, but it bothers me.

    If it wasn't for the coffee cup, I could easily fit everything else in the DLBC, but the coffee cup keeps bringing me back to my Pilot.

  7. #7
    Volunteer Moderator aedifica's Avatar
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    Kaadk, which color do you use? I'm interested by what colors others do and don't consider "professional."

    (I mentioned above that I'm a student, but I want to clarify that I'm middle-aged too! Well, almost middle-aged. I'm working on an MBA, taking night classes.)
    I have a bunch of great bags. Favorite color combos include Aubergine/Island, Navy/Solar, Forest/UV, Original Halcyon/Wasabi, Cloud/Viridian... and now also Seapine/UV!

    I've fulfilled my dream of palindromic-colored nested bags! Navy/Ultraviolet Pilot with Aubergine/Island Side Effect inside: blue purple purple blue. Forest/UV A45 with Aubergine/Wasabi Co-Pilot inside: green purple purple green.

  8. #8
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    Pilot is Black Ballistic, DLBC is Burnt Orange Cordura. Both seem to be acceptable in the professional world I work in (Business System Consulting), though the Black is by far the closer match to all the other bags in the room. I think the times I have used the Burnt Orange (which is not a lot since I swapped to the Pilot), I've pulled it off because it blends well with the brown leather coat I wear in the winter. I'll have to try going back to it in the summer to see if I notice any looks once I'm out of the jacket.

    ETA: Also middle aged.
    Last edited by Kaadk; 03-17-2017 at 12:37 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaadk View Post
    Pilot is Black Ballistic, DLBC is Burnt Orange Cordura. Both seem to be acceptable in the professional world I work in (Business System Consulting), though the Black is by far the closer match to all the other bags in the room.
    Ballistic probably would have been a better choice for me if I had been thinking I'd use the Pilot for EDC. Instead, I went with the new black Halcyon because I wanted the lightest thing possible. I'll still use my Pilot with love every time I get on a plane or train. But it's just not going to the office.

    The whole question of what's "acceptable" in a professional setting always seems to start debates. I personally think that all of these bags have a casual, functional elegance. Granted, the big Tom Bihn label alone probably disqualifies them from looking "professional" in some settings. I consider it a badge of honor or not-so-secret handshake.

    Nevertheless, you definitely don't see Montblanc, Tumi, or Levenger slapping their names on the sides of their EDC bags. Those are probably a bit more appropriate than an aubergine Ristretto when arguing before the Supreme Court or pitching to handle an IPO.

  10. #10
    Forum Member Perseffect's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millefolia View Post
    Kaadk, which color do you use? I'm interested by what colors others do and don't consider "professional."

    (I mentioned above that I'm a student, but I want to clarify that I'm middle-aged too! Well, almost middle-aged. I'm working on an MBA, taking night classes.)
    Black Ballistic is a classic colour and works professionally (and outside of work with some jazzed up zip pull colours). I also used a Navy Ballistic for a few years which I felt was corporate enough. I'd certainly say Steel Ballistic is also although I've never gone for it myself due to the green tint it can have.

    I currently have a Nordic Halcyon Pilot that I would use for work but it's borderline on the conservative view of appropriate.

    Good luck with your MBA. I did mine in my 30's in the evenings. Loved it but was hard work. Wish I had owned a TB bag at the time for all the books I had to carry around.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Aeronaut 45 (Navy/NWS), A30 (Black/Island), Tristar (Steel/Island), Western Flyer (Steel/Island), Pilot (Steel/Island), Synapse 25 (Mars Red/NWS), Synapse 19 (Black/Island) & (Burnt Orange/Steel), Ristretto 11 (Navy/Steel), Small Cafe Bag (Navy/Steel) & (Mars Red/Dawn), Daylight Briefcase (Cloud/Dawn), Side Kick (Mars Red/Dawn), Travel Cubelet (Mars Red)

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Texan@heart View Post
    ... arguing before the Supreme Court or pitching to handle an IPO.
    Agree that it depends on the particular profession. Somehow I can't picture a lawyer using anything other than the classic briefcase. (It's probably the plethora of crime dramas on TV these days perpetuating the stereotype.)

  12. #12
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    I'm with Kaadk, I use a burnt orange ballistic pilot for EDC in a business setting. I have a water bottle in that front pocket though, for when the coffee runs out. By far my favorite EDC to date. No issues with it being "appropriate", but that may be the industry I am in (Technology). EDC functionality is as personal as style. I look at the other types of briefcases, and they would never work as an EDC in a business environment for me. YMMV

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