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  1. #1
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    Cadet vs Pilot, vs other bag

    I plan to buy an A45 for airline/train travel, and would like to have a separate bag for 13-15" laptop/iPad/Kindle/papers/etc to use both during the trip and as my EDC bag to take to the office when not traveling. The functional difference between the Cadet and the Pilot (other than related to laptop size) is unclear to me. I would appreciate any thoughts. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    The Cadet is a great small work bag. It will carry file folders horizontally. It has one long zippered outside pocket in front of the main compartment with various sized open top pockets inside for pens, pencils, chargers, etc. I prefer the one pocket to the two similar outside pockets on the front of the Pilot as I don't have to remember what is in which pocket. It looks like the attaché case it is and doesn't have a dedicated water bottle pocket.

    The Pilot is a better all around bag, looks less business like and has a dedicated water bottle pocket. It's length and height are slightly less than the Cadet, but it's depth (thickness) is greater. It also carries file folders horizontally.

    Both bags have a full length open top pocket on the back for magazines, newspapers, event programs and other things to be carried readily at hand.

    I recommend checking if the Pilot will carry a 15" laptop.
    Last edited by JohnDel; 06-03-2016 at 04:58 PM.

  3. #3
    Forum Member Artdime's Avatar
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    I agree with the differences JohnDel pointed out. I love my Cadet, it looks very clean and business like. If the items you need to carry are mostly flat (notebook, papers, chargers etc) and do not include a water bottle or bigger sized camera, then I would definitely recommend the Cadet over the Pilot.
    Last edited by Artdime; 06-03-2016 at 07:30 PM.

  4. #4
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    Any reason to step up to the Empire Builder?

  5. #5
    Forum Member KatrinkaWinkle's Avatar
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    I bought an Empire Builder several months ago, and wish I'd done it several years ago. Although I normally carry letter-sized papers and files, it will accommodate legal-sized with ease. I can fit a few client files, my old school half-sheet size Day-Timer, my MacBook Air, and a water bottle easily. I have considered getting a Cadet for lighter days, but I'm so happy with my EB that I probably won't.

    When it's loaded up like that, it's a little heavy, but to me it's worth it because I know I can fit everything I need for court and it looks professional.

    Here is the main section. My MacBook Air isn't in there, but it's very slim & I just slide it in without a padded case. Mostly I'm just walking to/from my car, so I don't worry about it. You can see that letter-sized folders fit with plenty of room on each side, and 8-1/2 x 11 papers can stand up vertically and you can still zip it closed. In the front is my marigold Day-Timer, a Life Factory Bottle, and a Side Effect standing vertically.

    The front section has 2 larger pockets, a few pen slots, a business card slot, and a roomy pouch. I have an ultraviolet 3DOC with my chargers in there right now, but if I'm going to court, I take that out & keep my SE in there. (My SE goes everywhere, just tucks into whatever I'm carrying that day - EB, Swift for knitting, cafe bags for EDC, etc.)
    Attached Images Attached Images Cadet vs Pilot, vs other bag-image1-jpg  Cadet vs Pilot, vs other bag-img_1570-jpg 
    Last edited by KatrinkaWinkle; 06-04-2016 at 10:34 AM. Reason: managing photos
    EDC: SCB/MCB, Swift for knitting, small shop bags
    TRAVEL: A45
    FAVORITE TB COLORS: kiwi, verde, nordic & black halcyon, viridian, alphaviolet, ursa
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  6. #6
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    Thanks to all for your insights.

    Michael

  7. #7
    Forum Member operator's Avatar
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    Pilot if you are going to carry thicker things and Cadet for those days of EDC and minimal things. I really like how the Pilot is able to do both thicker and just EDC.

    For work I have a Lenovo 14 inch laptop that's about 5lbs and pretty thick.

    And by your post I don't think you will need a Pilot and he Cadet will be fine.

    I just like to know I can fit more things in a bag of need be.


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  8. #8
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    I recommend stepping up to an Empire Builder only if you are going to be regularly carrying a lot of stuff as KatrinkaWinkle does. It a great bag with a lot of capacity but weighs 4 pounds empty.

    I went the Goldilocks route with my work bag. First I bought an Empire Builder, but after a while realized what I needed to transport was only a small fraction of its capacity. Then I bought the smaller Cadet (which is no longer in production) and after a while realized that most of the time what I needed to transport was a bit more than its capacity. So then I bought the larger Cadet about three and a half years ago, which almost all the time has slightly more capacity than I need and since then use it almost all the time for work. For those heavy load days, I still have the Empire Builder.

    Size and weight are important as part of my job consists of visiting buildings to determine the work required for renovations. To do that I spend a lot of time carrying the bag walking around a building's interior, exterior and roof and climbing up and down stairs and ladders.

    Part of evaluating which bag to get involves how much you will be carrying it.
    Last edited by JohnDel; 06-04-2016 at 08:27 PM.

  9. #9
    Forum Member KatrinkaWinkle's Avatar
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    I agree with @JohnDel that although the EB is roomy, if you will be schlepping it around, it will be heavy. Mine primarily goes from my car to my office & in/out of courthouses. I can deal with the weight for those short jaunts.
    EDC: SCB/MCB, Swift for knitting, small shop bags
    TRAVEL: A45
    FAVORITE TB COLORS: kiwi, verde, nordic & black halcyon, viridian, alphaviolet, ursa
    FAVORITE LINING COLORS: wasabi, northwest sky

  10. #10
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    Love my Cadet. Decided to go minimalist with my EDC work bag that also happens to double as my travel briefcase.

    1. MacBook Air 11"
    2. Lightning cord, Power supply (for Mac and one for charging), HDMI and VGA output dongles for Mac, thumb drives in small pouch, connected to bag via 8" leash. Pens, cleaning cloth, business cards, etc in front pouch.
    3. In small front pouch for phone -- spare change. I have a iPhone Plus and it will not fit in here... too bad. Useful for wallet when going through security at airport.
    4. Main pouch: cache for my Mac. Also keep a Kindle Paperwhite and a 9.7" iPad.
    5. Back pocket: Folder with papers, notebook.

    I don't carry much paper as I've mostly gone paperless using Evernote, etc. What I love about this minimalist setup is that I carry a small bag every day. It is always ready to travel, so I don't really have to check and make sure everything is there. It was totally awesome going to such a small and light setup. Been doing it for three years.

    Good luck!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnDel View Post
    Then I bought the smaller Cadet (which is no longer in production) and after a while realized that most of the time what I needed to transport was a bit more than its capacity. So then I bought the larger Cadet about three and a half years ago, which almost all the time has slightly more capacity than I need and since then use it almost all the time for work.
    I had no idea there was a new Cadet. My comments are based on the original one, which is the one I have.
    Current carry: Super Ego, various pouches, I/O (when shooting). Incorporating the FIELD JOURNAL!!!! Next up on wishlist: S25 and SE (June 2016)

  12. #12
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    Jenne,
    There isn't a new Cadet. Previously there were two sizes available but then the smaller size was discontinued. It happened a few years ago.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnDel View Post
    Jenne,
    There isn't a new Cadet. Previously there were two sizes available but then the smaller size was discontinued. It happened a few years ago.
    However, they did re-design the way that the cache with rails works with the Cadet, so that the present model is compatible with current model horizontal caches with rails. I have the larger size Cadet (the only size currently being sold) but in the original model, so that the webbing rails that the cache uses to slide in and out of the Cadet are on the wall of the Cadet, and there's only a pair of small webbing loops at the base of the Cadet cache to mount a pair of single gatekeeper clips. With the current caches with rails, the webbing rails are sewn to the cache, and the double gatekeeper clips that engage the webbing rails are suspended from webbing loops inside the bag.

    I happen to like the dense foam style of the caches issued when the Cadet first debuted, so I use those original Cadet caches quite generally, as well as in my Cadet.

    moriond

  14. #14
    Volunteer Moderator tpnl's Avatar
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    Concerning the Cadet versions:

    On Nov 02, 2011, they first introduced the Cadet – there were 2 versions – a 15/13 size and an 11/iPad size. It used the older Cache Rail system that had the rails on the bag and just clips on the cache. See the blog post below:

    Introducing the Cadet laptop briefcase

    “Tom designed The Cadet for people who want a small-ish briefcase, simple with lots of features: a safe place to carry a laptop, comfortable handles, and easy-access phone and magazine pockets. Yes, all this plus the Cadet zips up for use in zero-gravity situations like being turned up-side-down in your car or under the seat of an airplane.”

    Here is a picture from The Gadgeteer review showing the old rail system on the Cadet (and not the Cache):






    On Oct 25, 2013, they updated the Cadet to incorporate the current Cache with Rails systems. See the blog post below:

    The new Cadet Briefcase

    "A new version of the Cadet — it now uses the same checkpoint-friendly laptop “rails system” as the Synapse 25,Synapse 19, Tri-Star, Brain Bag, and Smart Alec"

    You could call this a new version but, from what I can tell, they just update the cache rail system.

    Here is a picture from the Liss is More review showing the new rail system on the Cache (and not the Cadet):

    Cadet vs Pilot, vs other bag-tom-bihn-cadet-main-pocket-jpg


    As #JohnDel mentioned, they discontinued the smaller 11/iPad size at some point. I could not find out when this occurred but I am sure the “oracle” @moriond would probably know (and perhaps correct anything I have written above!).

    Hope this helps
    Cheers!
    Last edited by tpnl; 06-07-2016 at 03:02 PM.
    TB Ballistic Black/Iberian Dyneema backpacks and briefcases for every occasion together with my cherished Nordic and Solar Dyneema!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by tpnl View Post
    As #JohnDel mentioned, they discontinued the smaller 11/iPad size at some point. I could not find out when this occurred but I am sure the “oracle” @moriond would probably know (and perhaps correct anything I have written above!).
    They continued to sell the 11"/iPad Cadet at least through the start of Fall 2012. Basically, they rethought the design of the cache with rail system, and started implementing the changes in the form of additional rail loops in a variety of bags, unannounced, in the middle of 2012. My guess is that this was also a consequence of Tom's thoughts about the Pilot, since there had been multiple requests for a slightly larger version of the Co-Pilot that could carry small laptops, and he had been working on this product, which finally debuted in January 2013.

    When they started updating designs for the Cadet, they probably decided both not to do this for the 11" model, and also to drop this from the continuing product line. The 11" Cadet could actually be used to carry a 13" MacBook Air, but very little else, and some people bought that size to use that way, though I think the limit on how much else you could carry (in the way of a few other papers) proved a deterrent to that usage scheme on a long term basis.

    HTH

    moriond

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