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  1. #1
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    Can't decide between Pilot or Copilot for airplane personal item

    I'm new to the Tom Bihn brand, but have heard a lot of good things. I am looking for an over the shoulder bag to use as a personal item on flights. My carry-on bag is a backpack, so I wanted something that I could sling over the shoulder after putting on the backpack. I do have a messenger bag already (Timbuk2), but it's a bit heavy and large to use as a secondary bag.

    The co-pilot initially had caught my eye due to it's organizational features and footprint. But after watching some reviews of the bag and looking at the bag dimensions again, the pilot showed up on my radar. I generally like some breathing room in my bags, so I'd rather it not be stuffed to the max. This makes me think that the pilot might be a better option. However, I don't want to look like I'm a pack-mule with two bags strapped to me, so I'm not sure how the pilot would look on me. For reference I'm a 5'5 female.

    I figured the easiest way to decide this would be to ask people who already own the bags for advice. Here is my usual packing list:

    Nintendo Switch in hard case
    Nintendo 3ds in hard case
    8in Kindle fire tablet in case (about the size of a paperback in the case)
    Kindle Paperwhite e-reader
    Charging cables for the paperwhite and tablet
    Portable battery pack (RAVPower 26800 PD)
    Bose QC 35 headphones in case
    Inflatable neck pillow
    Bottle of water (whatever overpriced option they have at the terminal kiosks)
    Samsung S8 cell phone
    Small travel wallet
    Sunglasses
    Snacks (usually kind bars)
    Various small items (headphone splitter, antibacterial wipes, tissues)

    Most of my items are on the bulkier side, so I was thinking I may need the Halcyon material to allow some flex for the bulkier items. Which bag would work best to fit all of my stuff comfortably without having to cram it all in? Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    I would suggest a Pilot over a CoPilot for those items. I'm not familiar with all the electronics you listed, but the Pilot, especially in Halcyon, offers quite a bit of flexibility and give when packing for travel or when dealing with additionally acquired items on the return journey. I've given the CoPilot multiple tries, and many here have used it successfully, but I personally find it just a tad tight to get in and out of. I like the way a magazine or newspaper fits into the back pocket of the Pilot, and I like being able to fit both a water bottle and a scarf into the center vertical zipped pocket. I don't own a CoPilot currently, though, so see what others with both bags say.

  3. #3
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    Pilot for sure.
    I also have no idea what many things are you list but I would rather have the room and not need it every time!

  4. #4
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    My preference would be for Ballistic over Halcyon for the Pilot. It's plenty flexible, but holds it's shape. I would want just that extra bit of protection for my electronics.

  5. #5
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    The Bose headphones are full size? I am actually considering both right now myself, ordered one of each in each fabric. Yesterday the Halcyon CP showed up and there is NO WAY all of your stuff will fit in it. Perhaps not even 1/2 of that stuff.

  6. #6
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    I guessed at some sizes - but here is my co-pilot with a 10in kindle fire, 10.5 ipad pro, travel battery, samsung note 8, sony headphone case, 2 dvds (guessing this is around the size of a nintendo case, a large flashlight, snack bars, 16 oz water bottle (a bigger one would have fit), my halcyon side effect with charging cables in it (a little more would have fit and still gotten in the pocket of the co-pilot), and a little writing journal that was in the main pocket already. There is a little room to smoosh in some more cables, sunglasses in a case and a bigger water bottle but the travel pillow might be a bit too much - depending on how small it packs down. I put the side effect in one side pocket and the snack bars in the other but the snack bars would have fit in the water bottle part next to the water bottle leaving the one side pocket for the travel pillow perhaps.
    Can't decide between Pilot or Copilot for airplane personal item-img_0375-2-jpgCan't decide between Pilot or Copilot for airplane personal item-img_1650-2-jpgCan't decide between Pilot or Copilot for airplane personal item-img_6278-2-jpgCan't decide between Pilot or Copilot for airplane personal item-img_6673-2-jpg Can't decide between Pilot or Copilot for airplane personal item-img_0621-2-jpg


    And here is my ballistic pilot with the same stuff in it:
    Can't decide between Pilot or Copilot for airplane personal item-img_7172-2-jpgCan't decide between Pilot or Copilot for airplane personal item-img_7596-2-jpgCan't decide between Pilot or Copilot for airplane personal item-img_4008-2-jpg
    Last edited by spcanf; 05-01-2018 at 06:41 AM.

  7. #7
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    Wow! Thanks so much for all the pictures! It looks like it all fits in both, but the pilot has a bit more wiggle room?
    Last edited by nolegrl; 05-01-2018 at 07:36 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by franzdom View Post
    The Bose headphones are full size? I am actually considering both right now myself, ordered one of each in each fabric. Yesterday the Halcyon CP showed up and there is NO WAY all of your stuff will fit in it. Perhaps not even 1/2 of that stuff.
    Yes, the Bose is full size. Judging by the pictures I'm seeing, the pilot will be the way to go. Unfortunately, it looks like the color options are pretty limited at the moment. I may have to wait it out. I really like the black/blue inside and steel/island combos. If I'm spending $160 on a bag, I don't want to settle on anything. Lol

  9. #9
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    The sony headphones that I have are full size I believe. I think the co-pilot would work if it had to do so -but there would be very little room to spare. I was actually surprised at how the items I put in it all fit. Your kindle and paperwhite would be smaller than the larger kindle fire and ipad.
    The pilot would give you a lot of wiggle room.
    Last edited by spcanf; 05-01-2018 at 07:48 AM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BWeaves View Post
    My preference would be for Ballistic over Halcyon for the Pilot. It's plenty flexible, but holds it's shape. I would want just that extra bit of protection for my electronics.
    Thank you! I'm leaning that way as well. Extra padding never hurts!

  11. #11
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    Okay, moment of truth. After a week of waiting the pilot arrived and...it's perfect! Size is just right and it's lightwight. I got the black ballistic with uv interior. It's very pretty.

    Main compartment: 3ds, switch, paperwhite, 8in Amazon tablet (travel pillow will also fit with no issues)


    Side pocket: power cords, external battery, wipes, earbuds (I can put my snacks here easily)


    Side pocket: Bose headphones. (I can also keep my wallet and phone in the slip pocket here)


    It fits everything with no difficulty and has room for more. This is definitely the front runner out of all the bags I tried. A big advantage being that it's structured so my stuff doesn't feel like it's loose and thrown around in the bag.
    Last edited by nolegrl; 05-08-2018 at 05:18 PM.

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