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  1. #1
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    Stowaway vs. Pilot vs. ???

    I'm considering a new EDC briefcase or shoulder bag of about 12 to 14 liters. My current bag -- a Timbuk2 Closer -- is too often too small for my needs. (It's 8L, roughly the same size as the DLBC.)

    I've read most of the threads on both the Stowaway and Pilot, and I'm still unsure whether to go with one of them or look elsewhere.

    The big attraction of the Stowaway for me is the size and shape. Given the bulkiest things I typically carry -- a 12 inch Macbook, stacks of 8-1/2 x 11 paper, a few books -- too much space seems wasted in a bag that's 11 or 12 inches tall. The Stowaway achieves its volume by going deeper, rather than wider or taller, and thus seems more useful.

    Whatever I buy will probably do double duty as a personal item when I fly. And though I don't expect to use the backpack straps on the Stowaway often, I can see where they might be a real boon at rare moments.

    Thoughts? For those of you who have a Pilot, why do you prefer it? Other suggestions in the same size range?
    Last edited by Buffalonian; 08-25-2018 at 07:41 AM.

  2. #2
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    @Buffalonian,

    I am in the same position as you, looking for a bigger bag that is utilitarian. I tried the Stowaway, and it was just too small, and the backpack part of it never rested fully against my back, it bumped and moved around in that mode, so it was not comfortable to use for me in that way.

    I just ordered the Pilot to compare to a similar sized bag, the Parental Unit (PU). I never would have thought of the PU, until I saw this fantastic review:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0AcrgsRaxmE

    I will follow up on this thread when I get them!

  3. #3
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    I love my Pilot. I have a 13" laptop for work and the main compartment of the Pilot is big enough for the laptop, library books, and any papers I need to carry. There's also a couple of pockets in the main compartment and I keep a small notebook in one of them. I can also fit my umbrella in the main compartment. I keep my travel cubelet and a cubelet or Q-kit (depending on what I need to carry) in one of the front pockets. In the other front pocket I keep a small snake charmer with charger/mouse/laptop cables, a pen, and a spork in a travel case. There's room for any other small miscellaneous items or snacks that I may need to carry. The water bottle compartment fits my 16 oz Hydroflax or 16 oz Swell bottles.

    The Pilot is good for a one or two night trip but I haven't tried it packed with both clothes and laptop. For travel the main compartment fits the Eagle Creek Spectre packing cubes - I've used one medium size or two small sized ones. Since I have small feet I put shoes in the pockets in the main compartment or in one of the front pockets. Makeup in a 3DOC or travel tray in one front pocket, any other needed miscellaneous items in the other front pocket and water bottle pocket.

    Note: my Pilot is black halcyon and there's a little more give in the material than ballistic. A ballistic Pilot may be a little harder to stuff with so much stuff.
    Last edited by Shortie; 08-25-2018 at 02:25 PM.

  4. #4
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    I always found depth in my WF inconvenient, unless I wore it as a backpack. The Stowaway is doing the opposite, with a boxy briefcase bobbling around, or a thin backpack sitting strangely on the back. It looked so innovative when it came out I wanted to get it to see if I could trim my one-bag even smaller, but I think it is just doing too much.

    If you were to have enough stuff to justify backpack carry, a WF would make more sense, both in profile and capacity. And what if your next MacBook is bigger? I imagine the Pilot is a better investment as an EDC.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shortie View Post
    The Pilot is good for a one or two night trip but I haven't tried it packed with both clothes and laptop. For travel the main compartment fits the Eagle Creek Spectre packing cubes - I've used one medium size or two small sized ones.
    The Pilot also fits the Eagle Creek spectre tubes well in the front pockets, or one of the slim cubes (I'm not sure offhand which size). The back pocket is a near-perfect fit for the smaller sized (15") Eagle Creek packing folder. I've put clothes along with a computer in the back pocket for one-night trips, with a 3DOC with toiletries in the front.

    I have a ballistic Pilot and the loads Shortie mentions sound about right to me.

  6. #6
    Forum Member weirdguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buffalonian View Post
    ...
    The big attraction of the Stowaway for me is the size and shape. Given the bulkiest things I typically carry -- a 12 inch Macbook, stacks of 8-1/2 x 11 paper, a few books -- too much space seems wasted in a bag that's 11 or 12 inches tall. The Stowaway achieves its volume by going deeper, rather than wider or taller, and thus seems more useful.
    ...
    Yup, Yup. I absolutely agreed with you. I absolutely find the 10" height very practical (at least for myself) and I definitely appreciate the compact length - keeping it just right for 13" Windows Laptop and A4 Papers, Folders.

    My familiarity come from my experience with Daylight Briefcase. The briefcase is really an eye-opener and transform my expectation of a classic, top-opening briefcase - as my Work EDC.

    I got my Stowaway on February 2018 and mainly because of the just right height and length. While the depth, it is also what I'd been wishing for - in the name of Mini Empire Builder. Sadly, like anything - nothing is perfect and there is no one to blame for. There were a few times that I posted my wish in the Forum's Wishlist that I hope TB would consider to have a deeper briefcase, something like Empire Builder - but at today's age, compact and sleek. I couldn't get enough for Daylight Briefcase at that time, not that Daylight Briefcase is not good. I just hope it could be better, at least for myself.

    Sorry for that lengthy about me, my briefcase and about Stowaway. Your words struck me hard of those time, when I couldn't get enough of DLBC and also how I was searching high and low for a similar bag too. In between those years and today, I still somehow come back to DLBC, forcing myself to make compromise in load and find more efficient way to carry like my recent discovery with Side Effect and Snake Charmer. Actually, there is one that I am looking forward to - just wish to have a few looks at one Tumi Briefcase. They have one, just as compact dimension and yet, expandable. It is not available locally in my area. Yet again, it is Tumi - I'm not sure I'm willing to pay that high for a Tumi quality.

    Anyway, back to your question, I personally think that Stowaway (at least in current Tom Bihn available for purchase) is your only choice if you prefer to have the discussed dimension as well as that, the depth is your concern.

    Dimension:
    Co-Pilot 11.8" x 10" x 4.9"
    Pilot 15.4" x 11.4" x 5.1"

    I do not have a Pilot, but I do have a Co-Pilot. If you look at the dimension, the bigger Pilot is only 0.2" deeper than Co-Pilot. I test-packed my Co-Pilot to try to carry my existing content of my DLBC's Main Compartment. They are a 13" Windows Laptop and many A4 Papers, Folders. Unfortunately, the Co-Pilot's main compartment couldn't handle the load. Hence, I do not think the Pilot could as well, even with its deeper 0.2". This is just my estimation based on my Co-Pilot and the Dimension given. There could be possibility that Pilot has deeper dimension for its main compartment than Co-Pilot. Either way, I had also try insert my filled Side Effect and Snake Charmer respectively into my Co-Pilot front side pockets. It require some effort, as the side front pocket of my Co-Pilot just right space for each Side Effect and Snake Charmer. I think the Pilot could be easier with its lengthier length.

    I had took some photo of a loaded Stowaway to give you some idea.
    Ah-ha, I'm taking the opportunity to re-understand and re-learn why I fell back to DLBC after using Stowaway for about a month.

    I would say Stowaway can manage to handle at least 1.5x load of DLBC elegantly and securely. Unlike my overloaded and exposed DLBC. Haha.

    What I learnt is that the Stowaway's Rear Main Compartment is almost equivalent to DLBC's Main Compartment. I could fit as much as the same load on both Bag's respective compartment. However, the Stowaway has a laptop compartment, the opening on the side. If I have my laptop to loaded there, there would be more available space at the Stowaway's Rear Main Compartment. While for the remaining Stowaway's Compartment - the second compartment, I would say it could be 20% larger than DLBC's Rear Pocket. I inserted my loaded Side Effect and Snake Charmer there (Photo below). When you zipped close, you can feel the bag is taking its shape and also some space from the front pockets. Not to say it is already full, I think one could still slide in slim Thermos, in the middle.

    Stowaway vs. Pilot vs. ???-stowaway-second-front-pockets-jpg

    I hope my insights are helpful to your questions. If you have any further question, I wouldn't mind to answer whenever I can. All the best!


    Some other photos:
    Stowaway vs. Pilot vs. ???-stowaway-photo-01-jpg
    Last edited by weirdguy; 08-26-2018 at 08:12 AM.
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  7. #7
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    I have the Pilot and the Stowaway. I find the Stowaway’s organization lets you carry more. The backpack option works great for me; many have mentioned the dislike of the bag not being against your back however I find this beneficial as it stays nice and cool.
    See the link for the capabilities

    https://vimeo.com/292522405
    Last edited by Jimador; 09-29-2018 at 04:58 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimador View Post
    I have the Pilot and the Stowaway. I find the Stowaway’s organization lets you carry more. The backpack option works great for me; many have mentioned the dislike of the bag not being against your back however I find this beneficial as it stays nice and cool.
    See the link for the capabilities

    https://vimeo.com/292522405
    Thanks for the informative video! I had been consolidating my orders and just when I thought I settled on the Pilot, I saw your video for the second time and I am now paralysed with indecision lol.

    I did some measurements and I think it might work with all my A4 sized reports. I particularly like the 8 inch thickness.

    The only two concerns are whether cloud is a professional enough Color and if the lack of a back pocket for the roller handle would bother me when I travel for work.

  9. #9
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    I regularly use a Pilot but seeing the video and all the discussion I think that I might be tempted to try a Stowaway......mmmmmm.....but then again, do I really need one? Well no, but it might be fun to try!
    I do find the Pilot a bit difficult to access the pockets when fully packed.
    Sadly being in the UK means no returns, so I will have to think hard about this.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by windy city red View Post

    The only two concerns are whether cloud is a professional enough Color and if the lack of a back pocket for the roller handle would bother me when I travel for work.
    Cloud is a light neutral grey - IMO, it looks perfectly fine for a professional.
    I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by G42 View Post
    Cloud is a light neutral grey - IMO, it looks perfectly fine for a professional.
    Thanks for the input!

  12. #12
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    I removed the stitching from the rear compartment that makes the division for the two very rear zip pockets. If the bag is not too full you can fit over your roller bag. Easy hack.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimador View Post
    I removed the stitching from the rear compartment that makes the division for the two very rear zip pockets. If the bag is not too full you can fit over your roller bag. Easy hack.





    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimador View Post





    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    With the rear 2 zips made into one pocket, it easily fits my iPad 10.5 with Apple keyboard


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimador View Post
    With the rear 2 zips made into one pocket, it easily fits my iPad 10.5 with Apple keyboard


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    For those concerned about the discomfort of the unpadded back pack straps, I purchased a set of memory foam replacement shoulder strap pads from Amazon. They work great and easily zip up in briefcase mode.



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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