Timbuk2 Copilot Review
Cons: Zippers could be smoother, some reported handle issues
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Timbuk2 Copilot 28 stands out for its casual stylings, excellent organization, and reliable construction. This wonderfully versatile suitcase wins our Editors' Choice Award for offering unbeatable performance while traveling. Take it with you on your next business trip or throw it in the back of your car when you're ready to visit the in-laws. It has something for everybody.
We are truly impressed with the reliability of this case. The two-wheel construction is durable, while the exterior nylon material offers some water resistance for traveling in all types of weather. We appreciate the solid craftsmanship of this suitcase, making it a great option for any mode of transportation.
Any great suitcase should last for many years. While we didn't have the pleasure of testing for years (yet), we did get to use this bag while traveling from the USA to Canada, and on several trips in between, over several months. So far, so good. While there are a few concerns, we haven't observed any failures and assess the quality of this suitcase to be way above average.
One of the things we love most about the Copilot is the super bomber skateboard wheels. They have no wiggle and held up to being dragged up numerous flights of stairs, thrown around in the back of a truck, and put through luggage claim repeatedly. This reliability was further verified by other online users, except for one or two reports of the wheel axel breaking. This did not happen to us and, luckily, the wheels are easy to remove and change out if anything negative does happen.
The handle is a simple design of average quality. When towing about 50 lbs of gear, it retained its shape and didn't bend under the weight.
The outside fabric offers a little water resistance, but the bag itself is far from waterproof. Like all suitcases given our water test, it was fine at repelling a light rain, but water pooled quickly in the front pockets and interior of the case when given a full hose-down. The exterior nylon offers some resistance to scuffs, but we noticed it wearing down in a few places after our three months of use, making it a little less durable than other cases we've tested.
Storage & Organization
This suitcase offers great storage for trips that last anywhere from just the weekend to a few weeks. It boasts great storage features that make items easy to access and organize.
The outside of the Copilot features two wonderfully functional pockets. The top one has zipper access and is large enough to fit a pair of shoes or an extra layer. We see this is a great way to go from sneakers to heels in a flash.
The other front pocket is perfect for stashing away a magazine and is deemed "laptop compatible." Our 13-inch MacBook Air did fit inside; however, the padding in the pocket is minimal, and we wouldn't trust just the suitcase to keep it safe.
If you want to use this front pocket for your laptop, but sure to acquire a super-thin sleeve to provide a little more protection. Large laptop sleeves are too bulky.
The inside of this bag is well thought out, with excellent organizational capacity. It features two large compartments, each offering about 40 liters of volume, for 80 liters total. The compartments each have a zippered mesh system to keep all clothing and other gear in place. We love this feature as you can open the bag in any direction, and your clothing won't fall out.
Half of the interior space has a mesh divider for additional organization. It's an easy way to provide a dedicated space for something you want to find efficiently.
A unique feature that no other suitcase in our review offers is the peek-a-boo pocket, accessed from the outside of the case. When it is unzipped, you can get to items in the frontal interior compartment. We found this particularly helpful when trying to get to an extra change of clothing quickly while squished into a car. Instead of having to unzip the entire suitcase, you only have to unzip the one exterior pocket.
Ease of Transport
Due to the integration of skateboard wheels, this case glides over hard surfaces with ease. The wheels are wide enough to provide stability and smooth enough to ensure zero vibration. Handles on all sides also make the Copilot easy to tote around, though there is only one height for the main handle.
We took this case over sidewalks, smooth concrete surfaces, cobblestone, gravel, and even through our rock and pine laden yards. While this case does have a more narrow base, making it a little less stable than others, it offers the smoothest ride on hard surfaces of all our tested models.
The Copilot has a harder time on soft surfaces, mostly because the height from the ground to the bottom of the bag is relatively low. This means it can get caught on small rocks and other items relatively easily. When taking it up flights of stairs, it made its way up, but roughly.
The handle casing runs the entire length of the back of the case, providing additional protection to the fabric. However, when dragged up stairs or over rocks, the metal material catches and gets scraped up. This happens with all suitcases, but many integrate plastic material that makes the transition smoother.
As a result of these observational tests, we'd recommend the Copilot for most missions where you'd expect to see harder surfaces and only intermittent gravel. The handles make it easy to transport and comfortable for on-the-go adventures.
Using a hanging scale, we took the time to check the weight for each tested suitcase. Empty, the Copilot weighs about 10 lbs, which is exactly as advertised. With airport restrictions, that means you can pack about 40 lbs of additional items when flying. This lightweight design makes it easy to handle, with the case spinning on a dime, and not moving in weird directions on its own. Overall, we appreciate this relatively lightweight bag for easy travel in planes, trains, and automobiles.
The Copilot offers sleek lines and a look that can be used for either formal or informal occasions. While it may not be a top choice for those seeking a case that looks "rich," it's a great choice for those who want versatility in style. We received many compliments on this bag, with friends pointing it out amongst the group, saying how much they liked its look. In our eyes, this is a great option if you're looking for an informal/formal suitcase that can be used for many different applications.
Any good suitcase is an investment, and the Copilot is no different. This case offers great craftsmanship and the ability to change parts easily if something does break. There are many deals you can find online as well, so you may not have to pay full price. If you're looking for something that'll keep going, whether you're a frequent flyer or a once a year vacationer, we have confidence in this recommendation.
The Timbuk 2 Copilot wins our two-wheeled Editors' Choice Award for its amazing all-around performance. It stands out for its great look, features, and smooth, smooth ride that'll have you rolling all over the world. Make sure you keep to the street with this case and feel free to take it wherever your heart desires.
— Amber King