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Timbuk2 Copilot Review

A durable, stylish, and high-value suitcase suited for all types of travel
Timbuk2 Copilot
Timbuk2 Copilot Luggage Roller
Credit: Timbuk2
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $279 List
Pros:  Smooth ride, sensible features, excellent organization, great style
Cons:  Zippers could be smoother, low clearance
Manufacturer:   Timbuk2
By Myrha Colt and Clark Tate  ⋅  Jun 27, 2022
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82
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 13
  • Storage & Organization - 25% 9.0
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 9.0
  • Reliability - 25% 8.0
  • Weight - 15% 6.0
  • Style - 10% 8.0

Our Verdict

The Timbuk2 Copilot is a versatile two-wheeled wonder that boasts excellent functionality and sleek good looks. This bag is highly durable with all the storage and organizational options any frequent flyer might require. We appreciate its super smooth skateboard wheels that can take on both polished surfaces or rougher roads with ease. We tested the large case, which offers about 80 liters of space, making it useful for trips that last from a weekend to an efficiently packed couple of weeks. It's also offered in small (42L), medium (52L), and extra-large (108L) sizes. While it's not our first choice for carrying bulky gear, it offers excellent value and functionality and is all you’ll need for most vacations, family visits, or work trips.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Timbuk2 Copilot
This Product
Timbuk2 Copilot
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award  Best Buy Award 
Price $279 List$289 List
Check Price at REI
$260 List
$199.99 at Amazon
$250 List$119 List
$118.89 at Amazon
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Pros Smooth ride, sensible features, excellent organization, great styleDurable construction, large capacity, rolls with ease across mixed terrainCavernous main compartment, scratch- and water-resistant, easy-roll spinnersUltra-lightweight, large wheels, useful organizational featuresInexpensive, rolls easily, large capacity
Cons Zippers could be smoother, low clearanceLimited interior organizational features, easy to overpackTough to transport on mixed terrain, easy to overpack, limited organizational featuresSmall storage capacity, jiggly awkward handle, dubious longevityLow-grade materials, poor craftsmanship, sticky zipper
Bottom Line A durable, stylish, and high-value suitcase suited for all types of travelThe perfect all-terrain rolling duffel with substantial storage capacity and useful organizational extrasAn oversized yet lightweight mega-bag with spinner-tight roll and control over smooth surfaces and surprisingly tough exterior constructionAn ultra-lightweight roller duffel great for road tripping but less useful for airline travelA low priced expandable suitcase with enormous storage capacity but dubious durability
Rating Categories Timbuk2 Copilot REI Co-op Big Haul... Samsonite Omni PC H... Osprey Ozone 75L Wh... Amazon Basics 30" H...
Storage & Organization (25%)
9.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
5.0
Ease of Transport (25%)
9.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
Reliability (25%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
Weight (15%)
6.0
8.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
Style (10%)
8.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
Specs Timbuk2 Copilot REI Co-op Big Haul... Samsonite Omni PC H... Osprey Ozone 75L Wh... Amazon Basics 30" H...
Measured Weight 9.4 lbs 9.6 lbs 10.3 lbs 5.2 lbs 11.6 lbs
Volume 80L 109L 145L 75L 127L
Liters per pound 8.5 11.1 14.1 14.4 10.9
Construction Clamshell plus topside u-shaped zip access, softshell Zip open, duffel Clamshell, hard-sided Zip open, duffel Clamshell, hard-sided
Measured Packed Dimensions 26.5" x 14.5" x 13" 33.75" x 16.25" x 14" 30.5" x 20.5" x 13" 26.5" x 17" x 12" 30.75" x 21" x 12
Expansion Zippers? No No Yes No Yes
Number of Wheels 2 2 4 2 4
Number of Large Interior Compartments 2 1 2 1 2
Interior Storage Features 2 mesh clam panels with 2 organizational pockets 2 mesh organizational pockets on inside of opening panel (one with key hook), 2 internal compression straps Elastic restraint straps in one-half clam, zip enclosure over opposite half; hanging zipper accessory pocket Compression panels with 2 straps One-half clam with elastic restraint straps, one-half large zip enclosure with 2 zip mesh pockets, hanging zip accessory pocket
Number of Exterior Pockets 1 pocket on top, 1 large sleeve 1 side exterior zip pocket. 1 small top zip pocket with piggy-bag strap attachment, plus daisy-chain gear loops None 1 liquid pocket, 1 media-sized slide pocket, 1 small top containing tuckaway carry-on strap None
Compression System No 2 external and 2 internal compression straps (4 in total) 2 elastic straps for restraint but no functional compression 2 external compression straps, 1 internal panel set 2 elastic straps for restraint but no functional compression
Handle Height from Ground 40.5" 42" Low: 36"
High: 41"
39" Low: 36.75"
High: 40.5"
Built-In Lock No No Yes, TSA Approved No No
Main Exterior Material Nylon and polyester Recycled 400-denier nylon/recycled 1,680-denier nylon (bluesign®-approved) Polycarbonate 210-denier nylon honeycomb plus 450-denier packcloth Extra-thick ABS, hard shell
Unique Features Liquids pocket and padded front pocket to fit 13" laptop; skateboard wheels Oversized wheels, rugged chassis, full-length bumpers, 2 internal and 2 external compression straps, stopper-stand, carry-on piggyback clip, 6 haul handle options, daisy chain lash points, water-resistant Built-in TSA-approved lock; large packing capacity; impressive water resistance, expandable, anti-scratch exterior Ultralight, large, treaded wheels, exterior slide document pocket, carry-on tuckaway strap 150D-polyester zippered clamshell enclosure, 3 organizational pockets

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Timbuk2 Copilot stands out for its contemporary casual style, excellent organization, and reliable construction. This wonderfully versatile suitcase soared to the top of our charts for offering excellent 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 family and friends. It has something for everybody.

Performance Comparison


Timbuk2 Copilot suitcase - the versatile timbuk2 copilot travels with ease over curbs, onto...
The versatile Timbuk2 Copilot travels with ease over curbs, onto city streets, and out onto dirty country roads.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Storage & Organization


This suitcase offers great storage and enough capacity to have you covered on your longer journeys without being too bulky for weekend getaways. It also boasts great storage features that make items easy to organize and access on the go.


The outside of the Copilot features two wonderfully functional pockets. The top has zipper access and is large enough to fit a pair of shoes, an extra layer, or other quick access, day-of-travel necessities. We see this as a great place to store your book and chargers, stash your toothbrush, or pull from when you need to transform from sneakers to heels in a flash.

Timbuk2 Copilot suitcase - the top pocket in the copilot has room to hold toiletries, an extra...
The top pocket in the Copilot has room to hold toiletries, an extra set of shoes, or other travel day necessities.
Credit: Myrha Colt

The other front sleeve is perfect for tucking away a magazine or computer. It's officially laptop-compatible, and our 13-inch MacBook Air fits inside just fine. However, the padding is minimal, and we wouldn't trust just the suitcase to keep it safe. If you want to use this pocket for your laptop, we suggest adding more protection. Unfortunately, larger laptop sleeves are too bulky to fit, so you'd need a less protective version.

This 13-inch MacBook fits into the front compartment, but there's no...
This 13-inch MacBook fits into the front compartment, but there's no way we'd trust it to keep it protected without additional padding.
With a bulkier sleeve, our laptop doesn't fit easily inside the...
With a bulkier sleeve, our laptop doesn't fit easily inside the front pocket. As a result, we'd recommend just carrying a laptop backpack instead.

The inside of this bag is also well organized and will help you follow suit. Two large compartments are accessible via the clamshell zipper design, offering about 40 liters of volume to each half, for 80 liters in total. Both compartments are restrained by a zippered mesh flap, ensuring clothes and gear will settle into place and won’t fly out unexpectedly when opened upon arrival. We love this feature. One of these panels also features two zippered pockets for additional organization. It's an easy way to provide a dedicated space for the items you’ll need to track efficiently.

Timbuk2 Copilot suitcase - the two clamshell halves of the copilot hold a surprising amount of...
The two clamshell halves of the Copilot hold a surprising amount of gear for a smaller footprint.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Another favorite feature is the u-shaped zipped access panel from the front side. This functional second entry allows you to reach items stored in the top half of the “clam” without displaying or disrupting the full internal contents of your bag while on the go. This comes in particularly helpful when trying to grab an extra change of clothing while squished into a car or when last-minute wardrobe adjustments are needed dashing through the airport.

Timbuk2 Copilot suitcase - the peek-a-boo external pocket of the copilot allows you to access...
The peek-a-boo external pocket of the Copilot allows you to access any items that you might want without having to unzip the entire suitcase. A feature that we love, especially for road trips.
Credit: Amber King

Ease of Transport


We love that this two-wheel bag uses skateboard wheels, letting it glide over hard surfaces with ease. They are wide enough to provide stability and smooth enough to ensure limited vibration. The main handle, the one that telescopes up so you can haul it around on its wheels, only has one height, but it works fine for most folks and you can easily extend it with the press of one central button. The case also has four haul handles, letting you easily grab it from any angle.


We took this suitcase over sidewalks, smooth concrete surfaces, cobblestone, gravel, and even through our rock and pine-laden yards. While the Copilot does have a low-riding, narrower base than some, thus making it a little less stable and overland ready than other bags, it notably offers one of the smoothest rides on hard flat surfaces of any of our tested models.

Timbuk2 Copilot suitcase - the copilot has a great city look, helpful organizational details...
The Copilot has a great city look, helpful organizational details, and just enough rugged durability to make it a favorite for all kinds of travel.
Credit: Myrha Colt

On softer and uneven surfaces, the Copilot struggles a bit more, mostly because of its low clearance from the ground to the bottom of the bag. This means it can catch on small rocks and other items relatively easily, slowing you down. The metal handle casing that runs along the full length of the back of the bag provides a great deal of fabric protection against the hazards of the road. But you can also expect it to get pretty beaten up heading up stairways or curbs, with scrapes and scars to match. Such abuse happens to all suitcases, and the results are mostly just cosmetic. But we've found that plastic bumpers don't show the wear quite as badly or as quickly as such metal ones do.

The wear and tear show along the outer edges of the metal bumpers...
The wear and tear show along the outer edges of the metal bumpers and bottom side of the wheel axle housing which take the brunt of hits from obstacles in the road.
The Copilot makes easy navigation of stairwells, with protective...
The Copilot makes easy navigation of stairwells, with protective bumpers, a solid pull handle, and sturdy skateboard wheels.

The Copilot is a perfect choice for missions on which you expect mostly smooth surfaces but want to be prepared for intermittent gravel and the occasional bumpy road home. The strong and abundant handles keep it easy to manage by hand or by wheel and the sleek good looks enable a seamless transition between classic cityscapes and country roads.

Timbuk2 Copilot suitcase - the bottom stand of the copilot serves double duty as a haul handle...
The bottom stand of the Copilot serves double duty as a haul handle as well.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Reliability


We are truly impressed with this bag's reliability. The two-wheel construction is durable and functional, while the exterior nylon material offers some water resistance from inclement weather. Solid craftsmanship makes the Copilot a great option no matter what modes of transportation or mixed conditions lie ahead.


A suitcase is an investment, one that should last for many years. We're two years into testing this one, and aside from the scrapes we mentioned above, it's holding up very well. We've used it while traveling from the US to Canada and on several trips in between. So far, so good. The exterior nylon is sturdy — though we did notice scuffs in a few places after months of use — but we haven't observed any failures in design or materials, and deem this bag's quality to be way above average. Plus with Timbuk2’s lifetime warranty protection, any unexpected issues should be easily remedied.

Timbuk2 Copilot suitcase - skateboard wheels are the key to the smooth ride of the copilot.
Skateboard wheels are the key to the smooth ride of the Copilot.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Two of the things we love most about the Copilot are those super bomber skateboard wheels. They have no wiggle and have held up to being dragged up numerous flights of stairs, thrown around in the back of a truck, and put through luggage claim repeatedly. If you ever did have an issue, the wheels are easy to remove and change out. We're suckers for gear that considers its own repairability.

Timbuk2 Copilot suitcase - we love the handles located around the whole case that make it easy...
We love the handles located around the whole case that make it easy to grab and put into a vehicle.
Credit: Amber King

The telescoping handle has a simple design and is of average quality. Just press a center button to raise or lower it. It does rattle around a bit, but they all do. And it retained its shape when towing about 50 pounds of gear, never bending under the weight. So we’ve got confidence it’s got the strength to hold its own.

Water beaded on the outside of the Copilot after water testing.
Water beaded on the outside of the Copilot after water testing.
Water pooling at the base of the Copilot after water testing.
Water pooling at the base of the Copilot after water testing.

The outside nylon fabric offers some water resistance, but the bag itself is far from waterproof. Like nearly all the suitcases in our water test, it was fine at repelling a light rain. But we found the zippers a weak point, with moisture getting into front pockets and then pooling within the interior of the case after a full hose-down. If your travels involve many days exposed to mixed weather or extreme climates, this is something to consider before you spend on such an investment. But for most average trips, it’ll do the job.

Timbuk2 Copilot suitcase - the large zippers are a little sticky around the edges and they...
The large zippers are a little sticky around the edges and they aren't waterproof by any means.
Credit: Amber King

Weight


Using a handheld scale, we took the time to check the weight of each tested suitcase. Empty, the Copilot weighs 9.4 pounds. With airline restrictions, that means you can pack just over 40 pounds of additional weight when flying. This compact design makes it easy to handle such a load, with the case spinning on a dime and staying close, and never tipping over. Overall, we appreciate this well-sized bag for easy travel and multipurpose use.


Style


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 and protective features when roads occasionally run more rugged.


We received many compliments on this bag while testing, 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.

Timbuk2 Copilot suitcase - a sleek but more outdoorsy look is great for those seeking a casual...
A sleek but more outdoorsy look is great for those seeking a casual case or a business option for less formal work.
Credit: Amber King

Value


Any good suitcase is an investment, and a good one should offer an excellent return. We think the Copilot does just that. This case offers great craftsmanship and the ability to change parts easily if something does break. You can often find a good deal on it 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 one.

Timbuk2 Copilot suitcase - the timbuk2 copilot fully packed and looking sleek.
The Timbuk2 Copilot fully packed and looking sleek.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Conclusion


The Timbuk2 Copilot wins an award for its amazing all-around performance and approachable price point. It stands out for its good looks, smart features, and smooth ride that'll have you rolling all over the world with ease.

Timbuk2 Copilot suitcase - our top go-to bag for every kind of trip when large gear wasn't a...
Our top go-to bag for every kind of trip when large gear wasn't a consideration.
Credit: Myrha Colt

Myrha Colt and Clark Tate
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