Timbuk2 Copilot Review
Cons: Zippers could be smoother, low clearance
Compare to Similar Products
|Price||$279 List||$289 List|
$289.00 at REI
$211.16 at Amazon
$166.99 at Amazon
$110.24 at Amazon
|Pros||Smooth ride, sensible features, excellent organization, great style||Durable construction, large capacity, rolls with ease across mixed terrain||Cavernous main compartment, scratch- and water-resistant, easy-roll spinners||Attractive style, expandable, a few handy organization options, rolls well||Inexpensive, rolls easily, large capacity|
|Cons||Zippers could be smoother, low clearance||Limited interior organizational features, easy to overpack||Tough to transport on mixed terrain, easy to overpack, limited organizational features||Not as sturdy, scuffs pretty quickly, no external storage||Low-grade materials, poor craftsmanship, sticky zipper|
|Bottom Line||A durable, stylish, and high-value suitcase suited for all types of travel||The perfect all-terrain rolling duffel with substantial storage capacity and useful organizational extras||An oversized yet lightweight mega-bag with spinner-tight roll and control over smooth surfaces and surprisingly tough exterior construction||This simple rolling bag gives you form and function, but not the best value||A low priced expandable suitcase with enormous storage capacity but dubious durability|
|Rating Categories||Timbuk2 Copilot||REI Co-op Big Haul...||Samsonite Omni PC H...||Delsey Paris Titani...||Amazon Basics 30" H...|
|Storage & Organization (25%)|
|Ease of Transport (25%)|
|Specs||Timbuk2 Copilot||REI Co-op Big Haul...||Samsonite Omni PC H...||Delsey Paris Titani...||Amazon Basics 30" H...|
|Measured Weight||9.4 lbs||9.6 lbs||10.3 lbs||11.9 lbs||11.6 lbs|
|Liters per Pound||8.5||11.1||14.1||9.3||10.9|
|Construction||Clamshell plus topside u-shaped zip access, softshell||Zip open, duffel||Clamshell, hard-sided||Clamshell, hard-sided||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"||31" x 11.5" x 19"||30.75" x 21" x 12|
|Number of Wheels||2||2||4||4||4|
|Number of Large Interior Compartments||2||1||2||2||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, one small pocket, one panel with a zipper pocket||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||None||None|
|Compression System||No||2 external and 2 internal compression straps (4 in total)||2 elastic straps for restraint but no functional compression||1 set of compression straps||2 elastic straps for restraint but no functional compression|
|Handle Height from Ground||40.5"||42"||Low: 36"
|Built-In Lock||No||No||Yes, TSA Approved||Yes, TSA Approved||No|
|Main Exterior Material||Nylon and polyester||Recycled 400-denier nylon/recycled 1,680-denier nylon (bluesign®-approved)||Polycarbonate||100% Polycarbonate||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||Hard-sided bag||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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
— Myrha Colt and Clark Tate
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