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Timbuk2 Copilot Review

A durable, stylish, and high-value suitcase suited for all types of travel
Timbuk2 Copilot
Photo: Timbuk2
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $299 List | Check Price at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Smooth ride, sensible features, excellent organization, great style
Cons:  Zippers could be smoother
Manufacturer:   Timbuk2
By Clark Tate and Amber King  ⋅  Aug 27, 2021
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76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 11
  • Storage & Organization - 25% 9
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 7
  • Reliability - 25% 8
  • Weight - 15% 6
  • Style - 10% 7

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 the storage and organization options that any frequent flyer requires. We appreciate its super smooth skateboard wheels that can take on any hard surface 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 a few 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 the functionality you need for most vacations, family visits, or work trips.

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Timbuk2 Copilot
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Timbuk2 Copilot
Awards Best Buy Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award  Best Buy Award 
Price Check Price at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$239.85 at Backcountry$299.95 at Backcountry$295 List$85.00 at Amazon
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Pros Smooth ride, sensible features, excellent organization, great styleAmple storage, water-resistant, durable, heavily featuredLarge wheels roll well, stable, convenient external organizationIntegrated TSA lock, rolls well, smart organization options, stylishInexpensive, smooth travel, great storage
Cons Zippers could be smootherMany features that aren't that useful, bulky designNot much in the way of interior organizationHeavy, fabric is easier to markTips over, lacks durable materials
Bottom Line A durable, stylish, and high-value suitcase suited for all types of travelA tactical and durable adventure suitcase that excels at packing bulky gearA rough and tumble option that could work for anything from gear hauls to business tripsThis bag is heavy but it looks good, is easy to organize, and can keep up with whatever you have plannedA very low priced suitcase with great storage capacity but a propensity to be tippy
Rating Categories Timbuk2 Copilot Eagle Creek ORV Tru... The North Face Roll... Away Expandable Large AmazonBasics Expand...
Storage & Organization (25%)
9.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
6.0
Ease Of Transport (25%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Reliability (25%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
4.0
Weight (15%)
6.0
8.0
5.0
4.0
7.0
Style (10%)
7.0
3.0
7.0
9.0
4.0
Specs Timbuk2 Copilot Eagle Creek ORV Tru... The North Face Roll... Away Expandable Large AmazonBasics Expand...
Measured Weight 9.4 lbs 9.1 lbs 10.2 lbs 14.5 lbs 9.9 lbs
Volume 80L 98L 80L 106 to 114L 105L
Liters per pound 8.5 10.8 7.8 7.3 to 7.9 10.6
Construction Clamshell & peek-a-boo access, softshell Zip open, softshell Roller-duffel Zip open, softshell Clamshell, softshell
Measured Packed Dimensions 25" x 14" x 10" 30" x 17" x 15" 28.5" x 15" x 16" 28" x 19" x 12" 20" x 11" x 29"
Expansion Zippers? No No No Yes Yes
Number of Wheels 2 2 2 4 4
Number of Large Interior Compartments 2 1 1 2 1
Interior Storage Features 2 Mesh dividers with organizational pockets. Three smaller organizational pockets 1 mesh organizational pockets on lid of duffel 1 dirty clothes bag, 2 zippered panels, compression straps Smaller organizational compartment with mesh organizer
Number of Exterior Pockets 1 pocket on top, 1 large sleeve 2 large pockets, top and bottom. Several gear loops on the exterior. 3 pockets, top and middle. Several gear loops on the exterior. 1 with two smaller ones inside 1 large pocket
Compression System Internal compression straps Removable gear holder keeps items in place, but not compression. Compression buckles on the outside. Expandable boot pocket on the interior of the backpack. Internal and exterior compression straps Internal compression panel and straps Internal compression straps
Handle Height from Ground 40.75" 42" 42.5" Low: 37"
High: 41"
Low: 38"
High: 42"
Built-In Lock None None No Yes Yes
Main Exterior Material Nylon and polyester Bi-Tech Heather, 1000D Helix Polyester Twill 1,000-denier polyester with TPE laminate/1,680-denier nylon Water-resistant nylon 150D-polyester
Unique Features Peek-a-boo front pocket, padded front pocket for a 13" laptop. Gear specific storage Duffel on wheels Includes a dirty clothes bag None

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Timbuk2 Copilot stands out for its 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 friends or family. It has something for everybody.

Performance Comparison


The sleek and compact Copilot offers an excellent value for...
The sleek and compact Copilot offers an excellent value for top-notch durability and organizational features.
Photo: Clark Tate

Storage & Organization


This suitcase offers great storage and enough capacity to have you covered for a few weeks without being too bulky for weekend getaways. 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.

Easily fit a pair of sneakers, heels or sandals in the top...
Easily fit a pair of sneakers, heels or sandals in the top compartment. This is also a great place for an extra layer or the items you need to access easily.
Photo: Amber King

The other front pocket is perfect for stashing a magazine or computer. It's officially laptop-compatible, and our 13-inch MacBook Air fit 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.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

The inside of this bag is well organized and will help you follow suit. It features two large compartments, each offering about 40 liters of volume, for 80 liters total. The compartments have a zippered mesh flap that holds your clothes and gear in place. We love this feature. You can open the bag however you want to, and nothing will fall out.

A look at the internal storage of the Copilot 28.
A look at the internal storage of the Copilot 28.
Photo: Amber King

One of the interior mesh panels has two zippered pockets for additional organization. It's an easy way to provide a dedicated space for something you want to find efficiently.

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.
Photo: Amber King

The suitcase also has a trap door, allowing you to access half of the storage space from the front. We find this particularly helpful when trying to get to an extra change of clothing quickly while squished into a car or dashing through the airport. Instead of having to unzip the entire suitcase, you only have to unzip the one exterior pocket.

A look at a few clothing articles just thrown in for a two-week trip...
A look at a few clothing articles just thrown in for a two-week trip to Canada.
Photo: Amber King

Ease of Transport


We love that this bag uses skateboard wheels, letting it glide over hard surfaces with ease. The wheels are wide enough to provide stability and smooth enough to ensure zero 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. You can easily extend it with the press of one central button. The bag also has four haul handles, letting you easily grab it from any angle.


We took this case over sidewalks, smooth concrete surfaces, cobblestone, gravel, and even through our rock and pine-laden yards. While the Copilot does have a narrower base, making it a little less stable than others, it offers one of the smoothest rides on hard surfaces of all our tested models.

Here we see the Copilot wheeling effortlessly over pavement littered...
Here we see the Copilot wheeling effortlessly over pavement littered with small pebbles.
Photo: Amber King

The Copilot has a harder time on soft surfaces, mostly because it has less clearance from the ground to the bottom of the bag. This means it catches on small rocks and other items relatively easily. The handle casing runs along the back of the case, giving the fabric itself a lot of protection, but the metal gets pretty beaten up when you head up stairways or over curbs. This happens with all suitcases, and it's mostly just cosmetic. But we've found that plastic bumpers don't look as bad as fast as these metal ones do.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

We like the Copilot best on missions where you expect smooth surfaces with only intermittent gravel. The handles make it easy to transport and comfortable for on-the-go adventures.

The bottom of the case is also a handle, which is helpful for...
The bottom of the case is also a handle, which is helpful for picking it up and putting it into the car.
Photo: Amber King

Reliability


We are truly impressed with this bag's reliability. The two-wheel construction is durable, while the exterior nylon material offers some water resistance from inclement weather. The solid craftsmanship makes this a great option for any mode of transportation.


A suitcase is an investment, one that should last for many years. We're about a year 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 USA 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. We haven't observed any failures and deem this bag's quality to be way above average.

The wheels are super bomber and easy to remove. The smooth exterior...
The wheels are super bomber and easy to remove. The smooth exterior makes the ride vibrationless on smooth surfaces while moving well over most obstacles.
Photo: Amber King

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.

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.
Photo: 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. It retained its shape when towing about 50 pounds of gear and didn't bend under the weight.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

The outside fabric offers a little water resistance, but the bag itself is far from waterproof. Like all the suitcases in 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 zippers don't keep any water out.

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.
Photo: Amber King

Weight


Using a hanging scale, we took the time to check the weight for each tested suitcase. Empty, the Copilot weighs 9.4 pounds. With airport restrictions, that means you can pack about 40 pounds of additional weight when flying. This lightweight design makes it easy to handle, with the case spinning on a dime and not moving around with a mind of its own. Overall, we appreciate this relatively lightweight bag for easy travel.


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 in style.


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.

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.
Photo: 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.

This great-looking case is an award winner for its great looks...
This great-looking case is an award winner for its great looks, durable construction, and easy transportability, all at a very fair price.
Photo: Amber King

Conclusion


The Timbuk2 Copilot wins our Best Buy Award for its amazing all-around performance. It stands out for its good looks, smart features, and a smooth ride that'll have you rolling all over the world with ease.

Eddie rolls the Timbuk2 from the car to the airport for a short...
Eddie rolls the Timbuk2 from the car to the airport for a short weekend trip.
Photo: Amber King

Clark Tate and Amber King