Hands-on Gear Review

Timbuk2 Copilot 28" Review

Timbuk2 Copilot Luggage Roller
Editors' Choice Award
Price:  $299 List
Pros:  Durable, goes anywhere, great space, sensible features
Cons:  Not styled for business, zippers could be smoother
Bottom line:  An all around durable bag that will take you and your gear wherever you like.
Editors' Rating:   
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Measured Weight:  10.7 lbs
Dimensions:  28.7 x 14.6 x 13.8
# of Wheels:  2
Manufacturer:   Timbuk2

Our Verdict

We knew from the onset that the Timbuk2 Copilot was going to be a great bag, but how great, we weren't certain. There was seemingly no wrong that this bag could do, and within reason that was accurate. We thought the Briggs & Riley Baseline was going to take the prize, but the Copilot unexpectedly took the top spot late in the performance and held onto it, beating out the Baseline by a half point and the TravelPro Platinum Magna 2 by two points.

The Copilot was a solid performer in all our performance categories. With its more casual and form-meets-function styling, it may not be as business savvy looking as the Platinum Magna 2 or the Baseline, but we like it.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Dave Eyvazzadeh

Last Updated:
Friday
February 23, 2018

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The Timbuk2 Copilot, our Editors' Choice Award winner, is a beast of a bag without feeling overly awkward to transport like some large bags. The casual styling of the Copilot really sets the bag apart with a tone that doesn't take itself too seriously, but with the confidence that it can do everything a more "refined" bag can — and more.


With a slick nylon outer shell, there is little concern for abrasion causing the dreaded fuzzy fabric, and durable skate wheels will take you just about anywhere. It seemed everything on this bag was done with purpose, and did not feel gimmicky at all. Well-priced and well-featured, this bag has it all.

Performance Comparison


The Timbuk2 Copilot blew us away with the amount of bag and value you get for such a reasonably priced piece of luggage. We get that this bag isn't styled for for the more discerning crowd that might be worried about what their luggage says about them. The Copilot does everything the high end bags do with its own character.

Timbuk2, as a company, prides itself on designing products that make sense, products designed for life; even it is outside the status quo. And with some of this bag's design cues and features, that's exactly what they did. Other bags in this comparison tried doing something different, but often it was within the boundaries of what is "normal" for a bag. Timbuk2 designed a bag seemingly with no recollection of what a suitcase should look like. And we love it.

Durability


The Timbuk2 Copilot comes in full durability regalia ready for travel. We've come to love bags that use extra durable and soft wheels for a sturdy yet comfortable ride, and it doesn't get much more durable than longboard skateboard wheels.

The backside of the bag, albeit a rigid shell, still provides a little bit of give. But when the tough gets going, the exterior frame of the collapsible handle takes the brunt of any abrasion or curb-strike. Protruding away from the back face of the bag by about a half inch, and some serious plastic gusseting toward the top, the Copilot has no worries about getting tossed about.

The matte finish front side of the bag, made from vinyl, makes sure that even if you do manage to scuff this hardy material, it'll barely show. As far as the zippers go, we found little concern of breaking as we did with some of the other bags, but we would have liked to see them with an easier action when zipping open or closed.


When it came to durability, only two other suitcases matched with high levels of durability — the Briggs & Riley Baseline and the Burton Wheelie Double Deck.

Sturdy skateboard wheels and collapsible handle stanchions that take one for the team.
Sturdy skateboard wheels and collapsible handle stanchions that take one for the team.

Storage


The Copilot mixes the convenience of a massive internal storage space with the convenience of well thought out storage and access. The clamshell design with dual zippered sides keeps everything in place while saving you from digging through a pile-up of clothes and gear to find what you are looking for. One of the panels even has dual zipper compartments for convenient access to small odds and ends.


On the exterior of the bag, a convenient top pocket large enough to pack an extra pair of shoes (and then some) allows easy access to toiletries or whatever you choose to pack in there. Don't worry, it may be big enough to pack a pair of shoes, but it's collapsible from the inside of the bag. There is no wasting room if you don't fill it up. A large front pocket offers more convenient storage, which hides the unique secondary access to the inside of the bag.

Easy front-side access to the front clam-shell compartment.
Easy front-side access to the front clam-shell compartment.

If storage is what you seek, but the rest of the Copilot doesn't fit you, the Eagle Creek Tarmac and Briggs & Riley Baseline are both great options with plenty of storage space.

Ease of Transport


One of the categories in which the Copilot really excelled was in ease of transport. The extra soft skateboard wheels soak up any extra vibration or rattles before they even reach your hand. The Copilot bounced down the stairs and down the broken sidewalk of our test area without a complaint.


Spin this bag as you like, you'll find handles on every side, top, and bottom. The stout plastic bottom handle doubles as the front supports for the bag. We found the bike-grip inspired collapsible handle grip slightly awkward, but not uncomfortable. Other suitcases that shared similar high marks in transportability on account of their well-suited wheels were the Burton Wheelie Double Deck and the Eagle Creek Tarmac.

In addition to both sides and the top  even the bottom has a sturdy handle. Shown here is our Editors' Choice winner  the CoPilot.
In addition to both sides and the top, even the bottom has a sturdy handle. Shown here is our Editors' Choice winner, the CoPilot.

Features


You won't find any fancy gizmos or never-seen-before widgets on this bag. True to Timbuk2 form, you will find well thought out and executed features that make life easier so you can focus on travels rather than if your suitcase will make it.

Simply put, the skateboard wheels were a huge calling for us on this one. A proper set of wheels makes such a difference. And it doesn't get much better than soft skateboard wheels for absorbing vibration and chatter, whether you're riding your board at 15 mph or walking with your bag in tow. Inside, the full zip panels partition the bag into two sides of a clamshell, keeping your stuff in place and easily accessible when you flip open the bag. Neoprene borders let you stuff the sides silly without worry of getting the panels fully zipped.


In total, these features that made us love the Copilot aren't unique to Timbuk2. It's as if this bag is an intentional culmination of sensible features in a reasonable package. The one unique feature which we found simple yet brilliant is the front-panel access. Rather than unzip and flay open your entire bag, the Copilot features a zippable flap masked by the front pocket. One convenient zipper-pull and you're reaching into the innards of the bag.

Overall the Copilot outperforms the Burton Wheelie, but we can't shake the sneaking feeling that there may be a chicken and egg situation here, with the shared clamshell concepts, internal zipper panels with expanding neoprene perimeters, and skateboard wheels.

Twin fully zippable clamshell covers with additional integrated accessory pockets are featured on the CoPilot.
Twin fully zippable clamshell covers with additional integrated accessory pockets are featured on the CoPilot.

Weight


The Copilot came in at 10.7 lbs on our scales, almost a full 3 lbs more than their claimed weight of 8.8 lbs. Regardless, we aren't upset. The bag performs fantastically, and we wouldn't shed an ounce if it meant losing a single performance point.


Style


We get that the Copilot may not be for everyone as far as style goes. This bag is not for stuffy suit-traveling salespeople. Rather than subscribe to what a suitcase should look like, this bag brings a well-executed practice of rethinking the look and functionality of the simple suitcase. This bag is reserved for free-thinkers that believe that fashion and function meet at the intersection of good design.


A clean/contemporary take on the modern suitcase.
A clean/contemporary take on the modern suitcase.

Best Applications


The Timbuk2 Copilot checks every box there is for a suitcase with outside-the-box thinking. As long as you don't need something to sling over your shoulders to backpack around Europe (which would call for the Osprey Sojourn) or a business savvy suitcase that you can take to a client site (for which we recommend looking at the TravelPro Platinum Magna 2), then this bag fits the bill.

Value


It doesn't get much better than this when it comes to value — top of the heap with only three other bags that were cheaper. Have no doubt, if the Copilot weren't the Editors' Choice Award winner, at $299 it would have certainly taken the Best Buy Award away from the TravelPro MaxLite 4.

Conclusion


There is a reason that the Timbuk2 Copilot came out on top of this luggage rack of suitcases — it's a fantastic product. And as far as we can tell, the price for such a solid product simply cannot be beaten. Fittingly named, with this bag you will have a Copilot in more than one sense when it comes to a trustworthy travel companion, so you're free to focus on the experience.
Dave Eyvazzadeh

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Most recent review: February 23, 2018
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
  • 1
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  • 5
 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
 (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 100%  (1)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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