I’m not one for rolling suitcases. I pack light, to a fault, out of a preference for carrying weight on my back—even in hand—over dragging it alongside me. Why? Something about the romance of freewheeling travel, and trusting your feet as your only anchors to the ground.
Nonetheless, San Francisco-based luggage company Timbuk2 (which at the time of posting is running a 25% Mother’s Day-inspired women’s sale) was recently kind enough to send over a rolling suitcase for me to try out, which I did on a recent trip to Montreal. So here’s my take on the Timbuk2 Copilot Luggage Roller, 2014 edition:
The bag come in three sizes: S, M and XL. Large is just skipped entirely (I imagine so the largest size sounds and can be written as bigger). The medium (M) size, which I now have, is available in four pretty similar color schemes, while the small (S) and extra large (XL) come in just three and two respectively. Here are dimensions, as pulled from the site:
One of Timbuk2′s hallmarks is their use of skateboard wheels on their rolling bags. While spinners (wheels capable of spinning 360 degrees) are probably more convenient overall, I really liked the skateboard wheels. They roll fast, and more importantly, smoothly—incredibly smoothly. Plus, it’s kind of a cool idea if you have even plutonic feelings for skateboarding.
The website notes its “Durable nylon and fabric reinforced tarpaulin fabric construction.” In less knotty language, and more detail, this may partly explain why the Copilot is so extremely light (6.6 pounds). In fact, I actually found it too light with just my backpack overflow inside, unable to withstand the tug of momentum to either side as I whipped through turns at the airport.
In a more typical travel context, however, the bag would be carrying more weight, and so the bag’s structural agility is a big plus. It’s less weight to carry, and more pounds available for your stuff (and not lost to airline weight restrictions).
The main, telescopic handle is fine, and nothing special (though it does feel sturdy). What earns this bag a high handle score is the fact that it is wrapped with four other, subtler handles offering more opportunities for firm grip. There’s one on each side, one on the top (next to the telescopic one) and one on the front. Pretty convenient, especially if you do end up having to wrench it off the baggage carousel.
Use of space
It’s important to note again here that I’m not well-versed in luggage that rolls, or that is engineered to be checked for that matter. But that being said, the design team found some creative ways to use the Copilot’s packing space. On the outside, there’s a thin pocket that apparently can hold “up to 13″ MacBook Pro.” I’m not sure I’d be comfortable subjecting my laptop (or tablet) to the beating a bag’s exterior—itself the protective, not protected layer—takes, but it is convenient. And it does fit. Above this pocket, there’s a short, deep pocket at the top of the bag, which is perfect for holding items you want to keep easily accessible. It’s also probably a great place to keep several giant Toblerones, as it’s the perfect shape for that.
Inside, the space is halved with great precision. Zippered nets on each side make intelligent, compartmentalized packing pretty easy (one half for clean clothes, one for worn, etc.). I won’t say it’s one-of-a-kind, but the construction is strong, and something to be satisfied with.
The price of a Copilot, by size:
- Small (S)—$209
- Medium (M)—$225
- Extra large (XL)—$299
Considering the money you can very easily spend on a bag these days, the quality of these bags and the Timbuk2 Lifetime Warranty, I’d say this is a pretty great value.
For the money, this is a good bag with some nice features. It’s still in the wrong category of bag for me, but comparatively, its clever pockets and structural agility are well-suited to the more impulsive, self-reliant style of travel that is the cornerstone of Google-age wandering. Still, there was one thing that I didn’t like: the aesthetic. The look, the colors (and again, there isn’t much variation in the options), the textures—I just couldn’t identify with it, and that’s important when it comes to what is essentially your closest travel companion on any trip. Fortunately, aesthetic preferences are as varied as the color options on this bag are not—so if a Timbuk2 Copilot Luggage Roller looks good to you, go for it.