Until Christmas of last year I never had a bag that I really liked. That all changed when I read a review of the Tom Bihn Co-Pilot by Jon Bemis on the Pen Addict blog. My particular need is to be able to carry my writing supplies to and from work so that I can journal and or write letters during my lunch break.
The Tom Bihn is not an inexpensive bag and by the time you factor in the upgrade to the Absolute Strap, tack on international shipping and then do a currency conversion at 1.4X, it could be considered the Prada of Cordura, but it does its job well. The front of the bag is divided into three compartments, the two outer ones are accessed through perimeter zippers and the central compartment through a vertical one. The right hand compartment has an integrated pen holder for four pens that I have loaded with some everyday carry pens, scissors, and a MagLite. This pocket also holds a pencil sharpener and a NockCo Chimney Top containing my wax sealing kit for letters.
The central pocket is likely intended for a water bottle since there is a drain hole in the bottom but it is the perfect size for my NockCo Brasstown. This is the case that I use to store my fountain pens that are featured in the Monthly Load Out posts as well as a handful of pencils that travel back an fourth a lot but don't see much use.
I use the left hand compartment to hold electronics accessories. It has an internal pocket where I stash a Kingston Mobilelite wireless router that doubles as a phone recharge battery as well as SD card and USB stick reader for my phone. I've also re-purposed a pencil case to hold travel-length cables, headphones, etc. so that they are on hand if I need them while I'm out.
The main compartment is where all of my paper supplies are kept. It is sized to fit a 9.7 inch iPad and you could squeeze a 12 inch MacBook in if you had too but I simply use it to hold paper. A4 pads fit fine but I usually carry A5 sized stationery. This compartment has two internal pockets. The first holds my Hobonichi Techo wrapped in a One Star Leather cover and the second holds envelopes.
I have really been enjoying this bag and it travels everywhere with me now. Having these supplies within easy reach means that I can rough out a blog post or write a letter whenever I have a spare block of time. For a video tour, click play on the embedded player below.