Who’s flying? The big or the small Pilot?

Same same but different. The only difference between the Pilot cases Rimowa is offering is the size. The previous year (2016) Rimowa was also offering the two wheel version of the Pilot. That one also came in a small and a large one. The two wheel version is discontinued. So in 2017 we only have two Pilot cases. Both with the Multiwheel system.

Another big difference which is also related to the size is that the smaller one is a carry-on. Meaning you can bring it on board of a plane. The bigger one is not a carry-on. The bigger you probably have to check in.

Introduction

My objective is to review the Pilot series. Since there are only two and the only difference is the size, the review will be very straightforward. But still. If you are spending a fair amount of money on a high end suitcase you should make the right decision. The models I’m going to review are the following:

Rimowa PILOT MULTIWHEEL® 923.50.00.4 (The smaller one)

Rimowa PILOT MULTIWHEEL® 923.51.00.4 (The bigger one)

Rimowa Pilots
Rimowa Pilots

Product Description

In order to get a quick overview of the differences between the two I put together the following table:

Pilot Multiwheel 34l Silver carry-on luggage Pilot Multiwheel 37l Silver suitcase
Item Number 923.50.00.4 Item Number 923.51.00.4
Dimensions 17.3 x 19.7 x 9.1 in Dimensions 17.3 x 20.9 x 10.6 in
Weight 10.4 lb Weight 11.0 lb
Volume 34.0 l Volume 37.0 l

Price difference

The larger Pilot is around 50 usd higher. For the difference in prices per country I would like to direct you this article I wrote a few months ago.

Accessoires

The accessoires that accompany the Pilot are:

  • 15 inch laptop bag
  • Cable bag
  • Aluminum divider
  • Luggage tag
Rimowa Pilot accessoires
Rimowa Pilot accessoires

For an accessory the 15 inch laptop bag is pretty well made. It has some leather details and would be a nice item just by it self.

The divider can divide the main compartment of the pilot in two. Inside the main compartment there is a slider for the divider which can shifted back and forth which makes the size of the compartments adjustable.

Adjustable slider
Adjustable slider
Rimowa Pilot top view
Rimowa Pilot top view

Product Experience

I travelled with the larger two wheel Pilot. To be honest it was a real joy. The thing I really enjoyed is that you can access your contents by opening the lid. I had stowed a hat in my Pilot and could easily grab it. If I needed to grab an item out of a Topas Cabin for example. I first had to lay the suitcase horizontally. Open the suitcase. Open the flex divider (You also have to guess in which shell you put the item).

Another real benefit is that underneath the lid there are several compartment where you put in items like documents and small toiletry items. A feature which available on the Rimowa Bolero. The bolero has compartments on the outside of the suitcase. The Rimowa Topas however doesn’t have any compartments. You are forced to put smaller items like documents in a separate bag.

Rimowa Pilot compartments
Rimowa Pilot compartments on smaller Pilot 923.50.00.4
Rimowa Pilot compartments
Rimowa Pilot compartments on bigger Pilot 923.51.00.4

Another great benefit of the Pilot is that the weight of the case is lower to the ground (than a standard trolly case), which makes it more stable when moving around.

Because the Pilot is lower to the ground it makes it easier to slide a backpack over the telescope handle. Below is a picture of a Tumi Alpha Backpack which has been slid over a regular carry-on. A similar construction is more stable on a Pilot than on a regular carry-on.

 

Tumi Alpha backpack on carry-on
Tumi Alpha backpack on carry-on

The only feature that I’m missing, which is available on the Topas carry-on, is the Add-a-Bag holder.

Rimowa Add-a-Bag holder
Rimowa Add-a-Bag holder

Conclusion

I travel with a Rimowa Topas carry-on. 923.52.00.4. While I’m writing down this review and going over the pros and cons I’m seriously considering to exchange my Topas for a Pilot. I believe the Pilot case is more intended as a business trolley and not a a carry-on where you put your clothes in for a weekend-off. I believe if you pack it right you maybe can leave your backpack at home. When I travel I use a backpack and a carry-on. I use my backpack mainly for my laptop and my documents. The laptop and documents can easily fit in the Pilot and are also accessible by opening the lid. This leaves obviously less space for your clothes. But if you are on a trip for two days I think you are good.

My next article will be about what can actually fit in a Rimowa case!

Pros

  • The weight of the case is lower to the ground, which makes it more stable when moving around.
  • The lid has compartments to put small items in.
  • It comes with a aluminum divider.

Cons

  • Bigger Pilot 923.51.00.4 is not a carry-on size
  • Missing an Add-a-Bag holder

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