February 2009 Issue

Top Flightbags: Sporty's, Brightline and SkyHigh

Brightline’s bag steals the show, but some of Sporty’s new lineup and SkyHigh bags are winners, too. The key is how each design utilizes space.

Our first impression of the Brightline bag was that it looked like an escapee from a zipper factory. It had so many pockets it seemed to venture beyond basic organization and cross into obsessive-compulsive disorder. Then we used the bag for a few flights ... and ended up buying it. The coup performed by Brightline wasn’t simply adding a bunch of pockets—in fact, we don’t think it needs quite so many—it was how it used space. For example, the center compartment was designed primarily with a headset in mind, but headsets come in many sizes. The Brightline solution is just the right size for one bulky headset, such as a Lightspeed 3G upright or two David Clarks on their sides. Pull out one DC headset and you’ll find a complete bag for a GPS also fits in that spot. We even fit the new Garmin 696 and a DC headset in that space. If you’re only using one headset, there is empty space in that compartment, so there are pockets on the inside of the compartment to take advantage of it. The whole bag is ripe with clever arrangements of pockets and space. In fact, when we loaded up the bag with a bunch of typical pilot supplies we were surprised by how heavy it was given that it’s not that big dimensionally. Then we realized it had somehow swallowed as much stuff as we fit in another bag nearly one-third larger in size. A cell-phone pocket and, separate, sunglass pocket are on the top of the bag for easy access. There is a two-part chart area that lets you keep all of your charts in a library area, but keep today’s charts, or a thin kneeboard in an outer pocket.

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