Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pilot Toys: BrightLine Bag, two years later

In what I have to consider a testament to the BrightLine Bag's quality, my two year update is going to be quite short. My bag is still going strong and regularly carries my ever-increasing gear collection. I've used it on long trips and short trips - from a quick jaunt to Lunken for dinner to an overnight trip with a stop in Put-In-Bay to our giant, eight day circumnavigation of Lake Michigan this past summer.

The bag still carries everything I listed in the original review along with some new gear:
Needless to say, this bag holds a ridiculous amount of stuff yet still manages to keep it organized and easily accessible. The zippers and fabric have held up very well against what I would consider average use. I definitely toss the bag in my car and in the luggage area of the 150 and 172 without any concern about damaging either the bag or its contents.

The only issue I have had with my bag is that the business card holder disintegrated. I actually spoke with Ross Bishop, the owner and creator of the BrightLine Bag, at the AOPA Summit in Tampa, Florida in 2009 about this very issue. He told me that they had a manufacturing problem with some of the earlier bags; the plastic used to secure the business card holder to the fabric was too brittle. Indeed, the black plastic around the protective clear cover on my bag slowly flaked off beginning about six to nine months after purchase. Today there is no black plastic remaining (only some thread that used to secure the plastic remains) and the business card holder has completely fallen off.

Note the missing business card holder in the middle of the bag

Even with the aforementioned problem, I can't knock the bag's quality. Ross actually offered to send me a new holder without the brittle plastic that I could sew on to the bag; I just never took him up on the offer. More importantly, the bag has held up perfectly in every area that counts - the zippers and fabric look as good as new and it has kept all my stuff safe and secure for nearly two years now. I can't recommend the BrightLine Bag enough for any pilot that's looking for a well-organized bag to carry their flight gear.

If you're interested in purchasing a bag of your own, click here!

Updated Rating: 5/5 Cubs

When I received my BrightLine Bag for Christmas in 2008, I was a newly minted Private Pilot. Nearly all my cross-country flying had been during my training and I didn't have much to carry with me most of the time. I have since acquired more gadgets (in other words, I'm your average pilot) and tend to keep a few more things with me whenever I go flying.

What I never expected was for my original review of my BrightLine Bag to become so popular. If you search for 'BrightLine Bag' on Google, that blog post is in the Top 5 results listed. In fact, since that post went live nearly two years ago, I have written 108 posts on here but over 6% of the blog's entire traffic count comes directly from my review.

So it should come as no major surprise that I was contacted by the guys at BrightLine Bags a few months ago. It's pretty easy to track statistics on the web (as I just did in the previous paragraph) and they've noticed that a significant amount of traffic comes from my blog. I'll cut right to the chase - I am now an affiliate with them and will receive a small commission if you purchase a bag through a link on this site.

It is clear that my review has had - and is still having - an influence on people who are considering purchasing a BrightLine Bag. I'm glad to help out fellow pilots and am actively working on increasing the number of reviews on this blog. While I do try to keep advertisements on here to a minimum, I realize there is a great opportunity here to work with BrightLine. Neither the original review nor this updated version have been in any way influenced by my affiliation. All the thoughts and opinions on this blog are strictly mine.

All I'm asking of you is this - if you decide to purchase a BrightLine Bag based upon my reviews, I would greatly appreciate it if you do so through one of the links in the posts or on the navigation bar on the right-hand side of the blog. Thanks!


  1. I have a Sporty's VFR bag that has held up very well also...however, it's pretty much a plain bag with a headset pouch on the side. I've been considering the Brightline for awhile - like you said, lots of compartments for gadgets. I'll send my wife the link to your site and maybe I'll find it under the tree this year!

  2. I really am still amazed at how many things my BrightLine Bag can hold. The colored zipper pulls and dedicated pockets for some standard items really do make it easy to get to whatever I'm looking for, both on the ground and in the air.

    Let me know if you need any help convincing the other half! ;-)

  3. Let me, Steve's Fiancé, tell you that he is not exaggerating when it comes to purchasing new pilot gear to put in his bag. Every time I turn around, he has bought something else aviation related that must go in the bag. It's like a black hole for supplies only you, or I, can actually find something. Steve can attest that me finding something is a miracle!

  4. I have the brightline and love it as well. I had the Sporty's IFR bag (old green style one) an can put twice as much and more in my brightline. Mine is the first generation as well and my ID holder also came off. Holds a lot, and I really like removing the one compartment with all my XC charts and Approach plates and having that information cleanly stored.

  5. I have the brightline bag... it functions as expected, no problems there! However, it is a profoundly painful experience to look for something that has been accidentally placed in the wrong pocket! I have searched the bag, searched the plane while sitting in the left seat... searched the plane while sitting in the right seat... searched the bag again... only to find the item a day later in that 'pocket' you missed. Haha, no accounting for 'pilot error'!