Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Flight Bag For All Needs

Brightline’s new Flex system transforms the flight bag

The real genius of the Flex system is that all components mate together using a simple-but-innovative zipper system. By connecting the different components much as you would use building blocks, different configurations are possible without buying a new bag. If a pilot suddenly needs to spend the night somewhere, he can zip on the five-inch center section and add an end-cap to the core bag. Alternatively, he can skip the core bag altogether and connect a rear bag to an end cap and get an ultra-light bag for a VFR flight and business meeting. Pilots can choose which components to buy based on their needs.

For those who don't want to mess with picking "modules," Brightline offers preconfigured bags that integrate the Flex components. For $220, you can purchase the Contain bag that, when connected, makes for a bag that could comfortably serve a multi-day IFR mission with business tasks thrown in. When a lesser bag is required, just unzip what you don't need, and you have a bag that adapts to just about any situation. The complete system with all 11 components combines to form a very large bag that seems like it could accommodate an expedition to the Titanic.

The whole Brightline "component" idea has caught the attention of law enforcement, EMT and other emergency organizations, since the Flex system is essentially a tactical bag.

Its patent-pending collection of interchangeable modules and pockets makes particular sense for pilots. I used the bag system on various flights and found it to be fascinating the way an erector set or Lego creation is. I found myself using the core bag (Brightline calls it the "front bag") quite a bit, and adding just an end cap and side pockets when I needed extra gear.

I did a photo mission and added the rear bag, which has no dividers. Vice President Bryan Smith tells me there are plans to add a camera insert to one of the bags, and that would be most welcome for photographers, since I didn't like the idea of either making my own dividers or carrying my gear jumbled into a single large compartment.

The bag system is nice, and it's priced reasonably, with the least expensive component (the side pockets) listing for just $12, and the largest center-section component running $94. Preconfigured bags range from $109 to $265 for the largest—the Carryall. Contact


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