Tom Bihn’s Ristretto for the 11in MacBook Air has been my bag of choice for over a year. Since then I have added a larger briefcase/overnighter, the Empire Builder, to my stable. But the Ristretto remains the best solution for daily use.
When I reviewed the Ristretto in January 2011, one of the few quibbles was with the open front pocket which could allow heavier items to slip out. I solved the problem by using storage pouches attached to the O ring inside the front compartment. This is still a good solution and helps organise all those messy cables and chargers.
Now, Tom Bihn has listened and introduced an improved range with a zipped front pocket, heftier carrying handle and a new, lighter material. Old Ristrettos were made from Cordura but the new range will use high-tenacity ballistic nylon with a Japanese Dyneema nylon interior.
I’ve seen only photographs so far, but the zippered front compartment is a definite improvement. Previously this compartment was completely open but had a secure zippered interior pocket, now deleted.
The back grab handle, previously a simple webbing loop, is now a foam-padded ballistic nylon handle. I use the back handle a lot and look forward to trying the new, more comfortable padding.
The Ristretto comes in three sizes: iPad, 11in Air and 13in Air. I prefer the 11in Air model because it is perfectly fine for either the iPad or Air and I don’t need the extra size of the 13in bag.
It will come in new colour combinations of black/steel, steel/Iberian, forest/steel and navy/solar. In addition the iPad version will come in an extra cardinal/steel combination.
The new range is on pre-order for delivery in April and I can’t wait.