View Full Version : Ristretto - Very first impressions

03-28-2008, 11:14 AM
My Ristretto just arrived a couple of hours ago in my office and I have been playing with it, to the exclusion of the work I should be doing! I got the Olive/Cayenne combination - it is a very striking color combination which I really like. The olive color is a bit more "earthy" in tone than I thought it would be based upon my computer's rendition of the website colors, and the cayenne is a little more subdued (not quite a bright) than I expected. Again - it is a color mix which I really like. (My wife commented she wants a Urse-like bag in the same colors!)

The Macbook (13 in) fits perfectly in the padded compartment. The flap surprisingly (to me anyway) folds to the back of the bag - the opposite of every other bag I've had/seen with an internal computer compartment and it kept in place by friction and the computer in the compartment. Other sleeves use some type of velcro-esque stuff to hold things closed. I think friction should work well, however.

As indicated on the site, it is fairly narrow bag with enough pockets and room to carry the computer, some writing implements, some files or a notebook or two. The back outside pocket seems to be perfectly sized for a magazine or files (or the USA today delivered to my room on the road which I never seem to have time to read). The front pockets under the flap will be perfect for boarding passes, the mail I always need to take out. The basic strap which comes with the bag is surprisingly comfortable even under a full load - I suspect I will be using my absolute strap, however, just because I can!

Construction, as always, seems to be flawless. Over the next few days/weeks. I will use the bag daily to seen how functional it is for daily business use. I might even try it in place of my Zephyr for a 2 day work-related trip I have coming up in a couple of weeks - if I don't need to cart a lot of junk.

03-28-2008, 03:34 PM
Sounds good! I just spent 2 hours 6pm-8pm at my local UPS depot trying to pick up my Ristretto with no luck. UPS is BAD BAD BAD for UK customers, but I suppose I can not blame tombihn for this. A comedy of errors leads to having to pay $50 to UPS to release a $70 bag, and yet they can't even find it on their shelves. Hopefully Monday. FedEx is far better for UK customers, I gotta point out.

03-31-2008, 11:03 AM
Sounds good! I just spent 2 hours 6pm-8pm at my local UPS depot trying to pick up my Ristretto with no luck. UPS is BAD BAD BAD for UK customers, but I suppose I can not blame tombihn for this. A comedy of errors leads to having to pay $50 to UPS to release a $70 bag, and yet they can't even find it on their shelves. Hopefully Monday. FedEx is far better for UK customers, I gotta point out.

Beancurd -- Please email me your tracking number so that we can help you locate your order and find out where things went wrong.

03-31-2008, 11:18 AM
All OK now - the bag has arrived and it is very nice indeed. Great value and worth the wait :) Now t put it through its paces. I'd really recommend it for Macbook Air owners! This is my first experience with tombihn.com, I am going to use them again for future travel bag purchases.

UPS is bit of a nuisance. The UK charges import duty and UPS do the collection on behalf of the govt. They charge $22 (!) to do the duty collection and the duty was $24, so they hold it at a depot until the $46 is paid. While it is in the depot, it is difficult to retrieve, even if you have the $46 in your hand. Fedex simply deliver the goods as promised and then send you a bill for $46. I'm not complaining about these costs, just the difficulty of dealing with UPS. I'm sure they work out fine for you in the US or you wouldn't use them. One minor minor minor complaint is that duty is calculated on the goods value, and since tombihn.com includes shipping cost ($35) in 'total value' in the customs form, you end up paying about $6 extra duty than you really should. (I don't want it refunded, but something to think about for future orders).

Thanks again, great work on the Ristretto!

03-31-2008, 11:21 AM
I'm glad that you finally received your package! Could you still email me your tracking number? Our UPS rep will investigate what happens on the UK end of things and will let us know what we can do to make it a better experience for our UK customers. Thanks for letting us know about this.

04-03-2008, 02:51 PM
I have had the Ristretto for about 1 week now and the bag continues to impress me. I am based in an office but spend at least part of everyday in nursing care facilities seeing patients. The Ristretto is surprisingly light, even fully loaded - Macbook, Kindle, USB cable, iPhone, a couple of pens, 4 thin file folders, one full patient record, reading glasses, various individual sheets of paper (sandwiched between file folders). Still has lots of room for other things.

The grab handle is quite nice. Usually I dislike these on messenger bags as they tend to be flimsy, scrunch up, and cut into my hand when carrying the bag from place to place. The handle is fairly stiff, wide (at least one inch), and large enough from end to end to fit my ham hands! It is comfortable to use. I’ll see if remains so as I continue to use the bad and break it in. Standard shoulder strap is comfortable. I have been too lazy to switch it out for my absolute strap. I am curious as to why on this bag (and others), the metal clips connections are not used for the straps? A fixed connection point means having to always untwist the strap - whereas with the clip connector, the strap can "self-correct". (Or at least I don't have to strain my spatial abilities to figure out which way to turn the strap to untwist it!)

It has been raining all week - not the typical torrential rains we generally get here in coastal NC, but a steady rain. This is unusual as we have been in the midst of a draught. Everything in the bag has stayed dry - no rain came in through the top side edges - something that happens on occasion with messenger bags.

After a week, the grab handle has "softened" a bit but still is comfortable to use. I have put more in the bag at times (2-3 patient records-usually at least 1 inch of paper) and it does get tight. I don't think the bag was designed for this quantity of stuff but it manages it nicely!! I am still getting used to what I consider to be a backward folding flap but it has not been a problem.

My only complaint is, as noted above, the fixed anchor points of the strap. For me, the swivel clips would have been preferable.

I like this bag. I look forward to a long relationship with it. Unless something happens in the next several weeks, this is a keeper. Why I might even remove the cardboard tag in a few days!!

04-06-2008, 12:37 PM
Can anyone comment on the size of the Ristretto vs the Large Cafe Bag? I use my Large Cafe Bag to go pretty much everywhere I go, and I can jam a lot of stuff into it. Can you get as much into the Ristretto?


04-06-2008, 02:18 PM
From the products webpage, the Ristretto measures a bit smaller that the Large Cafe Bag (10.5x12.5x3 vs 12x13x3; 9 liters vs 11 liters). The built in sleeve for the computer also probably takes up a bit of that real estate; although if you're carrying a computer in a sleeve of some sort, it's probably about the same amount of space taken. I can't speak to how much you can actually cram into a cafe bag as I don't have one. Lots can go into the Ristretto.

04-13-2008, 07:57 PM
I have posted my full review of the Ristretto on my website. Here's the link:



04-15-2008, 01:38 PM
Great review, Sapridyne!! Glad that the Ristretto turned out to be everything you wanted it to be. :) We linked to your review on the blog today. (http://www.tombihn.com/blog/node/560)

04-16-2008, 01:32 AM
Is anyone using the Ristretto for other than a computer bag? It seems close in appearance to the cafe bags but I like the design better.

04-16-2008, 06:17 AM
Is anyone using the Ristretto for other than a computer bag? It seems close in appearance to the cafe bags but I like the design better.

I'm debating giving this a try. I was considering a Cafe bag just to carry non-laptop items but the vertical design of the Ristretto appears to be more comfortable. But I already have an Imago that I use to carry supplies for the dog so I'm not sure I need another bag that is nearly the same. Plus, my top priority now is a new laptop bag for work so I have my eye on the Smart Alec.

04-16-2008, 07:43 AM
Does anyone have a picture of themselves with this bag on? I was wanting to see how big the bag is when someone is carrying it.

I'm also much more a fan of the clip on spots (o-rings?) for the strap. That way I could move my Absolute strap between my Zephyr and this bag as needed. Having to "unlace" it when moving a strap between bags takes too much time.

04-16-2008, 10:54 AM
A couple of weeks with the Ristretto now and it still is my favorite bag for day-to-day use. It holds everything I need easily with room for more. I tried using the Absolute strap with it and actually like the strap it comes with better - it seems to distribute the weight more evenly for me. (Also it allows me to use the Absolute strap on another bag.) I did get caught in a very heavy rain with the bag, and while I was soaked, things in the bag were fine. Stuff has fallen on it in the nursing care facilities I go to and the bag has readily wiped/blotted clean every time - it also has held up well to some disinfectant liquids I wiped on the flap (don't ask).

I took the bag on a short trip to Florida for a meeting as my main gear bag. Sadly, this is not the ideal bag for that task - a bit too small to carry everything I generally need. Another inch and it would have worked, however. The bag fell a couple of feet a time or two, my computer and the other electronics in the bag came through unscathed.

This bag has taken everything I have been able to throw at it in a few short weeks and it has survived easily. As I noted in the first comment, it is well constructed and seems like it will last a good long time, even with me using it. I have gotten nothing but positive feedback form others as where they can get the bag - hope that translates to sales for TB and co. If you're looking for a small to medium sized bag for daily use, that will protect your things, this could be the one for a lot of people - it has become the one for me. I even removed the paper tags!

05-06-2008, 03:51 AM
hi rabergnc, would a thin sweater/jacket fit in the ristretto, if it's not carrying a laptop? i'm also deciding between this and the large cafe bag as an everyday or carry-on bag.

05-06-2008, 07:36 AM
A thin jacket or sweater would fit in the bag. With a laptop on board it would be a tight fit. Without a laptop, it should be no problem. There would be some, but not too much room for a lot of other things, however. (This is based on my using the bag with a MacBook. With a MacBook Air - there would likely be more space - I just saw a MacBook Air in person last week and it is amazingly thin but feels incredibly sturdy.

05-06-2008, 08:10 AM
thanks! what about a sweater and a sigg bottle and/or umbrella (but with no laptop)? would that be a squeeze?

05-06-2008, 08:15 AM
It would depend on the size of the bottle and umbrella. I suspect it would be tight, especially with the bottle. Someone else may have a better sense of how this would work?

05-06-2008, 06:37 PM
The Ristretto actually works perfectly with my 1L SIGG bottle. I keep it in the non-padded part of the bag (obviously), but the padded compartment (the whole bag, really) pushes against it just enough so it doesn't move or tilt at all, which to me is annoying when I use a Medium Cafe bag. The umbrella I'm assuming will be one of those small folding umbrellas - it should fit with no problems.

Add the thin jacket.. you might be able to fold this and fit it in the padded compartment. It does depend on how thin your thin jacket/sweater is!

This is all without a laptop, of course.

05-07-2008, 03:30 PM
Thank you for your help.

I'm not sure if anyone has posted this video before, which I found very useful in giving an overview of the bag's interior. For example, I didn't know that there was an additional laptop compartment within the main compartment. I'd thought that the entire main compartment was meant to fit the laptop.


05-14-2008, 05:26 PM
I just received my Ristretto. It's my fourth TB bag, and quite possibly the best yet.

I have a Lenovo X61 with the 8 cell extended battery attached. It still fits into the Ristretto. GottaBeMobile called it a "bit too snug", but for me it seems fine.

05-20-2008, 01:45 PM
I just received my Ristretto. It's my fourth TB bag, and quite possibly the best yet.

I have a Lenovo X61 with the 8 cell extended battery attached. It still fits into the Ristretto. GottaBeMobile called it a "bit too snug", but for me it seems fine.

Thanks for letting us know about your X61 fitting in the Ristretto! That's very useful -- we'll update our fit list.

05-21-2008, 09:51 AM
Hi Darcy,

I posted this in another thread, as an Addendum to answers to more general questions about the Ristretto, but I think it's worth posting as a separate suggestion. (I don't have a Ristretto, or I would have already checked out the size fit with the Western Flyer.)

The Ristretto seems nicely sized to fit into the back compartment of the Western Flyer (http://www.tombihn.com/page/001/PROD/500/TB0950) in place of a Horizontal (http://www.tombihn.com/page/001/PROD/300/TB0300) or Vertical Brain Cell (http://www.tombihn.com/page/001/PROD/300/TB0390). Has Tom given thought to this combination and how best to pack the Ristretto into the Western Flyer? As I mentioned in another post (http://forums.tombihn.com/showthread.php?p=6680&#post6680), there aren't any pictures of the back compartment on the product page of the Western Flyer or in the current review at One Bag, One World. Look instead at the rightmost image in the Rainy Day Magazine Review blog post (http://www.tombihn.com/blog/node/515) and follow the links to the article for larger versions of this picture. I'm wondering whether the Ristretto could easily be secured under the corner flap that holds the recessed end of the plastic snap for the sling strap, or whether the thickness of the Ristretto would put undue pressure on this. (For people carrying a Horizontal Freudian Slip (http://www.tombihn.com/page/001/PROD/ACC/TB0345) in the Western Flyer (http://www.tombihn.com/page/001/PROD/500/TB0950) this is a perfect place to secure it.)

I'm thinking, in particular, of this review of the Western Flyer (http://forums.tombihn.com/showthread.php?p=6691&#post6691), where travis states the strengths are paticularly how well it is sized and shaped for airplane travel, but where on the ground he wants to revert to a smaller carrying bag:

I carry an empty Cafe Bag to use when I arrive at my destination. To me the Western Flyer’s strengths on the plane are weaknesses on the ground and it’s just too big for me to want to carry around daily when I don’t need to carry my laptop.

Just my thoughts. YMMV
In place of a Cafe Bag (http://www.tombihn.com/page/001/PROD/200/TB0203) in travis' suggestion, consider using the Ristretto (http://www.tombihn.com/page/001/PROD/200/TB0223). And for those carrying a laptop, there might be an easy way to secure the Ristretto in the Western Flyer so as to remove the laptop for airport security checks.

06-25-2008, 01:37 PM
Can anybody state to how the 12" PowerBook G4 fits in the Ristretto?
I'm tempted by the MacBook Air, but I'm still holding onto my 12" for the time being...

I'm wanting to hold my 12" PB and my Levenger Jr. Circa Planner and some smaller items as well...

07-01-2008, 02:00 AM
Hi everyone

Just thought that I would add my 2 cents (and name) to the already long list of happy customer reports here.

Earlier this year I made my very first TB order. Among other things I included a size 4x Vertical Soft Cell for my MBP and then of course the Ristretto for my MBA.

When I first received my order I was wonderfully surprised to see, that the guys at TB had added a little treat for me as part of my order. This to me clearly shows what motivates the people at TB and I can at this point not offer anything but the highest praises for TB .. You go Girl! .. *ehm* .. people.

My impressions of the items so far are as follows:

Soft Cell
As stated in another post I find the Soft Cell to be a bit on the wee size length wise but I assume that it will give slightly over time to offer an even better fit for my MBP. In either case the Soft Cell is wonderfully made and it offers ample protection for my MBP.

An absolutely wonderful bag. At first I was a bit surprised that the padded part was not thicker at the bottom but unless you really drop the bag then I find the padding to be adequate. For daily commuting and as a carry-on bag for traveling the bag is wonderful. It fits everything that you really need and then some. I would have liked to have the small inside compartments placed a bit higher in the bag though. Currently I find it a bit reachy when I want to get my iPod out for instance. Especially when the MBA is in place and adding to this some magz and papers.

Btw. my DELL420d fits nicely in the bag also as long as I don't have the extended battery plugged in. In that case the fit is "overly snug".

Keyboard covers
Wonderful covers that are handy for dusting the screen .. and wonderfully color coordinated with my Olive/Cayenne Ristretto :-)

I also ordered a few pouches. The padded one especially for the MBA superdrive and in addition a few clear ones also. They are all wonderfully made and they are very handy for storing different nitpicking.

I am very, very happy with the items I ordered and the way everything has been handled by the TB people .. TB people I hail you !!!!!

/Jan "A Dane"

07-01-2008, 02:27 PM
Can anybody state to how the 12" PowerBook G4 fits in the Ristretto?

The 12" Powerbook fits great inside of the Ristretto. Tom has a MacBook now but sometimes carries his old 12" Powerbook in the Ristretto.