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Recommendation Request : Bag for iPad & keyboard, Camera and "Stuff"

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    Recommendation Request : Bag for iPad & keyboard, Camera and "Stuff"

    Hi all,

    I'm a new poster here but I have had a SuperEgo for almost 2 years for my laptop, lunch, papers and way too many tools. It's big,,, way too big to lug around sight-seeing on vacation so I'm looking for something much smaller and very light-weight (due to issues with my shoulders)

    It has to be able to accommodate my iPad with Zagg keyboard in its case (about 9.75" x 7.625" x 0.825"), iPhone, pens, guide-books, a small insulated pouch for medical supplies and my SLR-like Kodak Z812.

    I was leaning towards a Ristretto for 11" Macbook Air but I think it will be too small and the 13" too big. I am also considering the Large Cafe bag but it seems to be less 'structured' and more rigid than the Ristretto which I would probably prefer. The LCB would certainly be light enough at a mere 1lb - 5oz less than the Ristretto. The LCB is also comes in more color combinations. Pity that very few are actually shown - makes it very difficult to choose with confidence. Does anyone have any experience with either or both of these bags and more pictures of LCBs would help a lot!

    I've also spent some time on tombihn.com and over at rival sites looking at bags trying to determine what it is that makes this type of bag more likely to be taken for a woman's bag than a man's. I think it's a combination of style, size and color - which makes picking just the right one even more difficult especially as I need something smaller and lightweight.

    Finally, does anyone have any recommendations for a small insulated pouch that can take a couple of insulin pens, vials, a tube of glucose test-strips and a small cold-pack?

    Thanks for reading and any input or feedback you might have.

    All the best, Simon.

    Welcome here and look at the Synapse.

    You don't say anything about Shoulder vs. Backpack so with a clean slate it is tough to not suggest the Synapse.
    For me it is the most versatile and deceptively spacious and well laid out bag for the jobs you are looking at.



      Hi Simon, welcome to the Forums! I've found that my Synapse backpack does the trick for just what you're describing. It really appears small (but can hold a lot), and comes in colors that are less *girly* if that's what you prefer. It also might help with the shoulder issue, since it would distribute the weight better. If a backpack really isn't your style, I'd also suggest taking a look at a Co-Pilot. I've got both of these bags and have used both in many situations - every day carry, vacation, work meetings - and have been happy with both. I also have a large cafe bag, and find that if it's not really full (and thus heavier) it doesn't hold its shape.

      As for the colors, I bet if you called, the Tom Bihn folks would be more than happy to send you a swatch of whatever color you're really interested in. I can tell you from my experience with all the colors I have in my collection, they are far more gorgeous in person, and I don't think you'd go wrong with black, navy, forest (or conifer, depending on whether its cordura or ballistic nylon).

      I apologize for not having any Large Cafe bag pictures to upload, but perhaps a fellow forum person might. I hope this helps!

      Eat well, travel often.


        Thanks for the replies, I have been researching, reading viewing videos, comparing bag measurements/weights and getting nowhere fast!

        My wife suggested a backpack for better weight distribution and more comfort and from all I've read, the Synapse really delivers. However, I still like the convenience of having the camera readily accessible without having to take a backpack off, put it down, open it up, possibly missing that 'Kodak Moment'!

        So I went back to the LCB and researched camera inserts, thinking that one of those, about 12" x 5" X 3" would provide some rigidity and keep the camera secure and ready for action. I also liked this idea to keep the iPad safely secured in what is otherwise a very unstructured, open bag:

        The Ristretto is much more structured and has more rigidity so I wont need the extra organizer pouch for the iPad and may even do away with the camera insert. This is probably top of the list at the moment.

        I looked long and hard at the coPilot and can't decide if its going to work as a destination bag only. For what we have to put in our carry-on bags it's too small and it won't (I think) squash down enough to make it easy to pack away in our checked bags. Sems to be sold out in most colors.

        I tried to like the Imago but I think its too flat to work as a camera and computer and day-bag and they don't seem to be making the only color combination I liked, cocoa/cocoa/wasabi combination.

        I guess I could order one Ristretto and one LCB and send back whichever one I didnt like. Seems risky to me though - I'll end up keepig both!

        Thanks for reading and the replies thus far. All have been very useful indeed.