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  1. #1
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    Help me understand the Ristretto

    I'm looking for a cross-body bag that I can use only for train and/or airplane travel as my personal item. It needs to fit a Surface Go, small wallet, charger cord, cell phone and charger cord, passports, pen, small notepad, lip balm, tiny hand sanitizer and lotion, small Kindle (for reading), earphones (yes over the head style but they're thin, cheap & small - earbuds annoy me), small tube of OTC meds, small kleenex pack. And a Sidekick needs to fit inside (that's what I use as a purse).

    I tried the Co-Pilot but it's just too boxy and compartmentalized for me. I have a Maker's Bag but Mr. Wilde has claimed that and anyway it's too big and bulky for me. I don't see much difference between the size of the Ristretto and Medium Cafe bag, but the padded compartment of the Ristretto seems very practical and more convenient. Padding is important because I've cracked the screens of two different notebooks on my travels and no longer want to put them in my carryon bag (A30). I also like the back pocket because I can slide in boarding passes, a larger paper notebook for writing or a small Kindle.

    The page on TB for the Ristretto doesn't really show alot of pictures and the video is only partly devoted to the Ristretto. Can happy Ristretto owners out there tell me why you like this bag and would it be effective for what I have described?

    As stated, the bag would only be used for travel. My EDC is a large shop bag and a Sidekick. I don't want to use the shop bag while traveling because I tried that and nearly left it behind three times at various airports on the same vacation because I was so unused to having a shoulder bag. Here's me after I left it the third time - OMG where's the #&*% purple bag??! Not doing that again. And no backpacks because I carry the A30 backpack style. I've studied the Cadet and Daylight briefcase but they don't seem quite big enough. Am I looking for something that doesn't exist?

    Your input/advice/recommendations would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Forum Member Amy's Avatar
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    I donít own a ristretto so I canít help you there, but my first instinct for your load (which doesnít sound that big) was the copilot which you donít like. I have carried my Surface Pro in the copilot on many trips as well as to work as a daily bag. No, it isnít padded, but with the type cover attached to the surface, I never felt there was a risk of breakage. I did lay a thin strip of foam padding at the bottom of the copilot at first, but ditched it after a while. And the compartments keep things from encroaching on other areas or applying pressure to delicate electronics. There is a quick stash pocket on the back like the ristretto (and it also doubles as a pass-through). And its water bottle pocket is pure brilliance.

    I have bandied around the idea of a ristretto just because of the padding, but rejected it because it seems it would be less versatile overall than the copilot I already own. I do like the messenger bag look of it, but I prefer the easier accessibility of a horizontal layout, and the security of zippers over flaps, especially for plane travel (which is why I also donít own a medium cafe bag).

    Not sure this was helpful to you but hopefully a ristretto owner can chime in.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Donít make something unless it is both necessary and useful; but if it is both necessary and useful, donít hesitate to make it beautiful. ó Shaker Philosophy

  3. #3
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    All of that stuff PLUS a sidekick will be pretty tight in a ristretto.

    The MB+cache or DLBC+cache seems like a better fit IMO.

  4. #4
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    On 2nd thought it might work, I can get 2 3DOCs (each is about half the size of a side kick) into my ristretto without a ton of trouble and still have room for a bunch of other stuff. but it seems like even if it works it might not be very practical.

  5. #5
    Forum Member Perseffect's Avatar
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    Iíve owned the current 13 inch style before (but no longer) but do currently have an old style 11 inch ristretto.

    I think youíd struggle with your load mostly due to the side kick. The ristretto has a narrower opening up top which is further constrained when you put a laptop in the padded sleeve.

    Itís a great design feature to have this narrower neck at the top but may hinder easy removal of a side kick.

    Iím a co-pilot and pilot user so can vouch for those options. They do have a more boxy look but they are extremely practical.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Aeronaut 45 (Navy/NWS), A30 (Black/Island), Tristar (Steel/Island), Western Flyer (Steel/Island), Pilot (Steel/Island), Synapse 25 (Mars Red/NWS), Synapse 19 (Black/Island) & (Burnt Orange/Steel), Ristretto 11 (Navy/Steel), Small Cafe Bag (Navy/Steel) & (Mars Red/Dawn), Daylight Briefcase (Cloud/Dawn), Side Kick (Mars Red/Dawn), Travel Cubelet (Mars Red)

  6. #6
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    Thanks everyone for your very helpful responses. I'm thinking maybe my problem with the Co-Pilot is that it's Ballistic and the stiffness of the fabric is contributing to my feeling of it being so boxy. Has anyone had the Co-Pilot or Pilot in both fabrics who could speak to that? My A30 is halcyon, all shop bags are halcyon, everything I use is mostly halcyon. Could it be the fabric flexibility?

  7. #7
    Volunteer Moderator aedifica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs_Wilde View Post
    Thanks everyone for your very helpful responses. I'm thinking maybe my problem with the Co-Pilot is that it's Ballistic and the stiffness of the fabric is contributing to my feeling of it being so boxy. Has anyone had the Co-Pilot or Pilot in both fabrics who could speak to that? My A30 is halcyon, all shop bags are halcyon, everything I use is mostly halcyon. Could it be the fabric flexibility?
    Which ballistic fabric is your Co-Pilot, the thicker 1050 Ballistic or the relatively new 525 Ballistic? If it's the 1050, I think you would find it a very different bag in Halcyon or in 525 Ballistic! But if your Co-Pilot is 525 Ballistic, I don't think you'd notice very much difference if you switched to Halcyon. I've had Co-Pilots in all three fabrics and I really like it in Halcyon and in 525 Ballistic, but it didn't work as well for me in 1050 Ballistic.
    I have a bunch of great bags. Favorite color combos include Aubergine/Island, Navy/Solar, Forest/UV, Original Halcyon/Wasabi, Cloud/Viridian.

    I've fulfilled my dream of palindromic-colored nested bags! Navy/Ultraviolet Pilot with Aubergine/Island Side Effect inside: blue purple purple blue. Forest/UV A45 with Aubergine/Wasabi Co-Pilot inside: green purple purple green.

  8. #8
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    My Co-Pilot is the original Ballistic which explains it. I think I'll probably try to swap or sell it. Thanks again!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs_Wilde View Post
    My Co-Pilot is the original Ballistic which explains it. I think I'll probably try to swap or sell it. Thanks again!
    The only thing I'll say for the original is that if you wait long enough (years) it does get very soft/supple. I have a second hand Steel/Solar, I don't know what year it is from (2014ish was the last year I think) and it's not stiff at all... I'm only going to rehome it soon because folks helped me find an original Nordic/Solar CP
    I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too! My search unicorn is the Sapphire Dyneema original Small Shop Bag...

  10. #10
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    I've heard the 1050 Ballistic gets better with age and use - it's sadly just like new partly because it's a typical TB bag and it only gets used two or three times a year.

    I just realized when asking about the Ristretto I said it needed to fit a Sidekick but I meant a Side Effect - for some reason I always get them backwards.

    G42-I'm a fan of Original Nordic/Solar - I have an S19 in that combination!

  11. #11
    Forum Member NYCWriter's Avatar
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    Two years ago, I got a Ristretto (in Verde green) and a Co-Pilot (in aubergine). These have been my EDC bags. Before I give my assessment, here's what I typically carry (and keep in mind I'm a New Yorker -- without a car -- forced to CARRY everything -- so I have a more intimate relationship with my bags):

    -- 2-3 of my current magazine issues.
    -- Whatever book I'm reading at the time.
    -- Paperwork (letters, work papers, etc.).
    -- Plantronics Backbeat "SENSE" headphones.
    -- Checkbook.
    -- Datebook.
    -- Variety of pens and highlighters.
    -- Business cards.
    -- Powerbank.
    -- iPhone charger.
    -- Travel size of wet wipes.
    -- Gum/breath strips/mints.
    -- Stone of the day in a little velvet pouch.
    -- Bihn Clear Organizer Wallet (band-aids, packets of Alka-Seltzer, antibiotic cream).
    -- Bihn Double Organizer Pouch (postage stamps, address labels, emergency cash stash).
    -- Emergency Quest bar.
    -- Shiny chrome Clip-A (usually attached on the outside to the bag's handle).

    What I never carry:

    -- Laptop computer/tablet.
    -- Beverage cups/bottles of any kind.
    -- Gym clothes (finding a gym that provides locker and laundry service has been a real game-changer).

    After two years of everyday use, here's my assessment:

    Co-Pilot:

    Pros:

    -- JUST the right size for magazines and 8x11 paperwork.
    -- That middle compartment for beverage cups is like a black hole; I'm always surprised at how much I can fit in there (usually my umbrella lives here).
    -- Side pockets are ultra-convenient for compartmentalizing my checkbook, datebook, pens, business cards, and small stuff.
    -- Big enough to be used as a "briefcase" during the week, but not so big that it LOOKS like a briefcase for more casual carry on the weekends.

    Con:

    -- Once you fill the front compartments, the rear (main) compartment fills up really fast.

    Ristretto:

    Pros:

    -- Vertical orientation! While my Co-Pilot feels natural and comfortable, my Ristretto actually feels like an extension of myself. Because it hugs my body and doesn't stick out in the front or back, it's ideal for navigating packed subway trains, maneuvering through crowded city streets, and I don't feel like a bull in a china shop when I'm in -- china shops!
    -- Because of its vertical orientation, it's incredibly deep.
    -- Deep and wide enough for file folders and a ton of paperwork, as well as my headphones, book, and even an umbrella.
    -- The front zippered pocket is awesome for holding and organizing all my small stuff.

    Cons:

    -- This complaint is only for me, since I never carry a laptop, but I wish the padded insert was either removable or optional -- for me it's just unnecessary added bulk.
    -- Not a complaint, but more of a guideline: keep in mind that the more you jam into that front zippered compartment, the more you're taking away from the internal main compartment.

    And as I mentioned in another thread, the top handles on both of these bags are so useful that I find it hard going back to any of my old bags that don't have them; they're particularly handy for hanging from table and desktops with my Clip-A (I refuse to put any of my bags on floors, especially the greasy floors of restaurants).

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