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Review: Tom Bihn's Ristretto bag for the MBA

Since Apple announced the MacBook Air a cottage industry has developed around building bags for Apple's teeny subnotebook. Tom Bihn has released a great little new bag in this category called the Ristretto.
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Written by Jason D. O'Grady on
Tom BihnÂ’s Ristretto bag for the MBA
Since Apple announced the MacBook Air a cottage industry has developed around building bags for Apple's teeny subnotebook. Tom Bihn has released a great little new bag in this category called the Ristretto.

The Ristretto Messenger is a vertical messenger bag (similar their Cafe Bags) designed to fit the MacBook Air or 13-inch MacBook. It also fits the IBM-Lenovo Thinkpad X300.

The Ristretto has an interior compartment padded at the front, back, and bottom with a flap on the top. The back side is padded with 1/4" closed cell foam. There's also a front compartment for pens papers and small adapters and accessories.

It's a simple bag but it really does the trick. It's on the minimalist side but it provides ample protection for the MacBook Air and there's just enough room for the essentials.

Overall measurements are: 10.5 x 12.5 x 3 inches, total volume is 480 cu.in. (8 liters) and the main compartment volume is 300 cu.in. (5 liters). The bag weighs 14 ounces.

Features include:

  • Padded main compartment for the MacBook Air or 13" MacBook
  • Padded organizer pouches for SuperDrive, etc. (+US$15)
  • Three shoulder strap options
  • 1000 denier Cordura exterior
  • 500 denier Cordura interior
  • Made in Seattle, Washington



Pictured is the Ristretto in Olive/Cayenne with the standard strap attached. Optional upgraded shoulder straps called the Q-AM (+US$10) and Absolute (+US$15) are also available. The Ristretto bag is also available in Steel/Saphire, Plum/Wasabi, Black/Olive and Black/Steel.

While you're at the Tom Bihn Web site, be sure to check out their collection of clear organizer pouches (US$6-10). They're great for keeping your raft of accessories organized and the clear window allows you to see the contents without having to dig through your bag.

More pictures are in the gallery.

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