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Travel bags, laptop bags, and backpacks. Tom Bihn has been designing and making bags since 1972. The best materials and innovative construction.

The Ristretto - Tom Bihn 13
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The Ristretto is designed to help one realize the dream of a mobile office: working at a coffee shop, on the light-rail, at the airport, or on the plane, essentials at hand, and unencumbered by extraneous stuff. It’s a vertical messenger bag with a padded interior compartment sized to fit everything from tablets such as the iPad and laptops up to 13” in size, such as the 13" MacBook Pro or Air. (Previously also available in sizes for the iPad and 11” MacBook Air, we now make the Ristretto in one size only, as most folks told us they preferred this larger size over the two smaller sizes because of the extra room it provides.)

The padded compartment in the Ristretto, which measures 12.8" x 9" x 1" / 325 x 228 x 25 mm, is made of 1/4" (6 mm) open-cell foam laminated with durable 4-ply Taslan and has an interior of supersoft brushed tricot. The back of the Ristretto is padded with 1/4" closed-cell foam. Your tablet or laptop is protected from all sides.

The main, open-top compartment and front, zippered pouch of the Ristretto are covered by an asymmetrical flap that closes with the distinctive offset Duraflex® Warrior buckle.

Under the flap, you'll find a curved, #8 YKK Aquaguard® water-repellent zipper, which secures the front pouch of the Ristretto. Inside this front pouch are organizational pockets for a pen, phone, and passport or wallet. There's also plenty of room inside this pouch for your power supply, phone charger, and sunglasses and the like.

The front, zippered pouch has one O-ring. The main compartment of the Ristretto features three O-rings. Attached to one O-ring is an 8" Key Strap. The Key Strap is useful for keeping track of your keys (many folks leave their keys attached to the Key Strap). It can also be used to clip a pocket watch or Swiss Army knife to the bag.

Behind that front, zippered pouch is the main compartment, which has a middle section and the padded compartment for your tablet or laptop (up to 13” in size). You'll have room in the middle section for an additional tablet or a light jacket or small water bottle.

The back of the Ristretto has a slanted, open-top pocket ideal for storing papers, a magazine, or a newspaper. The handle, situated on the top/back of the Ristretto, is padded with PORON® foam.

Included with the Ristretto is a removable waist strap, which secures the bag to your body — a good thing if you ride your (motor or push) bike while wearing the Ristretto. The waist strap attaches to two of four available points on the back of the Ristretto: you can attach the strap so one end is high and the other low, or both high or both low, whatever is most comfortable. We also considered those times you don't plan to use the waist strap; it is easily removable and leaves no hardware behind.

You can choose between two different shoulder straps for use with the Ristretto. The Standard Shoulder Strap is included in the price of the Ristretto. A 1-1/2" wide heavy-nylon-webbing strap, it features a comfortable, wide foam pad that won't slip off your shoulder and is designed to conform to your shoulder and back. For an extra $20.00, you can switch out the Standard Strap for the Absolute Shoulder Strap.

Most people will be satisfied with just one kind of shoulder strap, but, should you choose to do so, you can purchase more than one kind of shoulder strap and switch between them.


Exterior of U.S. made, 1050 denier high tenacity ballistic nylon
Lined with 200 denier Japanese Dyneema®/nylon ultralight ripstop fabric
Padded Compartment: .25" / 6 mm thick foam padding laminated between black 4-ply Taslan and brushed tricot
#8 YKK Aquaguard® water-repellent zipper
PORON® foam padded handle


Made in USA
100% finished seams


Dimensions: 14.5" x 11.75" x 4.75" / 370 x 300 x 120 mm
Padded Compartment for 13" MBP/MBA Dimensions: 12.8" x 9" x .9" / 325 x 227 x 24 mm
Weight: 1 lb 6 oz / 620 grams

Videos and Customer Photos

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External Reviews

As reviewed by
"I've been using Tom Bihn Ristretto messenger bags for a few years now. When my original was stolen, I promptly bought another. I've used them for everything from going to the local coffee shop to going to Macworld and WWDC. 99% of the time, my Tom Bihn Ristretto goes where I go, because it carries most of the stuff I need to do my job." Read the full review.

As reviewed by Gear Diary:
"Tom Bihn’s updated Ristretto has a lot going for it as well and is really a contender for “best new bag for traveling light”. It holds the laptop or tablet in profile, thereby creating a leaner, meaner bag and, at least in the case of the all-black review sample I have, it looks unassuming and professional. Throw in an amazing assortment of organizational pockets, a wonderful selection of shoulder straps and some great available accessories and you have a bag that is one of the most functional I have ever carried." Read the full review.

Want to read more reviews? Here's our complete list of external bag reviews.

people who have the The Ristretto say:

Review of my new Ristretto
"I'm very happy with my new Ristretto and it really is ideal for those who are determined to carry as little as necessary, but in a structured way. My old favourite bag has only had one outing in the last 2 weeks, and that was because I had 5 books to return to the univerity library. Since there will no doubt be other occasions when I will be required to carry some books in the future, the next TB purchase has already been earmarked, and this will be the ID messenger bag - and man, I'll really have to think about filling those o-rings up as well, so there will no doubt be some more pouches in the box to keep it company on it's journey to Scotland!" — posted by davys

3rd Gen Ristretto versus 1st Gen Ristretto
"Anyway, the G3 is my more-perfect bag. Didn't think I'd like the steel-iberian combo but I do. The new sealed zipper pouch is great. The poron grab handle is a significant upgrade. I like the curved absolute shoulder strap but that's nothing new for most folks. The ballistic nylon is an improvement in that the stiffer structure keeps my little pouches of stuff from tugging the upper lip of the main compartment down." — posted by Hadler

A few hours with my new Ristretto
"I immediately grabbed what I would consider a full load to be on a normal day and packed it up. I had the original-style Ristretto for my original iPad, and I liked it then." — posted by DQBunny

Read more customer reviews posted in our forums.

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The Ristretto

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Tom Bihn bags are made in the USA Always Made in U.S.A.

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Absolute Shoulder Strap
Absolute Shoulder Strap: $30.00
Padded Organizer Pouches
Padded Organizer Pouches: $9.00 - $17.00
Clear Organizer Pouches
Clear Organizer Pouches: $9.00 - $16.00
Key Strap
Key Strap: $4.00 - $6.00
Clear Organizer Wallet
Clear Organizer Wallet: $16.00
Tri-Star: $315.00
Cadet: $185.00