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Thread: Ristretto vs. Large Cafe Bag

  1. #1
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    Ristretto vs. Large Cafe Bag

    Can anyone with both a Ristretto and a LCB comment on this: my in-air personal items these days is my Large Cafe Bag, usually with a 13" MacBook Air in a Cache.

    I'm thinking of getting the new Ristretto, which would be perfect while in the air. However, at my destination(s) I use the Cafe Bag for daily carry, leaving the Air wherever I'm staying.

    My question: does the Ristretto without a computer make sense as an everyday carry bag?

    The obvious disadvantage would seem to be that for computerless carry a certain amount of space is taken up by the built-in computer padding. On the other hand, I imagine that the padding adds more definition to the bag, preventing it from collapsing into a formless heap.

    Any insight would be much appreciated and gratefully received. Many thanks!

  2. #2
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    I think using the Ristretto without a computer as an everyday bag would work just fine. If I had to make your choice, though, I'd go for the Large Cafe/Cache solution because removing the Cache on those days when I didn't carry my laptop would give me more capacity inside of the Large Cafe for other stuff. But that's me!
    Current Carry: Skookum Dog Citizen Canine prototype, Founder's Briefcase (every day carry), Small Cafe Bag (every day carry), Shop Bags (groceries, extra random stuff), Aeronaut 45 (travel), Synapse 19 (day hikes), Smart Alec (longer day hikes), Skookum Dog Road Duffel (Medium) (travel), Clear Organizer Wallet, Travel Stuff Sacks, Organizer Cubes

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darcy View Post
    I think using the Ristretto without a computer as an everyday bag would work just fine. If I had to make your choice, though, I'd go for the Large Cafe/Cache solution because removing the Cache on those days when I didn't carry my laptop would give me more capacity inside of the Large Cafe for other stuff. But that's me!
    I concur. I use a CoPilot as a daily bag and use the LCB to carry my tablet (previously Dell Mini 9) if I need a carry all for a lot of stuff.
    Been there. Done that. Can't remember.

  4. #4
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    I had the same debate and placed my order for a classic Ristretto today. I will let you know how this turns out soon! I will also note though that I am always either carrying my 11" Macbook Air or my iPad, so I can always make use of the built in cache on the Ristretto.

  5. #5
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    Thanks much for the responses. I do have a large cafe bag and use it both for daily carry and for under seat bag for air travel. Since I don't stuff it to the brim very often I'm thinking that the loss of a bit of space when using a Ristretto without a laptop would probably be worth it for the additional rigidity the Ristretto would provide, so OrionLethe I would be most grateful for your take once you have your hands on your new bag.

    Were money no object I think the most efficient use of my time would be to buy one of everything, as there'd be no need to parse the subtle differences between bags and I'd end up using everything in the long run anyway.

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    I found the Ristretto to be fairly restrictive in what it can hold. I am now using an Imago and I like it a lot better. I would steer you towards the LCB over the Ristretto for versatility. I plan to continue to use the Imago for daily back and forth to work, and I will be purchasing a MCB as a daily personal bag that will hold my iPad and personal accessories. Hope this helps!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by travls View Post
    Were money no object I think the most efficient use of my time would be to buy one of everything, as there'd be no need to parse the subtle differences between bags and I'd end up using everything in the long run anyway.
    At the end of the day, isn't this how we all feel? I think all of us would just take one of everything!

  8. #8
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    I bought a new Ristretto for 13" MacBook so can now answer my own question: I'm now using the Ristretto for every day carry and love it. It maintains its shape so doesn't collapse like a Cafe Bag. The outside front pocket's zippers don't extend to the bottom of the pocket so valuables (in my case my wallet) are quite secure and won't fall out accidentally. And the protected pocket for the computer, sized as it is for a 13" MacBook Pro, accommodates my 13" Air easily. There's even enough room for the Air in a Cache (although no real reason to actually do this). Overall for my uses — air travel to complement by Synapse on 3 day trips; daily carry when leaving the Air at home or office — it's a great bag.

    Hope this helps anyone faced with the same questions I had.
    Darcy and notmensa like this.

  9. #9
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    If TB wanted to ever run a contest, one of every bag would be a prize I'd do ridiculous things for.


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