I’ve always had a bag that I could use to carry my MacBook Pro, iPad, cables and camera, all at once. However, I’ve also owned a smaller messenger bag that I could chunk my iPad, camera and some papers in for occasions where my laptop wasn’t needed.
Switching to the iPad Pro, I’ve needed to replace that secondary bag. The 12.9 inch display made it too large for the small Timbuk2 I’ve had forever, so I took a look at what Tom Bihn was offering these days for ~13-inch devices.
I like the way the Ristretto looks and works, but wanted something I could use as one big open pocket if needed, so I turned to the $80 Daylight Briefcase.
The Daylight Briefcase is designed to be a secondary bag in many ways. It has no internal padding or structures, so it can be rolled up and stashed inside a larger bag. If you’re traveling with a backpack, but don’t want to use it once you’re at your destination, the Daylight Briefcase can jump into action quickly.
That’s not to say that I’ve dumped my iPad Pro into a bag without padding. The Daylight Briefcase can be outfitted with the company’s cache pockets; custom-sized foam sleeves that clip into the bag to keep your notebook or tablet safe and sound.
Even with the Cache installed, there’s room inside the main compartment to put books, papers or another thin device like a Kindle, Bluetooth keyboard or second tablet. There’s a wide, deep pocket in the main compartment as well, but the lack of any loops to drop pens into is a little frustrating. I’ve put a handful of pens in a Nock Co. Sinclair case to keep them from getting lost in this pocket.
On the back of the bag that sits against your body, there’s a single pocket with no internal divisions. This pocket is a little snug for full 8.5×11 sheets of paper, but it’s fine for a smaller magazine or folded papers.
On the front of the bag, there are two pockets. The larger of the two opens horizontally, and is split into two sides. I’ve found these pockets to be great homes for my wallet and keys, especially as there’s an O-Ring with a tether to hook to a keyring in this space.
The second, smaller pocket opens at an angle, and really adds a nice design touch to the front of the bag. While it’s deep, running the full width of the bag, it’s not real flexible in terms of what can be stored in it. I’ve got some USB cables and other small items there and can fish them out quickly.
While mine is in a nice dark orange color, the Daylight Briefcase is sold in a variety of colors. I added corded zipper pulls to mine, and really recommend them.
The bag comes with a shoulder strap that’s long and fairly comfortable. I’ve had more padded straps on other bags, but as you aren’t able to really load this bag up with a lot of weight, the simple strap is perfectly comfortable. It unclips easily, and the bag can be carried with its built-in handles like a traditional briefcase, if that’s your thing.
The Tom Bihn Daylight Briefcase is not the largest or most robust bag there is, but for carrying my iPad, some key accessories and my personal items to a meeting, coffee shop or coworking space, it’s pretty great. It’s simple, lightweight and flexible, which is just what I want out of a secondary bag.