When you don’t always need to carry a laptop and don’t even always need to take a tablet, it can be hard to find a single gear bag that works for you every day. I almost never need a laptop with me, but I often want to take along my iPad Air 2, so I’m always on the lookout for the perfect bag. I want something I can use to carry just my EDC stuff most days – without it looking like my things are lost in the bottom of a suitcase – and still have room to carry my iPad when I want it without having to remove something else. I was intrigued with the Mini Leather Bag from Toffee when they offered a review item to The Gadgeteer. I was happy to be selected, and Toffee shipped me a beautiful case from Australia. Let’s give it a look!
The Mini Leather Bag is made of naturally milled tan leather with a light pebble texture. The stitching is even and straight, with no loose threads. You can see in the top photo that the front of the bag has an applied pocket and a front flap that appears to close with a buckled strap. We’ll see in a later photo that the strap is simply camouflage for the actual closure. You don’t have to worry with unbuckling and re-buckling the bag every time you need something from it.
The back of the bag has two bronze-colored metal D-rings that are very securely attached to the bag with leather tabs and double rivets. Under these rings is a full-width pocket with a magnetic snap closure.
The Mini Leather Bag is available in three sizes: for iPad Air 1/2, for iPad 2, and for the 10.1″ Samsung Tab 3. Although I have an iPad Air 2, I asked for the case that’s sized to fit the older iPad 2. The older iPad is a bit bigger than the newest model, and I hoped the extra room would allow me to fit in the iPad Air 2 wearing both its Smart Cover and snap-on back cover.
The bag is only available in the tan color shown here. The leather’s finish has a sheen, but not a gloss. Because of this finish, the unisex styling, and the thick, sturdy metal hardware, I think the bag could be used by women or men.
The bag I received measures about 10.6″ wide X 8.7″ tall X 2.4″ thick. It weighs 1 pound, 9 ounces with the optional strap attached.
The bag can be carried in your hand as a clutch…
or you can attached the included strap and wear it on your shoulder. The strap is 0.75″ wide. It has a buckle that adjusts the strap from 43.5″ to 49.5″ long, including the metal clips on each end. The adjustment buckle and tongue, the clips, and the rivets are all heavy, bronze-colored metal.
There is only the one, stationary keeper strap for the loose end of the shoulder strap. You’ll notice there’s already a bend in the free end of the strap from the way it was folded up and packed inside the bag for shipping, and I’m afraid the strap will continue to curl up from use as I wear the bag on my shoulder without another keeper to hold the free end.
Because I like to keep my hands free, I attached the strap to the back of the Mini Leather Bag before I started using it.
Here you can see the side and bottom of the bag. It doesn’t have metal feet to protect the leather when you set it down. But I haven’t been able to get the bag to sit flat on its bottom, so the feet aren’t really needed.
You can see the front pocket on the right side of the bag.
Here’s the push-closure on the front pocket. It’s hidden under the strap, and I’m afraid that the end of that strap will start to curl up after moderate use. So far, it continues to lay flat.
The only branding on the bag’s exterior is seen on the front pocket at the right of this photo.
The inside of the bag is lined with a heavy pinstriped fabric. It’s flat throughout most of the bag, but it is quilted for extra protection on both the front and back of the tablet sleeve at the back of the bag. The tablet sleeve has a buckle that snaps to hold the tablet in place.
The front pocket has no closure other than the bag’s front flap and clip. Although I no longer have an iPad mini, this front pocket is sized to hold one.
The main compartment of the bag is open, with only a single, zippered pocket on the front side. There are no other pockets or pen sleeves inside.
The upper photo shows the Mini Leather Bag loaded up with my EDC items and with my iPad Air 2 in a Smart cover and a clear snap-on back cover. Buying the bag designed for the older, bigger iPad 2 meant there was plenty of room for the cased iPad Air 2 inside the tablet sleeve. I put my iPhone 6 Plus (in a mophie battery case) inside the front pocket; since it’s sized for a mini tablet, there is some extra room in there. The center portion of the bag and its zipper pocket held all the rest of my EDC items, which you can see in the bottom photo. Going left to right on the top row, I have hand sanitizer and two OTC medicine bottles, an Estee Lauder white compact, a red Keyport Slide 2.0, an iPod nano, a small black pouch with earbuds, and my clip-on sunglasses in a black case; below is my checkbook-sized Vera Bradley wallet, four Swiss Army knives, a tiny LED flashlight, my iPhone 6 Plus in a mophie case, my iPad Air 2 in a Smart Cover and snap-on back cover, and a Levenger pen.
It would have been nice to have a couple more organizational pockets inside the main compartment, but I was able to reach my things without too much digging around. I found the strap on the iPad sleeve was too long to hold the iPad firmly in place, and I found I had to fumble around with the non-magnetic snap to close it, so I tended to just leave it open.
Although it’s sized just right for the iPad, the empty bag is still a bit heavy because of the quality materials used in its construction. When it’s loaded up with my gear and my iPad, it was a bit heavy on my shoulder. Wearing it cross-body helped even out the load a bit, though. The one thing I would have liked added was a grab handle at the top of the bag itself. That would have made it much easier to grab and go, whether you were wearing it on your shoulder or carrying it in your hand.
The Toffee Mini Leather Bag is beautifully made and seems sturdy enough for years of use. The styling and materials are unisex so that both women and men could use it. It’s sized just right to hold your EDC things without them rattling around and still has room to add the iPad when you need it.
Source: The Mini Leather Bag used for this review was provided by Toffee. Please visit their site for more info.