It's one of the most popular tablets ever made, but the iPad Mini 2 Retina demands some serious protection. As the perfect device to use while on your travels – unlike the iPad Air, which is most often seen on couches and coffee tables – the iPad Mini is a portable device, forever being taken out of bags where scrapes can and will happen.

It's tempting to look for a case that has a pocket or two to store a curled-up charge 'n' sync Apple Lightning cable, but there's no need of you're packing one of our favourite clutter-busting gadgets of all time – the Nomad ChargeKey.

Just 62mm, this tiny USB-Lightning cable sits on a key fob, and comes in Android flavour, too. It certainly adds to the appeal of the iPad Mini Retina as the most travel-friendly of tablets, but not as much as these delicious cases.

1 Waterfield Designs iPad Travel Express

Price: US$59 (£35/AUS$63)

Waterfield
This is a case for you iPad mini and whatever else you are carrying

This is travel heaven for the Apple devotee. Clutching an iPad Mini, a book, portable battery, Apple Lightning cable, portable battery and air tickets all in one hand while you drag your luggage up the aisle is no way to start a plane journey. Cue the iPad Travel Express, which takes an iPad Mini Retina (even if it's wearing a Smart Cover or a Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover) snugly in its main compartment while – almost uniquely – adding other pockets for taking all the annoying things you're probably going to travel with.

Measuring 266x200x40mm and weighing 244g, the Travel Express's main iPad Mini compartment is nicely reinforced and has two sewn-on pockets that are ideally sized for a passport and boarding passes. On the opposite side is a pouch that snugly fits an iPhone alongside a bigger area for cables and a portable battery.

There's a choice between black, green, red, copper, turquoise, pearl grey and brown Muzetto leather for the colour of the bold stripe on the side of the black ballistic fabric case. The zipper is high quality, too, while D-rings come as standard; for an extra US$10 there's a shoulder strap that really comes into its own in airports and on planes.

For frequent flyers, the iPad Travel Express is a real problem-solver, but it's handy for any kind of short trip.

2 Covert Stafford

Price: US$50 (£29.99/AUS$54)

Covert Stafford
Retro styled but still a safe place for your iPad mini

If waxed jackets aren't your style, how about Herringbone Tweed and some satchel style? Gunning for the timeless classic look is the Stafford from Covert, though this case offers minimal functionality.

A slip rather than a folio, the Stafford takes an iPad Mini Retina inside its soft, grey microfibre lining (think PC screen or camera lens microfibre cloth) that should protect the screen, though it's the cardboard inner that gives Stafford the requisite rigidity. It weighs just 135g.

The lid is fastened using two poppers, one on the inside of the lid, and one on the rear of the Stafford that closes using a wraparound tan leather buckle, though it's purely a design flourish.

The appeal of the Stafford is in its retro styling and its hand-crafting; there's no auto-off features so make sure you switch-off your iPad Mini before stowing it in the Stafford. Stafford is also available for the iPad and iPhone.

3 Logitech Ultra Thin Keyboard Cover

Price: US$79.95 (£69.95/AUS$142)

Logitech keyboard
If you need a keyboard cover - this is the one

Can the iPad Mini Retina replace a laptop for working on the go? It can if you add this, by far the best keyboard-cum-cover for the iPad Mini Retina.

Initially we were doubtful that Logitech could repeat the feat achieved by its excellent version for the iPad, but despite the loss of a few repeated buttons (alt, tab, shift and caps lock are only present once), the typing experience is surprisingly brilliant.

Weighing 217g (the iPad version is 328g), it clips to the iPad Mini Retina using a magnetic spine that doesn't offer quite as polished an experience as its bigger brother, but it gets darn close.
Touchscreen addicts might baulk at the addition of a hard-button keyboard, but its dual purpose design makes this cover hard to beat.

However, do bear in mind that it uses Bluetooth (the battery lasts for yonks and recharges via Micro USB), so it can't be used on a plane.

4 Proporta Barbour Brown Leather Case

Price: US$74.95 (£54.95/AUS$)

Proporta
Faux leather may not be your thing but in here your iPad is safe

The waxed jackets sold by Barbour might not have universal appeal, but this sturdy brown leather case for the iPad Mini Retina will find fans beyond wearers of weatherproof clothes for the countryside.
The brown faux leather is soft to the touch and on the inside is a bay to snap-in the iPad Mini Retina. As well as a cutout for the rear camera, there's one alongside for the microphone, too, which is pretty rare. The auto-on/off functionality is standard but the extra magnetic closure is a nice touch.

With the tablet in-situ, there are two raised pads – covered in the famous Barbour tartan pattern – which prop-up the iPad Mini Retina in three different positions.

At 221g it's a bit of a heavyweight effort, but this is surely one of the smartest covers around.

5 Otterbox Defender

Price: US$79.90 (£49.99/AUS$63)

Otterbox Defender
It's tough to get on and off but it offers lots of protection

Though the idea of an adventure-grade case for the iPad Mini sounds like something for hikers, climbers and cyclists, the dust-proof, drop-proof and water-tight(ish) Otterbox Defender makes just as good sense around a hotel swimming pool. Will you break a nail getting the three-layers of hard plastic and silicon on and off? Probably, but isn't that reassuring?

As well as wraparound protection that adds a hefty 200g to the weight of an iPad Mini, there's also a 110g polycarbonate kickstand that can either be clipped to the front to protect the touchscreen, or used as a cradle to put the tablet into various positions It's sold in black, grey/white and pink/white.

Outdoors types (and Formula 1 presenters) should search out the Otterbox Utility Series Latch II (£34.99), a kind of harness set with straps and handles designed for all seven-to-eight-inch tablets.