I’m thinking about replacing my office/travel bag. Any experience with either or both of these? Do you have a recommendation of one over the other?
I have an unhealthy affection for anything made by WaterField. I have more bags made by them than a sane person should own. And I use the heck out of every single one of them. They are wonderfully crafted, well-thought out, and more durable than any product I own. My Air Porter (similar to the Cargo Laptop in many ways) has travelled around and around the world numerous times. It looks as good it did the day I bought it.
I would also vote for WaterField. The only comment, make sure you really want the messenger style, as those tend to be heavy as we add more devices to them.
+1 for the WaterField. I have the large Sutter Sling bag, and the quality is really great. I love their design style too. Note the yellow interior. This makes it easier to find stuff inside. The hardest part is to choose the right one in their line-up.
I have no experience with the other bag, it might also be great.
Sold. Thanks Katie I was on the look out for a better bag than my Tumi backpack for a busy travel schedule and the Air Porter is perfect.
As a confirmed bagaholic, it’s unavoidable that I would render and opinion.
I have the Filson original briefcase, and it is one of my favorite bags of all time. It is a classic, that is basically at home in virtually any environment. However, there are some important drawbacks to be aware of. It does not have a dedicated/padded laptop compartment. I use a separate padded case placed in one of its internal divider compartments for my laptop. Secondly, it does not have much in the way of internal organization. Finally, some have felt the very large sized zipper places you at risk of scratching your laptop when you put it in the bag or take it out. This has not been a problem for me but I am very careful when doing so.
All that being said, it is a pleasure to use and very comfortable to carry, and has great versatility perhaps because of its limited organizational features.
I am also a big fan of Waterfield Designs. I do not have the specific bag you are looking at, but I do have the Sutter Slim Backpack, the Bolt Briefcase, and just recently got the new Essentials Backpack (after seeing David and Stephen’s video on their everyday carry). The Essentials moved up to being one of my favorite backpacks instantly, and the fact that I am a repeat customer tells you how much I like their products. Incredibly well made, durable, well thought out (although I do wish the Essentials Backpack had one more internal zippered pocket …)
Considering that I bought the Filson briefcase several years ago for 1/2 price (some odd and incredible sale on ebags.com just before they stopped selling anything but their own brand) it was a great buy, but if I were to pay full price today, I would have a hard time choosing. The Filson I would feel comfortable carrying around on vacation or at work; the Waterfield is probably not going to the beach with you, but is likely a better choice for going to the office and/or work-related travel.
Just to make things more difficult, I will suggest you look at the Bolt briefcase from Waterfield before you buy. I don’ use mine very much because I have gone to backpacks and a much smaller shoulder bag when I am not using my backpack, but I haven’t sold it because I like it too much to part with it.
+1 for Waterfield here. I had an early version of the airporter which unfortunately doesn’t have the room for a 16” MacBook Pro. They have changed it to fit the new laptop. My go to bag now is the Executive Pro backpack since I do travel with 2 MacBook pros and other gear.
On a previous work trip to SF when I was considering the airporter, I actually dropped into their store/factory and Gary himself took care of me.
Awesome quality and great style
Filson is a highly respected brand in the U.S. so definitely worth considering.
My own suggestion would be to also consider Tumi. They are pricey, but definitely worth it if you seriously use the bag and need something super well-constructed, lots of support with various pockets, etc. for littler things. The link below goes to the backpack I got. Yes, I understand you don’t want a backpack (and it was $150 cheaper when I bought it), but if you scroll down the page you’ll see more info about Tumi bags in general.
I use this backpack for all my travels (mainly international) and it is, by far, the best technology travel bag I’ve every used.
I had not heard of this brand before, but this one looks very promising, and there is a store near me. I think I’ll check it out in person.
I tried to paste the link, but it says the URL was blocked for some reason. Below is the picture.
Tumi is very well regarded in the business world. They have specialty stores in many malls and airports. Their bags are extremely well constructed, and highly durable, but very expensive. I have never found their organizational layout to work for me - they veer in the direction of too many pockets, instead of too few. However, if their price range is in your budget, definitely worth looking at.
Another “fan favorite” is Tom Bihn. A totally different style from what you are looking for, but still worth a browse on their website.
In a completely and totally different direction, Baron Fig makes a briefcase type bag as well. Cloth, very inexpensive, very lightweight. Definitely NOT your office/business travel type of brief, but for some reason it has that “it” factor for me as well. Probably not what you are looking for, however.
I’ve had a few Tumi bags and all have been great, the warranty is excellent and they can repair most anything that goes wrong. I’ve currently got the e-sports backpack and it’s great but lacks organisation and just will not fit under the seat in an airline. Their larger carry on wheelie cases are excellent.
The Tumi trace is a nice feature, I’ve thankfully never had to test it out though.
One more thing: when I buy a bag, I always look at the weight of the bag. This may not seem all that important, but if you are going to be carrying it around a lot (traveling through airports, for example) this can start to be a major factor.
The Tumi expandable laptop brief, for example, is 5 lbs. The Waterfield Cargo is 3.5. The Waterfield Bolt is under 3 lbs (there are two sizes with different weights, depending on your laptop size).
To me, the difference between a 2.5 lb and a 5.0 lb bag is significant. There are some really good bags out there that even come in under 2 lbs (the Waterfield Essentials backpack and laptop messenger are both 1.5 lbs, for example). You usually do give up a lot of organizational pockets at the like, since all those flaps and zippers and liners add weight. My view has been that I can add organizational pouches when I need them and leave them home when I don’t, and the weight difference is worth it to me.
I owned one Tumi bag but it didn’t last long. Apparently that is the exception.
I have the Waterfield Cargo and really like it. I traveled with it last week and it was very convenient. I carried my 14” MBP, iPad mini, some assorted kit bags (medicine etc) and it worked very well. Highly recommend it
The bag below looks promising but it lacks a “sleeve” to attaching to the handle of a roller case.
UPDATE: never mind, I just realized that because it also functions as a backpack, I don’t need it to attached to a roller case.
Yes, that could be a very nice bag for you. Definitely check out in person. They do a first rate job in terms of construction.
One person mentioned they did not find the bags’ organizational layout useful for them. On the other hand I find them brilliant! Obviously this is a very personal kind of thing, so visiting and trying will be quite helpful.
Tumi have a few different lines … but I find their Alpha 3 line to be best for my needs. It’s their toughest, most durable, line. Also a bit less “fashion forward” but still very nice.
Ha, at my stage of life that is the least of my concerns!
Video: is this Tom Bihn realistic for a 2-3 day trip? I’m needing a “Goldilocks” solution. I’m set for a 1 day trip and for any trip 4 or more days. But, my bags are either too big for the short 2-3 day trip or two small for the longer trip.
I splurged on myself. I purchased two Waterfield bags:
This backpack (Chocolate leather):
And this Duffle (the large version) cavas with chocolate leather on the right:
I hope these in combination meet my needs and I’ll be happy with them.
I had a Tri Star for more than a decade and did multiweek trips with it, so yes, you can definitely use it for a 2-3 day trip, depending, of course, on what you pack in it. High quality item that saw a lot of miles with very little visible wear and tear even after a decade. (I replaced it with a different Tom Bihn bag this past summer.) Happy to answer any questions.
Thanks for the response. As indicated above, I went ahead and bought two WaterField bags instead. I could still add a Tri-Star later, if I decide I need to. Thanks again.