One of my favorite computer bag companies is Waterfield Designs of San Francisco. Its bags are not only stylish, often mixing leather, waxed canvas and ballistic nylon in ways that please the eye, but they also just plain last. A case in point is the Waterfield Travel Express bag I purchased years ago for a MacBook Air, which is still going strong as an iPad bag (it can carry two easily) and still looks like it did when I unboxed it for the first time. Well, Waterfield has introduced an amazing backpack -- the Staad BackPack (US$319-$329) -- that carries on the tradition of design and function that the company is known for. Read on for a review and a chance to win one of these beautiful backpacks.
The Staad BackPack, like people, comes in two sizes -- slim and stout. The slim model is perfect for those situations where you want a backpack for carrying your laptop (up to 13 inches) and accessories hands-free, but don't want it to be so huge that it's constantly bumping into other people. The stout model is $10 more, and provides a bit more capacity for your stuff, including a laptop of up to 15 inches in size.
As Gary Waterfield notes in the video that's embedded below, the idea behind the Staad is for it to be a backpack that can easily fit into a more formal working environment. The bodies are made of one of two materials -- waxed canvas or ballistic nylon. An oversized leather flap covers the top of your gear, and comes in one of three colors -- black, chocolate or grizzly. On top of the bag is a large grip handle for picking up the backpack that's made of the same flap material.
Two large padded straps are used to distribute the load on your shoulders, with neoprene inserts helping to make for a comfortable ride and a moisture-wicking material on the side that's closest to your shirt. That same wicking material is used on the back of the pack, perfect for making sure that you don't get the dreaded sweaty back from carrying the bag in warm weather.
On the inside are a number of smaller pockets surrounding two larger cushioned pockets -- one for your MacBook and another for your iPad. There are two angled, zippered side pockets (one on either side) for your phone, wallet and keys. Holding the big leather flap in place is a World War II-era buckle that opens with a quick pull.
Like all of the other Waterfield Designs products, the construction of the Staad is first-class. You may pay a lot more for this than the typical backpack, but it's going to last for a long time. And let's face it; it also looks incredibly classy.
If you want the hands-free convenience of a backpack, but want something that will be at home in the executive suite, then pull out your wallet and buy the Waterfield Designs Staad BackPack. Using the time-honored credo "You get what you pay for," the Staad is more costly upfront, but will serve you for years to come.
Extremely well-constructed, and made of top-grade materials
Separate padded pockets for MacBook and iPad
Vintage closure buckle is surprisingly handy, and it looks great, too!
Not TSA-compliant, will require you to pull your laptop out of the bag during security screening
Who is it for?
Anyone who wants a laptop backpack that looks great and will last until they slide you into your grave
Oh, how I envy TUAW readers, who get a chance to win some of these amazing products. In this case, one lucky reader is going to be opening a box in the near future containing a slim Staad BackPack in black ballistic nylon with a chocolate leather flap and trim. It's valued at US$319, and I will weep to put this guy onto the FedEx truck.
Here are the rules for the giveaway:
Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older.
To enter, fill out the form below completely and click or tap the Submit button.
The entry must be made before November 5, 2013 11:59PM Eastern Daylight Time.
You may enter only once.
One winner will be selected and will receive a Waterfield Designs Staad BackPack valued at $319