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WaterField Designs Maverick messenger laptop bag is gorgeous and built to last

WaterField Designs makes some quality gear bags in many shapes and sizes, and it proudly crafts them all in the good ol' US of A.

The company's new Maverick Leather Laptop Messenger Bag is one of its pricier offerings at around $300. But it's immediately clear where your investment goes.

The "full size" WaterField Maverick bag I reviewed fits just about any 15-inch laptop AND a 12-inch or smaller tablet. (A slightly less expensive "compact" version is also available for 13-inch laptops and smaller tablets.)

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I used the Maverick bag for nearly a month, along with a 15-inch Surface Book 2 and a Surface Pro. It feels like the bag was made specifically for these devices. Honestly, it's hard to find anything negative to say about the Maverick. But it's not flawless.

What you'll love about WaterField Designs' Maverick bag

I love the look of the WaterField Designs Maverick bag. It's simple but stylish. And it looks perfectly appropriate if you're on your own, trekking to your corner coffee shop, or heading to a big meeting with the boss. And it comes in three color options: black (that's the one I reviewed), "chocolate" brown, and "grizzly," which is a light brownish tan.

It has one main padded sleeve with compartments on both sides, one for a 15-inch laptop and one for a smaller tablet device. There are also two smaller gear compartments, one zippered and one with an open top. And finally, you can throw some more loose stuff in the bag's main section. The bag closes when you secure the flap, which attaches to a small metal post. And the bag's handles are secured with similar metal rivets.

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The quality of the leather and craftsmanship is immediately apparent. And like all good leather, it should change and develop over time. It also smells ridiculously good, even after a month of use. This is a well-made bag that should last a long time if you take care of it.

The bag has an adjustable nylon strap that makes it simple to find the right fit for you, whether you want it snug or if you prefer a bit of "hang." And it comes with a padded leather strap-pad, to take some of the burden off your shoulder.

Speaking of gear, I used the bag to carry both a Surface Pro with Type Cover attached and a Surface Book 2. The Maverick literally could not fit them any better. And its two laptop and tablet sleeves are padded and protective on the inside, thanks to some soft neoprene-like material.

Finally, the bag features a long leather loop on its rear side that slides over the handle of your roller bag for easy transport while you're running to catch your next flight at the airport or walking to a hotel after a long train ride. This is a simple yet essential touch for frequent travelers that I really appreciate.

What you will not love about WaterField Designs' Maverick bag

My biggest complaint about this bag is its lack of slots for pens, pencils, styluses or other writing instruments. Maybe I'm just old school, but I still use regular pens. And I take my Surface Pen with me when I travel. You can toss pens and pencils into one of the two smaller compartments in the bag, and they fit in there OK. But they're not secured, and they clink around with whatever else you pack in.

The shoulder strap on the Maverick is fixed and cannot be removed. This isn't a big deal. But if it was clipped onto some metal rings, so it could be removed and replaced, it would be more versatile. And people who like carrying bags briefcase-style would appreciate that feature.

The full-size Maverick is quite large. Its dimensions are 11.5 inches tall by 14 inches wide and four inches thick. And it weighs about 2.5 pounds. It's not overly bulky, but it's also not small. However, when you have both a tablet or 2-in-1 like the Surface Pro, and a Surface Book 2, jammed in there, along with a bunch of stuff in the smaller gear compartments, there isn't much room in the main bag section. That's largely due to the messenger-bag design, which is thin and wide. For a big bag, you can't really fit all that much stuff in it, at least if you're carrying a laptop and a tablet.

Finally, the bag isn't cheap. For most folks, $300 is a significant investment. (The smaller "compact" bag costs $289 and the larger "full size" one goes for $319, plus tax and shipping.) However, quality leather and fine craftsmanship are expensive, and if you look at the prices of some comparable designer laptop bags, $300 may seem cheap. It's not unusual for designer leather bags to enter the thousands-of-dollars range.

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Bottom line on WaterField Designs Maverick Leather Laptop Messenger Bag

WaterField's Maverick bag looks great, and it's equally appropriate in casual and business settings. It's built to last, and should actually get better looking as you use it. It's functional, and even though it's not specifically made for Microsoft Surface products and can be used to tote any larger laptop and tablet, it feels like it was designed for the Surface Book 2 and Surface Pro.

The bag could really benefit from some pen slots and a bit more room in the main compartment. And I prefer the shoulder strap to be removable. But those are minor complaints.

The Maverick bag does not come cheap, but if you decide to drop $300 on it you won't be disappointed.

This is an extraordinary tech-gear bag that's just perfect for a Surface — or any other quality PC.

See at SFBags.com

Al Sacco is content director of Future PLC's Mobile Technology Vertical, which includes AndroidCentral.com, iMore.com and WindowsCentral.com. He is a veteran reporter, writer, reviewer and editor who has professionally covered and evaluated IT and mobile technology, and countless associated gadgets and accessories, for more than a decade. You can keep up with Al on Twitter and Instagram.

5 Comments
  • Feel like any backyard leatherworker could make that. China could certainly sell those for $30 apiece! Simple design no complex cuts or stitching. Backyard lw would put in penslots too because they make sense and are functional. I guess it's like buying ripped jeans?
  • While I like Waterfield Designs bags I decided to go with a Case Crown 13" laptop bag for my Surface Pro 4
  • I'm curious. Why?
  • For my 15" Book 2 and SP4 I got a Staad Attache instead and I love it. https://www.sfbags.com/collections/microsoft-surface-book-cases/products... It does have slots for pens, phones, and accessories and is still fairly compact.  I liked that it had a handle on top and a slot on the back to slide over my suitcase handle when I am traveling.  It is also slightly less expensive than this one ($229)
  • I got one of their Sleeves and Accessories Pouch for my SB2. The Sleeve is fine, and fits the SB2 perfecty. Warning though, the Accessories Pouch is more suited to the Surface Pro power adapter. The SB2's power brick is bigger, and therefore it doesn't fit entirely well in the pouch. Also, I wanted to fit the dial in, which I can JUST do with the SB2 power brick, and Logitech MX Master 2S mouse. But the Dial also gets pressed all the time in the pouch, which is annoying. To carry it all around, I got a Booq Cobra Squeeze. Great backpack.