WaterField is a well-known manufacturer of quality bags based out of San Francisco, California. Hand-made with only the most exceptional tanned leather and ballistic nylon the bags are not cheap, but they are meant to last a lifetime versus lower-cost mass produced ones.
The WaterField Staad Laptop Backpack is the company's first backpack in its nearly 20-year history. Coming in two sizes – slim or stout – the bag has enough room to fit the new Surface Book 2 15-inch with some extra pockets and the main compartment to spare.
I've been using the Staad for the last few weeks with the Surface Book 2, and it blends quality with a fashionable look.
Perfect for your Surface
Pros:A classy backpack that adults can wear with pride.Built to last, while the beautiful leather develops a new character over time.Fits Surface Book 2 15" and Surface Pro, at the same time.
Cons:Full-size bag is large yet doesn't fit as much gear as you might want.No slots for pens, water bottle or stylus.Not cheap at about $319.
Design and appearance
The Staad comes in a variety of color and material combinations – six in all, to be exact. Some of those are a leather type with either a black ballistic or waxed canvas combinations. All are water resistant ensuring no matter the weather your PC is protected.
Inside is the main pouch for various accessories, a few pockets, and the central laptop divider. Padded on both sides the area for your PC is secure for minor bumps and bangs. A secondary slot is ideal for a tablet, e-reader, or magazines. Two inner pouches flank the main compartment and are suitable for an AC adapter and some laptop accessories.
On the outside, there are two more side pockets for your phone or any other smaller gadget. The pockets are designed so you can swing the backpack around on one arm and still have easy access.
The primary latch is unique too. All metal, the design is influenced by the military who used a similar single lock for ammo boxes during World War II. It seems it wouldn't hold, but the smart design works very well and is exceptionally secure. Just pull the latch up, and it releases with no effort.
Finally, in the portion that meets your back, WaterField uses a porous material that helps whisk away any sweat and allows some air to pass through keeping you cool. The same material is used on the inner straps, and it works well.
Unique design for those who travel light
Overall, I was impressed with the Staad backpack. The design is easily the unique of all my bags. The Surface Book 2 fit nicely in it and, of course, as does any other 15-inch or smaller laptop.
One downside for those who travel on public railways or are often in crowded areas is there is no common security with the Staad (or any WaterField product, really). While getting access to your laptop while wearing it would be obvious, for those who want a more protected system with hidden flaps and compartments will want to try something else.
Compared to some other backpacks that feature many side pockets, and multiple sub-compartments the Staad is somewhat minimalist. It's a messenger bag, like the WaterField Bolt Crossbody but in a backpack format. For instance, there is no water bottle holder, and if you have a large camera or any object that is not very flat, it may not fit.
The choice for the Staad comes down to personal preference – do you want a do-it-all bag that can hold a million items, but at lesser quality, or do you want a premium, stately backpack that you can wear even when dressed up and not look like a kid going to school?
Price wise the Staad is very expensive. Starting at $319 for the slim, or $329 for the stout the Staad is one of the poshest backpacks you can find. The reason for the cost is these are designed, made and stitched in the U.S. almost on a per order basis. Many people – including myself – opt to buy products made in the U.S. as they are often higher quality and that holds true here. Whether that matters to you is a personal choice, but having the option on the market is welcomed, and WaterField lives up to its name.
Overall, the Staad is an excellent choice for those who want a backpack to wear to the office without looking like a kid going to class.
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.