A round-the-world bike tour is a good way to test any piece of gear, and the laptop case we bought from WaterField Designs (SFBags.com) was one of the things that stood up best to our 3-year trip.
The short version of this review is that we heartily recommend these cases as a great way to protect your gadgets from dust and bumps on the road.
Although this post focuses mostly on the laptop cases, WaterField also has bags for iPads, Kindles and cameras, customized to fit many different models.
Our first experience with this company was way back in 2006, when we bought a case for our small netbook. The laptop sleeve is still going strong. It was pulled in and out of bicycle panniers on a daily basis and thrown carelessly around our tent but aside from a few minor scuff marks, you can hardly tell the difference between the old one (on the right) and the new one we just bought last month for another laptop.
When you see the bags in person, this isn’t surprising. It’s very clear that this is a high quality product. The outer nylon fabric is durable enough to stand up to daily bumps and scrapes and there’s a good bit of padding inside as well. There’s no need to worry about this bag scratching anything you might put in it, and because the bags are custom made to fit your laptop, they wrap snuggly around the computer.
Velcro keeps the bag sealed. You can choose either a simple velcro strap, which keeps your laptop from sliding out but leaves the top mostly open, or a flap that completely covers the top of the case.
On the back, there’s a sleeve that’s big enough to fit a few papers or a power cord, and at the bottom is a little loop that you can slip your finger through, so you always have a good grip on the bag. You can also order a strap, if you like, though for a bike tour it’s probably not necessary.
After buying our first laptop bag, we purchased more things from WaterField. These included a gear bag, to hold things like batteries and power cords during our world trip, and most recently a Kindle case for our Kindle eReader (see our review on the Kindle for bike touring).
The customer service has always been great, and the bags have always arrived in just a few days, despite needing to be shipped halfway around the world, from San Francisco to our home in the Netherlands.
Overall, we couldn’t be happier with the bags we’ve purchased from WaterField. We’re fully aware this review sounds a bit too much like gushing, but this is one product that we really happen to like and have no problems recommending.
Yes, the bags are a bit more expensive than others on the market, but the quality is far better than other bags we’ve seen. WaterField also offer a greater range of sizes than most shops, so you’re almost guaranteed to find a bag that will fit your gadget perfectly.
This review is based on products that we bought ourselves. We have not been paid by the company or been given any freebies in exchange for the review.