Waterfield’s Indy Satchel Is The Only iPad Bag Indiana Jones Would Ever Carry [Review]

Waterfield’s Indy Satchel Is The Only iPad Bag Indiana Jones Would Ever Carry [Review]

Waterfield's Indy bag next to an invaluable ebony statue of an ancient monkey god.

“Nice murse,” the supercilious toad said, burrowing his chin into his neck pouch.

By ‘murse’, the toad meant “man purse,” a condescending diminutive used by a certain sort of person to refer to any sort of fashionable bag a man might choose to wear on a strap. Hypocritically, some bags are off-limits from accusations of mursing — for example, the ugly, bulky laptop bags you see businessmen inexplicably carrying at airports, or gym bags — but if you are a man and have ever worn a nice messenger bag or a satchel, the word ‘murse’ has probably been greasily blown in your direction from smug, speckled lips.

As you can tell, the term annoys me, mostly because of the sorts of people who use it: guys who drive everywhere and who don’t carry anything with them anywhere besides a lumbago-inducing wallet and a cell phone crammed into their jeans pockets. To these guys, a satchel just doesn’t make any sense. A bag is something a man only brings with him when he travels, needs to tote around his laptop or hits the gym. They don’t understand a guy like me, who lives in a city, doesn’t have a car and walks or bikes almost everywhere: a guy for whom carrying around a bag with a book, some headphones, and his iPad as just a matter of course, the same way they throw their shit into the back of their car in the morning. And they articulate this lack of understanding by calling such a bag a murse, a word designed to hit below the belt and imply a profound and contemptible lack of masculinity.

As here. Luckily, this time, I had a comeback ready.

“Murse, huh? You know who also carried a murse? Indiana Jones. And it looked just like this one!”

You just can’t argue with Indy. His satchel — stuffed with ancient idols, sacks of dust, scarab-chewn maps, glowing prayer stones and whatever other ephemera might find its way into the bag of a hard-hitting, Nazi-fighting archeologist — is an iconic aspect of the character’s pulp-inspired wardrobe. Indiana Jones is the ultimate man. And he’d bullwhip you into an airplane propellor if you dared to call his satchel anything like a ‘murse.’

Named after Harrison Ford’s best alter ego, the Indy by Waterfield Designs seems almost like a calculated move to reclaim satchels and once again make them an accepted accessory of manliness. The distressed leather exterior implies a man of travel and action, even if the inside holds an iPad and an iPhone instead of a crystal skull. It’s a beautiful, exquisitely well-made bag, with just one flaw.

The Good

Waterfield’s Indy Satchel Is The Only iPad Bag Indiana Jones Would Ever Carry [Review]

The Indy's not big enough to fit a MacBook Air into, but it's the perfect size for an iPad.

Made of supple brown leather (the Indy also comes in black) and then distressed, the Indy feels as great bouncing against your hip as it looks strapped across your torso. And even better, because it comes distressed, the Indy comes out of the bag looking like a satchel you’ve been wearing for years… and gets even better looking as natural wear, tear and oils make their way into it. Indy’s actual satchel may have been canvas, but this looks the part, even if it’s not identical.

On the outside, there are two main compartments: an open diagonal pouch with an accent trim that comes in green, orange, brown, pine, white and black, and a zipper pocket.

The larger trimmed compartment is easy to access, meant for items you’re likely to pull constantly out of the bag while it’s being worn. This compartment’s just a winner, and makes for a great place to put your keys or anything else you have jangling in your pockets that you might quickly need. Even better? This compartment contains a smaller pocket perfectly sized to slip an iPhone in and out of, and because both of these nested pocket is lined entirely with ultrasuede, it not only feels great to sink your hand into… it’ll even wipe your iPhone’s display clean as you put it in or pull it out. As for the zippered pocket, it’s similarly deep and perfect for surreptitiously storing a wallet or any other item that you might want to have easily accessible, but don’t want pickpockets to get at.

Waterfield’s Indy Satchel Is The Only iPad Bag Indiana Jones Would Ever Carry [Review]

The Indy's outer compartment not only stores your iPhone in its own separate pocket, it cleans the screen with ultrasuede!

The main compartment is similarly slick. Measuring about ten inches deep, it’s the perfect size for an iPad and a book, and is lined with a beautiful textured yellow fabric that feels great, keeps your iPad or iPhone from getting soaked through if you happen to get caught in the rain, and makes it easy to see what’s at the bottom of the bag — a deft touch. Additionally, this compartment contains two smaller pockets that are great for organizing. For example, I put my headphones in one, and since it’s right at the top of the compartment, it makes it easy to just quickly access the earbuds if I want to listen to some tunes.

Honestly, it’s a great bag.

The Bad

Update: Originally, we dinged the Indy for a strap that was extremely prone to sawing into your neck if you were wearing a shirt without lapels. We hated this aspect of the bag, and said so. Listening to our criticism, Waterfield Designs is now shipping every Indy with a strap pad. They sent us this pad, and it makes all the difference in the world. We can now recommend this bag without reservation. The text below is from the original review.

There’s just one problem. The strap. Yeesh.

Don’t get me wrong, the strap itself is of fine construction, easily adjustable and smart. The problem is that if you’re wearing the Indy without a shirt or jacket that has lapels, the strap is going to cut into your neck like a guillotine.

It’s incredibly uncomfortable. Maybe it was good enough for Dr. Jones, that strap, but he’s also a guy who wore a thickly lapeled leather jacket protecting his neck from being ripped in half. If you don’t wear collared shirts all the time, the Indy’s strap is going to be an issue.

It’s a big problem with an otherwise superlative product, frankly. In fact, it made the Indy so uncomfortable for me to wear a lot of times that I had to invest in a shoulder strap pad off of Amazon, which of course doesn’t match. Waterfield should have caught this in testing.

The Verdict

Waterfield’s Indy Satchel Is The Only iPad Bag Indiana Jones Would Ever Carry [Review]

No time for love, Dr. Jones.

Indiana Jones’s satchel was a straight canvas affair, but if he had explored urban jungles instead of literal ones, and wielded an iPad and iPhone instead of a bullwhip and .38, it’s easy enough to imagine him rocking the Indy. It’s a great bag, that is not only fashionable, comfortable, convenient and manly, but should wipe the m-word off the lips of just about anyone.

Product: The Waterfield Indy Bag

Price: $179

Pro: Beautifully made satchel, just the right size for the iPad. Smart compartment and pocket design. Looks like a satchel the raider of the lost ark would be proud to wear.

Con: The strap is painful; needs a shoulder pad, which isn’t included. None!

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About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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