Waterfield’s Staad Slim Backpack Is Impeccably Designed And Here For The Long Haul [Review]

DSC04959

I’m a huge fan of minimalist bags to carry about my tech items. Why drag around a massive messenger bag to just hold my Macbook Air, an iPad mini, and some power cables? Sometimes though, you need to carry more than just the basics, like a full size iPad, extra batteries, keys, wallets, books, and the like.

Staad Slim Backpack by Waterfield Designs
Category: Backpacks
Works With: Various
Price: $319.00

The Staad Slim Backpack, then, is a nice mix between these two extremes: it carries the essentials in a compact design, but has a bit more space than you’d think, letting me add in some extras, like a portable power-brick and a pair of glasses in a case.

Tellingly, this backpack is a well-designed thing of beauty, with nary a stitch or seam out of place. The zippers are solid and immeasurably useful, and the placement of pockets is ingenious. The clasp is simple yet secure, and the colors–from the chocolate leather of the front flap to the light brown of the waxed canvas to the inner lining’s patterned orange–just scream style and substance. This is a backpack I can use for a long, long time.

Stylish, no?

Stylish, no?

Upon close inspection, the Staad Slim backpack (it comes in a Stout version, as well) looks like a custom made bag. Waterfield has been making amazingly sturdy and visually pleasing cases and bags for a while now, and the experience shows. The stitches are all in place, the waxed canvas cloth feels both protective and inviting, and the smell of leather from the flap is unmistakable luxury.

I’ve taken this bag all over town in the course of my work, tossing it in my passenger car seat and then again over a shoulder or two when walking or biking to my destinations. It would feel equally at home in a subway or bus, I’m sure. The backpack promises a functional sturdiness as well as style, and I can’t wait to break it in like a new pair of high-quality shoes, every mark or scuff a point of pride of service.

Stuffing the Staad Slim backpack full in no way changes the profile of the carrying bag, but a surprising number of items can be stashed within.

This is a backpack I can use for a long, long time.

Well, that's...modern looking.

Well, that’s…modern looking.

So far, I have been able to go minimal plus a bit extra, taking various combinations of Macbook Air, iPad 3, iPad mini, charging cables and power bricks, a paperback book, some Ear Pods along for the ride, with my passport, iPhone 5, small keyring, wallet, and a diminutive Moleskine and space pen in the various smaller pockets placed throughout the backpack’s rectangular shape.

When not completely full, the Staad backpack still cuts an impressive figure on a seat or on a back.

The rear panel of the backpack is a very different material. It’s a modern, breathable, cushioned black mesh that is duplicated on the inside of the shoulder straps. It’s a jarring effect, though still amazingly functional. Sadly, this more modern choice dilutes the screamingly vintage feel of the rest of the bag. While it’s not a deal-breaker by any means, I do wish the team would have chosen a color, at least, that matches the rest of the bag.

A vintage classic

A vintage classic

The WWII-style clasp on the front is a delight to use, and it closes the backpack securely and simply. The handle on the very top of the bag is covered in the same leather as the front flap, rolled lovingly around to make even long-term holding comfortable and luscious.

All in all, while the Staad backpack isn’t for the budget conscious, it is a fantastically designed craft bag that meets all my criteria for a minimalist carry-all. The feel of the canvas and leather fittings are a tactile delight, and while the modern rear-piece isn’t as integrated as I’d like, it’s still a great bag to wear and carry around town on various errands and work-related tasks.

DSC04957Product Name: : The Staad Slim Backpack
The Good: A stunningly crafted and designed minimalist backpack that will hold many more items than it might look like at first glance.
The Bad: It’s a bit pricey, and the space-age fabric on the back doesn’t quite fit the vibe.
The Verdict If budget isn’t an issue, the Staad backpack is a solid addition to anyone’s tech kit. The heavy construction and custom-designed fittings seem like artifacts from an earlier, less obsolescent era while the more modern options promise a long, productive, useful lifespan.
Buy from: Waterfield Designs



Cult of Mac rating: Excellent

About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Culture Editor. He has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef

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