I love rolltop backpacks, both for their flexibility and because they keep the rain out. WaterField Designs’ new Tech Rolltop is a cool-looking waxed-canvas bag, with some typically smart WaterField details.
What’s a rolltop bag?
A rolltop bag is a bag that you close by rolling the top down. The advantages are many. First, it’s resizable — just roll it down further when not full, or leave it open for long loads. (I used my rolltop backpack to bring back a few kilos of rhubarb from the market just yesterday, with the stalks sticking out the top.) A roll opening has no zippers or anything else to get in the way.
Rolltops are also pretty much impermeable to water, when closed correctly. Ortlieb, the gold-standard German manufacturer of waterproof bags, uses rolltops on many of its designs, including bike panniers and dry bags.
Rolltops also look cool and last forever, as there’s nothing to break.
The disadvantage of a rolltop is that it can be tricky to get all the way inside, although I’ve never really minded this tradeoff. WaterField’s gold lining helps in this regard, as it lets you see right to the bottom of the bag.
WaterField Tech Rolltop
The Tech Rolltop comes in blue or brown waxed canvas, or black ballistic nylon. The rolltop fastener is a clever magnetic clasp, which slides open and closes almost automatically.
Apart from the rolltop, the backpack offers a pair of water-bottle pockets and two front patch pockets (the top one with a magnetic closure, the bottom one pleated). There are also two laptop/tablet pockets, one beneath the back padding and one inside. In the smaller Tech Rolltop (it comes in two sizes), the exterior pocket can take a 13-inch MacBook or iPad. If you own a bigger computer, you’ll need to put it inside the main bag.
The bigger bag can swallow a bigger computer in the external pocket.
All in, this bag looks like a fantastic everyday carry. It has everything I’d need, including those external bottle pockets. I’d prefer it to come with a sternum strap, but I probably have a spare around here somewhere anyway. Also, sternum straps look dorky.
All colors cost the same. The big bag runs $249, the compact size is $229. Available now.