As a frequent traveler, I am pretty particular about the baggage I travel with. My current kit for most trips include a 20″ rolling carry-on and the Tom Bihn Synapse Backpack. I’m content with this setup, and not really looking for an alternative, but I was offered the opportunity to try out a new bag, so I figured why not. Someone from Waterfield Designs/SF Bags emailed me a press release and some other information about their new Atlas Executive Athletic Holdall briefcase. I offered to write a review, although this was not required for me to try out the bag. Photos in the post are provided by Waterfield Designs. The bag was provided on a trial basis, and I did not get to keep it.
The concept of the bag suits me well, as I always carry fitness gear when I travel. Some travelers follow a one bag philosophy, but that is not for me except maybe when on a short overnight trip, which is rare. I’m also more of a backpack person vs a briefcase. Admittedly, a backpack may not look that professional, but I’m a scientist, and most of the time dress business casual so I still try to pull it off.
I was given a choice of fabric and color, and opted for the canvas bag with brown leather accents. From photos, I thought this looked best, but it is also available in black, with either canvas or ballistic nylon. I’ve owned a few products from this company in the past, but only some basic phone cases and Kindle sleeves. Based on this bag, I continue to be impressed with the products they offer.
What is Waterfield Designs?
Waterfield Designs is based in San Francisco, and all products are made in house. The make various bags and other products to carry devices with simple design and high quality. Products aren’t cheap, but in my experience, are of excellent quality.
I received the Atlas bag in the midst of busy run of trips, but I was able to try it out. The bag is attractive, and smartly designed. The unique shoe pouch has a zipper, so it can be closed off if not in use, which allows for more space in the main pouch.
Atlas Executive Holdall Basics
The main materials of the bag are either black ballistic nylon or brown waxed canvas. Either color is accented with leather. The bag is 16″ x 10″ x 8.5″, and weights a little over 3 pounds. This would meet the size requirement for most (domestic US) airlines as a personal item to go under the seat in front. It is split into 3 main areas, one is a suitcase, a larger section for workout gear, including the collapsible shoe bag. The interior is lined in a bright-colored fabric which makes it easier to find items in the bottom of the bag. There is also a small front pocket that would work for keeping a phone, wallet, keys, etc.
On the back side, there is a slot for the handle of a rolling suitcase. on one side there is a pocket that fits a water bottle or something similar. Handles are leather wrapped, and there is also a removable shoulder strap. Zippers are high quality and are waterproof. Their products have a lifetime warranty against defects in materials or workmanship.
The Shoe Bag
One of the unique aspects of this bag is the expandable shoe bag. It neatly zips closed when not in use, but when open there is room for a pair of shoes. I wear US size 11.5 shoe, which definitely fill up this area. Even with my shoes inside, there was still some space inside this largest section of the bag.
Briefcase and laptop storage
In addition to the shoe bag, there is a narrower section that serves as a briefcase and laptop pouch. Areas are divided to keep items organized, and the laptop areas are padded with a soft fleece lining.
Would I Buy It?
During my evaluation, I have found this to be an high quality bag, and a pretty neat concept. As of now, I don’t think I’ll change my current travel setup. It is hard to compare this bag to anything else, since the idea is unique, at least to me. Still, I would recommend this bag based on the quality of the product and the innovative design. Everything I’ve seen from Waterfield Designs is stylish, and well made.