All the rugged charm of Indiana Jones, but flying business class.
The bags of Waterfield Designs have long held a special place in my heart, in part because many of their bags look like they flew in off the pages of a pulp adventure novel. Like the protagonists of said novels, you might not think at first glance that their materials would form a perfect result: What can you really make with rugged leather, ballistic nylon, and a colorful internal liner?
If you're looking for a great iPad Pro bag, stop looking right now: you want Waterfield's Staad Attaché. This small, squat briefcase perfectly bridges the gap between functional work briefcase and stylish over-the-shoulder satchel, with a bevy of delightful surprises embedded within.
Fit and finish
Gone are the backpack straps in favor of a single clipped suspension cross-body strap, though the Attaché retains the Staad's distinctive leather flap and carrying handle, along with its WWII-style ammunition buckle and zippered side pockets.
The version of the Attaché I reviewed is constructed with a leather flap and a ballistic nylon body, but you can go for waxed canvas on the body if you prefer. While Waterfield's waxed canvas bags are excellently crafted, on the Attaché, I prefer the ballistic nylon combination — it gives the bag a classier, more businesslike feel.
The bag's strap and handle are both welcomingly comfortable on short commutes and long; I've been using the Attaché while teaching at Emerson and climbing flights of stairs around the campus, and have so far avoided the dreaded shoulder/back ache from a cross-body bag.
It's bigger on the inside
The Attaché, by nature, is a much smaller bag than its backpack sibling, at just 14 inches wide, 10.5 inches tall, and 3.5 inches deep. But that relatively small space can fit an at-times alarming amount of technological gadgets — including an iPad Pro, laptop, headphones, microphone, and more.
Open the Attaché's flap and you'll find a cushioned pocket for your iPad or laptop, along with two smaller pockets to help organize cords and a couple holders for pens (or Apple Pencils). The rest of the bag's compartment has been left expansive to your taste: I've put in a MacBook Air, secondary iPad Pro keyboard, a bag of apples, cords, microphones, headphones, GorillaPods, and more.
I've said it before, but I love Waterfield's bright yellow honeycomb lining inside these bags: Not only is the fabric easy to clean in the event of spills, but the light coloration makes it a lot easier to see dark items when digging through to the bottom of the bag.
My only complaint with the Attaché stems from its cool — but sometimes finicky — WWII-era clip. While it adds a neat stylistic tweak to the bag, there's no easy way to lengthen it if you need to add a little more to your bag's contents; trying to get the bottom clip on and over the receiving end when you have a stuffed bag is a less-than-joyous adventure.
It's not the style, it's the little bits
In my history with them, Waterfield has always stood out with its exceptional bags, but in bags I've looked at in the past, I've often wished for more extras on the outer sides of those bags — tiny pockets for documents or keys. The Attaché delivers on this one hundred percent — all without compromising its style.
The front of the Attaché features two hidden zipper pockets that connect into one front compartment; one side even has a sewn-in liner, perfect for protecting a phone while also stashing your keys. I love little pockets like this — I almost always have something small that needs storing, and the Attaché's zippers are easy to access without having to open the bag entirely.
The rear of the bag also features a single storage sleeve — good for keeping a document or two saved away — but it also has a secondary sleeve with an open bottom, designed to attach over rolling luggage handles. I used the feature this week on a trip to Atlanta, and it worked perfectly — one less thing for me to carry on my shoulders.
I've also used that open strap while not carrying additional luggage for my water bottle — I've clipped one end to the Attaché's handle and stuck the remainder inside the open sleeve to keep it from bobbing up and down.
This is one of the first iPad Pro-specific bags I've tested, and it passes with flying colors. If you want quality craftsmanship and a bag that can fit your iPad Pro, accessories, and still leave room for your wallet and snacks, you'll love the Staad Attaché. The clip takes some getting used to and can be finicky when the bag is over-stuffed, but the Attaché's fantastic front zipper pockets keep you from needing to frequently unlatch the bag unless you plan on accessing your iPad Pro.