The Waterfield Air Porter

My Air Porter on my last trip.

My Air Porter on my last trip.

I’ve been doing quite a bit of travel lately for fancy lawyer-related business. Usually I just take a backpack on trips, but it doesn’t really look good in the business meetings where I have to wear a suit. So, of course, that gave me an excuse to get a new bag. I ended up with the WaterField Air Porter Carry-On Bag, and I’m quite happy with it.

The Air Porter is a leather and canvas bag from WaterField, the same team that makes most of the bags I buy. They are based out of San Francisco, and they always nail the little details. The Air Porter is no different. In this case, WaterField actively solicited customer input while they were designing the bag, and the result is something that makes travel easier. By combining WaterField’s ability to make a bag with active customer feedback, we get a really nice travel bag.

The Air Porter has two zippered compartments. The large compartment has lots of space and pockets. The smaller compartment is for storing a laptop or tablet (or both) and features an extended zipper that makes it easier to deal with airport security. A nice small touch here is the way the laptop pocket dips on each side, making it easy to plug your Mac in for a charge while it is still in the bag.

There is a separate zipper for the main compartment that feels pretty roomy, considering the size of the bag. It has several pockets and space for files, books, and even the Air Caddy (explained below).

All of the WaterField bags use gold fabric on the inside, which makes finding things a lot easier compared to the standard black interiors found in most bags. I own several WaterField bags, and it baffles me that other manufacturers don’t do this. It’s so obvious once you try it. Finally, there is a flap for an accessible slot on one side good for holding things you need quick access to in the airport, and the other side has a fabric panel that will attach your AirPorter to your carry-on luggage handle. There’s also a padded strap so you can put it over your shoulder.

The bag’s size, 15 x 10.25 x 4.5 inches, is travel-friendly. The bag easily stands and its height upright (10.25 inches) fits perfectly under the seat in front you and, because it is standing, your feet can still fit under the seat. That alone is a huge improvement over traveling with a backpack.

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One of my favorite things about the Air Porter is that it is actually two bags. For $20 more you also get the Air Caddy. The Air Caddy is a zippered pouch made to hold an iPad (10.5 inches or smaller) and a few other bits, such your mid-flight granola bar. The Air Caddy fits in the main cargo area of the Air Porter, but when you board your plane, the power move is to slip it out and drop it in the seat pouch. The combination of the Air Porter and the Air Caddy makes boarding a plane much easier. Just slip out the Air Caddy, put it in the seat pocket, then slide the Air Porter under the seat, and you’re good. I like this system so much that I’m going to be using the Air Caddy when I travel with my backpack instead of the Air Porter. The Air Caddy is also useful for other things. For instance, I’ve taken to using it to carry my iPad, journal, a few pens, and snacks and throwing it in my bicycle pannier on days that I’m getting around by pedal power.

I like the Air Porter so much that I’ve been using it for the day job even when not traveling to the airport. It looks classy and efficiently holds my stuff. I also like its relatively compact size on a day full of meetings.

The Air Porter comes in a few looks including ballistic nylon, leather, or canvas, and options in shades of brown and black. It’s a great bag. You should check it out.