The Marqui Cross Body Pouch and Hip Sling Bags from Waterfield

For the longest time, I only carried backpacks. But there’s a problem with that: I call it the “backpack tipping point”. You know what I’m talking about, right? When you are going out for the day and need some stuff with you, but not enough to justify that tipping point of carrying a full backpack. In that case, previously, I’d either have a big backpack with barely anything in it or fill my pants pockets to a point that challenged the laws of physics.

Moreover, the iPad is pretty good these days, and a lot of time, I can get by with an iPad alone when I want to work remotely somewhere, but my 11” iPad is way too small to justify a proper backpack and way too big to fit in my pocket.

I decided to look into my options for bags that are more than my pockets and less than a backpack. This leads me into the nerdy world of everyday carry. There are a lot of bags made these days in this space. Small bags for men are cool again on the endless tick-tock of coolness. 

I landed on two specifically from Waterfield, my bag vendor of choice: The Marqui Cross Body Pouch and the Hip Sling Bag.

The Marqui Cross Body Pouch

This is a minimalist bag that slings across your arms and keeps your pockets empty. If I’m going out for a while with a lot of gear (but without an iPad), it’s perfect. It’s a shallow profile and fits nicely under a jacket. In it, I can carry all the day-to-day gear: wallet, keys, pocket knife, phone, cards, and AirPods. I’ve been using it for six months, and I usually put everything in this bag, except for my phone, which goes into the front-left pocket (as it has since 2007).  

There are two sizes, and I got the bigger one (which could accommodate an iPad mini). You can adjust it to wear a crossbody or as a sling. Waterfield constantly sweats the details; one such detail on both bags is the self-locking YKK zippers. (I could do an entire rant on why you should only buy products – and pants – with YKK zippers.) The Marqui has a single strap with a clever cam-lock adjustment mechanism, making it possible to adjust the length with one hand.

There is a main compartment and a secondary front compartment. Both are easily accessible. Two external loops for hanging keys, flashlights, or whatever else comes to mind. This bag is the antidote for full pockets.

The Hip Sling Bag

This bag is firmly aimed at the midpoint between backpack and pants pockets. This is one of the customer-designed bags in Waterfield’s line. It can be worn as a sling or around your waist. (I have worn it as a sling since I was alive back in the day of fanny packs.) This bag carries everything I can put in the Marqui, plus an 11” iPad Pro with a Magic Keyboard and a bit more. 

Again, it has a front pocket and a central pocket, but in this case, the main compartment has dividers, and both pockets have double zippers so you can open it from either side.

Most Waterfield bags have some element of delight. In the case of the Hip Sling Bag, it’s the magnetic buckle. It comes off with a simple pull but locks back into place with a satisfying magnetic “snap” just as quickly. This buckle makes it easy to take the bag off or put it back on without feeling like you have to climb into it. Both bags are lined with gold rip-stop fabric for high visibility. 

If I had to pick one, it’d be the Hip Sling. It is just so convenient, and it’s the bag I use the most lately. I’m taking a trip in a few weeks for several days and I plan to bring it with me. Though I also use the Marqui when going out sans iPad.

The reason I keep going back to Waterfield is because of the quality. I bought my first Waterfield laptop bag in 2008. I’ve since handed that bag down to a friend, but it is still getting used daily and looks even better than it did when it was new.

I’ve had these bags for several months now, and they serve the job exactly as I’d hoped. Now, I can leave the house with a relatively light load but still with everything I need. I no longer have to worry about the backpack tipping point. Generally, I keep the Hip Sling preloaded and leave the house with it often. Below, I am using it at my remote office.

A view from the back of Sparky, walking towards the castle at Disneyland in Anaheim. He's turning his head to the right, is wearing jeans and a brown jacket, and has the Waterfield Hip Sling slung around his left shoulder. It is an overcast day, with green tress showing in front of him, on both sides of the wide pedestrian path he's walking on.

The WaterField Hitch Bag


I live in a two-story house and, given the state of the world today, I am moving around the house trying to change context and keep working while simultaneously being stuck in the same 1,500 feet with three other humans and a dog. For years I’ve had a bag that I used to carry stuff as I moved around the house. My kids call it my “upstairs/downstairs” bag. But in reality, it is my “upstairs/downstairs/kitchen/bedroom/back yard/everywhere” bag. The bag I used for this purpose wore out, and I needed a new one.

When WaterField offered to send me their new Hitch Crossbody laptop bag, I thought this might be just the bag for me. Since the pandemic began, I’ve been walking around my house like a vagabond with the Hitch Crossbody as my new upstairs/downstairs bag.

The Hitch Crossbody is a vertical briefcase. You drop your laptop and bits in on their side and can carry them around with you easily. Mine is a larger one, holding up to a 16” MacBook Pro, iPad, notebook, and pen, along with the other bits I use when getting work done, no matter where I land.

It’s a WaterField bag and immediately recognizable as one. It’s made of ballistic nylon or waxed canvas. The inside is lined with that gold liner that WaterField uses in all of its bags. Using a light color interior fabric is such an obvious improvement over the ways people have been making bags with dark fabric inside, making it harder to see your stuff. The zippers are reliable. My oldest WaterField bag is over ten years old, and I’ve never had a problem with their zippers.

The interior pocket has a large lined pocket for your laptop and a smaller pocket for an iPad. There are also smaller pockets to hold chargers, pens, and additional bits. Once zipped up, you have convenient handles to keep the bag vertically. There are also hooks and a strap so you can wear it across your body or on a shoulder. On the front is an additional zippered pocket and on the back is an open pocket and a luggage handle pass-through slip.

The Hitch Crossbody bag is the first vertical bag I’ve used in a long time, and I forgot how much I like them. It’s easy to get into your stuff but doesn’t take a lot of room on the floor or next to you in a chair. Because of the bag’s size and convenience, it’s so much more than my traditional upstairs/downstarirs bag. In times of pandemic, it’s become my mobile office. Once I can go out in public again, this bag will be a great companion.

The WaterField MacBook SleeveCase Review

For a few weeks last month I was a world traveler. While it is fun getting stamps on your passport and embarrassing your children while you try to converse with people in other languages, one concern I had for the trip was getting around with my technology.

I knew I needed to bring the MacBook. My problem was I didn’t have a bag for it. Before leaving, I picked up a WaterField MacBook SleeveCase. As computer cases go, this is fairly minimal. The bag is waxed canvas (they also have a version in ballistic nylon) with a nice padded pocket to hold your MacBook and a leather flap that velcros down to keep your Mac solidly in place. I chose the waxed canvas SleeveCase with leather reinforcements. I’m pretty sure it is the same one Indiana Jones would carry if he needed such a thing.

I opted for the additional side clips and strap so I could wear it over my shoulder. I’m glad I did because I ended up carrying this computer bag everywhere.

The MacBook SleeveCases are designed to fit around the specific Apple laptop computers. They make them for all of the MacBooks ranging from the 12-inch MacBook to the 15-inch MacBook Pro. You can order the SleeveCase in either vertical or horizontal orientation. The bag is TSA approved, and I was able to put it through airport security without removing it from the SleeveCase.

The WaterField SleeveCase does not hold much except your computer and whatever you can fit in the side pocket. There is an optional piggyback case that lets you store more accessories and attaches to the case.

The thing I liked most about the WaterField SleeveCase is that it served two purposes. It’s robust enough with the strap that you can carry it around for the day with your Mac inside. However, if I needed to carry a backpack with more gear, the case is thin enough that I could slide it into my backpack where it served as a protective sleeve for the MacBook inside the backpack. WaterField makes laptop bags with more onboard storage, like the Staad Attaché and the Outback Solo, but I needed something that could either be worn independently or easily fit in my backpack when needed. It was this dual purpose that attracted me to the SleeveCase in the first place.

Like all other WaterField products, the SleeveCase is gorgeous. At one point during the trip my teenage daughter said to me, “Dad, I like your computer bag.” That’s right. The bag received a compliment …  from a teenager! Somewhere at that moment an angel received its wings.

All WaterField products are made in San Francisco and built to last. I’ve been buying products from them for ten years, and I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. 

The New Dash iPad Sleeve

I’ve been sporting this new 10.5” iPad for awhile (that I love) but I’ve not shared any details about my case. For several years now I’ve been using Waterfield bags and cases. It’s a San Francisco-based company that locally manufactures excellent bags for your Apple gear. With my prior iPad I used a one of their Dash sleeves and for this new one I went again with the Dash iPad Sleeves.

However, since I bought the last Dash sleeve, they’ve updated the design. The new Dash 2.0 design is pretty great. The sleeve is made just big enough to hold your iPad (or your iPad plus a Smart Keyboard). The iPad slides in to a soft fabric with foam backing to protect you iPad. The exterior is either ballistic nylon or a rugged textile. I’ve been romping around Hawaii this week where it rains often and I discovered the fabric is water resistant. The Dash Sleeve comes in several colors including black ballistic nylon and blue, green, grey, and red fabric.

Like the prior Dash sleeve, there is a simple bit of elastic on one side that you can pull over the top to secure your iPad in the sleeve. New to version 2.0 is a zippered pocket to securely add a few accessories. The pocket is tall enough to hold an Apple Pencil and there’s even a little slot inside the zippered compartment to hold the Pencil. Once you stow your Pencil in the slot and zip up the compartment, it’s not going anywhere. The compartment is also big enough to hold my plus-sized iPhone

I really like the updated Waterfield Dash 2.0 iPad Sleeve. It’s both attractive and protective enough to carry your iPad around without any other case. I often use it as my sole case as I move around my day living the iPad lifestyle. At the same time, the Dash Sleeve is small enough that it easily fits in my breifcase or backpack so I can throw my Dash-protected iPad in with other gear without worrying about it getting damaged.

I was first attracted to the Waterfield products when I saw friends carrying them at Macworld Expo years ago. Their products are great looking but also built to last. Waterfield bags I bought years ago are still in great condition and getting used everyday. I expect this new Dash Sleeve will be no different and taking care of my iPad Pro for a long time to come.