Waterfield Design Vitesse Waxed Canvas Messenger Bag Review

I’ve made little secret of the fact that I am a huge fan of all things Waterfield. Truth is, I use one Waterfield bag or another pretty much every day. That’s why I was excited to check out their latest offering, the Waterfield Design Vitesse Waxed Canvas Messenger Bag. It didn’t disappoint. The $159 bag is yet another Waterfield winner.

Waterfield Design Vitesse Waxed Canvas Messenger Bag Review
The Waterfield Design Vitesse Waxed Canvas Messenger Bag is available in brown, navy, burgundy waxed canvas. It is definitely one of the less structured bags I’ve used from Waterfield. That’s not a criticism however. The lack of structure means it can mold to your bag if you strap it on messenger bag-style. It also means this is one of the lighter Waterfield bags designed to carry a full-sized laptop.

The Vitesse Waxed Canvas Messenger Bag has the familiar messenger bag design. A large flap covers a plentiful storage area.  The flap is held in place by two leather straps. Each has two holes so you can adjust how the flap fits depending upon the size of the load you are carrying inside. The straps close by placing one of the two opening in each piece of leather over a “metal screw studs.”

Waterfield Design Vitesse Waxed Canvas Messenger Bag Review
At first I was concerned that the system wouldn’t keep the flap securely closed and the contents, in my case including my new 13” MacBook Pro, would go tumbling to the ground. I tested the security of it by loading the bag and shaking it in every direction. My concerned were unnecessary. The straps, when closed, stay closed.

The design also means you can get into your bag by simply lifting up on each tag and tugging. It is a simple approach that makes it easy to open and close the bag while keeping the contents safe. Well done Waterfield!

Waterfield Design Vitesse Waxed Canvas Messenger Bag Review
On either side of the bag’s front there are are water-sealed zippers that open to reveal a front pocket that stretches from one zipper to the other. This is intended for items that you might need to grab on the go. The placement and angle of the zippers means you can access this pocket without lifting the flap.

Waterfield Design Vitesse Waxed Canvas Messenger Bag Review
One side has a smaller pocket inside that is lined on one side with ultra suede so you can slip your phone in the pocket but always have it accessible. And again I say… well done Waterfield!


Waterfield Design Vitesse Waxed Canvas Messenger Bag Review 
The interior of the bag offers just a bit of organization. There is a main, cavernous space for all of the items you’ll want to throw into your messenger.

Waterfield Design Vitesse Waxed Canvas Messenger Bag Review
At the front of this large space are three small, open pockets that are ideal for a phone, a small hard drive or something of similar size. If you are using an Apple watch this pocket makes a ton of sense since you, like me, are likely reaching for your phone far less now that notifications come to your wrist!

Waterfield Design Vitesse Waxed Canvas Messenger Bag Review
At the rear of the bag is a smaller pocket that reaches from one side of the bag to the other. This is designed to hold your laptop. It is worth noting that there is zero… and I mean zero… padding to keep your laptop or tablet safe. That means you will definitely want to follow my lead and use on of Waterfields wonderful laptop and tablet sleeves to keep your precious computing devices safe. Again, this isn’t a criticism but is something you need to know about when deciding if this is the right bag for you.


  • Waxed canvas – brown, burgundy, navy
  • Naturally-tanned chocolate leather tabs affix to black metal screw studs
  • Nylon adjustable strap
  • Top grab handle
  • Internal pocket for laptop inside a sleeve + 3 organizational pockets
  • Front waterproof-zippered pockets with internal Ultrasuede phone pocket
  • Optional stabilizer messenger strap
  • Dimensions: 16″–18″ x 13″ x 4″
  • Weight: 1.5 lbs.

Waterfield Design Vitesse Waxed Canvas Messenger Bag Review
The bag has a thin, nylon ribbon strap that is permanently fixed to the bag. It has one adjustment and the adjustment holds its place once set.

Waterfield Design Vitesse Waxed Canvas Messenger Bag Review
A grab handle at the top of the bag sits flush with the bag but offers enough space to let you easily slip fingers inside and get going.

If you will be using the bag as a bike messenger bag you will want to spend the extra few bucks and pick up the optional stabilizer messenger strap. It isn’t an expensive add-on but I do wish the company had seen fit to include it with the purchase.

Here’s what Waterfield has to say about it:

Messenger Utopia. Messenger bags are great for bike commuting, but what about work? Introducing the lightweight Vitesse Messenger, an elegant bike-friendly, work-appropriate messenger bag with functionality and style to spare. A vast main compartment includes a pocket for a laptop in a sleeve plus organizational pockets for small items. Front zippered pockets are great for easily accessible items and a hidden scratch-free phone pocket keeps that necessity safe and ready. Take it everywhere!


In all, the Vitesse Waxed Canvas Messenger Bag is a minimalist messenger that looks great, holds plenty of gear and does so in a classy and effective manner. I’m a fan and, when I take my laptop with me, have been using it as my daily driver since it arrived. Learn more and order yours here.

Source: Company Supplied Review Sample

What I Like: Great design and build; Light but strong; Water sealed front zippers make accessible key items simple; Phone pocket within the front pocket; Simplicity without being simplistic

What Needs Improvement: Won’t protect items inside from bumps and bruises so you’ll need sleeves etc; Cycling strap is extra

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.