I love WaterField bags, backpacks and gear pouches. I’m a fan of sling-style bags. And I love the WaterField Sutter Tech Sling. It’s a sling bag that’s all WaterField. And that’s a good thing.
The Sutter Tech Sling has the WaterField design language I’ve come to love. And I do love Waterfield’s approach to design! Fact is, not a day goes by that I’m not carrying something from WaterField. The bag is made from the top-quality materials that have won WaterField countless fans. It has the same attention to detail and refined finish I’ve come to expect from WaterField. And, like every product WaterField offers, its design was the result of some really smart and creative people asking the question, “What does someone carrying this bag need of they are going to safely carry their gear and have enough organization to make finding the items they are carrying easy?” In other words, the WaterField Sutter Tech Sling takes its place amidst the company’s catalog and it deserves to be there.
So let’s take a look at the Sutter Tech Sling and why it just might be the next bag you’ll want to purchase.
I’ve reviewed numerous laptop and travel bags from WaterField. (My review of the Tech Folio.) We’ve reviewed Waterfield bags that one might call a “Murse.” (Read the review.) And Judie and I reviewed their first entry into the world of backpacks, the Staad (Read the review.) Until now though I have not reviewed a sling-style bag from WaterField. There’s a good reason for that however since, until now, WaterField didn’t offer a sling-style bag.
The Sutter Tech Sling is available in two sizes. The large version is 14” high by 3” deep by 9 1/2” wide. It weighs a pound and a half.
The small version is 11 1/2”, 3” deep and 8” wide and weighs a pound and a quarter.
The smaller size is great if you want to carry an 11” iPad Pro or Surface Go and some accessories.
The larger size is the right choice if you need to carry a larger tablet like the 12.9” iPad Pro, a 13” laptop or a more significant selection of accessories. (One friend suggested I request the larger size since the smaller version is a bit of an homage to fanny packs. I’m not sure I agree with that characterization of the smaller bag, but the flexibility that comes with the larger bag, being able to carry my 13” MacBook Pro, for example, was enough to get me to request the larger version.) Whichever you choose you can’t go wrong since the two sizes have the same design.
Both sizes of the Sutter Tech Sling are available in your choice of materials. There’s black ballistic nylon with leather accents, and there are brown waxed canvas and distressed leather. Both look great, but I opted for the latter material. After all, most of my WaterField gear is made from it so why mess with a good thing?
In either case, WaterField used only the best materials in the bag’s construction. This includes:
- 1050 Denier Black ballistic or brown waxed canvas
- Full-grain leather accent
- Adjustable Metal Cam-lock
- YKK zipper and rugged pulls
This is a sling-style bag which, of course, means there just one strap. That strap is quite wide and is made from a material that will remind you of a seatbelt. There’s no padding, but it is incredibly strong and will last as long as the bag… and beyond.
Because the strap lacks padding, WaterField included a padded leather shoulder pad for comfort. It wraps around the strap and adds padding to the section of the strap that sits on your shoulder while wearing the bag. Because it is not fixed in place; however the shoulder pad is free to move up and down the strap. That means it can always sit on your shoulder no matter how long, or short, you make the strap. At the same time, it also means it isn’t immediately in the correct location each time you put on the bag so you will always have to adjust it to get it to the point of being “just right.” This approach works but, time and time again, I find myself a bit annoyed at having to adjust this wrap, so it sits in the most comfortable position. At the same time, I would prefer to have the annoyance than be uncomfortable when wearing the bag.
The bag is designed to be ambidextrous. That means you can put it over your left or your right shoulder.
To accomplish this, WaterField put a D ring with a 180 degree of movement at the top of the bag and permanently affixed the strap to it.
At the bottom of the bag, there are two separate mounting points, one on the left and one on the right.
Hardware on this end of the strap can easily be clipped to either of the two attachment points meaning that you can switch the bag from one shoulder to the other throughout the day to even out the load.
The hardware for adjusting the strap is rather ingenious.
A simple tug on the metal cam lock buckle releases it and allows you to lengthen or shorten the strap. To lock everything into the proper position you simply lower the adjustment lever on the cam lock. This secures it in place and assures that the strap will stay at that length until you consciously determine you want to change it.
The back of the bag has the mesh padding we have seen employed by WaterField on other bags. It’s soft and thick enough to protect what’s inside the bag while making it comfortable to wear. The breathable mesh means your back will stay cool on hot days. That’s a good thing since nothing worse than taking off your bag and discovering that you’ve sweat through both your shirt and the bag!
As noted, the bag comes in either brown wax canvas and brown leather or black ballistic nylon and black leather trim. Both look fantastic but, because it ages so beautifully, my preference is always the waxed canvas and brown leather. It doesn’t look like a stuffy, refined bag but it does look professional enough to carry to work and relaxed enough to carry the rest of the time.
As we turn to the storage offered by the Sutter Tech Sling let me be clear, this isn’t a bag for carrying your entire collection of gear. No, this is targeted toward those who value minimalism but still want/need to carry enough gear to get the job done. When approached with that in mind, the bag is perfect.
It has a sizable main compartment with a separate padded section for your iPad or laptop. A double zipper lets you open the bag from either side or, if need be, open it completely for easy access to the contents.
The zippers have a weather seal to keep rain out. This bag isn’t designed to be used in heavy downpours, it’s not “waterproof” after all, but it does offer enough protection that your gear will stay dry if you happen to get caught in a brief downpour.
The zipper pulls are strong nylon cords with metal pulls (anglers) that look refined and won’t fall off the way so many zippers pulls do. I love the fact that WaterField didn’t cheap out and use plastic pulls and opted to spend a bit more and use small metal cylinders as the pulls.
This main compartment is lined with the bright material Waterfield uses in most of their bags. It not only gives a unified, finished look to the bag’s interior but it also makes it easier to see the items stowed inside. As noted, at the back of the bag there is a pocket for your iPad Pro. It has a bit of padding, but I wouldn’t rely on it protecting your iPad if you drop or sit on the bag. Still, it offers some protection and is better than nothing.
The front side of this interior space has a small open pocket and a few deep pen slots. It is just enough organization but not so much that it becomes overwhelming. (It is important to note that these pockets are open and don’t secure items inside. I mention this because I was keeping my Apple Pencil 2 in one of the pen pockets and it fell out at some point. Needing to purchase a new Apple Pencil 2 did not make me happy.)
Of course, this being WaterField, there are small details that make a big difference. For example. There is a key loop inside this main computer pocket so you will never lose your keys. I love the fact that it is long enough that the keys can sit in the larger open pocket. That keeps the sharp metal of the keys away from your delicate electronics.
There’s also a front pocket compartment for incidentals. Weatherproofed zippers on either side mean this latter pocket can be accessed from either the left or the right.
In actual usage this allows you to swing the bag around and access items in this pocket without the need to take the bag completely off your shoulder.
And, because there is a zipper on either side, it doesn’t matter if you wear the bag on your left or your right shoulder. In either case, you have the option to quickly access items in this front space without losing a beat.
- D-ring-to-strap – 180-degree swivel strap attachment means the bag stays flat on your back, regardless of positioning.
- Flexible strap options – strap attaches to D-ring on the left or right side of wearing over either shoulder.
- One-handed cam lock buckle – lets you quickly adjust how the bag rests against your body without moving it.
- Built-in shoulder pad – spreads weight evenly to give your back and shoulder a bit of relief.
- Padded tablet/laptop compartment – standard size fits 11” and Full size fits 12.9” iPad Pro (with or without Keyboard Folio); situated in very back to keep Sling flat against the body.
- Swing around front pocket – accessible via the left or right side.
- Interior hand pocket – keeps small items easily accessible.
- Three interior pen pockets – stows Apple Pencil and your favorite sketching pens.
- Gold interior lining – in the front pocket and main compartment for visibility.
- Inset waterproof front zippers – keeps the zippers, which are most susceptible to water seepage, protected from rain.
- Interior key fob attachment – keeps keys quickly findable.
- Rear mesh padding – enhances airflow and cushioning.
- Optional Stylus Pencil Case for holding Apple Pencil, Surface Pen, or any other stylus.
As noted, the Sutter Tech Sling is available in either waxed canvas and chocolate leather trim or black ballistic and black leather trim. Pricing is the same regardless of the material used with the standard size costing $169 and the full size coming in at $179. Also, WaterField offers an optional Pencil case at check out. The waxed canvas and ballistic nylon version are $35 while the chocolate leather version is a few dollars more. I’m loving mine and suspect you will be equally impressed. Check it out here.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample of the WaterField Sutter Tech Sling
What I Like: Top quality materials and exceptional construction; Easily switches from left shoulder sling to right shoulder sling; Large main section includes padded tablet pocket, pen slots, and other storage; large version is big enough for a 13” tablet; Front pocket can be accessed from either side and is accessible without taking the bag completely off; Zippers are sealed against water; Looks better and better as it gets worn in
What Needs Improvement: Shoulder pad slides on the strap and requires constant adjustment