WaterField iPad Travel Express Bag Review

There isn’t a shortage of bags and sleeves designed for carrying an iPad or any other similarly sized tablet device. Finding one that matches your particular style  might take a bit of shopping though. In an effort to give you yet another option, I want to show you the WaterField iPad Travel Express which can be used as a storage sleeve or a shoulder bag. Let’s take a look.

Note: Click the images in this review to see more detail.

The iPad Travel Express has been designed to accommodate the original iPad or the iPad 2 with or without the Smart Cover.

The bag is made of durable black ballistic nylon (the same material used in bullet-proof vests) with a narrow stripe of color. You can choose from 6 different stripe colors: Black, Copper, Flame, Green Pearl and Pine. I was sent the Flame version of this bag to review.

The Travel Express differs from most sleeves / bags in that it has a zipper that not only goes across the top, but also goes down one side. The YKK zippers are heavy duty and have an attached loop to make them easy to open. The only weird thing I noticed is the way the ends of the zipper have been sewn into the bag. As you can see from the image above, they are sort of wrapped around each other. Visually, it’s not a big deal, but functionally, I found the zipper doesn’t want to completely close. A small fingertip sized opening remains. This will probably either bug you a lot or not at all.

The zipper issue has been resolved since they sent my sample. You can see the improved design in the image above.

If you’re willing to add an additional $5 to the price of the bag, you can have 2 metal D-rings added so that an optional shoulder strap can be attached. One D-ring is located on the Left side.

The other D-ring is sewn into the top back Right corner.

I was sent their suspension strap mini to test with this bag, which costs an additional $22. Also available is a simple strap mini for $12.

The shoulder pad has nubby rubber surface to keep it from sliding around while you’re wearing it.

Heavy spring loaded clips connected to the ends of a narrow woven strap that can be adjusted for length.

Unzipping the Travel Express reveals the iPad pocket which is lined with a soft knit material that protects the contents from scratches.

The front and back of this pocket are lined with a rigid plastic insert to offer additional protection.

Sewn into the front of the iPad section are 2 stretchy pockets that can hold various items. Here you see that I’ve placed a Rhodia notebook into one of the pockets. The Rhodia is similar in size to a small Moleskin notebook.

Two more pockets are attached to back wall of the bag. These are thicker pockets that work perfect for holding accessories such as the iPad’s AC adapter and charging cable.

The Travel Express can even accommodate the Apple wireless keyboard.

Like other WaterField products that I’ve reviewed and used over the years, this bag is constructed very well. I could find no defects in the materials or workmanship. I can honestly say that if you buy this bag, you’ll probably never need to buy another as it will last longer than you’ll have your iPad. I’ve been using the same WaterField wallet for almost 6 years and it still looks great.

Here I am wearing the Travel Express. It’s a great bag that can hold just the right amount of gear.

If I had the ability to make a couple changes to to this bag, I’d fix the zipper issue (see above) and add an additional flat pocket on the exterior that could hold a magazine or plane tickets. That it would make a perfect travel companion – for me. As is, I still really like this bag because it fits my style. It’s not flashy, but stylish at the same time. It’s made extremely well and does exactly what it’s meant to do – protect a tablet and accessories.

 

Product Information

Price:$69.00 (extra for D rings and shoulder strap)
Manufacturer:Waterfield
Pros:
  • Offers plenty of organization and storage
  • Made really well
  • Can hold the Apple wireless keyboard
Cons:
  • None
Posted in: Bags, iPhone, iPad, iPod, Reviews, Tablets, Ultra Portables, Travel Gear

15 comments… add one

  • Clint MacDonald July 26, 2011, 5:58 pm

    Julie:

    Great review!

    Also, it is nice to see you modeling the bags again in your “new” recovery look. You have all our best hopes for a speedy and uneventful recovery.

    Best wishes,
    Clint

    1
  • Julie July 26, 2011, 8:31 pm

    @Clint What do you think of my chrome dome look? ;) It’s actually starting to grow back. Hopefully it won’t fall out again since I’m starting chemo back up this Thursday. I’ll keep my fingers crossed!

    2
  • Clint MacDonald July 26, 2011, 8:35 pm

    Julie:

    I come by my own chrome dome naturally, so I can’t say. :-) Bring some nice gadgets to distract you on Thursday!

    Best wishes,
    Clint

    3
  • 1000Acres July 27, 2011, 1:12 am

    You are beautiful! So glad to see you back reviewing and with a picture. You are an inspiration to all.

    4
  • Julie July 27, 2011, 9:34 am

    @1000Acres I’m blushing :)

    5
  • Nick Diaz July 27, 2011, 12:26 pm

    Julie,
    You might take a look at the Waterfield iPad Wallet (http://sfbags.com/products/ipad-cases/wallet-ipad.php) It has all of the features you like about the Travel Express, and also has the features you were hoping for such as the flat exterior pocket and better zipper design, without adding much to the overall size.
    I’ve gone through nine bags trying to find just the right style, fit, dimensions and pockets I need to use my iPad as a primary device while travelling. The iPad Wallet is the end result of that search.

    6
  • Jack July 27, 2011, 1:32 pm

    Its lovely to see you Julie and the bag was nice too :)

    7
  • Julie July 27, 2011, 2:56 pm

    @Nick Guess what? We have reviewed the iPad Wallet:
    http://the-gadgeteer.com/2010/11/26/waterfield-ipad-wallet-review/

    8
  • Nick Diaz July 27, 2011, 11:13 pm

    Doh! I even checked to see if you had, but must have fumbled the search. Let it be said that the-gadgeteer is an all-inclusive reviewer of the best gadgets and bags.

    9
  • zorg July 28, 2011, 8:32 am

    I was going to compliment you on the shaved head look but, from your comments, it sounds like it is not by choice. Too bad because it looks good! I would keep it for a while if I were you!

    10
  • Julie July 28, 2011, 8:01 pm

    @zorg The “hair cut” was brought to me by chemo ;) I just started chemo back today, and my Doc says my hair won’t fall out this time, but won’t grow either.

    11
  • Dan December 13, 2011, 1:08 pm

    Hi Julie,

    Did you like the Express or the Wallet better? I can’t decide from looking at the pictures – it seems like the wallet is a bit slimmer but not equiped to hold the powerpack part of the charger? I am using this for the ipad2 with smart cover (or possibly no cover) along with the apple keyboard. Please let me know. Thanks.

    12
  • Julie December 13, 2011, 1:42 pm

    @Dan I can’t comment on the iPad wallet bag because I didn’t review that one, Janet did. From the pix in both our reviews, I am pretty sure either bag will hold all the items you mention including the small AC adapter. Here’s Janet’s review of the Wallet:
    http://the-gadgeteer.com/2010/11/26/waterfield-ipad-wallet-review/
    I personally like the looks of the Express bag better. But that’s just me.

    13
  • Janet Cloninger December 13, 2011, 4:05 pm

    @Dan The Wallet held my original iPad in the Belkin Grip Vue, so it would hold the iPad 2 in a Smart Cover. There is also room for the power wart in the bag. And it definitely holds the keyboard; there’s a special pocket for the keyboard built in.

    14
  • Dan December 14, 2011, 3:33 am

    Thank you both for your responses. This helps me out a lot. Happy Holidays.

    15

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