Close to 3 years ago, Michael Shulver wrote an excellent review of the large version WaterField Cargo bag. Since that review, WaterField has updated their Cargo bag to include a leather flap and choice of flap buckle. Since I am not going to re-write Michael’s review, I suggest that you go read it and then come back here to read about the differences in this new version and the differences between the Large and Medium versions of the bag, since that is the version that was sent to me for this review.
First of all, I just want to say that WaterField makes terrific gear bags. I’ve used their Cozmo bag on and off for the past 2.5 years. It still looks like new and barely shows any signs of wear. So it goes without saying that I was happy to take a look at their Cargo bag too.
The medium sized Cargo bag is 16″ x 12″ x 3″ and 2.9 lb when empty. Even loaded down it is comfortable worn over the shoulder or bandolier style. The medium differs from the large in size (duh!) and lacks the hard plastic insert that the large has. This means the medium bag is a bit softer and contours to your body when worn.
In addition to 6 colored checkerboard flap choices, for an extra $40 you can now choose a leather flap in 6 different colors (Black, Cardinal, Camel, Grey, Gold and White). I was sent the Cardinal version, which you can see is a deep ox blood color that is very unique and stylish.
From the outside the large and medium sized bags are the same. Both have a front diagonal zipper, a large back Velcro closed pocket and a black plastic adjuster for the shoulder strap.
Besides new front flap choices, there is a choice for the type of flap buckle to use. The Aluminum aircraft seat buckle is still available, but now there’s also the Para-glider style metal buckle. I really like the para-glider buckle, mostly because it’s different. It does take a while to get used to opening it if you’ve never used one before. Basically you just run the index finger and thumb of one hand along the buckle edges, pressing in as you do so.
Your fingers will press the brass spring loaded latches in, which will allow the bottom part of the buckle to unlock. This is easy to do with one hand, but closing the buckle with one hand takes a bit of practice.
Under the front flap, you will find that instead of a zippered pocket, in its place there are 2 open pockets for papers or other large items. The main zippered compartment also lacks the dedicated laptop pocket. The medium bag can hold the size 9 laptop sleevecase. The rest of the main compartment pockets (shown and described in Michael’s review) are still there though. The only thing I can really find a gripe with is that the main compartment feels a bit narrow to access. Once the bag is sufficiently broken in, this might go away though.
There you have it, not too many differences between the medium and large versions, but enough to warrant mentioning. I’ve been using this bag for about a month now and like it very well. I wouldn’t say it is my end-all, be-all gear bag, but it holds a lot of gear, looks fantastic and is built to last for years and years.
Price: $229.00 (with leather flap), $189 (without leather flap)
Holds a lot of gear
Leather flap looks great
Para-gliding buckle is unique
Main zippered compartment feels narrow
10 thoughts on “WaterField Medium Cargo Bag”
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I just can’t say enough about the versatility and quality of anything from Waterfield. About a year ago, I purchased the large cargo from them (after reading a review of it here). Their service was fantastic – very friendly and attentive. I bought a padded sleeve to go with the bag – and they helped me size it so it was big enough for both my work Dell and also my 15″ Powerbook – not both at the same time – but so I could use the same sleeve for one or the other.
Anyway – fast-forward a year – and I get a new work laptop – this time a Dell M70 – which is about 3 inches thick. A quick call to Waterfield (where they actually remembered who I was and my order!), and for less than $50 I had a new sleeve – a perfect fit, and I’m back to using the same bag.
Just a great buying experience for a very well made, and versatile bag.
I own several Waterfield products and they are tops in quality and construction. I have the medium Cargo with leather flap and was just wondering, Julie, if the bag ever broke-in for you as far as the narrow access is concerned as that’s my only gripe about this bag as well…I really haven’t used mine enough to know.
I received the medium Cozmo recently and was very pleased with how nice and open it is to get in and out of-very easy access.
I gave the Cargo bag away as I preferred using the Timbuk 2 messenger bag instead.
Thanks for the update, Julie.
I think I may be Ebaying my Cargo bag and keeping the Cozmo instead (if I could justify it, I would keep both of them but there’s really no need). I wish Waterfield would offer a bag that would hold more volume like the Timbuk2…more like the traditional messenger bag with lots of width/space. I’ve had a couple of Timbuk2 messengers-great bags, but I’ve grown addicted to the build quality of the Waterfield’s and I am always dissappointed with others in comparison. It’s a curse of sorts!
I 2nd your wish for Waterfield to make a traditional messenger bag. Maybe someday…
I just ordered the Small Cargo bag from Waterford…if it pans out, I can sell the large collection of bags I have in my closet and attic…
Let me know what you think of it…
OK, so it’s a little more than a year later. Whoops. I like the bag…I wish it had been padded, but it holds a lot of stuff. I use it as my school bag, papers fit in the rear pocket, my Asus 1000HE netbook in a padded sleeve fits in the main compartment with my camcorder (recording tutorial videos: http://www.youtube.com/MarkRosengarten) and the AC adapter for the netbook is swallowed up in the under-flap pocket. In the flap pocket I have USB drives and a USB cable.
@Mark Thanks for the update! Much appreciated 🙂