Waterfield Designs Essential Duffel review

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REVIEW – If you are unfamiliar with Waterfield Designs (aka SFBags) then you should know that they make some of the best bags and gear, hands down. I still have laptop sleeves from 10+ years ago that have held up beautifully. This time, I got my hands on their new lovely Essential Duffel, which I’ve been looking for!

What is it?

The Waterfield Designs Essential Duffel is part of Waterfield’s Essentials Collection and is crafted in San Francisco.

The Waterfield Designs Essential Duffel comes in green, black, blue, and red. I chose green.

Hardware specs

1680 denier black ballistic nylon and Forza Nylon.

Dimensions & Weight:
11” (h) x 15.5” (l) x 7” (w); 1.8 lbs.
27.94 (h) x 39.37 (l) x 17.78 (w) cm; 0.82 kg
Volume: 19.56 liters

Handle (Top of bag to top of handle):
11 inches (27.94 cm)

Design and features

The first feature that struck me was that the Waterfield Designs Essential Duffel bag STANDS UPRIGHT all by itself without excessive swearing. This some kind of dark magic- I’ve never seen a duffel that can do this.

There’s a horizontal strap on the backside designed to slip over the handle of your rolling luggage.

Take a good look at the zipper: It’s one of those that seals in a way to provide moisture resistance. Did they have to? No. But there it is!

Each end has an open pouch, perfect for bottles. I went a bit nuts and found a full size glass bottle of sparkling water. It fit.

Let’s take a peek inside the zippered compartment on the front. Yes, that’s a flash of gold/bronze fabric designed to make things easier to find. There are some internal dividers, plus a lanyard look for those easy to lose items (keys, flash drives, etc).

Waterfield even put some thought into the handles. You’ll notice they have a flat profile and rounded edges that reduce fatigue.

Don’t like handles? I was sent the optional Supreme Suspension Strap ($49) which has a nicely padded and grippy shoulder lining. It’s so grippy, you can see the link it’s collected. The clips are spring loaded and have pleasant Waterfield branding on it.

But wait, where do you attach the strap? There are no typical D-rings you’d normally see. Again, the wizards at Waterfield have hidden four attachment points behind the handle strap points. They blend in nicely!

The Waterfield Designs Essential Duffel’s interior doesn’t disappoint. It’s wall-to-wall gold/bronze for easy visibility and pocket organizers.


It’s not every day, but it occurred to me: I wonder how many rolls of paper towels this can hold?

Gobble gobble, the answer is THREE. The bag still zips closed nicely.

What I like

  • Incomparable build quality
  • Simple, non-fussy design
  • Made in the USA
  • Holds three rolls of paper towels. You just never know

What I’d change

  • Pricey, but you definitely get what you pay for.

Final thoughts

I admit I would hesitate to spend this much on a duffel, gym bag, or overnight item. I have a feeling the Waterfield Designs Essential Duffel is the kind of item you only buy once- unless a family member claims it for themselves and you’re forced to buy another.

Price: $179 (strap $49 as shown)
Where to buy: Waterfield
Source: The sample of this product was provided by Waterfield.

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