We created a video load-out demonstrating what you can fit into a Waterfield Staad Stout laptop backpack
As stated in my review, “The Staad from Waterfield is a beautiful bag with a fully tanned heavy leather flap meant to make this backpack comfortable for business people to carry into boardrooms and executive offices without embarrassing themselves or looking like the intern fresh out of school.” That’s why I like the black body of the bag more than the lighter brown waxed canvas although I admit to loving waxed canvas products in general over cordera, even ballistic cordera.
You can see videos on YouTube, or Waterfield’s website, of Waterfield’s new clasp which comes from the military and can be easily opened and closed one-handed. But as stated in my review, while I like the unique buckle and hasp, there is no room to adjust the flap or buckle for larger loads. This is a problem if you try to overload the bag and adjust the flap to ride higher – Since the flap is not adjustable. And as noted, it can be a bit tight even when it is fully loaded.
In this loadout video I wanted to show how much stuff a Waterfield Staad Laptop Backpack can hold, especially since it has a slim profile and backpacks usually will not hold as much as a messenger bag (my bag of choice).
Travelers, and those needing a larger capacity bag, or carrying heavy items, should note that this Staad Stout holds as much as my large messenger bags, however this is not the most comfortable backpack for long trips or all-day carry. This is due to the somewhat thinly-padded straps and the fact that your laptop rides against your back without contour or support.
On a positive note, I really like how easily my laptop and ipad slides into the pack. Unfortunately, if you aren’t carrying an iPad, only one magazine will fit into that second pocket. And regular file folders won’t fit either. (It’s obviously specifically designed to carry an iPad or tablet.) If you don’t carry both a laptop and ipad in your daily commute, it’s wasted space. Or space I’d like to be able to use differently.
I would have expected a backpack of this quality to have better suspension and shoulder straps. The other nagging issue I have with the Staad (compared to other backpacks) is that ability to overload items under the flap extending upwards beyond the bag. With the Staad, (as pointed out above), this is impossible due to the high-tech buckle not being adjustable and the fact that it cannot be extended as currently manufactured. I’d really like to see this feature be adjustable in future versions since as is the bag. The last minor item is the small leather “keep” sewn to the bag that holds the buckle to the backpack. It seems too thin and appears as if it would wear out a lot sooner than the bag itself.
UPDATE 1/2015: As feared, the tiny leather “keep” did pull off. I contacted Waterfield, and as always, they instantly apologized and reassured me they would replace or repair it free of charge. I sent them my bag (which was a “first run”) and the new “keep” is now being made out of better, much thicker material so you shouldn’t be concerned about it anymore.
If you carry lots of smaller items, you are going to have a lot of stuff at the bottom of this bag or have to find ways to bag items or keep them organized/separated. As mentioned I haul around four drives most of the time, plus a DVD burner – You may not carry that many additional drives, but still if you carry a lot of items they are going to be bumping or rubbing each other inside this bag unless you find unique ways to keep items protected. I figure this bag to be an excellent work-and-home bag, or minimalist gear bag for trips, but not as convenient if you carry lots of files on the road or as much gear as I do. I love this bag well enough that I am actually going to leave a few things at work or home that I might usually carry with me – but my office is close by, and I am not on the road that much. I also now carry a couple stash bags that I use to keep things organized. It’s more convenient, and allows me to travel in style using this beautiful bag.
One thing Waterfield is known for is high-quality materials and craftsmanship and I have no doubt the Staad will last a long time so that the initial cost (spread over a number of years) is justified, especially for such an attractive backpack. In fact, I cannot think of too many other classy backpacks that would fit a boardroom or suit-and-tie presentation.
The larger Staad hold a 15″ laptop (with plenty of space to spare and is about 16″ tall by 14″ wide). The Staad “slim” still holds your 15″ laptop, but is meant to be slim (only 1″ to 3″ thick, and only 15″x 12″), so will not hold much gear, and therefore doesn’t seem as useful to travelers and power-users. (Fully packed, the Staad stout is about 6″ thick at the bottom, and about 2″ thick at the top) It won’t replace a carry-on overnight bag – since it’s not large enough to hold a change of clothes, or much else besides your work gear.
Note: Near the end of the load out video I commented that there wasn’t enough room in the backpack for all my pens, and mentioned the possibility of storing my cable bag in the bottom of the pack so that I could use one of the two inner pockets for my pens, mints, etc. This indeed worked for me as you can see from the accompanying photo – and it’s how I carry the bag now. Everything fits! But I also now leave my iPad at work as well as a hard drive so it’s not so tight a fit.
I recommend picking up a couple smaller stash bags for various items to help keep things organized exactly as you need them to be.