Home Accessories Waterfield Designs joins the list of specialist camera bag manufacturers

Waterfield Designs joins the list of specialist camera bag manufacturers

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The latest manufacturer to turn to camera bags is one you are probably unfamiliar with. That is unless you are a dedicated follower of technology. I’ve been tracking Waterfield Designs of San Francisco since the early days of Macfilos when I was writing extensively about Apple products. And now, Gary Waterfield is turning his hand to bags for photographers. Enter the Waterfield Cargo Camera Bag.

The new Cargo Camera Bag from Waterfield Designs, one of the best-known specailistd in travel and computer bags
The new Cargo Camera Bag from Waterfield Designs, one of the best-known specialists in travel and computer bags

Travel bags

I’ve been using a Waterfield Cargo Bag for travelling for the past ten years, and it’s still going strong. But, being something of a bag person, I’ve been seduced by other similar offers. Most recently, I bought a Nordace Sienna Duffel, mainly because of the extensive advertising (there must be something in it, I thought) and attractive price. At £89, it’s a quarter of the price of the Waterfield Cargo Bag and cheaper than many basic duffels lacking a plethora of storage pockets.

I am extremely satisfied with the Nordace, although it has accompanied me on only a few trips. The main attraction for me is that the Sienna is very light and has many pockets. It seems sturdy enough, certainly for the price.

Gary Waterfield

However, the build quality isn’t in the same league as the Waterfield version. You get what you pay for, I suppose. But the Nordace is good value, and I recommend it as a weekend duffel bag that swallows all your technology.

The Sienna even has a set of popular connector cables (including Apple’s Lightning) protruding from a plastic disk on one end of the bag. This power array feeds off a self-supplied battery pack sitting in a pocket inside the bag. Good thinking there.

Waterfield Cargo Camera Bag

But back to Waterfield Designs and the new Cargo Camera Bag. I’ve only seen the website but relying on past experience, I expect the quality to be impressive. While it has a similar padded compartment to the competition, including Billingham, one interesting design feature is the ability to unzip to the bottom of the bag to expose the inside compartment fully. There are also lots of zippered pockets for smaller items, something that Billingham Bags lack.

Gary Waterfield started the company in 1998 and has carved out an enviable reputation for sturdy, well-designed bags and accessories. Many of his products, including the Cargo mentioned above and the new Cargo Camera Bag, have been designed as a community project with useful customer insight. So it should hit the right spot for photographers.

Inside the new Waterfield Cargo Camera Bag—a secure place for your gear and lots of pockets for accessories. And the bag opens wide to allow easier access to the padded insert.
Inside the new Waterfield Cargo Camera Bag—a secure place for your gear and lots of pockets for accessories. And the bag opens wide to allow easier access to the padded insert.

Tom Bihn

The now-discontinued Tom Bihn Ristretto is a convenient vertical messenger design that holds a tablet or MacBook Air and offers additional pockets. It has been my day bag of choice for many years. The current Cafe Bag medium or small is a similar product

I am also committed to another well-known but niche bag manufacturer, Tom Bihn of Seattle. While Tom doesn’t make camera bags, as far as I know, his travel bags are superb. The Tom Bihn Ristretto (which is now discontinued but is similar to the Small Cafe Bag) has been my go-to day bag for many years.

I’ve written about it many times here on Macfilos. But see also my reviews of the Tom Bihn Synapse backpack, which is still the only backpack I need. The padded “bucket” from a Billingham Hadley Small perfectly fits in the bottom of the bag.

At a price…

If you are in the US and can spring for the minimum $389 price tag (there are two sizes, one slightly more expensive), then I can recommend the new Waterfield Cargo Camera Bag, sight unseen. If you are a collector of bags, this is definitely one to look out for.

For a full overview of the Waterfield Cargo Camera bag, see this video

What about you? Are you an avid accumulator of bags? And what is your favourite camera bag? Let us know in the comments section below…


6 COMMENTS

  1. They’ve always been an innovative company (first iPod case in December 2001), and have some truly niche bags like the ones for my 2013 cylinder Mac Pro or my new Mac Studio. The quality is also exceptional. That said, they can’t be a specialist camera bag manufacturer since it is only a small part of their extensive lineup.

    • Agree entirely. They have to compete with the specialists and that’s difficult. The price is also high.

  2. I’m faithfull to my Ona Bowery which can contains 2 of my cameras + lenses with spare batteries and SD cards

    • I think it’s a tough market to break into because that style of camera bag attracts mirrorless camera users rather SLR and it is very similar to many other bags of the type. It’s also quite expensive, so we will have to see if it succeeds.

  3. Hmmm – zippered pockets on the outside = scratched LCDs
    But whatever – I still like Fogg bags best

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