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Waterfield Designs: Cases for Apple Purists

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Waterfield Designs VertiGo Bag

Like some of you, I’m quite the “Apple purist.” I’m not a fan of fancy cases that junk up my Macs. I don’t like skins for my iPods and those plastic snap cases for my laptop. We all know that Apple (s aapl) designs beautiful products, so we might as well show them off! Balancing protection and beauty, the stylish and functional cases from Waterfield Designs are some of the highest-quality cases I have ever used.

Originally starting with one case design in the late 90s, Waterfield now boasts a collection of more than 50 uniquely designed cases for portables, iPhones, iPods and even some unique items, such as the iPod Hi-Fi. Though Waterfield Designs does not sell its products in retail stores, it has still managed to garner quite a following from Apple users around the world.

The personal attention and customer service from the company is second to none. In the past five years, I have owned around eight Waterfield bags (for various equipment). Out of all of them, I only had an issue with one particular sleevecase. Being that it was a few years old, the velcro was no longer as “clingy” as it once was. One simple email to the company resulted in a wonderful email that said, “Hey, no worries! Just send it on in with a note that says ‘Please fix my case in a hurry! I’m going to miss it!’” I mailed my case in, Waterfield replaced what needed to be replaced and priority mailed it back to me. Now how’s that for customer service? Not only that, but every time I buy a product from them, inside is a handwritten “Thank you” note from Gary, the founder.

Smart Case for iPod touch & iPod classic
Smart Case for iPod touch & iPod classic

The big secret to Waterfield Designs is that its success is completely customer-driven. With not selling products in retail stores, I am constantly amazed when I see more and more people with these unique cases and every owner is literally beaming about their purchase.

Much like Apple, Waterfield sweats the small things. For example, the inside of most of Waterfield’s bags are gold, simply because that makes it easier to see the contents! Latches to access the cases, including the signature aluminum aircraft buckle, are designed for one-hand access.

Many of you have probably already realized that buying a case for a laptop can be a pricey endeavor. With the customization options available on most cases from Waterfield, you’re not buying things you’re not going to use (like excess shoulder straps). Beyond accessories, even certain elements of some cases are customizable. For example, I keep my MacBook Pro in a standard sleevecase when I travel most places. Unlike traditional sleevecases like you would find with Incase, Waterfield gives customers the option to have their case open vertically instead of horizontally. Simple as it may seem, this means I can charge my MacBook Pro while it stays inside.

Travel Cases for iPod Speakers
Travel Cases for iPod Speakers

Waterfield Designs also shines in its product selection, with cases for more unique items as well, such as the Apple Keyboard, Mac mini, SLR cameras, the Amazon Kindle (s amzn) and more. The best part is, all of these cases are custom designed to fit these products, so it’s not like you’re buying a stylish bag and just hoping your PSP may fit inside it.

Before you march off to the Apple Store for another case, give Waterfield Designs a look. It is definitely worth the time. If any of you are current Waterfield customers, please leave comments and let me know which bag or bags you’ve purchased and your thoughts on them. The advertising Waterfield Designs gets comes directly from its customers so don’t just take my word for it; let’s hear what everyone else has to say.

18 Responses to “Waterfield Designs: Cases for Apple Purists”

  1. I have been a satisfied customer of theirs since January 2002 when they introduced what was probably the very first iPod case, and recommend their sleeves to everyone I know. I have a Muzetto, a Vertigo and a bunch of sleevecases. Construction and quality is top-notch, easily as good as Tumi. I’m not crazy about their messenger bag designs, but the vertical bags are very snappy.

  2. I have a Cargo that I bought years ago; I’m now buying a new sleeve for my new MacBook Pro and can’t wait to use it with my (still in perfect condition) Cargo. Best customer service I’ve EVER had, hands down; if that’s not enough for you, it’s absolutely amazingly quality stuff, and designed well to boot. Go with Waterfield, you won’t be disappointed!

  3. kmsqrd

    I have a cargo tote, a couple of sleeve cases, two gadget thingies, and a wallet from Watermark and they all hold up and function as advertised. The color options mean not getting your bag confused with others when traveling which is aways a security line plus. Thinking of getting the new leather bag for my birthday. If I hear about someone looking for a bag I direct them to waterford all of the time. Now, if they only added backpacks to the list.

  4. I’ve had the Cargo and several SleeveCases (and pouches, and wallet….). They are all top notch. Cargo still looks brand new after three years.

  5. I have a Sleevecase w/ flap for my 15″ MacBook Pro. It’s got dense foam all around – not the cheap stuff. Case fits like a glove, and looks fantastic. I drop mine into a cheap $30 Dickie’s messenger bag (also a great value, BTW) so I don’t look like I’m carrying something expensive around with me.

    It’s not cheap, but it’s totally worth the cost. A number of people in my office have bought them since seeing mine.

  6. I have a Racer-X and I love it. It’s a terrific bag. My only issue is they don’t really offer Checkpoint Friendly bags. I travel a great amount and I’ve recently bought a Checkpoint Friendly bag from Skooba. It makes a huge difference in the security line at the airport. I’m still using the Racer-X when I’m traveling locally, but I switch to the Skooba when I fly.
    I would definitely get a Waterfield Checkpoint Friendly bag if they made one.

  7. A few years ago, I purchased a compact camera bag for my wife for mother’s day. She loved it (especially after I mentioned it was handcrafted). When my current MacBook bag no longer serves its purpose I plan on “upgrading” to a Waterfield.

  8. Jonmarsh

    Waterfield has an amazing range of designs for different requirements and tastes- I bought one of their Racer-X bags for the Mac Book Air I picked up last year, and it’s worked out fine. With the Racer-X, the handle as well as colors and trim items can be customized- materials and construction are first rate, and it’s done right here in the Bay area. Considering all that, the cost is reasonable, though not cheap- just like you’ll never get a Mac Laptop for $600, but then you don’t really want to own the Dell that comes at that price anyway.

    Well recommended, and I suppose I’m due for a new one for my MBP. :^)

  9. MrMojo

    I have two Sleevecases from Waterfield. The optional flap and “D-rings” for a strap make the Sleevecase an elegant and affordable minimalist Portable Mac case. And it easily slips into a larger messenger bag or daypack.

    Waterfield construction and customer service are superb.

    Another plus: the cases are made in the Good Ol’ USA!

  10. Gregory Shadley

    I never heard of this company, but after visiting their website, I will be placing an order this weekend. This may be the answer to my dissatisfaction with other bags and cases. Thanks for the review.