My Luggage Fetish Part 1 – Laptop Gadget Bag Face off

Confession time

My name is Graeme and I have a luggage fetish. I can’t help it. Every time I see a really cool laptop bag I want to buy it. I can’t buy every bag I see but I do own several really serviceable pieces of luggage that I absolutely love.

There are three bag companies in particular that I think I pretty darn cool. They are, in no particular order:

Here are my current favourite laptop/messenger bags. They are all high quality, hand made bags made in the USA.

Waterfield Designs Cargo

The Waterfield Designs Cargo (medium) has been my go-to gadget bag for several years. I’ve written about this bag before.


The orange leather on the top flap of mine has faded slightly, but apart from a few scuffs on the bottom, the bag is pretty much in the same condition as when I bought it. It’s travelled extensively around New Zealand on work trips with me and it works fantastically well as carry on luggage. I’ve even managed to get away with taking it as an over night bag by stuffing a change of clothes into the main compartment.

It has a zip across the top which makes for super easy access to the main compartment where my laptop would normally live. There are other compartments and pockets in and under the flap. It also has a built in key chain attachment inside which I’ve found really useful when travelling.

I would totally buy this bag again. I’ve bought several other products from Gary Waterfield and I’ve had very fast and helpful feedback when I’ve emailed him.

Waterfield Designs Rough Rider

The Rough Rider a new design with an old world look which I’m currently coveting. I think if I told my wife it’s for her, I could probably get away with buying one at some stage.


This well tooled laptop bag looks high quality and I’m sure it would last forever. Can’t stop drooling…

Waterfield Designs Muzetto


I bought one of these for my wife a few years bag as a birthday present. She’s used it constantly since, and man… this bag just keeps looking better and better as it ages. I bought the smaller size so it just fits her iPad. It’s not really a laptop bag, but it’s still cool. Now she wants a nice weekender bag or duffle to match. That’s another post.

Waterfield designs are a very cool company. I love this gear. I’d buy more of it if I had the money to spend. Great company, great products, great design.

Defy Recon

The team at Defy Bags are awesome. Again, this gear is handmade and the personalised touch is hugely evident. I’ve had lots of personalised email, Facebook, and Instagram contact with Chris Tag and his team. I bought this badass bag about a year ago.


It doesn’t fit quite as much as my Waterfield Designs Cargo, so I use it on trips where I don’t need to take quite as much. This bag makes me feel good… it’s made out of up-cycled M35 military truck and tank tarpaulin edged with used bicycle inner tubes.

Oh, don’t forget the US$60.00 worth of 2” solid steel and brass, imported AustriAlpin Cobra Quick Release buckles used by U.S. Special Forces in theater today, as well as the recycled seat belts used for strapping and handles.

Defy Bags are starting to branch out into other products. I’ve been pestering them for a while to make me some guitar straps. They’re about to make a belt with the same quick release buckles for, you know, quick release.

Defy Defender Workcase // Horween Austin Calf Leather Edition

This looks nice too… It’s hand made out of Chicago’s century old iconic Austin Calf Horween Leather. I haven’t bought one. It’s expensive. Just looking thanks…


I’ve have some other luggage by Defy, but I’ll leave that for another post.

Defy O Positive Zombie

Better not forget this one either… I got this for my daughter when she started high school. Excuses excuses.


I can’t speak more highly of the Defy team. And they have their own Spotify Playlist that you can follow. It’s pretty cool. You should definitely check them out. Defy something today.

And you can find them on Instagram.


These guys are a more recent discovery for me. I bought one of their indestructible military spec backpacks (to keep my laptop safe when travelling for work – but that’s another post).

I’ve been fantasising about their new line of laptop shoulder bags. This one, in particular. Of course, I have a problem in that I can’t choose between the 15L commuter version and 20L Road Warrior version. I’d probably go with the 20L I guess, since I could probably use it as an overnighter.

This gear is well made. Every last detail… Even MOLLE webbing. I guess I could use it to stuff pens in.

Goruck Shoulder Bag

What’s your favourite laptop/messenger bag? Let me know in the comments. I’m also going to do a post on backpacks and other bags I love soon.




Author: Graeme Smith

Education, technology, design. Also making cool stuff...

8 thoughts

  1. Always sensed you had a fetish…just hadn’t picked luggage…Your posting puts you in the running for President of the luggage fetish society of NZ…..I didn’t know luggage could be so well made either.

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