Bolt Briefcase Review: A "nut for details" couldn't find a loose thread or missed stitch

This month, David Holan from iBusiness Magazine provided a comprehensive review of the Bolt Briefcase. We are sharing it with you in case you're in the market to replace your current bag.

iBusiness Magazine, Issue 30 February 2016:

I’m a fan of Waterfield products. Huge. Gary Waterfield started the company nearly 20 years ago, and it’s easy to see why the company has survived.

Products are not mass produced in some foreign sweatshop, but made individually to order in San Francisco. From quality materials.

My review of the Rough Rider Messenger last year turned that into my daily carry. It’s distressed leather just has more character now than when I got it - but other than that, it looks hardly the worse for a year’s daily carry.

The Bolt, however, may just replace it. Where the Rough Rider is spartan and utilitarian, and a truly great bag, the Bolt is more refined and urban chic. And it’s more organized due to a multitude of pockets.

Let’s take a quick tour. The Bolt I received is made from waxed canvas in medium brown or tan and is trimmed with naturally tanned leather in Grizzly color. On the front are three pockets, two of which are half the width of the bag, and are large easy-access pockets with leather tabs that close with hidden magnets. Quick and simple, and roomy enough for all of those things you want more or less instantly. Behind these two pockets, a full-width pocket closes with a full-length YKK zipper visible only by the natural leather pull tab. It’s lined with the same orange as the main compartment and the two outside pockets. The back of the bag has a full-width magazine pocket, as well as a sleeve for your rolling luggage.

The main compartment is lined in the orange nylon which really makes it brighter and easier to see things inside. On the inside front of the main compartment are two 1/2 width deep pockets. One holds my MacBook Pro power supply (with the long cord) and my iPad, iPhone cables and power supplies. The other pocket is a little tight but holds my iPad Air (or Mini easily). On the back side of the main compartment is a full-width padded compartment for my 13” MacBook Pro. And there’s also a webbing strap with clip for keys. As a side note, all inside seams are taped in the same brown nylon as the key strap. The Bolt’s main compartment - between the padded computer sleeve and the inside pockets on the front - easily measures a good three inches, plenty of room for files, books, my paper organizer (yes, I still use one), and more. The Bolt is top-loading and also has weather-resistant rubber cover of the zipper. Good thing, too. Right after receiving the Bolt and loading it up, I was caught in a fairly heavy rain. Inside the bag - and my MacBook Pro - was completely dry.

All zippers have natural leather pulls (and they send extras incase you lose one), the hardware is all metal, and the shoulder strap is made from seatbelt nylon webbing with a snap-on matching leather, rubberized shoulder pad. Handles are made from the same canvas as the bag, and also have match- ing leather wraps. You can buy the bag in Black Ballistic with 3 color choices of leather, or the waxed canvas in the same three colors. You’ll have to wait for them to make it, though; every bag is made after you place your order, and ships within three days of the order.

Did I mention I’m a bit of nut for details? I couldn’t find a single missed stitch or loose thread anywhere on this bag.

All in all, excellent materials throughout, impeccable construction, and it all comes together like my old Australian OutBack Duster. It’s comfortable when you first put it on, it does what it’s supposed, looks good doing it, and it’ll probably outlast me. Call or visit to order yours today. It lists for $249. It’s not as cheap as bags at the office store, but even at this price, for the quality, it’s a bargain!


David Holan
[email protected]
iBusiness Magazine, Issue 30 February 2016