Also in Ballistic Nylon and Forza textile
Pack a whole day's kit comfortably
Fits laptops up to 16 inches. Zippered interior pocket.
Sleek, refined, minimalist profile
Curved top keeps it looking sleek
Front zippered pocket for easy-access items
Foam inserts distributes the weight evenly
Front pocket for frequently-accessed items
Ergonomic straps and moisture-wicking mesh back
Deep side pockets
Full-grain leather handle for comfort
Pass-through slot for inserting on carry-on handles
Durable ballistic nylon and high performance Forza textile
OPTIONAL: Gear Pouch for cables and dongles (Small $49, Medium $55 sold separately)
Limited stock - Waxed Canvas and Chocolate Leather
Sweat-wicking mesh back with pass-through slot
All-black Ballistic
Black Ballistic with Blue Forza
Black Ballistic with Green Forza
Black Ballistic with Red Forza

Essential Laptop Backpack

-116 in stock

The lightweight, refined Essential Backpack is so compact and comfortable that you'll find yourself using it every day. Light foam inserts add structure, provide protection, and help distribute the weight so it's comfortable to carry all day. Fits up to 16" laptops. 


Part of the Essential Bags Collection, a new line of lightweight bags with features that focus on a bag's functional essence. See also the Essential DuffelEssential Messenger, Essential Crossbody Pouch, and Essential Crossbody.

All our products are crafted locally in our workshop by the most skilled sewing team in San Francisco.



  • 1680 denier black ballistic nylon and forza nylon
  • More details here


Dimensions & Weight:

  • One Size:
  • 11” (l) x 6” (w) x 15.75” (h); 1.5 lbs.
    27.94 (l) x 15.24 (w) x 40 (h) cm; 0.68 kg
    Volume: 17.03 liters


  • Made from durable abrasion- and water-resistant ballistic nylon.
  • Foam inserts add structure and evenly distribute the weight.
  • Exterior zipper pocket includes an integrated key hook.
  • Two side hand pockets can fit a 2'' water bottle.
  • Plush-lined laptop compartment can fit devices up to 14.5'' x 10''.
  • Interior zipper pocket.
  • Gold interior liner illuminates the inside.
  • Mesh liner on the back wicks away moisture.
  • Handle is wrapped in full-grain leather for a more comfortable carry.
  • Passthrough slot for slips over a suitcase handle.
  • Straps are padded with moisture-wicking mesh.
  • YKK waterproof zippers protect contents.


  • Domestic: Flat rate 2-day shipping. Details.
  • International: 2-3 business day delivery. Country duty/tax calculated at Checkout. Details.

Customer Reviews

Based on 18 reviews
Kirk (Washington, United States)
My new commute bag

For the past few months, I've been trying out numerous bags to find the perfect EDC for work. I don’t carry a lot—just the essentials like my laptop, cables, and headphones. Everything I tried was either too big, leaving unused space, or too small, unable to accommodate extra items. However, this bag meets all my criteria perfectly. Two must-haves for me were a water bottle holder and a luggage passthrough.

I own several WF Designs products, and their quality and craftsmanship always surpass my expectations. If they ever create another version, I'd appreciate a quick-access pocket at the top.

brad c. (New Jersey, United States)
Awesome backpack!

I have purchased many products from Waterfield over the years including wallets, sleeves, bags, gear pouches and most recently the essentials back pack. I have had many laptop bags and found them all to be fairly decent, however they always seemed lacking in some way. While checking the Warterfield website I saw the essentials bag and thought this just be the right one for me. I was right! Starting with the build, it is solid and of the highest quality. Typical for anything from Waterfield. The size is just right too. It fits my iPad Pro and some notebooks and other papers for work. Good size pockets for accessories and two generous side pockets for water bottles, umbrella or other needs. I also like that the side pockets have little tabs so you can secure a water bottle from falling out. I had some bad experiences with other bags when putting on the backpack and flinging my water bottle across the room. The little touches are great. It also has a strap on the back to slide over the handle of my luggage. There is a Velcro tab that hold the center of the strap to the back of the bag which I thought was odd but then discovered it was great to hold the strap tight to the bag and also secure the strap when on the luggage. Although I have only had the bag 3 months, this one is it. It will be my daily for a long time. Great job!!

Peter S. (Massachusetts, United States)
Essential Laptop Backpack Lives Up To Its Name

I purchased this after first choosing a backpack from another company. Why did I ultimately trade up to the Essential Laptop Backpack? Well, in addition to the superior craftsmanship and care that show in every detail, the Essential stays upright when you put it down, making it incredibly easy to actually pack and empty - no more struggling with a slouching backpack, no more having to prop it up against a seatback just to be able to reach inside. The use of a single main compartment instead of multiple smaller compartments is, to me, also an undervalued feature. While the idea of multiple storage pockets is tempting to me as a person who likes to keep things organized, I find it much easier to actually find things now - because they are all in one place. There is just one additional outer zipped pocket, useful for the quickest access. And that’s all I need. All in all, the economy of this “keep it simple” approach matches the Essential Laptop Backpack’s overall elegance. Deep side pockets are a nice touch, and the overall construction is sturdy, as you’d expect. I’m glad I made the switch!

AUSTIN H. (Texas, United States)

Retired...but active with several groups so meetings are still a thing for me. I'm always looking for a better (less complicated) bag that has some class and some structure...this bag is a winner. Sits upright, holds a lot of stuff and looks good doing it.

kevin (Virginia, United States)

Love it. Plenty of space. Would love a black or blue wax canvas version of it.


The Essential Backpack can fit devices up to 14.5" x 10". These devices can fit in your Backpack:

  1. MacBook:
    • 16" MacBook Pro
    • 14" MacBook Pro
    • 13” MacBook Pro
    • NEW 15" MacBook Air
    • 13" MacBook Air
  2. iPad:
    • 12.9" iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard
    • 11" iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard
    • 11" iPad Air with Magic Keyboard
  3. Microsoft Surface:
    • Surface Laptop 4 (13.5")
    • Surface Laptop Studio
    • Surface Pro X, Pro 8, Go with Type Cover



The contoured back fits your frame for ultimate comfort. The sloping top is ergonomic and looks elegant on your back. 


We added dense, lightweight foam inserts on the front, back, and bottom to give the Essential Backpack structure, provide added protection, and help distribute the weight evenly.


Whether your bag is full or empty, it will maintain its sleek, minimalist profile.  



The Essentials Collection is a line of lightweight bags with a streamlined design, smart detailing, and features that focus on each bag's functional essence. The minimalist design delivers high impact. 


For durability, we use our custom-made abrasion- and water-resistant ballistic nylon which stays looking new for many years. It withstands prolonged sun exposure so your bag will stay looking fresh and new. 


These multi-functional, everyday bags are available as a Duffel, Messenger Bag, a Backpack and Crossbody Bags in three different sizes for the 11-inch iPad Pro, iPad Mini, or iPhone.

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