Meet the Essential Laptop Backpack
Sleek, refined, minimalist profile
Pack a whole day's kit comfortably
Fits laptops up to 16 inches. Zippered interior pocket.
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)
All-black Ballistic
Black Ballistic with Blue Forza
Black Ballistic with Green Forza
Black Ballistic with Red Forza

Essential Laptop Backpack


Fits laptops up to 16 inches

-79 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 two interior pockets.
  • 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 includes an integrated key hook.
  • 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 13 reviews
Janice G. (California, United States)
Essential Laptop Backpack 2023 - Love it!!!

I'm a Waterfield fan, especially the Essentials line of products. I've been looking for a lightweight backpack with lots of room for my laptop and anything else I need for daily use. When traveling, love how this easily slips onto my luggage. This backpack did not disappoint. The water-resistant material especially the water-proof zippers are my favorite details Thanks, Gary & team. As always, quality workmanship we can all appreciate. Excellent work!

RG (Illinois, United States)
My kingdom for a quick access pocket

The Essential Laptop backpack is my fourth Waterfield bag, and the first that left me a *little* disappointed. Of course the bag is well made, but it’s short on compartments which leaves a lot of stuff jumbled and bouncing together. Having a quick access pocket (like the one on the slim backpack) would have been ideal for transit passes, phone, earbuds. Without it, organization can get chaotic, very much unlike Waterfield’s usual "a place for everything, everything in its place" design aesthetic. Having said that, Waterfield still makes the most comfortable and easy-to-adjust on the go backpacks anywhere.

Josh T. (Ohio, United States)
Excellent, durable and well made bag.

I am a big fan of backpacks and how each one can specialize in something and have it's own unique traits. I recently purchased the Waterfield Essential Backpack and it is by far my favorite backpack that I have. It has both a premium feel and look, and is the perfect commuter bag and I use it for work nearly everyday. I especially appreciate the fact the bag is the United States and the quality and durable of the bags is proof of that. If you're looking for a new high quality backpack that can fit in, both in function and aesthetics in just about any situation, I highly recommend the Waterfield Essential Backpack.

Nate (Iowa, United States)
Great bag. Perfect size. Looks and feels premium.

I was looking for a simple everyday bag. This one is the perfect size for carrying my work computer, accessories, lunch and some extras. For my needs, it would also function well for a weekend trip. I think I could fit a couple days worth of clothing, along with a computer and toiletries.

Like all Waterfield bags, it’s of the highest quality. The bag looks and feels very nice and the zippers are the best.

My gripes are small and don’t impact my overall rating. First, I wish I could get the entire bag in the blue accent color. I think the bag would look sharp by reversing the blue and black colors. Second, it would be nice to have a second slot in the main compartment for a tablet.

Overall, I love this bag. I highly recommend it for a daily and weekend carry.

Foster H. (New York, United States)
Essential Laptop Backpack

I never post reviews, but I got this backpack last week after searching for a replacement for my very old, ratty backpack that I had for 5+ years. First time wearing it, I get a "Nice backpack!" compliment from a complete stranger. Never in my life has someone complimented a backpack of mine, let alone a stranger.

Aesthetically, it's a great backpack. It's not too bulky, the material is firm but not rough, and it's got a decent number of pockets. As for size, you can fit your laptop plus about a 3-4 inch stack of materials (for school or work supplies). It's a bit smaller than your basic JanSport backpack, but that's neither a positive nor a negative - just an observation. An incredibly minor nitpick is that if the backpack is completely stuffed, it can be difficult to fit larger items in the water bottle compartments at the sides, but that's only if you're really packing it. Because it is a slightly stiffer backpack, make sure that you're comfortable with the size, since it's not ideal if you've got a lot of cargo. Otherwise, it's great - no complaints.


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

  1. MacBook:
    • 16" MacBook Pro M2
    • 14" MacBook Pro M2
    • 13” MacBook Pro M2
    • 13" MacBook Air M2
  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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