NEW Compact Executive Backpack
Fits 16" MacBook Pro & 12.9" iPad Pro
Top ten items for the Compact Executive Backpack
Efficient organization when fully loaded
Zipped mesh pocket secures small items
Hidden pocket for Air Tag tracker
Front panel has two full-grain leather pockets for easy access
Top pocket is lined with Ultrasuede for protecting glasses
Lower front pocket holds tech gear
Integrated Water Bottle Pocket
Side water-bottle pocket
Convenient side pocket for tech gear
Swing-around access to side pockets
Waterproof zippers
Comfortable full grain leather handle
Extra foam for structure and protection
Stands upright when packed sufficiently.
Tuck straps out of the way when not in use
Compact Executive Backpack
Available colorways
Slot for carry-on handles
Compact Executive (Left) and larger-capacity Pro Executive (Right)
Waxed Canvas w/ Chocolate Leather
Chocolate Leather
Black Leather
Blue Leather

Compact Executive Backpack

-159 in stock

Designed with insights from 1000+ customers, the Compact Executive Backpack is packed with features tailor-made for busy professionals on the go. Sized to hold the top ten essential work items, including a laptop and tablet, it has a slim profile, clean lines, and looks impressive in any setting. 

See the Community Design process from idea to production here

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


  • 1050 Denier black Ballistic nylon or brown waxed canvas
  • Full-grain leather accents
  • More details here

Dimensions & Weight:

  • One size:
  • 11” (l) x 5” (w) x 15” (h); 2.2 lbs.
    27.94 (l) x 12.7 (w) x 38.1 (h) cm; 0.99 kg
    Volume: 13.5 liters


  • Full-grain leather and black ballistic nylon or waxed canvas.
  • Firm foam padding protects contents and helps the bag stand upright.
  • Padded laptop and tablet compartments fit up to a 16-inch MacBook.
  • Pro or similarly sized laptop and a 12-inch iPad or tablet.
  • Main compartment has gold, water-resistant liner for better visibility of contents.
  • An interior, semi-opaque, zippered pocket includes an AirTag pocket
  • One padded laptop pocket and and one padded tablet pocket.
  • Wheelie suitcase pass-through slot for inserting into carry-on handles.
  • Sweat-wicking mesh in the back and on the backpack straps.
  • A comfortable leather-lined top handle facilitates a quick grab or briefcase-style carry.
  • An upper, exterior pocket with scratch-free Ultrasuede® and padded with soft foam.
  • A pleated, lower, exterior pocket accommodates chargers or other bulky items without bulging. 
  • The pleated, exterior pocket includes four pen slots, an open pocket, and a key fob.
  • Two side pockets – water bottle pocket and quick-access items pocket.
  • YKK waterproof zippers and custom metal zipper pulls add a professional touch.


This product was designed with customers who gave input from idea to production. See the process here.


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

Customer Reviews

Based on 21 reviews
Chris F. (New York, United States)
Compact Executive Backpack..favorite EDC!

Big fan of Waterfield and have had several product to date. For work I have tended more towards Tumi, but my new EDC is the Compact Exec Backpack and loving it. Streamlined look but accommodates all I need including MacBook Air 15in. Comfortable, love the gold lining. Works great if working from cafes etc. Just the right size. Usual Waterfield excellent build quality.

Michael R. (Florida, United States)
Just Right

Use this both for auditing some college classes and going to the office for work. It looks right and functions well in both environments. Enough but not too many pockets/zippers, slots etc. One each for laptop and tablet is a plus. The bag DOES stand up on its own and carries a lot without looking overstuffed or like a travel/hiking pack. Construction is, as usual, very good and the material is high quality. I like that the water bottle pocket is enclosed but have to say that it could be larger. It will take a 17oz bottle but then won’t zip completely closed. Not a big issue and I bought a different bottle that does fit. I have never used a backpack before for work or classes but I’m now a convert with this one.

Randy K. (Texas, United States)
Returning customer still super satisfied!

I still have my old Cozmo and Cargo from 15+ years ago, used them extensively and were great bags. Moved on to backpacks, and over the years found that I was pouring EVERYTHING into them. Now that I'm traveling for work again, I wanted something more compact and professional looking, and first place I looked was Waterfield. I couldn't be more happy with the Compact Executive Backpack - easy to carry, fits under aircraft seats with ease, and can fit MORE than the essentials. It's surprisingly roomy, and is my new travel companion. Thanks Gary and team, another fantastic purchase!

Bob C. (California, United States)
Great way to travel

I have been looking for a roll up backpack. I love the look and feel. However, rolling up the backpack to fit in the bag is not easy and the demo is not very good at explaining how to do it efficiently.

Albert L. (California, United States)
Compact Executive Backpack

I love my backpack. I purchased it to use with both my 16 inch macbook pro and my 13 inch macbook air. Both fit in it perfectly at the same time and leave room for some files or books and accessories along with a water bottle in the pouch. Fully filled it still maintains its compact design. This is the 5th or 6th item I have purchased from Waterfield and each of them have fully met my expectations.

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Waterfield Designs Compact Executive Backpack review

The Gadgeteer - July 21, 2023

“...the little details are what sets this bag apart from this crowded space of executive backpacks.”


The Compact Executive Backpack is available in one size and carries a laptop and tablet, plus daily essentials.  


  1. The built-in Laptop Padded Sleeve fits devices up to 14.25” x 10", including:
    • 13" MacBook Pro
    • 14" MacBook Pro
    • 16" MacBook Pro
    • 13" MacBook Air
    • NEW 15" MacBook Air
    • Surface Book 3 (13.5" & 15")
    • Surface Laptop 4 & 3 (13.5" & 15")
    • Other similarly-sized devices
  2. The built-in Tablet Padded Sleeve fits devices up to 12" x 8.75", including:
    • 12.9" iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard
    • 11" iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard
    • 11" iPad Air with Magic Keyboard
    • Surface Pro X, Pro 8, Go with Type Cover
    • Other similarly-sized devices

The front pocket stores accessories like a power supply, cords, and other small items.

The main compartment holds a laptop, tablet, notebook, documents, files, and other office essentials. 

The water bottle pocket fits a 16 oz Hydro Flask Tumbler, or 17 oz h2go Bottle, or similar sizes. Note that the 16 oz Hydro Flask is the absolute largest receptacle that will fit inside the water bottle pocket

*** NOTE: Need to carry more? Try the larger capacity Pro Executive Backpack.


We designed this backpack with input from over 1000 customers who shared insights about what they'd like to see in a compact professional backpack. We analyzed every piece of feedback to a create a backpack tailored to their specific needs.  


Innovative details like a padded top pocket lined with scratch-free Ultrasuede® to protect glasses, a low profile water-bottle pocket, and a discreet spot for an Air Tag tracker make this backpack stand out from the rest. 


See the process from idea to production here



Keep essentials within easy reach whenever you fly. The Compact Executive Backpack fits sideways under select airline seats, leaving ample room to stretch your legs. 

“Would like quick access to a few key items while on the go. On a plane, I'd like to access wallet, phone, AirPods, energy bar, etc. just by feeling for it.” - Customer #37

“Fitting under the airline seat would be a great bonus.” - Customer #208


“Consider a smaller 16.5” x 9.8" x 7.8" size to fit personal item sized bags for European airlines." - Customer # 565



This meeting-friendly backpack keeps its shape so it always has a neat, professional profile. Conveniently pack or un-pack items with ease.  When packed appropriately, it can even stand on its own. 







Two zippered side pockets provide quick-access to two frequently used items —  water bottles and tech gear — without bulging.

The water bottle pocket utilizes interior space so the exterior of the bag remains sleek and professional looking. The zipper closure lets you secure different-sized water bottles — even a 16-oz. Clean Kanteen coffee tumbler. 


The opposite side pocket includes interior organization for storing a power pack so you can quickly retrieve it for recharging at an airport, restaurant, or anywhere you need to plug in.  

“Please make the larger water bottle pockets. I'd like to carry one or two of my 1-liter bottles.” - Customer #208


“Water bottle storage is a MUST HAVE, please!” - Customer #643

“Make sure the water bottle pockets fit more than the basic 16 oz.” - Customer #31

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