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

-181 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 26 reviews
Leif J.
The Perfect WaterField bag for me

I’ve long loved Waterfield bags, but I’ve also always struggled to find one that felt genuinely *perfect*. I find the Pro Executive a little too big for daily use, and while I love the Sutter Slim, too often I found myself needing a little more room at the end of the day.

But this bag? It’s about as perfect as possible for my purposes. I bought it months ago and still feel that way. I love both the top and bottom pouches on the front, each secured by Waterfield’s new-ish heavy-duty zipper pulls. There’s nothing fancy about the design for either pocket: I can unzip them and grab stuff with no complications or problems or overly worry that something will fall out if I accidentally leave one pocket open while in a rush. (I admit that happens embarrassingly often with the Sutter Slim.)

The top pocket is the perfect spot for essentials like my wallet, keys, work badge, and AirPods—while the bottom one is great for larger things like my sunglasses and numerous other small things. I like that I often feel like I don’t even need to open the main compartment.

Inside, the main cavity can hold my MacBook and iPad while leaving plenty of room in there for other things I stuff in there throughout the day like my AirPods Max and stuff from the corner store. The main cavity also contains another quick-access pouch, which I find perfect for things like my cash wallet that I want to be a little more secure than the outside pocket.

Just in case I need more room than what my bag can hold, I keep a small collapsible bag in one of the side zippered pockets—where I also keep things like pens and charging cables. (I do kind of wish the pen pockets were inside the main cavity as with the Pro Executive, but I can live with this design.)

Weight distribution is extremely important to me, and I love that this bag never feels too heavy regardless of how much junk I stuff in it (and with my tech hardware-intensive job, this happens open). Much as with the Sutter Slim, the way it doesn’t extend too far from your back ensures that it’s always comfortable.

My only real quibble is that while Waterfield bags tend to be surprisingly comfortable without a sternum strap, I find I still need one for maximum comfort, so I’ve just attached one from Peak Design on the front shoulder straps. It almost looks like it goes with the bag and it makes SUCH a difference when I’m carrying a heavy load. If there’s any accessory I’d like to see from Waterfield, it’s its own sternum strap—but I suspect it may go against the design philosophy.

I absolutely love this bag, and I hate going without it when I need to use a different backpack—such as for hiking. It carries weight well, it looks great, and it’s also sublimely practical. Considering the materials used, it’s also pleasantly light. I’ll almost certainly be buying another one.

Josh (California, United States)
Perfect backpack in every way

This is my third product from this company, love buying local and love buying local, especially when the product is so perfect. There’s nothing about this backpack that I would change at all. It supports my 15” MacBook Air without looking like a massive backpack and that’s a huge win.

Patrick H. (California, United States)
Perfect Professional Computer Backpack

The Waterfield Compact Executive Backpack is the perfect size for a busy professional. The backpack is great quality and has the right number of pockets and space to fit all of the essentials without making the bag too large and heavy.

Anthony C. (Arkansas, United States)
capable and classy

this backpack is incredible. perfect size for work and play while easily thriving in both environments. couldn’t ask for more


After 10 years with a 13” laptop, I needed a larger bag to fit a 15” MacBook Air, but I wanted something that felt as small as my 13” bag.

This backpack is as slim as marketed, and the quality of the build is outstanding. The shape is firm, and it fits what’s stated in the description and very little more.

My one tiny issue is that the description states that a 16oz Hydroflask will fit in the water bottle pocket. I bought a Hydroflask to carry in there, but it didn’t fit. I had to order a separate smaller lid, and it’s still a tight fit and slow to zip up. If you need a water bottle, go with 12oz.

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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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