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Review: WaterField Designs X-Air Duffel luxury bag is perfectly sized to be your personal item on tech-savvy travel

2024 February 12
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We’ve tested and reviewed the X-Air Duffel, WaterField’s virtually indestructible waterproof travel bag compact enough to fit under the seat on most airlines.

Man carrying Waterfield's X-Air Duffel travel bag on shoulder, showcasing the front pockets

The X-Air Duffel is a travel bag from San Francisco-based WaterField Designs that exudes a professional-meets-sporty vibe. Rocking a TSA-friendly design, it’s compact enough to count as a personal item that rests next to your feet under the airline seat rather than a carry-on stored in the overhead bins.

This lets you quickly get to your MacBook or iPad without opening the overhead bin during a flight. Part of WaterField’s X-Air lineup of feature-rich bags for people who travel with their gadgets, the X-Air Duffel is made from the sturdy, waterproof X-Pac material designed for outdoor and rugged use. It’s virtually indestructible.

The premium-quality travel bag will spoil you with separate compartments for your gadgets and a change of clothes, including a bunch of specialized pockets for organization. The X-Air Duffel is available via the WaterField website for $459.

Review: WaterField Designs X-Air Duffel travel bag

The X-Air Duffel rocks bright gold lining on the inside, a design feature commonly found on many WaterField bags. Besides looking great, the liner serves a real purpose as it’s water-resistant and brightly colored, making it hard to lose things.

Wardrobe in the clothing compartment of Waterfield's X-Air Duffel travel bagDespite its compact size, the X-Air Duffel can fit more clothing, technology and personal items than is apparent at first sight. In terms of organization, WaterField’s products are very efficiently designed and the X-Air Duffel is no exception. There are two spacious compartments, one that holds your gadgets and the other for your wardrobe.
Wardrobe in the clothing compartment of Waterfield's X-Air Duffel travel bagWhether you pack efficiently like a Marine, using the grunt roll technique, or just fold and stack the items on top of one another, like most people, you’ll appreciate the spacious wardrobe compartment. It will keep your clothing wrinkle-free, with enough space to keep you going for a few days without your wardrobe closet.

Tech-savvy travel

Aside from the wardrobe section, the X-Air Duffel features a mobile office compartment that opens like a suitcase, separating your wardrobe from technology.
This is where you’ll find a pair of sleeves for laptops and tablets that can fit a 16-inch MacBook Pro (or a similarly-sized notebook) and a 12.9-inch iPad Pro.
Wallet, keys and camera stabilizer in the pockets of Waterfield's X-Air Duffel travel bagTwo easy-to-reach organization pockets on the tablet sleeve are very convenient in terms of storing smaller items such as over-ear headphones, chargers, cables, etc.
Padded interior of the laptop sleeve on Waterfield's X-Air Duffel travel bagThe sleeves are (of course!) padded to protect your tablets and laptops from surface scratches and other accidental damage when inside.

External pockets for quick-access necessities

I’ve found the X-Air Duffel’s external pockets particularly useful. There’s a roomy open pocket on the back for storing quick-access items like magazines and documentation. On the front are two pockets here you can keep things like wallets, glasses, tickets, your passport, phone cases, etc.
Front pockets on Waterfield's X-Air Duffel travel bag with a book, passport, AirPods and iPhone case insideWhenever I’m on the go or traveling, I keep a water bottle handy to keep myself hydrated. The X-Air Duffel has not one but two side pockets where I can keep anything, from a large, 3.5-inch diameter water bottle or snacks to a book.
Closeup of the left side pocket with a water bottle on Waterfield's X-Air Duffel travel bagWaterField says the side pockets are perfectly sized for a light jacket or umbrella.

Attention to detail that matters

Those who have used WaterField’s accessories know they’re in for a real treat, as the company is famous for its Apple-like attention to detail, resulting in convenient solutions. For example, the tech compartment has a convenient key tether.
Closeup of the magnetic Fidlock buckle on Waterfield's X-Air Duffel travel bagThe front pockets are equipped with Fidlock buckles that magnetically snap into place. The side pockets are flush, only expanding when in use. The YKK zippers are waterproof and slide smoothly like a knife through butter.

Confidently travel with your tech in style

A combination of ballistic nylon, durable waxed canvas and premium full-grain leather guarantees durability, a feature of travel bags that should be high on your list. Another essential feature of travel bags is, of course, waterproofing.
Closeup of the zipper on Waterfield's X-Air Duffel travel bagNow, the X-Pac laminate textile is extremely tear and water-resistant. I’ve used this bag for nearly four months under all kinds of conditions, including accidentally spilling water on it twice, but it’s protected my gadgets from rain and water splashes.
To WaterField’s credit, the X-Pac material has impressive water-repelling characteristics. The water droplets stay on the surface, and you just wipe them away. X-Pac is also very lightweight—Waterield says it’s so light that most of the bag’s weight will come from the items you’ve packed. And thanks to an impressive strength-to-weight ratio, it does allow for rugged use.
Waterfield's X-Air Duffel travel bag suitcase handle passthroughEven if you don’t travel much, the X-Air Duffel is a versatile carrying bag for various situations. I can imagine you appearing for your next business meeting, looking sharp as you pull a laptop, documents and a pricey pen from your pro-looking carry.

I’ve had no issues using my X-Air Duffel as a personal item on flights. I’ve enjoyed it even more as a travel bag for shorter journeys, like weekend trips to family when I only need to carry some clothes and technology to stay on top of things.

Pros and cons


  • Two spacious compartments for your wardrobe and gadgets
  • Hard-wearing X-Pac textile is extremely strong and durable
  • TSA-friendly size, easy to reach under the airline seat
  • External pockets on the front for additional items
  • Two side pockets for water bottles, books, etc.
  • Rear pocket for magazines and documents
  • Flexible carrying options
  • Lifetime warranty


  • Price
  • Additional color options would be nice

How to purchase your X-Air Duffel

The X-Air Duffel is available in Black, Deep Blue, Slate and Olive Green color finishes for $459 from the WaterField web store. A waxed canvas version is available, too.
Waterfield's X-Air Duffel travel bag, the waxed canvas versionYou can carry your X-Air Duffel on a wheelie suitcase, hold it by the pair of eleven-inch handles wrapped in leather or install the included Supreme Suspension Strap for shoulder carry to lighten the load for longer carries.

WaterField offers other Apple-focused accessories such as the Shield Case to protect your AirPods Max, keychain/luggage tags for your AirTags and more.

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