WaterField Designs VertiGo Mambo Combo Review

by Reads (9,167)

by Charles P. Jefferies

WaterField Designs is a domestic manufacturer of high-quality bags and carrying cases. Today we will take a look at the VertiGo Mambo Combo, their vertical notebook bag and sleeve combo designed for light trips.

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I paid a total of $119 for the bag and sleeve combo, plus $10 for shipping via the WaterField website.

Quality & Design

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The VertiGo and sleeve are well made, and feel more upscale than bags found in normal brick & mortar electronics stores. The outside is entirely ballistic nylon, with a strip of black leather at the top of the exterior pouch (you can customize this part of the bag with different colors and materials). The ballistic nylon is extremely durable, and will not show normal wear and tear. The stitching is discreet. This bag is not flashy, which is a good thing in my book.

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The shoulder strap is incredibly strong and also feels durable. It is stitched to the bag.

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The included shoulder strap is amply padded. The contact surface of the shoulder strap is rubber-coated  so it will not slip. The shoulder strap is removable; a Velcro flap helps keep it in place.

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A nylon material is also used inside the bag, in a different orange/yellow color. It makes a nice contrast with the black exterior. The inside of the bag is essentially one large compartment, with holders for note cards and other small accessories in the side.

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The same material on the inside of the main compartment is also found in the front pouch on the exterior of the bag. There is an additional exterior pouch on the rear of the bag.

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The sleeve has a ballistic nylon exterior like the VertiGo bag, and good-quality neoprene inside for protection that will not scratch the notebook.

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The sleeve can be customized in many ways; mine is basic, since I only plan to use it in conjunction with the VertiGo bag. You can get a flap, D-rings, a full suspension shoulder strap, and a "piggyback" clip-on accessories pouch as add-ons if desired. There is a compartment for papers on the rear of the sleeve.

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My HP Pavilion dv5t fits perfectly in the custom-fit sleeve.

Note that you need to use the sleeve with the VertiGo in order for it to function as a notebook bag.

Practical Use Scenarios

The VertiGo bag is like a traditional bag since it is slung over the shoulder, but different since it positions the load vertically. Notice how the bag is long and rectangular. In practical use, I found the bag is easier to balance on a shoulder, since it has a narrower top than typical notebook bags.

This bag is not practical for bringing a lot of items in, especially bulky ones.

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I find that the notebook, power adapter, mouse, and a few magazines are about the limit of this bag. This bag is not large dimension-wise; it is about 18.5 inches tall and 15 inches wide.

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Customer Service

WaterField Designs sets itself apart from other bag manufacturers in three main ways:

  • Quality
  • Customer service
  • Made in the U.S.A. (San Francisco, to be exact)

A handwritten note was included with my order, in response to the compliment I left when I placed the order. It is rare to get customer service this great and the customer service is one of the reasons I continue to buy from this company.

All the sleeves they make are custom fit to your notebook. If your notebook is not listed in their sizing charts, they will help you get a custom fit for your notebook.

Thanks to the customization included with every bag, these bags are far more unique than cookie-cutter bags from mainstream companies.


I have been using WaterField bags for over two years, and am impressed time and time again with the quality and customer service. The VertiGo Mambo Combo is no exception. I recommend this bag for those looking for a lightweight travel companion. It is designed for transporting light loads in comfort.



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