WaterField Designs makes a big deal out of the fact that it crafts its bags here in San Francisco; in fact, you’ll find our fair city’s name subtly stamped on the leather of its new $229 Sutter Slim Backpack.

That’s par for the course with WaterField, but I find it’s particularly apt in this case. I like to think that the Sutter’s canvas and leather exterior evokes the foggy city’s rough-and-tumble origins, while its embrace of smart design and utilitarian minimalism characterizes its present. It’s even named for one of the key figures of the Gold Rush. Tech, naturally, lies at the heart, and so WaterField’s latest release has slots for any portable Apple device or accessory you might toss inside.

sutter slim backpack san franciscoLeif Johnson/IDG

And yes, the whole thing is made here.

And much like San Francisco, it’s kind of small. You wouldn’t want to drag this 15-inch tall bag along for a jaunt to the grocery store, in other words, but it’s the perfect size for a city day pack. It’s only 6.5 inches wide when it’s so stuffed that the zippers strain, thanks in part to a long full-grain leather panel, so it keeps a low profile even on crowded subway cars. With four outside pockets and two sleeves and pockets on the inside, there’s more than enough room to hold your stuff. If you need a place to store your keys, you’ll find a handy key fob dangling in the hidden lower pocket along the bottom front.

Big ideas, small package

WaterField cleverly concealed both the bottom and top front pockets, in fact, allowing them to stay handy without detracting from the minimalist design. The top pocket has a 8-inch zippered opening—exactly the same width as the leather panel—and it’s 5 inches deep, which is more than enough room for frequently used items like my AirPods, gym lock, hairbrush, and Magic Mouse.

The bottom pouch also hides behind the leather panel, but you access it from either side with your choice of two zippers. I found it useful for stashing small items I rarely use but nevertheless demand quick access, such as eye drops, lip balm, and gloves. I once even managed to stash a compact umbrella in there. If you don’t feel like digging blindly in there, WaterField also makes a cool $49 pack called the “Tech Pocket” that fits perfectly.

sutter slim backpack tech pocketLeif Johnson/IDG

The Tech Pocket isn’t necessary, but it is convenient.

You’ll also a sleeve along the lower back that lets you slip the Sutter Slim over the handles of a suitcase, and it doubles as the mesh that airs out your back and protects the backpack from sweat. The bag itself comes in a waxed canvas with brown leather or a black nylon “ballistic” fabric with black leather. The former works well if you’re seeking a casual or rugged look, while the latter pairs well with boardrooms and expensive suits. Functionally, though, they’re the same bag, and both are tough enough to take beatings from the elements despite not being exactly waterproof. There’s a rubbery coating lining the YKK zippers that grants the illusion of a seamless bag when the zippers are closed, and I can say from experience that they do a decent job of keeping out the rain.

sutter slim backpack zippersLeif Johnson/IDG

Honestly, I got more compliments on the zippers than anything else.

A few tricks up its sleeves

But it’s the inside that’s most likely to turn any Apple lover’s head, as it houses not one but two device sleeves along the back. The back one is large enough to embrace a 15-inch MacBook Pro—and such sleeves are increasingly hard to find these days—while the first one can house other flat gadgets like a 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Most of the time, though, I personally use this second sleeve for storing both my legal pad and a paperback novel.

sutter slim backpack insideLeif Johnson/IDG

There’s also a handy velcro strap that keeps both your iPad and MacBook secure.

On the opposite side of the main compartment you’ll find two 6-inch deep pockets, both of which I find useful for storing larger frequently used items such as charging cables or sunglasses. The left pocket also has four pen slots clinging to its exterior, which is perfect for the Apple Pencil and the Palomino Blackwing pencils I use on a daily basis.