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DSPTCH Waist Bag Review

Recently, I ordered a medium Sling Pack after deciding I wanted a very small bag to bring with me to meetings or coffee shops where I only needed my iPad and a few other sundries. 11pm is not a great time to make decisions, so I clicked the order button before I checked measurements, and was sad when I realized it didn’t actually fit my 9.7” iPad. Luckily, I was already flying to San Francisco a week later, and was able to exchange it for the Waist Bag, after trying it on in the store. (An aside: the guy at DSPTCH was super nice, and really helpful, which further won me over. I think they have lots of great stuff, so even if this bag is too small for you, check it out.)

TL;DR this bag is fantastic for exactly what I bought it for—carrying an iPad and a few other things to meetings, or very short trips. A+ would buy again.

Front

Pockets and zips

I love the way the pockets and zipper are laid out in this bag. The top of the bag is accessible via a single, incredibly tactile zipper pull. Seriously, this zipper pull is rad. Once unzipped, the main compartment is broken into two parts: one slightly padded iPad sleeve, and a slightly larger main area with a D-ring for keys. My 12” MacBook fits in the main area, which WOW. Not much else fits in the main area if I put my laptop in here, but still, this is unbelievably cool. With an iPad, a Kindle Oasis, a rolled-up shirt, a pair of underwear, keys, and toiletries this compartment is pretty tightly packed, but the zipper is sufficiently robust (it’s a big YKK), so I don’t feel worried about it failing.

Main

The front of the bag is a flap with two super cool magnetic Fidlock® snaps. Pulling down slightly on each side reveals two slightly baggy pockets with elastic at the top. These pockets both have a vertical separation between the front and back of the pocket. I can fit a USB-C battery pack and cables, plus some headphones on one side, and a Hobonichi Techo, a Lamy Safari, and keycards, lip balm, and essential oil in the other. I’ve also fit a Kindle Oasis in one of the pockets, but it was a tight fit, and I prefer keeping it in the main bag pocket. The ease of popping open the snaps after pulling the bag around to the front reminds me why I loved messenger bags back in the day. It’s super cool. I love having all of my stuff easily-accessible, but I’m also glad my load ends up light enough not to hurt my shoulder. More on that later.

Pockets

Material

The DSPTCH site says this bag is 1680D Ballistic Nylon with DWR coating, lined with 410D Nylon Packcloth with DWR coating. I haven’t tested this bag in the rain yet, but the zip isn’t seam-sealed, so while I’d trust it in a light rain, I wouldn’t swim with it. I bring a dry bag with me everywhere for toiletries though, and it’s sufficiently large I could put the bag in it in a pinch, so I’m not too worried. The material feels very nice, and high-quality, and the stitching and construction inspires confidence. The zipper pull is lightly textured on both sides, as well as contoured for a thumb and forefinger such that every use of it makes me smile.

Main

This is a bag you will want to open and close. The Fidlock® snaps are similarly fun to use. The strap is pretty solid as well, and my only complaint is that I wish the clasp was metal/magnetic instead of plastic, even though the plastic feels solid. This bag generally feels like it will hold up for over 10 years, and Dpstch warranties it, which gives me even more confidence as I lug it around. I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention the “high air flow back mesh for longer periods of wear,” which means I don’t end up with as much sweat on my back when I’m walking around in over environments >20˚.

Back

Size

This is a small bag. You can wear it over the shoulder, as a cross body, either in front or on your back, or as a fanny-pack/waist bag as the name indicates. In inches, it measures at 8L, or 13” x 9” x 1.5” at 1.1lbs, but the numbers belie how much it can carry. This is the kind of bag your friends say “wow” to as you slide out a 9.7” iPad or 12” MacBook. This bag fits really well on the floor under a seat on a plane without compromising foot space. It also feels great to walk in a crowd or get onto a crowded train knowing I won’t bonk anyone with this bag, as it barely sticks out from my back. It’s very easy to adjust the strap that goes around my chest as well, and it’s easy to slide this bag around to the front when I need to pull something out. I’ve occasionally worn this bag on my hip/butt as a fanny-pack, and while I think it looks a little silly, it’s very comfortable—your mileage may vary on style/feel.

Wrap-up

Overall, I love this bag, and look for every opportunity to bring it with me. In my effort to downsize and travel lightly, I’ve found this to be a perfect companion. Every interaction I have with this bag feels great, and makes me smile. If you need something small to bring a few things to your next meeting, concert, or short trip, I highly recommend the DSPTCH Waist Bag. It’s seriously good and my suspicion is the rest of their gear is equally great.

brook is a noted sapphist who lives in a cave with her cat snorri. she loves travel, food, and satan.