Reviewed: Incase Icon Laptop Backpack & Cheaper Alternatives
Today I’m going to be reviewing the Incase Icon Backpack that I received for Christmas a few weeks ago. Now that we are a few weeks in to 2017 and I have a few plane trips, and daily uses under my belt I feel like I have a good feeling for how the bag is going to be. My day job is working remotely in Salt Lake for a company in San Diego and this requires me to be on a plane to San Diego about once a month, sometimes for day trips but most trips are overnighters. Anyone that is racking up the skymiles knows that a good travel backpack is a must. From passports, to battery packs and electronics, a ergonomic and capable backpack is a must.
Size: The Icon Pack comes in just about right
Size is a constant struggle in my search for the right travel backpack. The Icon gets it just about perfect for daily use, and gear/laptop transport. But because of the segmentation of the pockets there really isn’t a single large pocket so, don’t expect to be able to fit your jacket in like you would see in most typical “book bags”. This pack is a bit deeper and narrower than most I’ve had in the past, which works great for putting under the plane seat in front of you and still giving room for your feet on it’s sides. That lack of a giant pocket is really a trade off since more, smaller pockets really makes more sense for a traveling techie, I’ll get into storage features next.
Incase has a variety of other sizes and styles if the 15.6 inch Icon isn’t right for you.
Storage: the Icon’s strong suit
Seriously this thing has room for everything! Check out everything I travel with on basically every trip:
I hardly notice this stuff is in the Icon. Even with two computers, I still have room for more stuff, I could carry a large text book or a few iPads easily. The inside of the front compartments have a lot of small Velcro pouches that work awesome for small items that end to get lost at the bottom of a less organized bag. Finding a pack of gum or business card out of some bags is like trying to find Chapstick in your girlfriends Louis V. bag.
The main laptop slot has a fuzzy fleece lining to keep you iPad screen clean, and your 15 inch MacBook riding in style. There is also a small sunglass sized poach at the top that is fleece lined, definitely a nice touch that makes you feel the quality of the Icon pack.
One of my favorite features of this bag is the side pockets near your hip. These pockets are angled so that you can access them with the pack on you back still! Which is a life saver if you need a pack of gum while eating a garlic burger walking down the ramp to your flight. This pocket double great as a holder for your jump pack battery since its accusable, close to your phone pocket and even has a cable slot in it. I LOVE this feature.
I’ll be honest, this is the one drawback. These bags aren’t cheap. Mine was gifted to me by my wonderful fiancé but I probably wouldn’t have splurged on the bag myself. On Incases website this bag is listed at $199.99, ouch. Lucky enough I found one for $99 on Amazon in some colors (mine included) when I wrote this review. This is one of those things that I’ll say, “you get what you pay for”. I bought a lot of cheap headphones off of Amazon, and then replaced them really quickly, I was gifted a pair of Beats, and I still have them, and love them, my next headphones will probably be a newer model of beats. So my point is, if you really rely on your backpack, it’s worth the extra money, if not, I’ll show you some similar bags at a better price below.
This bag has a few features that help with the comfort while I pack around two laptops and a bunch of junk. It has wide straps that are adjustable on both the top and the bottom, I’ll admit I still haven’t figured out the need for top adjustable straps, but hey, maybe your body is shaped different. The next major comfort feature is the padded back, this thing has like three separate pads on the pack to increase airflow and give some padding.
With a bag at this price point you really do expect an above average looking bag, and the Incase Icon doesn’t disappoint. I’ve already gotten quiet a few comments on it when I make my monthly pilgrimage to the office and I don’t typically think people comment on backpacks very often. Because of its “iconic” look (see what I did there?) there has been a lot of copy cat style popping up on Amazon and other online stores. I really like the single panel front, a the moss green color on mine.
The durability jury is still out since I’ve only had ti for a few weeks but it feel like it could get thrown out of a military airplane, have a tank roll over it and storm a beach without showing a sign of wear. The more susceptible areas like the zipper and plastic adjustable strap dohickies seem much stronger than the last pack I used which was an Oakley and diffidently not cheap. I would say this Incase Icon is easily the toughest bad I’ve ever had. Outside of my special forces buddies Oakley Kitchen Sink Pack, (way t0o big, but awesome nonetheless) it’s the tough one I’ve ever seen.
Cheaper alternatives to the Incase Icon Backpack
Not everyone will be ready to drop $100+ on a backpack, I get that, but I thin Incase hit a homerun with this general design, comparing it to some “knock-offs” on amazon, there are few that share a materials and design with the pack at a cheaper price point, comfort and durability I can’t speak for, you’re going to have to test the out yourself and let me know, no really, if you buy one review it and we will likely post it!