A few weeks back, Incase sent us a few backpacks to check out. We had been inadvertently in the market for new bags as we bike a good deal around Los Angeles and haven’t been able to find bags that have good support as you ride–especially support for a computer. I had some dinky little black bag that I got from a military surplus store almost five years ago, a brandless and super simple pack that has been my trusted riding friend for years. Bobby’d been using a bag from Urban Outfitters, which was good but–you know–is a little unfriendly to rugged wear. Anyway, getting an Alloy Backpack and Alloy Messenger Backpack we didn’t even think they’d be good active book bags. They’re both this steely grey and look sleek and worn and comfortable: they looked like any other “good bag.” Man: weren’t we surprised? The bags are top notch. Let me break the two down.
The basic Alloy bag is your standard book bag size. It consists of two main areas that are the same size, one on the outside with tons of mini-pockets and one behind it for your computer and such. The joy of this bag is that it is compact and small but quite big–big in the sense that it can hold all of your computer and technical junk effortlessly. This is something we didn’t think of: a bag from Incase–duh–is made with your computer (ahem, *Macintosh*) in mind. Everything fits perfectly, from a fleece lined sleeve for your laptop to a little iPad pouch in front of it to a fleece lined mini-pocket for any iPods to bands to keep your earbuds in place as you ride your bike or hustle from one airport gate to another.
The best features of this bag are the hidden areas for things you didn’t think you knew you needed an area for. The exterior pocket, above, is a great example of this: there’s a spot for your power cord, for a few pens/pencils, some notebooks, pads, sunglasses, and other little items. If you wanted, you could even tuck an Apple TV into one of the slots. I would not be surprised if that was actually something they thought about when designing the bag.
The back of the bag has a little Easter Egg of sorts: a pocket hidden within their support structure. Both bags have this pocket, which sits at the small of your back, and is perfect for things like passports, wallets, and other personal items you wouldn’t want someone to sneak into. Now, of course, we’ll have to find a new secret compartment for ours as we just gave away our secret. Then again, that’s where they want you to put it–and it makes perfect sense. This bag is a great, simple travel and daily bag for people. It isn’t too big, it isn’t too small, and is perfect for day to day use.
Now, the Messenger Backpack. This, guys, is a thing of beauty. I bike around everywhere and this bag makes it feel like Steve Jobs himself thought up the perfect way to tote around your computer when you are on the go. It just thinks up everything–with a total eye for the biker and/or long distance traveller. It can be used just as day to day as the regular Backpack; however, this one is a little beefier. It’s like the taller, Ivy League rower older brother of the the regular bag: lean, full of muscle, and super handsome.
While the basic bag has a lot of places to store goodies, the Messenger Backpack has even more. The most important part is the fleece lined little slit at the back of the bag to store your computer. This feature is key because you can just slide it in and forget it’s there because the bag makes it feel like you don’t even have a computer in your bag. It’s brilliant! Moreover, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve biked around with a folder or an important sheet of paper that I’ve stored away that ended up folded in half from the bag not being particularly kind. What do I do with them now? Slide it in this slit because it’s so such a structured, safe space. Similarly, the other side panel on the bag has a tiered pocket system for things like bike tools, a pump, deodorant, mouth wash, glasses, etc. (Well, that’s what I use it for.)
The top of the bag has a hidden pouch perfect for storing sunglasses and/or bike lights because this part is rarely fussed with. I’ve always had the problem of opening a bag and my lights’ batteries are drained because some ghost fingered their buttons while I wasn’t looking. This pocket? No need to stress about that. There are two similar gill like pockets in the front of the bag (which are fleece lined); however, I find this top pocket to be a better place–and it even has a little change purse in there for you. Another big feature is the draw stringed front area which is essentially a giant dump for whatever you want. This is great to throw clothes in, notebooks, cameras, etc.: it’s a huge duffle like zone for whatever you want. The best part about it? You can barely feel the weight of it because the bag is structured so fantastically.
Obviously, we give these bags super high recommendations. They’re just so perfectly designed and look great and go above and beyond what they’re made to do. Their the most functional bags we’ve ever encountered. We usually shop for bags by style–not use. These bags (the Alloy brand, specifically) marry good looks and brains, which is something we love. If you are a biker or frequent traveller, do yourself a favor and get one of these bags. The Messenger Backpack is a little better in my opinion but, then again, that’s because it’s so big and makes you forget that you’re lugging around a computer. Definitely check them out if you get a chance and, of course, check out more rad Incase stuff here.