Incase, a company primarily known for making iPhone and iPad cases, has rapidly gained popularity thanks to their unique design and their attention to detail. Their bags, which cater primarily to users of Apple laptops and tablets, are often regarded as some of the best out there. Now Incase is venturing into the world of camera bags, and I’ve spent some time with their flagship offering, the DSLR Pro Sling Pack.
Design and Ergonomics
The outside of the bag is wrapped in a very nice looking dark-gray heathered fabric. It’s soft, but feels plenty durable to withstand heavy use. Open the zippered cover and you’ll find incredibly soft fleece, and padding thick enough to survive even the most brutal of treatment. It comes with plenty of movable pieces for you to customize the layout to fit your gear best. Along the outside of the bag, there are a handful of small zippered pockets that are perfect for memory cards, batteries, and other small gizmos.
I’ve always liked sling packs, as I generally find them more comfortable and more secure than your standard backpack. This bag is no exception. The sling strap is well padded and the inside is covered in a breathable mesh fabric. There’s a buckle in the middle for quick release, and a nice wide strap for tightening up the sling. The bag even features a waist strap, which can be tucked away in two hidden pockets if you don’t find yourself using it.
I find it to be a great looking pack, and has a very unique understated appeal to it. It doesn’t look much like a camera bag, and is capable of holding much more gear than initially seems possible.
The bag has two main openings: a “top” and a “front”. There is pass through between both, but I’ve found it works best for my gear to keep them divided separately. It seems as if it was designed to hold your camera bodies in one compartment, and your lenses and accessories in the other. That’s how I have it set up currently and it works quite well.
The real appeal of this pack is the laptop compartment, which sits along the back of the bag, and is large enough to fit a 15” MacBook Pro. I primarily use a 13” MacBook Air, which fits fine but I would likely prefer to have it inside an additional sleeve for a more snug fit. I found that I could comfortably fit my MacBook Air and my iPad 2 in the bag without any issues.
The bag also features a couple of other niceties like straps along the side to carry a tripod, and a removable rain fly. I don’t shoot in the rain much, so I’ve removed it from my bag, but I’ve mentioned before that while such a feature doesn’t necessarily seem important at first, when the rain comes, you’ll be glad you have it.
I spent about two weeks with the DSLR Pro Sling Pack and it lived up to every one of my expectations. It is exceptionally comfortable, and despite having stuffed it with loads of gear, I was never experiencing any fatigue while carrying it. Access to my cameras and lenses is quick and easy, especially when using the quick-release buckle on the sling strap.
I also felt that my camera gear was incredibly well protected in this bag, and I didn’t ever feel like I needed to worry about accidental drops. Everything inside the bag is secured very well, and I like that the compartments are secured closed with zippers, and not simply buckled flaps like many other bags.
The DSLR Pro Sling Pack is not a small bag, but it’s also not obtrusively large. It held my Nikon D7000, 5 lenses, and my Fuji X100, along with my 13” MacBook Air and iPad 2 without any issue at all, and I certainly could have squeezed more in there. The size, to me, doesn’t qualify it as a particularly good every-day bag, but when I’m traveling and I need to carry all of my gear, there is no question that this will be the perfect bag.
Everything about this bag screams quality. Incase’s design team, very much like Apple, sweats the details, and their design inspiration and focus on functionality is very clear in their products. Incase doesn’t settle for sub-standard materials, or designs that don’t make sense. Every piece of this bag was thoroughly thought out and is there for a very specific reason. That type of laser-focus is what sets Incase apart from other manufacturers out there, and makes products like this an absolute joy to use.
It’s difficult for me to not sound like an Incase fanboy, but I truly enjoyed using this bag. I believe that a good camera bag should disappear in use–you shouldn’t have to think about using it, it should just do it’s job. This bag does that, and so much more. At $169.99, it isn’t cheap, but if you value your gear and are looking for a well designed and well made pack to hold it all, this is the one for you.
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