The company was founded in California in 1997, a stone’s throw from Silicon Valley, and has become an iconic (at least in the US) design driven brand primarily to service the needs of the Apple community. So where the item says it is for a MacBook Air read almost any device up to 11”. Items for a MacBook will suit tablet/hybrid like Surface Pro or Book up to 13”, and items for the MacBook Pro will suit most 15” (or larger) devices.
Before we get into the review, you can take it as a given that the packs are made of quality materials, double stitched, with smooth self-healing zippers, full device padding, and provide well thought out compartments – even if it designed for Apple!
Note: D is for Denier – a unit of the linear mass of fibres. It is the mass in grams per 9000 metres of the fibre. Silk is one denier so the higher the figure, the stronger the fibre.
Available in black, dark khaki (a camel coloured canvas pictured), Auburn Linen (pictured in the article header), and Gray/Navy, this $199.95 backpack is made of heavy duty 900D triple-coated external panels, and durable 500D blended weave polyester (plush fleece) inside.
Its dimensions are 520 x 343 x 140 mm and the volume is 27 litres - that is cavernous.
I particularly like the dual, full-size compartments – the front one has lots of smaller storage spaces and the rear has room for the notebook and quite a lot of paperwork or clothing – it is wide enough for a pair of shoes. It has three front horizontal pockets for general storage.
It was a very comfortable 1kg to use, with well-ventilated air mesh straps and back padding. It does not have water bottle pouches or a sternum strap so it is more for city use rather than long outdoor hikes.
City Compact Backpack for up to 15" laptops
Available in dark khaki ($149.95), only it's essentially the same as the larger backpack above but for a notebook up to 15".
Its dimensions are 483 x 356 x 121 mm, it weighs 775g and has a 20-litre capacity. It has the features of the bigger backpack except that it has only two horizontal zip pockets on the front.
City Brief [case] for MacBook (13”) – No web link (also available for 15” MacBook Pro)
Its dimensions are 360 x 260 x 50mm and it weighs 400g, plus a very substantial 150g removable shoulder strap. It costs $99.95.
Inside is a bumper that runs around all sides for protection and two, front, half-width horizontal zips and 75% depth pockets for accessories. It will accommodate a Surface Book or Pro 3/4 easily.
I found the shoulder strap particularly comfortable, and the shoulder pad was removable.
While not reviewed, there are a range of 11", 13" and 15” sleeves in navy or black as well
ICON Sleeve (not part of the City range)
A sleeve is something to slip into – it needs to be furry on the inside and durable on the outside. Incase make the Icon range in sizes including iPad mini and standard, MacBook Air (11”), MacBook 12, and MacBook (13”) and MacBook Pro (15”). These are a little more tailored to the iPad/Mac so if you intend to use it for something different first check in the store.
It has a shock absorbing Tensaerlite bumper all around the sides, top and bottom. The exterior is 90% neoprene (wetsuit). Internally is it faux-fur lined (90% polyester). It secures via a full-width magnetic clip. The 13” model is $89.95.
While I have seen these in some major retailers stores, Rushfaster has them online and appears to offer free shipping in Australia.
Would I buy them? Of course, they are well made, quality is commensurate with the price, and the dark khaki (as tested) is much more attractive than the photos do it justice.
Incase also make a range of accessories, hard cases, and camera lens cases.
I have to say that I have been a long-term user of Sydney-based STM bags, so I can only compare Incase with these products. These are every bit as good at similar prices, and the ranges are almost entirely different in style, so it is good to have a choice.