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The Range Backpack from Incase: Made with Mac people in mind

by John Coe

Chrysler Rocky logoJohn Coe has been an everyday, four-season bike commuter in a four-season town for almost 20 years. He blogs, when he blogs, mostly about bikes and skis and stuff at rockychrysler.blogspot.com.


It’s a backpack. What else can you say? It stays on your back, doesn’t flop around. Puts all your needful things in one place and keeps them safe as you go from here to there. Doesn’t chafe. Doesn’t kill your shoulders. Has pockets both big and small.

It’s a backpack.

Incase Range Backpack

Photo: Incase

And, as backpacks go, the Incase Range Backpack fits the bill. But, there’s a bit more to the Range Backpack’s story. It’s not your everyday, run-of-the-mill, go-from-point-A-to-point-B pack.

It’s made with Mac people in mind, you see. And, as with all things that come to market geared toward appealing to the Mac crowd, the Incase Range Backpack’s something special. It has to be. Mac users are discerning. And so, like a Mac, and befitting every Mac user’s expectations, it’s obvious at first glance that, where the Range Backpack is concerned, design has taken a front seat.

The Range Backpack is a slick, unconventional-looking unit. All foam-green and made of straight lines and unexpected squarish corners. It was unquestioningly designed with the intent to carry your 15-inch Macbook Pro.

Incase Range Backpack Interior

Downy Internal Marsupial-like Pouch

And once you pick it up and stick your hand into the downy internal marsupial-like pouch inside, which was made to caress your Mac’s machined billet shell as your pedal about, you’ll understand the simple truth of the matter: this is a Mac-user’s bag. It just is.

As with all things Mac-centric, the Range Backpack ain’t cheap, retailing for about $120.00 online. But, for your money you get a pretty cool bag.

In addition to the marsupial-mother pouch, the Range features super-easy-to-pull, almost buttery zippers (with lovely rubberized zipper pulls installed at the factory!), two small exterior side pockets, one larger-than-you-might-think front-side exterior lock-pocket, as well as a handy top pocket on the outside of the wide top-loading lid.

Top-load backpacks are handy and make for easy access, which, for commuters is a nice feature when you’re after your rain-gear or iPad in a hurry. Better yet, the Range has taken every precaution to ensure that your precious Mac will never see moisture by installing an effective internal waterproof cinch-baffle to keep the rain out no matter how nasty things get.

Incase Range Backpack Waterproof Liner

Waterproof Liner

Sadly, when it’s not raining, this feature just gets in the way and can become a frustrating impediment when putting things into the back, and when taking them out, too. As it almost never rains where I live, I considered modding this feature (out) with a pair of scissors more than once. Might still. Drives me nuts.

Incase Range Backpack Straps

The Range Backpack felt best riding a little higher on my back than most of the other packs I use for riding. This is not necessarily a negative. But, when the straps were left long and the pack was allowed to ride lower on my back, the bottom of it often caught on my belt and shifted out of position — especially when standing waiting for the light to change at an intersection. Again, not really a negative, but an odd thing worth mentioning. If the straps are kept shorter and snugger and the pack is worn higher up on the back this problem doesn’t occur. But it feels a little funky until you get used to it. Makes your shadow (and maybe you too) look a little odd.

Incase Range Backpack

Overall, the physical characteristics of the pack are, in general, rather stiff and inflexible, which probably aides its ability to carry a substantial load, like a 15-inch Mac, effortlessly and without wobbling around. The Range keeps its shape and stands up in the corner or on a chair nicely, no matter if it’s loaded or not. If you like a soft-sided bag that compresses into a smaller form factor when it’s not loaded, this bag may challenge your paradigm.

All in all, I was pleased with the Incase Range Backpack. It’s unconventional, stiff, and angular. But it does what it sets out to do: carry your gear, and especially your spendy Mac safely and with the requisite amount of style.


Update (6/15/12):

Incase Range Backpack Hang Tag

So you don't think that John Coe is just a Mac Fanboy making things up, here is the hang tag.

 
Burley nomad 229

11 Responses to “The Range Backpack from Incase: Made with Mac people in mind”

  1. Bharat Singh says:

    My only accessory with my 2011 macbook pro has been an incase sleeve sling. If incase has maintained its build standards you will be hard pressed to find a product that complement a mac this well. Usable, washable / tough (dropped my mac twice, once from a rear rack – no dings no scrapes) and yet stylish even on a daily commute. I double it inside any normal backpack on a wet / snowy commute.
    Highly recommended!
    P.S. I am in no way related to Incase, just love their bags.

  2. BSR says:

    Gah! Obviously you think you are special because you are “discerning” and use a “spendy” Mac.

    I almost couldn’t read the review of the backpack through the sticky layer of Mac fan-boy all over it.

    Let’s clear something up — there are plenty of discerning Windows users out there, just as there are plenty of clueless Mac users out there. And the reverse is true. Lots of people buy whatever they hear is the best without any idea if it meets their needs or not.

    I repair both Mac and PC platforms, and the guts are the same. Apple doesn’t make the hard drives, processors, screens, optical drives etc.. inside their laptops — same as the Windows crowd. I find them nicely designed — same as a lot of Windows laptops (although usually a bit harder to disassemble).

    The main difference is the OS, and it’s a personal choice. I have advised some people to get Macs and steered others towards Windows simply because it met their needs better. Both are valid choices and there is no right or wrong for everyone.

    So let’s drop the pretentious attitude and evaluate the backpack — unless you really think putting a Windows laptop inside would constitute some sort of defilement… Then there’s no hope for you!

  3. Carl says:

    I know there are definitely two schools of thought on bike commuting: crap on your back, and crap hanging from your bike. I personally can’t stand to have the weight (and heat) on my back. I’m looking at a folding bike though, where panniers are less practical, and might have to find a different bag to accommodate it. I’d be happier if the bag had some padding to separate itself from my back, even a little, like many Camelbak bags do, and some more external pockets for minipumps and such. But the rainpouch is absolutely critical for me . . . when you say “it almost never rains where I live,” I don’t understand your words. Nice review, I’ll have to give this a look.

  4. Tom Bowden says:

    I’m glad we have moved past the tired old helmet/no helmet debate, and the conservative/liberal schism so that we can begin to unravel the ultimate philosophical question – who is smarter MAC or Windows Bike Commuters?

  5. Johncoe says:

    BSR, it says “made for 15″ Macbook” (and none other) on the hangcard and in their online product description. It was, therefore, crafted with this as its manufacturer’s intent. Like it or not, the product was reviewed per its intent.

  6. John M. Hammer says:

    I’ve heard it’s Romulans who are smarter and better-looking.

  7. BSR says:

    Sorry — wasn’t aware of the hang-tag attitude, and (having dumped Facebook & Twitter years ago) wasn’t aware of today’s Apple Love/Hate theme. I took the review at face value and probably shouldn’t have!

  8. BluesCat says:

    In the Great Debate of Windows vs. Mac, as a fellow with over three decades of IT experience, I can state — unequivocally, and you can take this to the bank — that there is absolutely NO contest: It is much, MUCH better to help a cute gal in Marketing with her Mac than it is to deal with a grizzled old guy from Engineering and his Windows CAD workstation.

    Oh, and I agree with Carl: much better to put the load on the bike rather than your back, but if all you have is a MacBook Air and an iPhone, and you’re not riding a recumbent, I guess a backpack works.

  9. JaimeRoberto says:

    Hey, don’t leave out the Ubuntu hippies.

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