Short version Do you carry around a desktop replacement-sized laptop? Then step right up to the Incase Skate Messenger. You’ll have enough room for the laptop and quite possibly a silverback gorilla as well.
• Easily fits a 17-inch laptop
• She’s weather-resistant
• Laptop compartment is nice and padded
• Batman-esque utility/compartment belt (batarang not included)
• MSRP $219
• It’s giant (but in a good way)
• There’s plenty of little compartments all over the place to stash smaller items
• Beefy shoulder strap padding is quite comfortable
• You really need to be carrying a lot of stuff at all times for this to be worthwhile
• Not a fan of the shiny plastic interior, looks a little tacky (IMO)
• I haven’t bought a bag since 1998, do these things really cost $200+?
That last bullet point is true: I haven’t bought a bag since 7th grade, and even then my parents bought that for me. The bag I use today, some small Crumpler bag, was actually given to me two years ago by Peter Ha, king of TechLand. It fits my old MacBook just fine, and I can squeeze in a camera in there. In short, it works for my needs.
That’s the key when looking at the Incase Skate Messenger: if you have a need for a bag that’s able to hold up to a 17-inch laptop, as well as a whole bunch of other items, well, you’re looking at a fine bag. If you’re not the type who needs to be carrying all that equipment you can safely go with a smaller bag.
The bag I have here is black, so you’ll fit right in with the rest of the fashionistas in New York. Heaven forbid the people of New York have a bag that’s, I don’t know, blue or red.
It’s a large bag. I was able to stuff in there the follow items: an Adidas Jabulani, a pair of sneakers, an Xbox 360 controller, several issues of Edge magazine, an iPod touch, and a camcorder. Could I have fit more things? Looks like, but that would be bordering on silly.
So if I can fit all that nonsense in there, you can safely tote around a 17-inch MacBook Pro, a separate mouse and keyboard, and anything else you’d need to actually work. You could well stick a DSLR or camcorder in there, but serious photographers might want a dedicated camera bag. Again, I just tend to stick all my stuff in the same bag. Perhaps you’re not as reckless with your equipment as I am!
The main flap closes shut with velcro, but you can further secure that with additional clips.
About the only negative I can say is that there’s quite a few side compartments, so if you were to, say, put your headphones in one of them I can easily see you saying, “Oh man, which compartment did I put my stupid headphones in?”
Again, if you need a lot of bag this would do nicely—it’s basically like walking around with the Ferrari of bags. If you don’t need to bring enough equipment to knock out an elephant then Incase has plenty of smaller options.