Bag Week Review: Incase Alloy Messenger Bag

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What is it?
So you’ve already heard about the Incase Alloy Series Compact Backpack, and perhaps you felt that the style was super slick but you tend to prefer messenger bags over backpacks. Well, no worries. Incase has a space pack for every need, including the Alloy Messenger Bag. It’s got the same silvery metallic finish, and fits just as much of your junk, but can be tossed over one shoulder instead of two.

As far as style is concerned, the bag will certainly attract people with very specific tastes. That silver metallic finish certainly isn’t for everyone, so if you prefer a more weathered or classic look, this may not be the bag for you. Then again, its construction is super lightweight, making it easier to pack this thing full of goodies. In fact, since it’s a messenger bag instead of a backpack the material is much less rigid to where you can probably fit a few awkward shapes in there and still have no problem.

The Incase Alloy Messenger Bag

Type: Messenger Bag
Dimensions: Fits up to a 15-inch MacBook Pro
Pockets: Large main compartment, laptop sleeve, iPad/journal sleeve, large zippered pocket for miscellaneous tidbits under the flap, zippered faux fur-lined exterior pocket
Features: Nylon construction, dual Velcro and buckle clasps, faux fur-lined laptop sleeve, breathable mesh shoulder strap pad, padded top-loading handle
MSRP: $99.95
Product Page


The Alloy Messenger Bag is one of the most comfortable shoulder bags I’ve used all week. No matter how much junk I packed in there, it was still comfortable to carry around all day long. A huge amount of credit has to go to the breathable mesh shoulder strap pad, which is way more comfortable than the shoulder pad on the Andy Warhol Shoulder Bag.

Protection, on the other hand, became a bit of a concern. My laptop, cuddled comfortably in the faux fur-lined laptop sleeve had no issues. My camera, on the other hand, which was sitting in the roomy main compartment, hit the ground with a hard thud when I put down the bag. The main compartment doesn’t have any extra padding or cushion, so anything that goes in there need not be easily breakable. Otherwise, you’ll have a mess on your hands.

The snap buckles that hold the bag closed are protected with some soft touch plastic, which seems like a tiny unimportant detail but it could actually prove quite useful. Those plastic buckles break all the time, and placed at the bottom of the bag they’re way more susceptible to harm. Any extra protection that can be offered to those buckles is much appreciated.

The bag offers quite a bit of space, as I’ve already said, but I was disappointed not to see a rear magazine sleeve. I find that type of easy access to paperwork and the like pretty useful on messenger bags. The front zippered pocket, however, is super accessible and is a great place to store an iPod or iPhone thanks to that protective faux fur lining.

Who is it for?
The Incase Alloy Messenger bag is for the reader who wished that Incase’s Alloy Backpack came in a messenger-style. Also, anyone who digs all this silver, anyone who needs a lot of room but not necessarily high-end protection, anyone who can’t stand an uncomfortable shoulder strap, and anyone who has a C-Note to burn.

Do I want it?
To be honest, I’m much more of a backpack person. But if I had to choose one of the messenger bags we reviewed this week, this one would certainly be in the running. I don’t like that anything sitting at the bottom of the main compartment is at risk of being broken, but I really appreciate the space and the level of comfort provided.

Check out the rest of Bag Week 2011 here.