Bag Week Review: The Incase Alloy Series Compact Backpack

What is it?
Happy Bag Week everyone, and please kindly meet the Incase Alloy Series Compact Backpack. I’ve been reviewing this bag for a while now, and I have to say I much prefer it to anything I actually own. I’ll be sad to see it go. However, it happens to look like some sort of space pack you’d see in Battlestar Galactica with its metallic finish, so it’s definitely a love-it-or-hate-it design.

Aside from the silver metallic finish (that you can’t help but notice), the backpack itself is pretty plain with no extra bells or whistles. Size-wise it was everything I could ask for. Compact enough to be comfortable and look like it actually fits my body, but big enough to fit most everything I’d need for a day on the job or at play. It fits up to a 15″ MacBook Pro, and still leaves plenty of extra space for an iPad, camera, change of clothes, or whatever else it is you tote around day to day.

Made of nylon, the Compact Backpack (it doesn’t have a cool name like the Yalta) is super light, which made it that much easier to pack it full of gadgets. Thanks to breathable mesh padding along the shoulder straps, back, and top-loading handle, this Alloy series pack was super comfortable for all-day use.

The Incase Alloy Series Compact Backpack

Type: Backpack
Dimensions: External – 18.5″ x 11.75″ x 4.3″ / Laptop compartment size – 14.8″ x 10″ x 1.8″
Pockets: Laptop sleeve, secondary sleeve, internal pouch, front pocket, wallet-sized “hip” pocket
Features: Dedicated faux-fur lined iPod pocket, nylon construction, metallic lining
MSRP: $99.95
Product Page

Accessibility, on the other hand, wasn’t such a breeze. To start, the Compact Backpack has more than enough pockets, one of which is severely misplaced. Incase included a dedicated iPhone/iPod pocket square in the middle of the top of the backpack. The problem is that an iPod or iPhone is something you get out and use frequently in your travels, but you literally have to take the backpack off and hold it in front of you to effectively get anything out of that pocket. Another case of the bright idea gone awry.

A bevy of other pockets await you with the Alloy Compact Backpack, including a faux fur-lined laptop sleeve, a secondary iPad/journal sleeve, that dedicated (poorly placed) iPod pocket, a wallet-sized pocket on the lower portion of the left strap, a small pocket on the front, and an internal pouch for pens and such. In fact, only one pocket is missing, though it may not be missed by everyone. I tend to walk or take the train everywhere (which means no cup holders), which means I really appreciate a water bottle pocket. Granted, adding one would probably invalidate the whole “Compact” bit, but it was still dearly missed.

Who is it for?
Anyone who wishes they were in any syfy series set in space. Anyone looking for a light, spacious primary bag that doesn’t necessarily go with everything (but you can’t see it when you’re wearing it so who cares, right?). Anyone who puts comfort and durability before style, or conversely anyone who has very, um, unique style.

Do I want it?
The tell-tale question, no doubt, and one which I don’t have a very clear answer to. The truth is I use this bag a lot, and get compliments on it all the time. It does what I need it to (save for store my bottled water), and is pretty comfortable, too. But that one pocket up top (for your never-to-be-accessed iPod) really irks me. I’d say 85 percent of me wants it, and the other 15 percent thinks I can do better.