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Lifewire / William Harrison
Extremely durable heavy nylon
Keeps its shape, even when weighed down
Comfortable straps and padding, even for the broad-shouldered
Spacious interior, with a faux-fur lined pouch for more delicate items
Difficult to store thanks in part to never losing its shape
Won’t easily hold bulky items such as books
The Incase ICON backpack is a durable bag that takes all the punishment it receives, is comfortable for a wide variety of body types, and costs an incredibly high price.
Sized like a traditional bookbag, the InCase ICON backpack is built to receive punishment thanks to its durable nylon exterior and framed design that never sags or loses form, even when packed to the gills. The ICON has a pouch for every occasion and firmly protects your devices, all while fitting on every body type. It proved to be one of the most comfortable bags we tested, though the high price gives us pause.
The Incase ICON bag has plenty of durability in a form that doesn’t lose its shape after a few weeks. It’s lined with plenty of padding to provide a structure that other bags lack, meaning that the original shape maintains itself even when carrying the heaviest weight. The 840D nylon is tough and wipes clean easily while also providing a pleasing aesthetic. It’s also a bag you won’t have to worry about getting rained on thanks to its water resistance.
It proved to be one of the most comfortable bags we tested, though the high price gives us pause.
This structural rigidity does have a downside to portability since it makes the bag pretty bulky and harder to transport. However, that ability to hold its original shape is also what makes it a superior storage device.
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The ICON backpack holds a shocking amount of goods despite its relatively small size. Five exterior pockets, an interior zipper pocket, a 15-inch dedicated laptop panel, and two hip-area pockets all provide plenty of capacity. We’re especially a fan of the faux-fur lined pocket at the top near the main handle, which was large enough for our Samsung Galaxy S8 and other delicate devices.
The ICON backpack holds a shocking amount of goods despite its relatively small size.
One of the hip-area pockets also doubles as a power pocket, with a cable port that will allow you to place anything from an external battery to an MP3 player within easy, accessible reach. This pocket is especially great since you don’t have to take the bag off to reach it.
We usually have some trouble with most backpacks due to having large shoulders and a thick neck. That wasn’t the case with the ICON. The foam-padded sternum straps extend out in a way that never made us feel constrained. Likewise, the molded back panels was comfortable and provided for some ventilation to our back. That’s a great feature for travelers who might carry the bag around for six to seven hours a day.
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We’re glad to say that the ICON’s nylon exterior holds up better than the competition, and is also easy to clean when it gets dusty or dirty. Part of this protection comes from the bag being study enough to keep its form, but the inside panels also do a great job of properly protecting your devices We do wish the two main zippers on the outside of the bag could be tucked into a cover as to make them less noticeable, but it’s far from a deal breaker.
At an MSRP of $200, the ICON is a splurge if you’ve been used to buying cheap bags all your life. That said, it’s a high-quality product and we do think the ICON is worth the money if you want nothing but the best. Among the bags we reviewed, we couldn’t find one that perfectly matched the ICON in quality and features.
Among the bags we reviewed, we couldn’t find one that perfectly matched the ICON in quality and features.
Of the bags we’ve tested, only two come close to acting as a rival to the ICON: The Thule Paramount 24L Daypack and the Booq Cobra Squeeze Backpack. The more affordable Paramount is a larger, clunkier bag that has more internal space than the ICON, but we weren’t a fan of its plastic buckles and strange, rubbery bottom. However, the foam lining and blue interior of the Thule do a great job at protecting your stuff.
The Booq Cobra bag is closer in price to the Icon, with an MSRP of $195. The Cobra has a ton of features, including a unique barcode ID that can be used to reunite a user with their bag if it ever gets misplaced. It also is similar to the ICON in that its compact size hides a ton of storage space. However, the Cobra feels cheap in a way that such an expensive bag shouldn’t, and isn’t nearly as comfortable to wear.
A backpack worth its price tag
While the InCase ICON lacks the versatility of converting to different carry modes and costs a pretty penny, it makes up for that in sheer quality and durability. InCase has made a fantastic bag that takes the wear and tear of everyday carry while providing much-needed protection and internal space.