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Lifewire / Zach Sweat
Waterproof and durable build
Secure and organized storage keeps items safe
Ideal for bike commuters
Design may look a bit unprofessional for some
Lacks a top handle for carrying by hand
The Range Messenger is ideal for those who commute via bike and don’t want to worry about their tech getting damaged by rain in the process.
We love Incase bags and so do many others. The brand has quickly become a reliable go-to for durable commuter bags. If you’re in the market for a new messenger bag, the Incase Range Messenger might be the perfect one for you due to its waterproof design and damage-resistant build. That said, it isn’t completely without its faults either. Read on to see what we liked and disliked about it.
The Range features a pretty minimal design like most of their other bags. With this straightforward design, there aren’t a whole lot of extras, but sometimes a no-frills bag is exactly what you want. The material on the outside uses a 1680D Ballistic Nylon with 600D poly non PVC, making it both extremely robust and waterproof. And when they say waterproof, they mean it—it’ll handle more than just light rain. This is a nice design feature and one that really distinguishes the messenger from competitors.
And when they say waterproof, they mean it—it’ll handle more than just light rain.
With a simple layout, the bag is great for most applications. On the front, you’ll find the flap overlaying two pockets, secured with two buckles and some seriously strong velcro (we often found the buckles were unnecessary). On the flap is also a tiny pocket for added storage. Behind this, you’ll find one large pocket divided into two with some organizers and pouches for smaller items or even books and slightly bigger things.
There’s a handy key fob in the pockets for those who want to store their keys, but still have quick access to them. At the sides, there are two pockets for water bottles, and no zippers or pouches on the back of the Range. The shoulder strap itself is extremely comfortable and features two pads and a cross-body strap.
Inside, the Range has one massive compartment with no dividers. It would’ve been nice to see a few more elements of organization added here, but that may not matter much to some. The laptop sleeve is found on the back wall of this compartment, secured by a large zipper. While this sleeve is lined with super soft fleece, it really doesn’t do too much to actually pad your tech from bumps.
Thanks to the 1680D Ballistic Nylon with 600D poly material, it is resistant to scratches, cuts, tears and fraying, while also being waterproof no matter the conditions.
This is perhaps the Range’s biggest downfall. We actually wouldn’t feel too confident using this for laptop storage unless you are very careful. It does, however, work very well for tablets or super-thin notebooks. One alternative is that thanks to the bag’s size, you could easily put a laptop and an accompanying sleeve in without issue (though that also means additional cost).
The Range is ideal for urban commuters, especially those who use bicycles. Carrying the bag around all day during our testing, we found it to be quite comfortable thanks to its well-padded strap and lightweight—just don’t overload it too much. For cycling, the bag is superb and fits well across your back during the ride. The waterproof material doesn’t breathe too well though, so your back will definitely get a little sweaty when either walking or cycling with it. Overall, the Range performs very well in regards to comfort.
The Range is ideal for urban commuters, especially those who use bicycles.
Durability is perhaps the Range’s best element. Thanks to the 1680D Ballistic Nylon with 600D poly material, it is resistant to scratches, cuts, tears and fraying, while also being waterproof no matter the conditions. While many similar messenger bags are only water-resistant or require an additional rain fly, Incase’s decision to make it waterproof is a really smart feature for commuters, especially cyclists who may not have the option to hide from the weather on their commute home. The straps, stitching, buckles, and zippers are all superb, and will last for many years to come, even if you’re harsh on your items.
The waterproof material doesn’t breathe too well though, so your back will definitely get a little sweaty when either walking or cycling with it.
The Range is quite modestly priced compared to the ever-increasing number of competitors in this space. At around $130 MSRP, but less on Amazon, it feels like a steal. You also save more by not needing a rain fly or bike strap, which are usually extra cost on top of your purchase. Thanks to this low price and extreme durability, Incase proves once again why they are a solid choice for people who want affordable, reliable bags.
Incase and Timbuk2 find themselves in constant competition these days. Both are great companies, but Incase is typically cheaper, so let’s take a look at how both fare stacked up against each other.
Timbuk2’s Command is a good alternative to the Range if you want a laptop messenger with some added perks for cycling. It’s roughly the same size, but also costs a bit more. Prices range from $75-$100, so it’s in the same range as Incase, though it does feel a bit more professional in design.
The biggest difference comes down to weather resistance and organization. The Command has much, much better organization and a better-protected laptop sleeve—something to consider if you like to lug lots of small accessories. The Range, however, will keep said gear better protected from the elements and can mean the difference in spending hundreds of dollars to replace or repair electronics.
You can find our list of the best laptop messenger bags out there right now to see even more great options that may fit your needs better.
A good, durable bag for bike commuters.
The Incase Range Messenger has a sturdy build, a good degree of comfort, and a reasonable price for its features. There is a lack of organization and slightly disappointing laptop sleeve, but if you’re a bike commuter who’s hard on their gear it’s a great option.
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