As a freelance photographer, my office while on assignment is, more often than not, whatever I can carry on my back. Everything from my multiple pieces of DSLR camera gear and laptop, plus its accessories, must fit in a bag (or two) to be ready to whip out at a moment’s notice. This presents a constant dilemma of figuring out the most efficient, yet safe, way to carry and store very expensive electronics while on the go. At this point, there are a myriad of DSLR laptop bags out there, but I’ll show you why the Incase DSLR Pro Pack is my new favorite travel companion.
Lightweight and sturdy
The first thing you’ll notice about this bag is that even when it’s empty, it’s super light. Weighing in at 2.7 lbs (1.22 kg), this bag won’t weigh you down while on the go. It’s also made of sturdy 840D nylon material that will protect your gear from the elements.
Thick padding for lots of gear
First, let’s take a look at the most important part of this bag: where it stores your camera gear! Out of the box, this bag comes preconfigured with soft, thick, padded dividers (also fully adjustable). Don’t tend to carry that much camera gear? You could likely come up with a configuration that can hold other things, like clothes or shoes if you’re traveling. You will likely need to customize this grid of padding to yourr own liking depending on how much gear you’re looking to carry.
On a typical freelance photography assignment, I’ll bring loads of gear, and I was impressed with how it all fit into the backpack. My kit below includes the following:
- (1) Canon 6D DSLR with 100mm f/2.8 macro lens attached
- (1) Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 wide-angle lens
- (1) Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 telephoto zoom lens
- (1) Canon 24mm f/2.8 prime lens
- (1) Canon 50mm f/1.8 prime lens
- (2) Canon 580 EXII flashes
- A bag of accessories including: remote release cable, extra batteries, and remote flash triggers
Unique design for easy access to gear
Perhaps the best feature of the Incase DSLR Pro Pack bag is the unique way it stores your gear. Instead of opening from the outside, you actually unzip the camera compartment from the bag’s backside. This can make it tough to access all of your gear at once, but here’s the genius part – the bag’s design allows you to easily unzip the top of the camera section and take out a couple pieces of gear that are stored closer to the top. In the demo photo below, you can see how it works.
Speaking of the back of the bag, check out that thick, mesh material lining the back and straps. They feel as comfy as they look, keeping your back and shoulders protected as you haul your gear around.
Side pocket for tripod or monopod attachment
If you travel with larger items such as a tripod, monopod or umbrella, you could also tack that on to this bag with the buckles, and extra pocket located on the right-hand exterior of the bag.
Extra room up front for more office accessories
Since the bag’s backside provides primary access to photo gear, that means the front pockets provide very easy access to the rest of the accessories you choose to pack. In this case, that could include a laptop (up to the size of a 15″ MacBook Pro), a notebook, pocket-sized point and shoot camera, and important documents like your passport.
Two things I wish were included
Ergonomics are a top feature to look out for when selecting a new backpack. While this backpack is ergonomic in many ways, including the mesh back padding and a secure chest strap, I wish there were also waist straps. This would make me feel a bit more comfortable if I were hauling my full camera and laptop kit around on my back.
Another feature I’d like to see (especially as a Seattle resident) is the inclusion of a rain jacket. While I have no doubt that the bag’s durable 840D nylon would protect my gear from a light sprinkling, I’m not so confident about it handling a downpour very well.
Overall a high rating for this bag. Have you tried this one or any other camera/laptop backpacks out? Please share your favorite in the comments below.