Review: InCase Heathered Backpack is a classy carryall
Of all the words you can use to describe a backpack (rugged, expansive, sturdy), rarely does one get to use the term “classy”—but the first thing I thought of when I saw InCase’s Heathered Backpack was: “That is a classy looking bag.” Made from spun fibers, and featuring a simple yet sophisticated design, the InCase Heathered Backpack is both highly functional as well as highly stylish.
The Heathered Backpack features a single vertical zipper along the front face of the bag to hold smaller items—a detail you can find reproduced across several of InCase’s models—as well as two large compartments and another smaller pouch nestled between the them, on the top of the bag. Both of the smaller compartments are lined with some of the softest material I’ve ever felt; I actually made several TechHive editors put their hands in the pockets to feel how soft they were and reactions ranged from “Oooh, that’s nice,” to “I want a blanket made of that. Right. Now.”
In addition to the super convenient organizer pockets, the Heathered Backpack has two large, main compartments: One that has a quilted pocket to hold laptops up to 17 inches, and one the has a variety of smaller pockets and pouches. The laptop compartment has two sleeves to hold electronics; one that is more heavily padded and designed for laptops, and one that is slightly less thick and intended for tablets. I felt comfortable putting my ultrabook in the padded sleeve without additional protection and as it is only 13 inches, there was plenty of room to tuck cables and cords alongside it.
The other compartment features a few thin slots for pens and seven pouches of various sizes; these were good for holding various small items like business cards, cell phone chargers, mints or gum, and USB keys. However, one on my favorite features of the bag is one that is not readily apparent: One of the breathable mesh panels on the back has an inconspicuous zipper to a hidden pocket; a nice surprise to discover and surprisingly useful. I actually kept it partially unzipped so I could reach behind my back and slide my hand in to grab my bus pass which worked out quite nicely.
I also really liked the padded mesh shoulder straps which were very cushy and comfortable to wear. There’s a bit of padding on the bottom of the bag, so your items will be somewhat cushioned when you set the bag down, and I noticed when it rained that the heathered material was somewhat water resistant—although as InCase doesn’t claim the bag to be water resistant, I wouldn’t put that to the test too thoroughly. The backpack is lightweight when empty and did a decent job of distributing weight when I packed it with my things.
For all my day-to-day items, the Heathered Backpack did a stellar job: I had no issue when carrying around my ultrabook, several Windows Phone 8 handsets for testing, notebooks, magazines, various cables and cords, and my oversized wallet. However, the Heathered Backpack’s streamlined shape doesn’t allow it to expand as much as some bags can so it didn’t work quite as well for odder shaped items like Tupperwear.
Although it’s a little on the pricey side, the Heathered Backpack is a well thought out bag that is more than capable of hauling daily items with style. It’s also a popular bag—I actually ran into someone at a produce market who was also rocking the Heathered Backapck and she said it was a great bag. However, if you’re a gamer, a photographer, or a college student, you might want something with a higher carrying capacity.