A Review of Incase’s City Backpack: An Everyday Bag for the Average Commuter

I’ve long been a fan of Incase’s bags. As someone who carries a bit too much tech daily, they are one brand I know will give me enough pockets and storage space for all of my things. After reviewing the small, more compact version back in 2016, I wanted to see how the full-sized Incase City bag would measure up.

Made of the same weaved polyester and durable nylon, Incase’s City Backpack is all I love from the compact version, but with more room for virtually everything you need, from your water bottle, books, MacBook and more. I traveled recently on vacation with my Incase City backpack as my carry-on bag (thanks to Southwest’s free checked bags), so it’s roomy interior made for the perfect companion for toting all of the items that I had with me, including an extra shirt, my 15-inch MacBook Pro, 11-inch iPad Pro, My Master & Dynamic MW60’s, My PowerBeats Pro and more.

It’s a super sleek design bag that’s color way received a lot of positive compliments from some of my fashion forward co-workers. Even though the bag itself can fit up to a 17-inch MacBook Pro, my 15-inch MacBook Pro fit with ease, even inside of it’s own Incase MacBook Pro Sleeve. Now I’m sure you’re asking why I needed a laptop sleeve inside of a backpack, but let me explain.

While the bag is durable and will protect your items, one thing that I noticed is that the back of the bag itself while protected, the tops and side of the bag feel a bit flimsy in terms of protection. For example, if you were to sit the City standing up in a coffee shop or in a chair at the airport, and it falls flat, that might fair well as the front of the bag has plenty of padding to compliment the extra padding of the back spine of the bag. But there’s a lot to be desired if the bag were to fall on its side, which seem to be a slight oversight for Incase in terms of protection. Aside from that notion, the bag does give you ample padding in other compartments.

One of those compartments happens to be at the front of the bag. Essentially a three-part setup, the City features a top loading section complete with a well-designed faux fur lining for things such as sunglasses or your smartphone.

The middle compartment that is great for storing documents, and items like notepads and if you can manage maybe a snack or two for a flight.

Finally at the bottom is what I consider to be the place you’d put your mints, and keys. While there’s ample space there for more, that’s the one perfect spot for items you’ll readily need that if you tuck the zipper in a bit, doesn’t even appear to be a pocket at all since it’s so well hidden.

In terms of the inside of the bag, there are two zippered sections that can work for various combinations. The main compartment is more so for your laptop and tablet, fitting up to a 17-inch model laptop, with a separate compartment for the iPad, or a mouse if you deem fit. I spoke a bit on the sides of this bag/compartment earlier, but it’s worth mentioning that Incase states there’s 360-degree protection here. I just feel as though it could’ve been better done on the sides of the unit.

The middle compartment is where I tend to store my newly released Incase Organizer bag which houses my cables, dongles and other smaller items I carry with me daily (because you can never be too sure). There’s internal compartments that are great for items like your bluetooth headphones, your smartphone and more.

Since there’s no physical water bottle compartment though, I’ve chose to put my HydroFlask in this spot along side the new Incase organizer as it’s separate from my laptop, and there’s enough of a barrier between it and the laptop compartment that if the bag somehow falls or drops, the water bottle won’t flood into the laptop compartment. I’d still like to see Incase add a water bottle compartment to the side of their City and ICON series bags.

Since we are speaking about the sides of the bag, similar to the ICON bags, there’s two zippered pockets, one with a hole that feeds your cable through so you can charge your devices with a battery pack on the go. This for me has come in handy when I’m on the go and need a quick charge and don’t want to be bothered with diggging through the bag itself for a wall charger. But rather than having this pocket and a separate pocket that is only big enough to fit small items like loose change or a set of keys (which already has a pocket for this), I would say to maybe do away with that second side pocket and instead give users a water bottle option there.

Overall though, the Incase CITY bag is a step up from its Compact cousin, and it’s a bit more streamlined (with better colors) than the ICON series, that doesn’t scream “I’ve got hundred dollars of tech in here”. It’s a modest bag, with a modest price, that won’t fail you, can carry damn-near anything you need, just don’t over-do it as I do with all of the items I carry.

A great commuter bag, or everyday carry option, you can find out more information about the Incase CITY Bag by heading over to Incase today.

Source: Manufacturer supplied Review Unit

What I Like: Durable Bag with ample pockets and compartments

What Needs Improvement: A Water Bottle compartment

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About the Author

Greg Alston
Diehard Apple fanboy, and lover of all things tech. Born and raised in Washington, DC, Greg enjoys spending time with his girlfriend, family and friends, live sporting events, good bourbon, Tetris, and pizza. In that order.