John Coe has been an everyday, four-season bike commuter in a four-season town for almost 20 years. He blogs, when he blogs, mostly about bikes and skis and stuff at rockychrysler.blogspot.com.
It’s a backpack. What else can you say? It stays on your back, doesn’t flop around. Puts all your needful things in one place and keeps them safe as you go from here to there. Doesn’t chafe. Doesn’t kill your shoulders. Has pockets both big and small.
It’s a backpack.
And, as backpacks go, the Incase Range Backpack fits the bill. But, there’s a bit more to the Range Backpack’s story. It’s not your everyday, run-of-the-mill, go-from-point-A-to-point-B pack.
It’s made with Mac people in mind, you see. And, as with all things that come to market geared toward appealing to the Mac crowd, the Incase Range Backpack’s something special. It has to be. Mac users are discerning. And so, like a Mac, and befitting every Mac user’s expectations, it’s obvious at first glance that, where the Range Backpack is concerned, design has taken a front seat.
The Range Backpack is a slick, unconventional-looking unit. All foam-green and made of straight lines and unexpected squarish corners. It was unquestioningly designed with the intent to carry your 15-inch Macbook Pro.
And once you pick it up and stick your hand into the downy internal marsupial-like pouch inside, which was made to caress your Mac’s machined billet shell as your pedal about, you’ll understand the simple truth of the matter: this is a Mac-user’s bag. It just is.
As with all things Mac-centric, the Range Backpack ain’t cheap, retailing for about $120.00 online. But, for your money you get a pretty cool bag.
In addition to the marsupial-mother pouch, the Range features super-easy-to-pull, almost buttery zippers (with lovely rubberized zipper pulls installed at the factory!), two small exterior side pockets, one larger-than-you-might-think front-side exterior lock-pocket, as well as a handy top pocket on the outside of the wide top-loading lid.
Top-load backpacks are handy and make for easy access, which, for commuters is a nice feature when you’re after your rain-gear or iPad in a hurry. Better yet, the Range has taken every precaution to ensure that your precious Mac will never see moisture by installing an effective internal waterproof cinch-baffle to keep the rain out no matter how nasty things get.
Sadly, when it’s not raining, this feature just gets in the way and can become a frustrating impediment when putting things into the back, and when taking them out, too. As it almost never rains where I live, I considered modding this feature (out) with a pair of scissors more than once. Might still. Drives me nuts.
The Range Backpack felt best riding a little higher on my back than most of the other packs I use for riding. This is not necessarily a negative. But, when the straps were left long and the pack was allowed to ride lower on my back, the bottom of it often caught on my belt and shifted out of position — especially when standing waiting for the light to change at an intersection. Again, not really a negative, but an odd thing worth mentioning. If the straps are kept shorter and snugger and the pack is worn higher up on the back this problem doesn’t occur. But it feels a little funky until you get used to it. Makes your shadow (and maybe you too) look a little odd.
Overall, the physical characteristics of the pack are, in general, rather stiff and inflexible, which probably aides its ability to carry a substantial load, like a 15-inch Mac, effortlessly and without wobbling around. The Range keeps its shape and stands up in the corner or on a chair nicely, no matter if it’s loaded or not. If you like a soft-sided bag that compresses into a smaller form factor when it’s not loaded, this bag may challenge your paradigm.
All in all, I was pleased with the Incase Range Backpack. It’s unconventional, stiff, and angular. But it does what it sets out to do: carry your gear, and especially your spendy Mac safely and with the requisite amount of style.