Finding the right bag to hold various gadgets during travel can be like a search for the Holy Grail and while I’ve been pretty happy with the same backpack for the past 5 years, adding my Samsung NX30 camera and lenses to the mix presented a new sort of challenge that has been solved by the Incase DSLR Pro Pack from OutfitYours.com. The sleek, streamlined designed of the DSLR Pro Pack comes with a wealth of features that are perfect for a professional or hobbyist photographer who shoots with a DSLR or mirrorless camera with an interchangeable lens system, packs a laptop and/or a tablet for their excursions, and likes to evenly distribute weight across both shoulders when traveling.
This spring I put my Incase DSLR Pro Pack through the ringer, taking it on four different trips— a family trip to Los Angeles, work trips to San Francisco and Miami, and internationally to Haiti. Although the trips varied in length, I traveled with my 13” MacBook Pro, NX30, and 3 lenses including 18-200 mm, 30 mm, and the standard kit lens where I was able to test its durability, flexibility, and convenient features in a variety of different situations. I’m happy to say that the DSLR Pro Pack is my new must-have travel backpack.
Key features that I look for when shopping for any bag (whether backpack, purse, or tote) are compartments and organizational features that fit and protect the items I’m carrying. Compartments help keep my items organized for quick access and help ensure that everything has a place so I can quickly look to make sure that I haven’t left anything behind when on the road. Usually I have a hard time ordering backpacks online because it’s difficult to get a sense of interior pockets and space without seeing them in person but with a long list of organizational features, I knew I probably wouldn’t be disappointed.
The DSLR Pro Pack has the following compartments
- Zippered back panel for camera bodies and lenses
- Front padded notebook compartment for tech devices and other items
- Front zippered pocket
- Front slip pocket
- Side slip pocket with side zipper pocket
Zippered back panel for camera bodies and lenses
Laying your DSLR Pro Pack flat with the straps facing up, you can unzip a large back panel that opens like a book to reveal a 4” deep compartment with fully customizable dividers for your camera bodies and lenses. I love making compartments that are just the right size thanks to long and short inserts that make it easy to divide the vast space.
The camera body tends to go towards the top of the backpack so it can be easily grabbed through the top zipper compartment (called the secondary quick-access zipper to camera compartment by Incase) without having to unzip the entire back. Lenses tend to go on the sides with heavier stuff towards the bottom because the bag can get a bit top heavy.
To say that I’ve put a variety of things in the spacious back panel is an understatement. In addition to my Samsung NX30 and lenses, on various occasions it’s also held a blue netbook destined for Haiti and paper mache souvenirs on the way home, plush Blu from the Rio 2 premiere, assorted chargers and cables, noise canceling headphones (I have Soul SL300s) and even my MomAgenda planner. I’m finding that this has plenty of room for my camera and lens needs with space leftover.
Padded laptop compartment
The other main zipper compartment unzips two-thirds of the way to reveal easy access to a padded laptop compartment that fits up to 15″ MacBook Pro, and interior organizing pockets that include a slip pocket for a full size iPad, another smaller slip pocket, mesh pocket, and 3 spots for pens. With a laptop and tablet, there’s still plenty of room inside for other items like my leather jewelry portfolio (I never check my jewelry!), snacks, and a magazine or two.
I appreciate that the zipper on the laptop compartment provides easy access to the bottom of the bag since it is taller than others I’ve owned and can see how things would get easily lost.
Front Zipper and Slip Pocket
A 6” deep zippered pocket on the front is the perfect place to stash anything that you need fast access to. I’ve found it’s great place to stash my phone, wallet, pens, small bottle of medication, or Larabars. The slip pocket right below it is big enough to hold a paperback book and serves as a good place to shove paper boarding passes so they’re easy to find later.
When the DLSR Pro Pack is on your back, reach to your right and you’ll find a zippered pocket and a slip pocket. The zippered pocket can be another great place to stash your phone if you don’t want to have to take your backpack off to get to it of your car keys. While most backpacks have a space for a water bottle, the slip pocket is too wide and not quite deep enough to hold a water bottle without it falling out. Incase says that these pockets are designed to hold an iPhone or point and shoot cameras but I wish the slip pocket was a little more functional and could hold a water bottle instead. The other side features adjustable straps for securing a tripod.
To describe the Incase DLSR Pro Pack in one word, I’d say it’s sleek. Unlike other backpacks that feature front pockets that can be easily stuffed, elastic cord, or webbing, there is nothing on the front of the backpack that would cause it to get caught under the seat in front of you when flying. I also appreciate that it looks more like a regular backpack than one that holds camera equipment so it isn’t an easy target for thieves at first glance.
According to Incase, the DLSR Pro Pack features an adjustable sternum strap, fully padded shoulder straps, and a mesh back panel for improved breathability. The padded shoulder straps are well padded and comfortable and I’ve never felt that the back panel wasn’t padded enough. Both are adequate for hauling gear in the Pro Pack. Sorry to say I’ve never used the sternum strap when traveling. I did test it with a loaded pack for the purpose of this review and it seemed fine, not hitting in a strange place on my chest despite my 5’ 4” height.
What the Incase DSLR Pro Pack is Missing
Despite being comfortable, sleek, and having plenty of compartments, the DSLR Pro Pack is missing a couple small details that would make a big difference. I wish that it had a side pocket that would secure a water bottle. Water bottles don’t belong in main compartments with expensive electronics or camera gear.
While I’m wishing for things, I also wish it had a clip to hold keys somewhere in the padded laptop compartment by the smaller pockets. Right now I just zip my keys inside the side pocket that I suppose is a fine alternative.
Another annoyance is that the adjustable straps don’t quite stay put when taking the backpack on and off. It seems that the plastic part that the webbing slides through on each back strap doesn’t provide a firm enough grip to prevent it from sliding. Each time I take the backpack off one shoulder, the strap slides and I have to readjust it. I’ve also tried to tie the extra strap around to prevent it from sliding but it always comes untied.
Since this is my first Incase backpack, I can’t say whether this is normal or unusual. It’s not a dealbreaker but I do appreciate how this was never an issue with my previous backpack.. I suppose it’s just extra slippery but let me know if you have any suggestions!
Ordering from OutfitYours.com
Buying a backpack is something that I’ve rarely done online. I prefer to see the bag in person, getting to know the compartments and features to figure out if it’s right for me. This time I took a chance because between seeing the DSLR Pro Pack on the Incase site and the ability to ask questions with the helpful staff of OutfitYours.com via their live chat feature on their site, I had enough visuals and help to feel confident in my decision. Having ordered from OutfitYours.com before, I also knew that their great Shop Fearlessly return policy would allow me to return my Pro Pack for a full refund if I wasn’t 100% satisfied.
The little features that I wish the Incase DSLR Pro Pack had don’t deter me from using it. The organizational features, capacity, and ability to customize the dividers in the zippered back panel makes this one of the best bags to transport your DSLR or mirrorless camera systems during travel.
The Incase DSLR ProPack is available from OutfitYours.com for $149.95. OutfitYours.com also sells many other DSLR/mirrorless camera bags on their site and with their Shop Fearlessly policy, you can’t go wrong ordering one and trying it out.
Enter to win a $50 gift certificate to OutfitYours.com to put towards an Incase DSLR Pro Pack of your own or any other tech accessory for your devices. Enter to win by using the Rafflecopter form below.
I received a gift certificate from OutfitYours.com to help defray the cost of the Incase DSLR Pro Pack but personally paid for the rest and have ordered other items from them in the past. All opinions are my own and based on my experience. Images courtesy of Incase.