REVIEWED: Incase DSLR Pro Pack

With room for a DSLR camera, four additional lenses and even a 15-inch laptop, this backpack is one for super-serious photographers – but only those without tripods

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TravGear has seen a lot of photography backpacks in recent months, but none as utterly comprehensive as the Incase DSLR Pro Pack. As a genre, they’re catching on, perhaps because landscape and night sky photography becoming more and more popular as DSLR cameras find their niche in the smartphone age.

Comprehensive design

Although the Incase DSLR Pro Pack is unique in being so completely comprehensive in terms of what it can store (a DSLR camera with a lens attached, at least for additional lenses, and a ton of accessories), it does adhere to two trends in this emerging genre of backpack.  Firstly, it takes a 15-inch laptop.  That’s become a trend despite the popularity of tablets. Secondly, the main compartment can only be open fully from behind the backpack straps themselves, which adds a useful layer of security.

The main event

Measuring 20″ x 12″ x 9″, this well-made 840D nylon construction bag’s main gig is a whopping compartment for storing a DSLR and lenses. TravGear puts its Canon 5D wearing a prime lens, a 24-70mm, a 70-200mm, and an additional compact camera – oh, and some Canon binoculars for good measure – and it all fitted really snugly. Heavy, yes, but it felt safe and secure, and as comfortable as travelling with all of that stuff possibly could. The front strap helps with that. Inside the cover of the back section are two zipped areas for SD cards and other accessories.

Front pockets

It’s the front section that gives this bag its non-photographic usefulness. There is a stuff pocket not only for a 15-inch laptop, but also for a tablet. In front of that is another area for stashing a phone and pens. Underneath is an impressively deep section for stuffing a jumper (or perhaps some clothes for an overnight stay). On the very front of the bag is a small soft pocket for sunglasses and a phone, and a map-sized pocket below that.

Tripod trouble

However, on the side are two straps that just about good enough for storing tripod, although they lack clips, which makes getting your tripod in and out of them needlessly cumbersome. It’s for this reason that we found travelling with a tripod bit too much for this bag. That’s something of an oversight. Lastly, on the other side is a lens pocket and an area for stashing a water bottle, though this lacks a little give – a stretchy mesh pocket would have been better…

No waterproof cover

Is there a better DSLR camera backpack than the Incase DSLR Pro Pack? For the semi-professional photographer, probably not, but it’s not quite the dream backpack we’d hoped for. For starters, there is no waterproof cover, which makes us slightly nervous if we are venturing into mountainous terrain with unpredictable weather –  and a ton of camera gear behind us.

Is it versatile enough?

We were also slightly disappointed about the customisability of the Velcro dividers in the main compartment. Although they  help create a snap environment for a plethora of lenses and cameras, we found it almost impossible to fashion that was half the camera gears and half or other gear – say,  for instance, some lunch or perhaps even clothes for an overnight stay.  without that kind of adaptability and versatility, we think that the Incase DSLR Pro Pack –  although very, very impressive –  is actually best thought of as a class-leading urban photography backpack.

Price as reviewed: US$149.95

Buy the Incase DSLR Pro Pack