Bottom line: This lightweight and appealing laptop backpack is made from recycled ocean plastic waste.
Light and comfortable to wear
Durable, aesthetically pleasing fabric
Made from recycled plastic
Padded laptop compartment
Exterior bottle pocket
Not for large loads
No separate iPad compartment
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Lightweight, durable, and comfortable to wear, this Incase Commuter Backpack is a laptop backpack made from 100% recycled plastic BIONIC® FLX ripstop material. Each backpack is equivalent to 26 plastic water bottles recovered from the sea. The sturdy fabric looks and feels like high-quality nylon.
This 16-liter backpack definitely looks like it's on the smaller side, but it holds up to a 16-inch MacBook Pro in its lightly padded laptop compartment. The bag measures 19-by-11-by-4.5 inches and has three small slide pockets and three pencil pockets inside. On the outside, you'll find a bottle/umbrella pocket that lies flat when not in use due to a magnetic closure. Two adjustable back straps and a sturdy handle on top give you multiple ways to carry it.
Incase Commuter Backpack: Price and availability
The Incase Commuter Backpack with BIONIC® is available on Amazon as well as Incase's website. There are several colorways available: Ocean Green, Steel Gray, Baltic Sea (as seen in my photos), and Sand. The price is $100 on both websites.
Incase Commuter Backpack: What's good
This is likely to be my new favorite backpack for quick trips and light loads. The bag is slim and small and will easily fit under the seat in front of me on airplanes. It's a great bag for commuters and people who like to travel light. The padded pocket inside is perfect for any MacBook up to the largest MacBook Pro, or even an iPad. You might even be able to put both in the pocket together; I can easily do so with my 13-inch MacBook Pro and 11-inch iPad Pro in a case. The bottom of the backpack is padded too; you might be surprised to find that some laptop backpacks actually lack that feature.
In addition to the laptop sleeve, I like that there are other small compartments for pencils and other small items so they don't get lost in the bottom of the bag. My favorite compartment is the water bottle/umbrella pocket on the side (boy, how guilty would you feel putting a disposable plastic bottle in there?)
I love that Incase is doing something to help the environment in some way, by making this line of bags from BIONIC® yarn. Each backpack is the equivalent of 26 plastic water bottles recovered from marine and coastal environments. You might expect it to feel rough, or weird, but it doesn't. The bag looks and feels like high-quality nylon.
Incase Commuter Backpack: What's not good
Everything about the Incase Commuter Backpack is light, thin, and streamlined. So, there are not as many pockets as some other laptop bags. I'd prefer to have separate padded MacBook and iPad compartments where possible, and this bag doesn't have them. There's just one padded section for your MacBook or your iPad, or possibly both.
There is no horizontal strap on the back for sliding the bag onto a rolling suitcase. In practice, this doesn't matter too much, since you can just turn the backpack sideways and slide it onto your suitcase using the back straps.
This is pretty nitpicky, but the bag's opening is asymmetrical. The zipper goes down farther on the side that doesn't have a water bottle compartment. Finally, the price will certainly give some people pause. There are cheaper backpacks on the market that serve the same kind of function.
Incase Commuter Backpack: Competition
The Bellroy Classic Backpack is a streamlined, similarly-sized backpack I love. It's also lightweight and comfortable to wear for long periods of time. The Bellroy backpack has an iPad pocket in addition to the MacBook pocket, but it lacks a spot for your water bottle.
Looking for something just a bit bigger? I love the mid-sized OGIO PACE 20 Backpack. It's a bit bigger and holds more than the Incase Commuter Backpack. It has tons of organizational pockets, padded compartments for both MacBook and iPad, and two exterior water bottle/umbrella pockets.
If cheap is what you want, check out the Matein Travel Laptop Backpack. It has lots of compartments and a strap on the back to slide onto your rolling suitcase. You can choose from a bunch of different colors. It even has an external USB port so you can easily charge your iPhone on the go.
Incase Commuter Backpack: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if ...
- You want a lightweight, comfortable, and functional laptop backpack
- You're into environmental causes
- You need to carry a small amount of stuff in an organized fashion
You shouldn't buy this if...
- You need a larger backpack with more pockets
- You prefer leather or other materials
- You're on a tight budget
This is a great earth-friendly organizational laptop backpack for light loads. Perhaps better for commuters than for air travelers, this bag lacks a second compartment for the iPad and a strap on the back to attach to carry-on luggage. If you're on a tight budget, or you need a larger bag, or you prefer leather and the like, this isn't the bag for you.
The Incase Commuter Backpack with BIONIC® is a great pick for people who care about the planet, as it's made with the equivalent of 26 recycled plastic water bottles. The smaller form factor and lightweight design make it perfect for daily use. Your MacBook or iPad (maybe both if you don't mind them sharing) will be snugly protected inside the special padded compartment. Six other small interior pockets will hold your small items separate from the main compartment. Carry your umbrella or a bottle in the exterior side pocket, which lays flat when not in use thanks to magnets.
Bottom line: Made from recycled plastic, this light and sturdy backpack is perfect for everyday use.