Home Peripherals Just Incase – the Icon backpack with the works (review)

Just Incase – the Icon backpack with the works (review)

When you lead a hectic life, on and off planes, trains and automobiles, you want to protect your precious cargo – in this case, the Incase Icon backpack holds that Microsoft Surface Pro/Book right up to a 15” MacBook Pro.

In fact, the Incase Icon (US site) protects much more than that – there are padded pockets for a tablet and even the new 6.2” screen Samsung Galaxy S8+ fits the phone pocket.

To quote author Ray Bradbury, “It has more pockets than a magician” and seems to be related to Dr Who’s Tardis (bigger on the inside). It has a 36-litre capacity and its suitable for a daypack. At 48 x 33 x 30 cm, it fits within Qantas domestic cabin baggage rules of 115cm (45” linear) and weighs about 1kg, leaving 6kg for contents. There is no metal in its construction so it is fine for TSA Precheck baggage where your laptop/tablet can remain in the bag.

But what I really like is the thought that has gone into the design and the obvious care in its heavy-duty construction 840D (fibre mass – one strand of silk is one Dernier) “ballistic” (basket weaved and urethane coated) nylon fabric that resists moisture, cuts and snags, as well as the air channel moulded back panel and padded straps – this is a keeper.

How do you review a backpack? It is about:

  • Ease of use – having accessible and usable pockets. Answer – yes.
  • Zip quality – will they last? Answer – yes.
  • Stitching – are there multiple stitches wherever it can be stressed. Answer – yes.
  • Rigidity - will the laptop compartment protect against impact and drops. Answer – yes.
  • Comfort – chest straps, ease of adjustment, does the back of the pack get moist (sweaty).

Obviously the more you pay the more you get – all Icon products are built to a high standard.

Icon backpack open

Laptop protection

At the very back, sandwiched behind the airflow back panel, is a side zippered, padded 15.6” laptop pouch with faux fur. Immediately in front of that (sharing the padding) is a side zippered tablet pouch.

These will protect it from back height drops.

More pockets than a magician

The middle compartment has dual zippers (one for each side) so it can be opened to reveal the bulk of the storage space. This has a back zippered section and two pockets (one full depth) fits A4 folders) and the other (half depth fits an A5 diary.

At the top front is a top zippered, padded, faux fur lined phone pocket.

The next compartment also has two side zippers and a range of pockets for glasses, passports, pens, a lanyard for keys, and a surprising amount of depth for storage.

But wait there is more. On the front is a zippered compartment for quick access, also with internal pockets, and on the left side is at hip height are two zippered triangular pockets. Sorry they won’t take water bottles but one has a cable “hole”.

The following video demonstrates the flexibility.


I wore it for a full day while walking around the Blue Mountains replete with a Surface Book/charger, phone/charger, bomber jacket, poncho, two water bottles, and lots more. It weighed close to 7kg.

I wanted to test the breathability of the back panel that is moulded and has airflow ridges. After eight hours and 15 kms, I can say it was dry, comfortable and it placed no undue strain on my back or shoulders.

Price and availability

OK yes, I like it a lot – but also be aware that it is the biggest in the range and costs $299.95.

There is an Icon Slim (30 litre – $229.95) and Icon Lite (25 litre – $149.95) that may do the job.

Colours include bronze, navy, grey, Anthracite, Deep Red, Red, and Black. Note: Icon Lite pictured.

Icon lite colours

Australian online firm Rushfaster has most of the range as does Surf Stitch.


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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!