Review: The Incase DSLR Pro Pack

I love photo bags and I’ve used a ton. They all have their strengths and their weaknesses but I keep coming back to one in particular. The Incase DSLR Pro Pack definitely has shorcomings but overall, I’ve put it to the test over the past six months and traveled with it all over the world.

Take a look through the slideshow photos in the Gallery and check out my review below.

In general, I don’t buy into the whole camera tech nerd bag aesthetics. I like plain, sleek bags with no exterior frills or gaudy logos. Up to this point, I’ve avoided some of the bigger, more expensive packs for this stealthy beauty. The design of the Incase DSLR Pro Pack is so simple that it’s almost underwhelming when you first pick it up. But set it down on its bottom and utilize the easy-access top zipper and you begin to understand how simplicity is in this pack’s favor.

Then sit it on its front and open the back padding to expose the modular storage system. My general approach to traveling with photo gear has changed over the years. I went from bringing all my bodies and lenses with me each time I traveled, only to leave half of it untouched and a burdon. My general rule is simple here: if I think I need to carry more gear than what’s shown in this bag, I’ll never use it all.

I can fit my 5DMKii, 50mm L, 24-70mm L, 70-200mm L, with my Hasselblad and a 35mm rangefinder with enough room for film and film backs. At that point, the pack weighs a ton and is still incredibly comfortable. The hardware has exceeded my expectations. The zippers are solid and I’ve had this thing stuffed to the brim. Best of all, the bag’s body profile has yet to be compromised: it still has the same shape as it did when I got it over six months ago.

Which brings up my next point, the flaw(s). If you carry light / flash stands and tripods, this bag is not for you. I have a Manfrotto tripod that fits under the two side straps, only after a lot of finagling. The quick-release tripod hardware gets caught under them and it’s a hassle each time I have to strap it on. Open-release straps would handle this problem and I’ve considered putting them on myself. Oh and if you carry flash stands, you’re doing it by hand because there’s no where for them to go.

Another small issue I’ve had is with the outside pocket. Now, Incase does not claim this bag is water proof, or even water resistant (see below *) but I’ve ridden plenty in the rain with it and had no leakage. The giant pocket on the back did fill with water from time to time, until I cut a hole in the bottom for drainage. Ideally, a simple, stash sleeve in this area could be used for an extra light stand attachment (as used by many DSLR bag makers) but that’s missing the point with this bag. What’s the point of this bag then?

As the name implies, the “Pro Pack” is not really pro at all. It’s more of a weekend getaway pack. Sure it has all the necessary compartments, pockets and straps but the real estate is precious and like I said, you need to plan on what you’ll be using. On any given trip, I carry my 13″ Macbook Pro (it will fit a 15″ Macbook Pro), cables, chargers, cards and camera gear in it with zero issues. Riding with it is a cinch too. The chest strap keeps the bag from swaying too much and the back padding is perfect.

The bottom line is: I wouldn’t have used the Incase DSLR Pro Pack this whole time if I didn’t like it. It’s not like there aren’t other options out there. In fact, I could see another model above the Pro Pack in Incase’s Camera Bag line, with the aforementioned improvements and maybe even a little more cargo space. All I know is if they indeed make another bag, I’m in for another six months.

Price: $149 in Grey (shown)
*$179 in water resistant black

  • Jeffrey Wood

    I love the look of the grey one. I wonder what it’d look like if you waterproofed it with some kind of waxing stuff. probably like garbage.

  • Brian Vernor

    This is the most comfortable fully weighted bag I’ve used so far. Agreed, the side mounted tripod is the worst idea this otherwise well thought out, solidly built bag has on it. Looks good, rides well. I’d only add to your review that without a waist strap it’s not great for mountain biking.

    • http://theradavist.com John Watson

      Yeah, forgot to mention the shifting. The first time I nollied off a curb on my BMX with this bag, I almost went over the bars.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=509338473 Mike Borduas

    over 50 lbs?  I think not…

    • http://theradavist.com John Watson

      I’ve put it on an airport scale (laptop included) and it’s been 50lbs. My Hasselblad and its lenses is a brick.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=509338473 Mike Borduas

         I carried 2x 5D2, 35L, 100L, 70-200L + 2X extender, 16-35L and Sig85, iPad, and was barely over 20 lbs… I’ve never touched any Hasselbad stuff, I guess it would be heavier than I suspect…

        • http://theradavist.com John Watson

          Hasselblad with a prism VF, 50mm, 80mm three film backs is like a load of bricks.

  • WillieFistergash

    As a photographer, might I ask what business you have shooting a hasselblad? No hate…

    • http://theradavist.com John Watson

      I’m not sure I understand the question.

      • N Stewart

         Yeah, I’m confused too.  I love my hasselblad.  To be honest a hasselblad with two lenses is usually too much weight for me to lug around, I’m impressed with your ability to truck more.  Was the bag a big part of that?

        • http://theradavist.com John Watson

          I think he was implying that I didn’t deserve to use a Hasselblad because he is a “real” photographer. ;-)

          • N Stewart

             I think on one of your other posts you mentioned you’re in Austin.  I’m heading there in March, any “must see” places to take my camera?

          • http://theradavist.com John Watson

            tons! email me when you’re getting close to travel…

          • http://twitter.com/CyclingCole Cole Tininenko

            Yeah Prolly what business do you have shooting fixies with all your Hasselblads and your bourbons and your sidebar ads! Blarghghghghg!

          • N Stewart

             Sent you an email!

  • http://www.facebook.com/LIKovsky Mark Likosky

    most useful review yet. has anyone tried the new black one? wondering if it’s worth it since the regular one is now cheaper on amazon and wondering if it can be weatherproofed…

    • http://theradavist.com John Watson

      You can spray it with scotchguard waterproofer. But I wouldn’t trust it 100%.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/3CN4YY7ZEUDVQUHEFL42PYUZVU Brendan

    Good Review. Just ordered one on line.  Thanks

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001862940247 Dawid Łopatowski

    What’s the shoes?

    • http://theradavist.com John Watson

      Redwing 6″ moc

  • http://www.facebook.com/joshua.j.lucero Joshua Lucero

    I run two 5d mk iii’s with battery grips and I need a new bag, do you think they would fit in this bag or would they be too tall?

    • http://theradavist.com John Watson

      The battery grips protrude a little bit but you’ll find it breaks in over time. It’s just a matter as to how picky you are about it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/joshua.j.lucero Joshua Lucero

        Awesome, thank you for the quick reply! And i saw you ride BMX in the Austin area, I go through there every once in a while with my BMX and cameras, It’d be cool to shoot some stuff next time I venture that way.

        • http://theradavist.com John Watson

          just hit me up!

  • http://www.andrewgoss.co.uk/ Andy

    I have just picked myself one up will see what it’s like! Wanted the limited edition black for water resistant feature but no longer make or have any to sell. finding just the grey one in UK was hard enough so had to opt for the international drop from NY, boom! love this review and seems to fit my needs. can’t wait to try myself.