Backpack Stories September 20, 2016

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It’s amazing how heavy a bag can become when you throw in a few gadgets. Backpacks are by far the most comfortable way to carry heavy loads, but they do have a few drawbacks.

First, they aren’t the most convenient of things to access. If you want to pull out your iPad or a camera, for example, you have to remove the backpack and either put it down somewhere or awkwardly hold it in one hand while wrestling with zips with the other.

Second, they can be a liability in crowded places, taking out innocent bystanders on public transit when you turn around. Third, those same very crowded places put your valuables at risk from theft as access is behind your back, out of sight. Finally, you have to remove the pack if you want to sit down.

There are existing solutions to these problems, but none work as well as the Wolffepack …

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Backpack Stories December 28, 2015

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Ever since I upgraded from an 11″ MacBook Air to a 13″ Retina MacBook Pro, I’ve been hunting for the perfect hybrid computer and camera bag — a compact backpack that could hold my laptop, DSLR, lenses, and accessories at the same time. Six months ago, I covered several MacBook/camera bags from Incase, including the DSLR Sling Pack I’ve loved for years, and larger “Pro” options for bigger laptops. Each hybrid bag makes different compromises: for my needs, the Sling Pack’s too small, and the Pro bags are too large. But users of 11″ MacBooks might find the Sling Pack “just right.”

Seeing potential in a new alternative, I jumped at the opportunity to test Booq’s upcoming Slimpack ($195), a MacBook-sized evolution of its earlier iPad/DSLR backpack $145 Python Slimpack. Booq makes excellent bags, but apart from offering a multipurpose camera/headphone compartment in Boa Flow, it hasn’t taken a deep dive into the camera-laptop hybrid category. While the new Slimpack’s laptop compartment is just a hint too small for the 13″ MacBook Pro and iPad Pro I’m currently using, it’s right-sized for 12″ or smaller MacBooks, as well as 10″ or smaller tablets, any of which can be paired with a full-sized DSLR, three or four lenses, and accessories. Bundled with a rain shield and Booq’s standard Terralinq loss recovery protection system, it’s a very nice bag, and one I would certainly use if I switch to a 12″ MacBook next year…

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Backpack Stories June 5, 2015

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Eventually, pocket-sized cameras will compare in low-light performance to today’s large and expensive DSLRs. Although pro photographers will have moved on by then to even more powerful large cameras, the vast majority of people will see no need to carry big, heavy lenses and camera bodies around. The iPhone’s ascendance demonstrates that “eventually” is at least foreseeable, even though it’s not happening in the near term.

Serious photographers won’t be giving up their DSLRs any time soon, and in fact will be toting plenty of camera hardware — many times, along with a laptop — to any event or destination important enough to photograph properly. Over the years, I’ve learned that the “ideal bag” for my personal needs is one that can hold my camera, several lenses, and whichever MacBook I’m using. Having hunted for the ultimate carrying solution for both computer and photo gear, the best solutions I’ve found are made by Incase.

The bag I’ve used actively for the last three years is Incase’s DSLR Sling Pack ($90, above left), and incredibly, it looks virtually identical today to when I first started using it. The DSLR Sling Pack is perfect for 11″ MacBook Airs and 12″ MacBooks, plus a big camera body with three lenses. But since my 13″ MacBook Pro barely fits inside its zippered compartment, I’ve been struggling with whether to replace the bag. That’s why I’m checking out two larger models today: the DSLR Pro Sling Pack ($170, middle), and traditional DSLR Pro Pack ($150, right). They’re large enough for up to 15″ MacBook Pros and have more room for DSLR gear, as well. Which is right for you?…

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Backpack Stories May 30, 2015

Incase Sling 13

For the right task, Apple’s new 12-inch MacBook is both an ultra thin notebook and a powerful machine considering its size. Following my initial evaluation in April, I’ve been using it for work almost exclusively (aside from my podcasting setup for Happy Hour, which doesn’t benefit from being portable).

Similarly, the newly released Incase Reform Collection Sling Pack hides a surprising amount of use in a small and ergonomic profile. Typical of Incase’s bags and carrying cases, Sling Pack sports a trendy design fit for your Apple gear and accessories with cleverly placed stash pockets found throughout. Unlike previous products from Incase (and anyone else for that matter), Sling Pack is made of a new eco-friendly material…

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Backpack Stories May 28, 2015

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Update: Giveaway winners!! Shoot me an email (jordan@9to5mac.com) with your shipping info using the same email you used to enter. Congrats!

Reform Backpack bundle – Keith Jones

Reform Action Camera Pack bundle – Randy Fang

Reform Sling bundle – Robert a Stine III

Incase has always been one of our favorite brands selling bags for Apple and camera gear. You’ve likely seen their bags in Apple stores and on Apple’s online store. But for the new REFORM collection launching next month, 9to5Mac readers get access before anyone else.

Starting today, 9to5Mac readers only can purchase the bag before they’ve launched to the public and have their order ship before the launch date next month. All orders of the new Incase bags during our exclusive presale event using promo code “9to5Mac” will also get a free Portable Power 2500 battery pack worth $50.

In addition, you’ll also be automatically entered into a giveaway to win an Incase bag full of accessories for your Apple devices (details below).  expand full story

Backpack Stories December 4, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide students

Technology has totally changed the lives of teenagers and students in this generation, both for the good and the bad. There are apps and products that dramatically make our lives easier and more efficient, but also things that kill our productivity. I’m generally more favorable to the latter of those two, but I’ll breakdown the best of both worlds and exactly what gift the teens and students in your life today might be interested in this holiday season.

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Backpack Stories September 28, 2014

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Indiana Jones meets bike messenger meets business briefcase is how I’d describe Intrepid’s $369 Journeyman messenger bag. My carrying case of choice over the past 3 months has been this hybrid satchel/briefcase that you carry like a messenger bag comfortably on your back with a big strap holding it up firmly but comfortably across your chest… expand full story

Backpack Stories June 28, 2013

The laptop backpack to rule them all: ‘Hercules’ from ECBC [Review]

It feels like I’ve gone through dozens of laptop backpacks over the years. Either the zipper breaks in a disastrous way, the bottom tears, or the weight becomes hard to bear. But that may be about to change with the new Hercules Laptop Backpack from ECBC.

Right off the bat, I’m going to mention the biggest thing I love about ECBC: they offer a 3-year warranty with their products. Since most of my backpacks end up with some sort of a problem within the first year – I promise, I try to be nice to them! – this is a huge advantage.

Backpack Stories January 11, 2013

TYLT’s Energi backpack charges up to three iOS devices at once, we go hands-on (Video)

We went hands-on with the new ENERGI Backpack from Tylt, a company with products we’ve enjoyed in the past, in the video above. There are many power bags on the market that include built-in batteries to recharge your mobile devices while on the go, but we were quite impressed with these new backpacks from Tylt. They are hitting the market for between $150 and $200 at the end of March. They include a 10,400-mAh-lithium ion battery with the ability to charge up to three devices at once and dedicated pockets for your iPad, iPhone, iPod, and MacBook.

Backpack Stories December 10, 2011

Over the past month, I’ve been carrying around a Powerbag backpack from ful.  The idea is pretty straight-forward.  They put a 3000 mA battery inside a backpack complete with adapters for just about any device you’d ever want to charge.  On heavy usage days, I have a mobile charge with me at all times. Instead of taking out all of my devices when I get home, I just plug in the bag.

Read on for the full review…

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