I recently started using "The Incubator" backpack by Focused Space, and I really like it. In fact, I think it's one of my favorite laptop / travel backpacks so far (and I've used quite a few).
Looks and comfort
This definitely feels like a high-end backpack, with quality on par with Tumi, Briggs & Riley, and other high-end backpacks and I think it is reasonably priced considering the quality.
The Incubator backpack has a trendy design that looks business-oriented enough that you can take it to any meeting, but trendy enough that you can use it for non-business use. It is very sturdy and the fit & finish is exceptional. It is also pretty light, so it doesn't make things too heavy on its own and it keeps a fairly slim profile so it fits under the seat easily.
The straps are very adjustable, comfortable (memory foam), and have a sternum strap to keep it in place for longer walks or hikes. I'm a pretty tall person and this fits me well (many business backpacks have dinky straps that don't work for me) and it will also adjust down for the typically-sized person.
There is a handle on top so you can carry this backpack (the handle is a tad small, but works fine). There are also a lot of small loops on the top and on the straps that you can use to attach things to the pack ( the hoops are handy - I use one of these loops with a small "Bandits" bungee cord to hold the bag on my roller bag when I'm walking through airports).
One of the things I like best is that there are a lot of pockets in this backpack. I have a lot of gadgets, charing cables, and small odds & ends, and this bag has enough small pockets inside to create a "place for everything" kind of organization system.
There are also two large zippered compartments on the fron for keys, breath mints, your phone, hard drives, and other things you may need to access quickly.
For larger electronic devices, the main compartment features a laptop / notebook pocket with a very soft lining, which will hold a 15" or smaller device comfortably. There is also a smaller, dedicated pocket intended for iPads or other tablets.
There are smaller side compartments you can use for storage (I keep my backup hard drive in one, and my business card wallet in the other).
There is a small pocket on the front that you can use for things like glasses (it's plush-lined), or earbuds (my preferred use for this pocket) to allow easy access.
There is an additional, larger pocket at the top of the back panel that is hidden and can be a good "stash" pocket for ID's, passports, thumb drives, an MP3 player or other larger, special items. You can see it in the picture on the right, at the very top of the back of the bag, just underneath the top part of the shoulder straps.
Good organization, nice amount of space
These pockets make it easy to organize the small stuff, and leave a nice amount of room for everything else. There is plenty of room for files and a couple of books, noise canceling headphones in a case, etc.
Speaking of folders, check out my earlier article on how to create backpack folders, which I created for my previous backpack. They work great in this one, as well.
In spite of the large amount of space, this backpack doesn't balloon up like others I've had - which I consider to be a plus. This backpack still stays snug and streamlined looking even when it's full, which makes it easy for air travel.
Awesome, but not perfect
As I mentioned, this is my favorite backpack so far but it still has a few things that get in the way of perfection:
- I mentioned that this backpack is snug. If you are used to over-stuffing a backpack, you can't get away with that on this one - it doesn't stretch a lot.
- While it isn't an issue for me, I now a lot of people who carry water bottles with them when they travel, and this bag doesn't really have a suitable external pocket for that. If you have a water bottle with a clip / carabiner on it, you could clip it to the outside of the bag, but there isn't a water bottle pocket.
The bottom line
In summary, the Focused Space Incubator backpack is an impressive, business friendly backpack with strong organization, good protection for your gadgets, and a very comfortable travel companion.