Thursday, July 16, 2015

Incase Reform Action Camera Backpack Review for Travel Photography, Surf Photography, and Conferences, too!


Whether traveling by plane, taking a road trip, or simply heading to the beach to shoot the morning surf session, it’s important to be able to pack and transport my camera and tech gear efficiently and comfortably. Incase offers a variety of solutions.

It’s not that I don’t own any camera bags and backpacks already. I do, but now I use them to store my gear more than to travel with it.

My camera bags have issues.
  • One (backpack) looks dated and old, because it is. Film pouches, anyone?
  • One (shoulder strap bag) screams “expensive brand cameras inside!”
  • One (sling style) is designed for righties. I'm a lefty.
  • None of them accommodate laptops, or even ipads.
Admittedly, I have a few issues, too.
  • I like trekking, but I’m not a Sherpa. I also like luxury hotels…and porters.
  • I’m not a budget backpacker, I'm a sophisticated traveler. I want to look it, especially when standing by for an upgrade, or arriving onsite for a shoot.
  • When traveling, I prefer to be subtle about the fact that I am carrying a camera at all.
  • COMFORT
Above all else, the most important factor in my wearing a backpack is comfort. Each bag I have owned has never quite rested right on my body frame, so I don’t last long in the field (or airport terminals) before my neck, back and shoulders begin to ache. I’m a petite female travel photographer, in a world where most camera backpacks are designed for the not-so-petite male landscape photographer.

The Incase Reform Action Camera Backpack is a refreshing new option for today's travel and action photographer.

First Impressions: Design and Wearability

Since I’m a visual, and I like aesthetics, let’s just state the obvious – it’s a fine looking backpack, blending style and simplicity. It’s contemporary, yet timeless. It doesn’t tell the world what I’m carrying inside. It’s equally great for a day at the beach, or an adventure abroad. And it's classy enough for Business Class travel.

Field Test: Comic Con


Turns out the Incase Reform Action Backpack is perfectly suited for 4 days at a conference. Comic Con proved to be an excellent arena to test it out. I could run from panel to panel taking pictures without dropping everything. Okay, so when I say "run," I mean "stand in line and camp out." Whatever! I did so with ease. Nobody around could tell that I was carrying an SLR, a video camera, my laptop, phone, cords/chargers, change of clothes, glasses, and lots of snacks. The pack, and my back, survived beautifully. And even though it wasn't in costume, my backpack received compliments from both techies and trekkies alike.

Why it worked


  • The padded laptop sleeve was key. I didn't look, or feel, like I was toting a laptop.
  • The ventilated padding against my back never got too hot.
  • The adjustable padded straps didn't dig in to my shoulders.
  • I could keep my cameras separate from my food items.




Field Test: Beach Surf Shoot
A photo posted by Kymri (@kymri) on

Next, I headed out on an "action" shoot with a surf photographer friend. The setting: high tide at Windansea Beach, where the waves curl and break on the shore, crash against the rocks, and I know I'm going to get wet. We gathered our GoPro goodies, and I also brought my Panasonic A500 and Watershot housing for my iphone. At the last minute, my friend texted me "bring your SLR too, just in case." So thanks to my Incase Reform Action Backpack, I could carry it all, and keep my SLR separate from my action water cameras.

Why it works




  • The collapsible top storage for a DSLR camera keeps it separately accessible.
  • The 300D Ecoya eco-dyed poly fabric exterior is rugged and water-resistant.
  • Surprisingly, the exterior repels sand as readily as it does water.




The Incase Reform Action Camera backpack is a great size, not too big to fit under the seat, but just big enough to pack anything you'd need inflight. Here's a look at everything "action camera tech" I managed to pack into the 18.25" x 10.75" x 6.25" backpack:



That's a 13" Macbook Air, by the way. Without the monopod, everything was zipped up tight and out of sight, and I was good to go. I especially appreciate the separate pocket designed to hold cords and chargers so they don't get lost in the main compartment.


What more could I want?

The drawback of discovering a fabulous backpack is that it just leaves me wanting more. When I find a great brand, I stick with it. The DSLR Camera Organizer is the obvious next must-have.

And finally, since this is my birthday month, I made a birthday wish list....just Incase.


Disclosure: Incase provided me with the Reform Action Camera Backpack for review purposes. I think it is pretty awesome, and if I thought otherwise, I'd tell you so, too. 

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