Incase has been making some of my favorite iPhone cases for the past couple of years. When I saw their camera bags, I was intrigued but skeptical. After doing some research and drooling over how this bag (Incase Ari) looked I decided to buy one and take if for a test spin. I figured I could always return it if it didn't meet my needs...
For the past year I have been using the Think Tank StreetWalker HardDrive. It is a great bag but has one major problem, I can't get my gear out of the bag without setting it down, which is a major obstacle when I need to shoot on the go. I looked at the Think Tank Retrospective 20 a buddy was using, but he was having issues with soreness after shooting for a couple of days. So after quite a bit of research, I decided to pick up the Incase Ari from B&H.
When I received the bag it took me a while to figure out how it works. Yep it has some tricks to it. First, I am a right shoulder bag wearer, and after inspecting the strap system I decided it was too complicated to switch the strap for the test spin, so I decided just to live with it. The strap has a buckling system that is a bit awkward to put on, even more so when you have thousands of dollars of heavy photo gear in your bag.
After a couple days of use I finally figured out the strap system. There are two pulls on the strap, one tightens the other loosens by a simple tug. I have no clue if I am the only one that took a while to understand how the strap works, but now that I've got it all figured out, I actually really love it. I loosen and tighten the strap regularly as I use the bag. And moreover, at the end of a long day of shooting and a bag laden with heavy gear, I can just unclip the buckle rather than pull it over my head.
My favorite thing about this bag is how many different ways I can wear it. I can wear it uptight on my back (best for when I need to be walking or moving a lot), I can wear it loose on one shoulder (great for accessing my gear quickly), I can wear it one strap 90s backpack style, and it even has a handle so you can carry it like a briefcase. And the adjustable strap makes shifting between each of these "styles" quick and easy.
There is no denying this bag looks great. The salt and pepper color of the bag is stylish and the bad doesn't scream "I have expensive camera gear in me". There is also an external flap that covers a zipper that opens to a small internal pocket/divider where I tend to keep my sunglasses, keys and sometimes a small 50mm lens. I do not use the external access at all; however, I do like the flap's magnet because it keeps the flap shut flush and is also kinda fun to play with.
This bag is one of the best looking camera bags I have seen, but for some reason it also has the ugliest rain cover I have ever seen. I do not know why Incase didn't provide a neutral cover for such a great looking bag. I am debating spraying the bag down with a rain repellent.
The bag has straps on the bottom that work great for a small tripod and are fully adjustable. There is a hidden pocket on the bottom of the bag that the rain cover goes it. I personally have chosen not to use the ugly rain cover and have replaced it with the Fstoppers FlashDisc.
The Ari doesn't hold a ton of stuff, but it holds enough. It has a padded slot for an iPad or small laptop, a small section you can access from the front (and inside), 3 small netted areas for batteries or memory cards, and three divided sections(In the photo above I have removed one divider). It could be a negative that you are unable to change the position of the dividers, but you can remove them so this didn't cause an issue for me. I have a hard time deciding how to organize everything inside my bags, so the lack of layout options forced me to use it in it's particular way. I am able to fit everything I would need to carry on a portrait / elopement shoot; however, I can't fit everything I need to use for a full wedding in this one bag. This isn't really a deal breaker because I have a rolling bag for weddings I bring along as well. The bag does hold just the right amount of gear you want to carry around while you shoot; any more and you will definitely need a good back massage at the end of the day.
•Expensive for the amount of gear it holds.
•Awkward to put on.
•The rain cover is ugly.
•Not 100% Waterproof.
•Some outside pockets would be nice.
•Fits nice and snug.
•Evenly distributes the weight across my chest.
•Different ways to wear the bag.
•Great strap system once you get the hang of it.
Specs from Incase:
Dimensions 1839" x 11" x 6.7"
In the end I decided to keep the bag. I carry this bag daily and it fits my needs while shooting or even just walking around the city. With a small bag for grip and speed-lights I could cover any entire event. Let me know if you have any questions about the bag and I will try and answer them for you in the comments.