capsule review

Incase Travel Kit Plus

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At a Glance
  • Incase Travel Kit Plus

The combination of an iPad and Apple's Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard is turning out to be a popular portable productivity pair. But how do you carry the two devices? Incase provides one solution with the Travel Kit Plus.

At first glance, the Travel Kit looks much like one of those bulky cases we old timers once used to bring a bunch of CDs—you've heard of those, right?—in the car. But this pack is aimed at more-modern media consumption and creation: On the back side is an iPad sleeve, accessed via a zippered opening along the top edge. Custom-fit for a bare iPad—an iPad inside another case won't fit—the sleeve is lined with soft "faux fur" and sports padding all around, along with rigid panels on the front and back sides to protect your iPad's screen no matter which way you insert the device. The outside of the Travel Kit is made of sturdy nylon. Apart from hardshell cases, iPad bags don't get much more protective than this.

Unzip the Travel Kit's wraparound zipper and the pack unfolds to reveal its raison d'être: storage for your essential iPad-related gear. On the right-hand side—the side cozying up against your iPad—is a thinly-padded pouch with a Velcro-closure flap that fits Apple's Wireless Keyboard perfectly. (Just be sure to turn off the keyboard before putting it in the pouch. I also recommend orienting the keyboard with the keys against the iPad compartment to protect them from your other gear.)

On the left-hand side are a full-size pocket along with two smaller mesh pockets, all zippered. The smaller pockets can each hold gear roughly the size of an iPhone or iPod classic; the larger pocket can hold a small notepad, a set of fold-flat-for-travel headphones, or other slim items. In between the left and right sides, in the "hinge" of the pack, are two elastic bands for securing cables, a pen or two, or other small accessories. You won't be able to bring a lot of extras, but you should be able to fit all the necessities.

Incase also includes a useful extra: A black-plastic stand that holds a bare iPad at either of two angles when you want to type or, say, watch a video. The stand isn't the sturdiest one out there—the iPad does wobble if you press the screen—but it's a nice bonus that completes the iPad-typing trio (iPad, keyboard, and stand). The stand is also very light, has a "reel" on the bottom for storing your iPad's USB Dock-connector cable, and stores conveniently (though tightly) in either of the Travel Kit's mesh pockets.

Overall, the Travel Kit Plus is an impressive pack that makes it simple to tote the essentials for on-the-go typing. That said, my one real criticism is that it's a bit of a "tweener" bag. Although it's compact, it's quite a bit larger than most iPad cases—if you're going on a trip and you want to put it inside another bag, it's going to take up quite a bit of room. On the other hand, the Travel Kit is just small enough that there's no room for documents (unless you fold them and tuck them inside the large interior pocket). If the case was even three-quarters of an inch wider, Incase could have put a slim, no-zipper document pouch on the back that would have accommodated standard-size papers. So while you can carry the pack by itself using the built-in handle, there are times you may end up sticking it inside another bag to gain a bit more storage.

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At a Glance
  • The Travel Kit Plus is an impressive pack that makes it simple to tote the essentials for on-the-go typing: your iPad, Apple's Bluetooth keyboard, and a few accessories. It even includes a useful portable iPad stand. Its biggest limitation is that its bulk makes it awkward to fit inside other bags, but it's not quite big enough to hold documents on its own.

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