Close up of Switch design on the zipper tabs

Nintendo Switch Elite Backpack Review

Product Review: PDP System Backpack – Switch Elite Edition

I needed a new backpack. I was carrying my work laptop in the same backpack I had carried my college laptop in years ago, and it was finally starting to rip along the bottom seam. I didn’t want my bag to tear open and spill out my nice, expensive employer-provided Macbook all over the floor. So yeah. I needed a new backpack.

PDP Switch Elite Edition backpack
The backpack!

Lucky for me, PDP Gaming came to my rescue and sent me their Switch Elite Edition system backpack to review. It’s like a regular backpack, but with storage considerations for your Nintendo Switch, a pro controller, a few copies of Ghetto Gamer Magazine, and a bit of cable storage. And of course, a laptop sleeve.

Don’t mix up the Switch Elite Edition system backpack with PDP’s old backpack, the Elite Player Backpack for Nintendo Switch. A bit confusing on the naming there, but you’ll know the difference because the Switch Elite Edition ($39.99) still exists, and the old Elite Player Backpack is permanently out of production.

First Impression

The first thing to like about the Switch Elite backpack is the modern, mature style. So many Nintendo accessories feature character art: Pikachu, Mario, Link and co. But the Switch Elite backpack has no cartoony artwork. Instead it features modern, neutral gray fabric with black faux-leather accents, making it perfect for a “responsible grownup” to carry to work. 

The outer shell feels durable and tough, but still lightweight. It doesn’t say anywhere in the documentation or website, but it feels like it has a water-resistant coating. The back-side of the pack is built from a soft, cushioned mesh that allows it to breathe better than a traditional canvas backpack. The straps feature the same underside mesh, and fabric/faux leather construction and the whole thing feels very light while you’re wearing it.

What can you cram in here?

The Switch Elite backpack is a bit smaller than my old Jansport. Actually, it’s quite a bit smaller. I think the idea is that it’s the perfect size to store your Switch, dock, a few accessories and a laptop snugly, without giving them too much room to bang around and get damaged. 

Makes total sense. But as an everyday-use pack, it seems to be lacking pocket storage. As a writer, I’m particularly disappointed by the lack of pen/pencil-holder pockets. The pockets it does have are sized according to what they are intended to hold: The laptop sleeve, Switch console pocket, and elastic pockets for a pro controller, and another one for the AC adapter.

The Switch console pocket is the star of the backpack. I was carrying my Switch to work in my old backpack in a hard case (also from PDP; I love it!) It was fine and felt safe, but I was still nervous to have it banging around with all the other junk I have to carry to work. 

The laptop sleeve
Ignore the crappy lighting. I was actually rushing off to work.

The console pocket on this new backpack is sized to secure your Switch horizontally, raised to about mid-level in the backpack. It won’t sink to the bottom. There’s also a Velcro strap to secure it in place. Under the console pocket are the charger and controller pouches. This configuration is very comfortable, keeping the Switch console firm and straight across your back, rather than rattling around or bouncing against your butt when you walk.

In fact, the whole thing feels very light when it’s being worn. the shoulder straps distribute the weight evenly, and the padded mesh allows air circulation and reduces the amount of tug you feel on your shoulders and upper back. Having everything in tight pockets definitely does reduce the amount of bounce I felt by just stuffing things in the main pocket of my old backpack.

Close up of Switch design on the zipper tabs
A very subtle Switch design on the zipper tabs.

I especially appreciate that the console pocket is sized to fit a naked Switch, or a Switch in a hard case. And you’ll probably want to keep it in that hard case not just for the added protection, but so you can store your game cards there because unfortunately, the Switch Elite Edition backpack does not have built-in storage for games.

The bottom line

I like this backpack a lot. PDP generally makes high-quality products and this backpack doesn’t disappoint. It’s really a nice, comfortable pack with mature design and while storage is a little tight, it’s just right for me. And your coworkers won’t make fun of you.

Ghetto approved!



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