I’ve had my Switch Elite backpack for 6 months. Here’s what I think…
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.
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 still exists, and the old Elite Player Backpack is permanently out of production.
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, PDP decided to make this pack along the same line as their other “Elite” line of products. The design features modern, neutral gray fabric with black faux-leather accents, making it perfect for a “responsible grownup” to carry to work.
It really looks modern and all the Switch embellishments are super-subtle. No yellow monsters or red plumbers. Only the other cool kids at your work will know what it’s really for.
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 times I’ve worn it in the rain, the water indeed seems to bead up and roll off, rather than soaking into the fabric. Still, I wouldn’t toss it into the lake or anything. It’s nice fabric, but still.
The back-side of the pack is built from a soft, cushioned mesh that allows it to breathe better than a traditional canvas backpack. Not sure why so many traditional backpacks have that tough canvas outer shell, with a flimsy polymer fabric that rides against your back, and the stitching where the straps attach tend to fray and disentegrate. PDP doesn’t do that.
All the stitching on this pack involves tough fabric to tough fabric. They’ve reinforced a lot of the typical problem spots well-worn backpacks end up with. The shoulder straps feature the same underside mesh, and fabric/faux leather construction as the rest of the bag.
The low profile of the bag, the comfort of the straps, and the mesh backing all make the whole thing feel 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. Likewise there’s no compartment pockets. It’s just the main zipper section and a large zipper pocket on the outside. It’s not very roomy, though.
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 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 as mentioned earlier, 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.
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.
When I originally wrote this review, I was very impressed. I’m updating it now (about six months later), after using it pretty much every day, and my mind hasn’t changed. The Switch Elite backpack is durable, handsome, modern and comfortable. Still.
If you decide to get it, you can order it on Gamestop.com via my affiliate link. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It helps pay for this site, so you get good karma too!