As an avid gamer, I sometimes run into the problem of how to transport my gear from my home to some remote location in safety. I own both an Xbox 360 and a Sony Playstation 3 and let me just say, these are not small machines nor are the light by any means. These two gaming machines are the Goliaths in the gaming industry. Both are quite large and not what one would call portable by any means. So how would one transport these consoles, not to mention the numerous wires that accompany them, the controllers, accessories, and games? This used to be a major problem I faced. In the past I would just try to pack everything up in a regular old Jansport bag but it just never felt very safe or secure in it. I was always worried about the little bumps the consoles might take or having all my gear packed so tightly together. I however never really gave much thought into purchasing a dedicated gaming backpack as I thought they were just gimmicks and not worth the price they were charging for them. Boy was I wrong.
Enter the Astro Gaming “Scout” gaming backpack. Astro Gaming sent me the “Scout” as part of preview package that we will talk about on a later date. For now, I will only be talking about the Scout gaming backpack. From Astro Gaming’s website, the following information and specs are given about the Scout.
* Compartments galore – Gear-specific design for console, controllers, cables, sunglasses, handhelds, and your A40 Audio System.
* Exceptional comfort – High quality Lycra-bonded EVA panel padded backing, dual layered padded ballistic nylon shoulder straps with 3D mesh for added comfort and chest strap for even weight distribution makes the Scout, the most comfortable gaming backpack on the planet.
* Ultra protective interior – Soft low pile plush console/laptop compartment with expandable pockets and EVA perimeter frame around the cushioned bag, secures and protects your precious cargo.
* Tailored for the gaming lifestyle – Interior ASTRO lifestyle artwork, detachable MixAmp/media bag, and tons of pockets for everything else shows this bag is tailored for the gamer on the go.
Now, judging by the specs, it seems to do everything and hold everything, but is this really the case? I put the scout to the test to find out if it can keep up with the speed and pace of your die hard pro-gamer as well as finding out if this pack also has style as well as function.
The Astro Gaming Scout is a straight to the point, let’s get down to business black. It doesn’t come in any fancy colors or gaudy decorations. The Scout only comes in black and you know what, I like it. It doesn’t scream, hey look at me, I’m carrying hundreds of dollars worth of gear in this bag. No. Instead, it’s very low key and almost anonymous in nature. The only clue one would have of what really lurks inside is the Astro Gaming logo stitched into the front of the Scout. Now, when I say stitched, I don’t mean just a tag stitched into the bag. This logo is actually fully stitched into the front of the bag. The detail is amazing and really shows off the lengths Astro Gaming went into making this backpack. The Scout backpack is also made of some pretty firm materials. The bag itself seems sculpted to a form that not only seems to be able to devour anything you put into it, but still able to stay relatively slim which is a pretty huge feat. That is one of the main problems of other gaming backpacks and that is the bulk.
The Scout is no slouch when it comes to compartments and pockets. On the exterior, everything is pretty discrete. A quick glance at the Scout and you would think that it only has very minimal storage. There are 2 main compartments in the Scout, one collapsible beverage holder on the side, one small punch on top, and two almost hidden zippable pouches – one on the front and one on the shoulder strap. There are no excessive pockets on the outside or anything that protrudes. Everything is sleek and streamlined.
On the inside its a whole different story. There is tons and tons of storage. Let’s first talk about the main compartment. The main compartment unzips and opens up a full 180 degrees. This allows for easy access and storage. This is where you would hold your gaming system. The main compartment has a thickly padded sleeve inside that is expandable so that it will hold anything from a 17″ laptop, a Playstation 3 Fat or Slim, and Xbox 360, or even the Original Xbox monstrosity. The side of the sleeve has elastic bands on them that help keep the sleeve tight for whatever you put into it. The interior of the sleeve is lined with “Soft low pile plush.” Not really sure what material it is but it feels very much like high grade microfiber or suede. What ever it is, it will keep your console/laptop well protected and won’t scratch the finish. In the same compartment there is a very large zippable pocket that can hold some fairly large items. I assume this is to hold games and game cases. The pocket is large enough to also hold magazines.
The second large compartment is where most of the pockets lie and where you would store the rest of your gaming accessories. I count 8 pockets on the inside. 5 of which have zippers. There are 2 large pockets that can hold 2 controllers snugly. One large pocket that can hold a bundle of cables. The zippable pockets can be used to carry miscellaneous items such as memory cards, cartridge games, keys, business cards, etc. This compartment is also where you would keep your gaming headset, such as the Astro A40 or any other gaming headset. It has a special Velcro strap that keeps your headset in place for transport. There is even a place to attach the case to carry the Astro Gaming Mix Amp.
The Astro Gaming Scout gaming backpack is a great bag to hold all your gaming gear. At just $79.95, its really an inexpensive necessity to have especially if you transport your gaming console often. The materials and padding lend themselves well and will protect your gear no matter where you take it.
Although the Scout seems to be the perfect gaming bag, it is still not without some minor faults. First off, the shoulder straps are a tad stiff. They are heavily padded, but do not mold well to your shoulders. I’m sure this is because the Scout needs time to “break in.” Another small complaint is that the 2 hidden pockets on the outside don’t really seem to serve a real purpose. The one on the front of the bag seems only large enough to hold something like your cell phone while the one on the shoulder strap seems like it doesn’t hold anything at all. Whatever you want to fit into that pocket had better already be flat or really small because there really isn’t much room in that pocket. Speaking of the shoulder straps, the top portion doesn’t seem to be wide enough. When wearing it, the top pinches around your neck area a little but not enough really where it hurts or anything.
In the end though, none of the complaints deter me from recommending the Astro Gaming Scout to anyone who is looking for a really great gaming/gear backpack. It has everything you could ever want in a gear backpack while also being very stylish and sleek. The materials used are very high end and I often describe the Scout to others as the Bentley of gaming backpacks.
Interested in the Scout, be sure to check out www.astrogaming.com.