Versatile gear for a specific audience: Timbuk2 x Astro Gaming collection impressions

Rain or shine, it's game time.

Photo via Timbuk2 x Astro

Timbuk2 and Astro Gaming are two leading brands in their respective fields. Travelers will recognize Timbuk2 for its reliable, adventure-ready bags, while gamers know Astro by its unique and quality-driven headsets. 

There’s seemingly little chance for overlap between these companies, but the pair of San Francisco-based brands came together to create an intriguing collection of gear. The Timbuk2 x Astro Gaming collection successfully supports the on-the-go gamer by providing a worry-free way to transport equipment. It doesn’t hurt that it’s all black either. 

The collection features two items: the BP35 Gaming Backpack and the CS03 Crossbody Sling. Both items feel thoughtful in their design, but one is slightly more accessible than the other. 

BP35 Gaming Backpack

Photo by Colton Deck

At first glance, the BP35 looks intense. The water-resistant combination of 600 Denier polyester and 210 Denier four-millimeter ripstop nylon fabrics gives the impression that the BP35 is durable. Having the polyester contrast the ripstop fabric throughout the bag also plays well with the tonal reflective Astro design on the flap of the front pocket and top of the pack.

Aside from its looks, the BP35 has a wide range of features meant to assist players on their way to tournaments or any other destination. 

Key features include: 

  • Clamshell design 
  • Magnetic front pocket 
  • Two 16-inch laptop sleeves 
  • Tablet pocket 
  • Side pocket 
  • Tricot-lined top pocket 
  • Two hidden pockets for water bottles 
  • Vista loop 
  • D-ring 

For traveling gamers, the Astro Gaming Pocket will be the main draw of the BP35. This feature is solely designed for Astro gear but still lends itself to many other applications and brands. The included vista loop features a snap closure to secure your headphones or headset. Most headphones or headsets with rotating ear cups should fit this loop. Similarly, the padded pocket beneath the vista loop is intended for Astro’s MixAmp Pro but works for other uses like stowing additional cables. Rounding out the Astro Gaming Pocket is a tricot-lined pocket and two mesh pockets that easily fit an Xbox Wireless Controller. 

The second most useful feature is the clamshell design that allows easy access while packing and unpacking. Having this feature is useful when dealing with clunky, oddly-shaped controllers, headsets, and mice. It’s easier not to fumble around while digging for gear when most of it is sitting in front and center. The mesh pockets in the main clamshell compartment also make it easy to store extra controllers and cables. 

Photo by Colton Deck

While there wasn’t a need for every feature during testing, many were useful on the road and encouraged a sense of confidence in the bag. A gaming laptop, controller, DAC/AMP, and headphones all made it to and from the destination without worry. The magnetic flap also helped create a layer of security with its satisfyingly powerful magnets. There’s almost no way to miss someone trying to sneak in there.

Gamers who frequently travel might consider the BP35 for its many features and the confidence it inspires. Many of the outlined features sound niche but have various applications. The price is where the BP35 may be divisive among gamers, though. While $199.99 feels like high yet a fair price for this pack, not every gamer will need this amount of travel utility. For the crowd who feels less is more, the CS03 Crossbody Sling might be more appealing. 

CS03 Crossbody Sling

Photo by Colton Deck

The CS03 Crossbody Sling looks slightly more aggressive than the BP35 despite its smaller stature. Borrowing the same materials and tonal reflective Astro design from the BP35, the CS03 makes the design work a bit more than the backpack. While the BP35 looks sturdy, the CS03 looks almost industrial. The aesthetic design features are all present, but they aren’t watered down to accommodate for size and appear more intense on the smaller bag.

Similar to its aesthetics, the CS03 also goes all out in its features. While there’s no way to cram a laptop in here, the CS03 is designed to take a Nintendo Switch on the go and provides users with plenty of bells and whistles. Included in the CS03 are a magnetic closure pocket, rear tricot-lined pocket, a daisy chain, D-ring, vista loop, front zip pocket with a key keeper, and a couple of mesh pockets inside the main compartment. The ease of access to everything on your person makes taking advantage of the CS03’s features straightforward.

Photo by Colton Deck

Timbuk2 and Astro’s CS03 is a relatively more niche product that doesn’t suffer from its narrow focus. What might initially limit the appeal of the bag is its focus on the Nintendo Switch. The main draw of the CS03 is that it doubles as a Switch case. Inside the main compartment is a specialized tricot pocket with a raised insert and slots for 14 Switch games or SD cards. Because the compartment is still large enough to take full advantage of without the raised insert getting in the way, there’s nothing lost in its specialization. 

While not as expensive as the BP35, the CS03 can still be considered a small investment. At $79.99, the CS03 runs substantially higher than most Switch travel cases. But the Switch aspect is only half the appeal given the amount of everyday utility baked into the bag. 

Is this for you? 

The Timbuk2 x Astro collection is a rare display of two brands collaborating thoughtfully. Both Astro and Timbuk2 feel heavily represented in the collection, with Astro feeling slightly more a part of the BP35. Many collaborations just slap a logo on another company’s item and call it a day, but the story is slightly more involved here. Both brands have put considerable effort into the collaborative process—and it shows. 

If you need a bag or two to transport your gear safely, the Timbuk2 x Astro collection should get it there without issue. Each pack provides the user with added confidence over quick weekenders, during long trips, or just to the shops and back. The BP35 is a trusty and spacious option for those with lots of gear to lug, and the CS03 is a surprisingly sturdy option for Switch users and non-gamers alike. 

Pros

  • Stylish designs
  • Gamer-friendly features
  • Ample storage in both bags
  • BP35 clamshell design
  • Astro Gaming Pocket
  • Magnetic closure pockets
  • CS03 fits Nintendo Switch

Cons

  • Initial investment might alienate some gamers