Astro Gaming and Timbuk2 are two companies that have grown up in San Francisco. The former specializes in gaming peripherals while the latter has become popular for its messenger bags and backpacks.
Geographically, the two businesses are separated by a little more than two miles, but their latest project has brought the two closer together. The companies have collaborated on two new bags catering to gamers: the CS03 Crossbody Sling and the BP35 Gaming Backpack.
Astro and Timbuk2 have been working on the products for more than a year. They met once before the pandemic and later designed the bags over Zoom, said Mark Shin, head of partnership at Astro Gaming. Despite those challenges, the companies created two products with thoughtful features and an eye toward gamers in different situations.
The portable gaming bag
The CS03 Crossbody Sling fits snugly around the body like a messenger bag, but with a smaller form factor. Ideally, it’s made for Nintendo Switch fans. It has a pouch that’s cushioned to fit the portable console and protect it. The bag has 14 cartridge slots, which is somewhat useful though many just download games to the system. For extras such as power cords, headphones and batteries, the companies designed two zippered pockets.
The most useful feature is an easy access flap in the front held shut with magnets. When users flip the bag forward, it’s easy to pop it open and grab items. Although this was designed with the Switch in mind, it’s actually a well-made bag for players who go outside to participate in geo-location-based games such as “Pokemon Go,” “The Witcher: Monster Slayer” or “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.”
The CS03 has 3 liters of space and weighs in at a light 1.08 pounds. I took it out for a Pokemon Go Community Day, and I stored an extra battery, wires and snacks in the bag’s compact form factor that kept my arms free and didn’t get in the way. It has a holder for keys and a D ring to accessorize the sling with tchotchkes or perhaps a Gotcha or Poke Ball Plus. It’s a way to personalize the bag.
The water-resistant coating, fabrics and zippers ensures that electronics are safe from the elements. At $79.99, it’s more expensive than other hip packs or even the official Pokemon fanny pack, but the CS03 crossbody sling is better designed with everything from the side release buckle to the reflective coating, though the black sling could have used more of that for improved safety at night.
A bag for everything
The BP35 backpack gets its name partly because it has a whopping volume of 35 liters. That means this Astro Gaming x Timbuk2 collaboration can hold a lot. That’s only part of the bag’s appeal. As the successor to the much-loved Scout bag, this new product carries ideas over from that accessory.