SLAPPA M.A.S.K. Jedi Mind Trix Backpack Review

Just the Stats:

* Height – 20.5”

* Width – 14.0”

Depth – 12” to 14”

Made of 1680D Military Grade Ballistics Nylon that is puncture and waterproof

Customizable/interchangeable faces

A seemingly infinite amount of pockets and storage space

MSRP $139.00

In case you couldn’t gather from some of our previous reviews, the fine folks at SLAPPA have managed to win fans on this site with their high quality bags, gear and cases over the years. Now, since I’ve been using one backpack or another since my days of arranging 16-player “Halo” LAN parties in high school, when I found out that it would be my turn to review SLAPPA’s newest line of backpack, I was excited, but also curious. After all, I’ve been going through backpacks of various makes for years now, and while some have admittedly held up and performed better than others, I’ve never owned one that generates such prolific levels of praise, like the SLAPPA models seem to. I just couldn’t imagine how a simple backpack could be such a big deal. It’s appropriate, then, that this new line of backpack is called the M.A.S.K. Jedi Mind Trix, because this wasn’t the backpack I was looking for, or expecting.

No, what I got was something else entirely. To call this stylishly designed bundle that contains a mini galaxy of storage options a backpack doesn’t conjure the necessary image that you need to fully appreciate it. In fact, calling it a backpack almost insults the efforts of other, lesser manufacturers that sell a product called a backpack, because despite their well intentioned efforts, they have no way to compete with the Jedi Mind Trix.

What makes it so great? Well, first you have to start with the storage capacity. I loaded this thing up with my PlayStation 3, my laptop, all the cords and controllers for both, two bottles of water, my sunglasses, my copy of “Broom of the System,” a notebook, pens, my iPod, a set of DJ headphones, and a light jacket held by the Jedi Mind Trix’s new exterior carry straps. When I was done, I swear that the backpack laughed at me. There was still an inconceivable amount of free space left that I couldn’t imagine uses for. Even better, when I put the backpack on, I immediately found out why there is a price jump from the standard packs I had used over the years, and this one. Thanks to the design of the M.A.S.K., neither myself nor the backpack suffered from any strain due to the weight. Not only were my shoulders supported comfortably by the cushioned straps, but the padded SLAPPA logo on the back actually worked to ease my burden. Thanks to the incredible level of internal cushioning, I also took additional comfort in knowing that everything I had just put into the backpack was equally protected as well.

Besides the practical features, the SLAPPA models are also known for their incredible style, and this one is no exception. It features the same customizable face, linings and graphics options as the other models in the M.A.S.K. line, and in many respects reminds me of the wide range of customization options available for the Alienware line of computers. What I mean is, it uses its sense of style not as an excuse to raise the price point, but rather as a natural extension, or warning even, to the superior product that lies underneath.

Still, I wasn’t going to be sold on first impressions, and decided to plow my way through the product honeymoon phase by seriously road-testing the SLAPPA out in the concrete jungle that is Manhattan. With the intention of heading for the market, I loaded up with all of the usual things I may need for a usual trip out (many of the items I listed above, minus the PlayStation 3 to leave room for groceries) and set off. Riding the subway with the Mind Trix almost felt like cheating. Any need or want I could possibly require was easily accessible even in the cramped car, and the crowded conditions didn’t impede me at all in accessing them. At the terminal, even the NYPD couldn’t resist snagging a look at the backpack as I was stopped for a random search (though I couldn’t help but notice that other, lesser backpacks and there wearers got to proceed unbothered). Once I was back on the streets, I was suddenly surprised that I had yet to really notice the weight I was carrying, even after extended use and with the blazing heat that day. But it was at the market that I truly fell in love with the Mind Trix, because even though I had left for that trip reasonably loaded with goods, everything I needed that day (delicate, breakable items included) fit easily into compartments that I was sure just moments ago were filled to capacity.

When I got home then to find that everything I had brought was still in perfect condition, I threw up my hands and resigned myself to the fact that I was not going to find a serious flaw with the Mind Trix. Take heed, potential backpack buyers: though the Mind Trix is being touted as the ultimate line in gamer carrying packs (a statement that’s authenticity is not in doubt), I can’t imagine the use that you would want out of a backpack that SLAPPA couldn’t  accommodate and do better than any other competitor. I can sympathize if you’re saying to yourself that you don’t need a more expensive backpack for the level of use you would get out of it, but I only wish I could have gone back in time and bought a SLAPPA instead of a host of lesser backpacks, and undoubtedly saved money in the long run. I could endurance test the Mind Trix over an obscene amount of time, and I have no doubt that I would break down well before it did.

If you’re one of those people that scan to the bottom of a review for the final verdict of a product, I will oblige you here. If you want a backpack, you want the Jedi Mind Trix. If you need a backpack, you need the Jedi Mind Trix. Even if you didn’t know, now you do.