REVIEWED: WiWu Switch Backpack
This cleverly designed 4-in-1 bag presents a lot of options for work trips and overnight stays
Why buy a travel backpack when you can have a bag that’s also a suitcase, a briefcase, and a sports bag for the gym? That’s the theory behind Switch, a customisable backpack that will suit anyone. However, does its versatility risk alienating some?
WiWu Switch Backpack: backpack
Let’s get this straight from the start. I travel with a backpack. Period. I don’t ever need a formal-looking briefcase-style bag, and if I go to a gym, does it matter what kind of bag I take? Not really. However, the Switch is a really great backpack. Why? It opens like a suitcase, U-shaped, so it’s easy to stash clothes for short overnight trips. That makes it better than almost all small backpacks. However, it’s so small that it’s not really going to work for more than an overnight trip. That limits its usefulness.
WiWu Switch Backpack: messenger & briefcase
The shoulder straps are detachable to turn the backpack into a messenger bag, a shoulder bag, and a briefcase. There is all manner of clips to change the bag’s style, and even a side-opening for a 15-inch laptop, and a top-opening zip. There’s also a waterproof section that can be accessed on the bag’s undercarriage, for storing wet or sweaty gym gear or swimming gear (or laundry).
WiWu Switch Backpack: cross-body bag
However, what’s really unusual about the Switch is not that it has moveable straps and well-designed pouches and pockets, but that it also comes with two extra small bags. So it’s definitely got one eye on the overnight trip. First up is a small cross-body bag, which is designed to keep valuables close to your chest while you got on a day trip. Nice idea, and it works well. However, I would be happy for it to be an accessory, and an additional purchase, rather than be included in the package.
WiWu Switch Backpack: mini bag
Ditto the smaller mini bag, which basically a wash bag for toiletries. Again, nice idea – it’s even got some moveable dividers inside to add even more customisation options – but who desires matching luggage these days? Besides, most travelers will already have a wash bag. Mine is transparent, for airports. This mini bag is not.
WiWu Switch Backpack: conclusion
Yes, the Switch is slightly over-designed, but it’s also very impressive. It’s got an excellent build quality, and you really don’t sacrifice much with the Switch even if you don’t make much use of its versatile, customisable options. It’s strong, has some very well thought-out and well-organised pockets for accessories and electronics, and gives a lot of options for how to use it. However, given that the main compartment is only big enough to store clothes for an overnight trip, and the side-opening laptop sleeve quickly becomes the (too small) easy access main compartment for daily essentials, there’s a feeling that the Switch is trying to do a little too much for a 22-litre bag. Perhaps the laptop section should have been part of the main U-shaped compartment, after all. But a slightly bigger version might work a treat …