Pelican S100 Sport Elite Review

By Adam Ma on December 3, 2013, 10:26PM EDT

Purchasing a backpack is a pretty straightforward process for most people. Find one that will hold your stuff, then buy it and slap that sucker on your back. Bonus points if it looks cool. But lets pretend that you need a backpack for more than just toting around spare clothing or a plethora of textbooks. Worst case scenario you've got some sort of electronic device that needs protecting, and would prefer the added convenience of a weatherproof or shock resistant case of some kind.

That's why we're taking a look at Pelican's S100 Urban Elite, a backpack which sounds like something out of an action film and looks as though you're hanging onto Batman's spare equipment. Something Bruce Wayne would keep around to inconspicuously carry his grappling hook or portable EMP. Or in my case, travel gear that mysteriously attracts the dogs in my house whenever placed on the ground.

All joking aside the S100 was made specifically to protect electronic equipment, and has a built in hard case designed to hold 15" laptops or notebooks. A latch at the top locks in any electronic device going into the hard case, and to further prevent any movement the S100 comes with various sized foam pads to stick inside the case. Cushions on the back of the case keep the backpack from becoming a strain to carry, and even with a heavy load of equipment it feels quite comfortable.

There are a few other things we can point out about the S100 that make the backpack extremely handy for someone with an above-average travel lifestyle. Its top pouch boasts a decent little weather resistance space that's a great size for the extra paperwork that always seems to come up when on the move. Conversely the S100 has a front-bottom pocket that fits a variety of extra cabling and provides a handy spot for a small tablet (approximate size of an iPad) with a reasonably sturdy backing. It's won't help against a drop kick (or any real hard impact for that matter) but if you're not doing anything too intense the pocket should be more than up to the task.

Another great point is that once placed inside nothing really moves around, as everything that's a pocket within the S100 is designed incredibly snug. It would be great if the top water-resistant pouch would have a little more space, but that's probably because as a gamer I'm always looking to stow away all kinds of junk that has no business moving with me. Pelican likely didn't sit down and think about optimizing the space for a 3DS and Vita, but it holds one or the other just fine and that's more than enough.

Overall the backpack is excellent and does everything that you should expect it to, and more. Notebooks and laptops stay perfectly still within the case, there's ample room for several accessories, binders, or just 25 liters of "˜stuff', and most importantly it's remarkably comfortable. Again, even with a heavy load the hard case, cushion and straps do a fantastic job of distributing the weight.

Let it be said that all of this protection, waterproofing, and comfort does come at a cost; although when you consider the value of a high-quality laptop case combined with water sealing and extra storage the S100 holds the advantage of handling every task in a single stroke. 270.00 USD directly from Pelican's site can seem fairly daunting to most, but this isn't a backpack meant for high schoolers looking to carry textbooks.

If you're looking to make a purchase on a notebook or already have some expensive electronics that need protecting, and are someone who moves on a regular basis (either into the outdoors or as part of work) then you won't have any complaints with the S100 Sport Elite. Otherwise, if you're a founding member of the Justice League or contributor within the Wayne Foundation then there's a good chance you already have one.


S100 Sport Elite Details

Case Interior Dimensions:
15.15" x 10.40" x 1.00" (38.5 x 26.4 x 2.5 cm)
-Built-In Watertight, Crushproof Case (Top-Loading, Fast Access TSA Ready and Under Seat Convenient)
-SureGrip Soft Rubber Handle
-Rigid Front Plate
-Bottom Expanding Sling Storage
-Load Compression Straps
-Top-loader 25 Liter Main Storage
-Chest Clip and Removable Hip Belt
-Floating Shoulder Straps and Lumbar Pad with Ergonomic Ventilated Back

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