I take my Steam Deck everywhere - here's what I keep in my backpack

Steam Deck next to accessories with backpack
(Image credit: Future / Phil Hayton)

It's safe to say I've got a soft spot for the Steam Deck, and my portable pal pretty much goes everywhere I do. If you see me out and about, chances are I've got Valve's heroic handheld stashed away in my backpack, but it's normally accompanied by various accessories I couldn't live without. So, since Black Friday is just around the corner, I thought I'd fill you in on all the add-ons I tend to take with me on the go, just in case you're aiming to build up your accessory arsenal this November. 

With Black Friday Steam Deck deals on the horizon, I'm willing to bet there will be plenty of add-on offers to be had. Maybe I'm a little bit of a loser, but I honestly love picking up new gadgets for the handheld, especially if they help add extra functionality. I also had to wait a while before actually acquiring any accessories, as picking up the portable back in 2022 upset my bank account somewhat. But hey, that's why Black Friday gaming deals exist, which is why the whole topic is on my mind.

It's worth noting that most of my favorite Steam Deck accessories are actually compatible with most of the best gaming handheld contenders out there. Specifically, if you've got a Steam Deck dock, SSD, microSD card, or PC controller, chances are it'll work with rival portable PCs like the Asus ROG Ally and Ayaneo 2S. In other words, don't click away just because you see the word 'Steam Deck' plastered over this collection of words from my brain, as many of my go-to bits will even play nice with the upcoming Lenovo Legion Go. It's sort of like when you call every vacuum a 'Hoover', y'know?

Anyway, here are all the Steam Deck accessories I normally keep in my backpack:


Acefast GaN PD charger hub next to Steam Deck

(Image credit: Acefast)

1. Acefast GaN Smart PD Charger Hub

I test handheld docking stations fairly regularly, but it's Acefast's compact charger dock combo that normally makes its way into my backpack. For a while, it actually lived in my denim jacket pocket, which sort of hammers home just how dinky this device is. 

If you're unsure what this Acefast GaN Smart PD Charger Hub can actually do, allow me to fill you in. Armed with an HDMI port, USB 3.0, and USB-C Power Delivery, this thing can simultaneously hook your Steam Deck up to an external display, give you somewhere to connect peripherals, and provide plenty of juice to charge your handheld. Effectively, it fills in for a separate power adapter and docking station, all while taking up as much space as your smartphone plug.

Acefast GaN Smart PD Charger Hub | $49.99 at Amazon

Acefast GaN Smart PD Charger Hub | <a href="https://target.georiot.com/Proxy.ashx?tsid=8426&GR_URL=https%3A%2F%2Famazon.com%2FACEFAST-Charger-Nintendo-Foldable-Compatible%2Fdp%2FB09W5T391Z%3Ftag%3Dhawk-future-20%26ascsubtag%3Dhawk-custom-tracking-20" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"" target="_blank">$49.99 at Amazon
This compact Steam Deck dock dropped to just $37.91 between April and March, so it's worth keeping an eye out for similar discounts during Black Friday 2023. You'll also normally find a 10% off coupon you can apply on the Amazon page itself.

Buy if:

You travel with your Steam Deck
✅ You don't want a dock on your desk
✅ You want a fast charger

Don't buy if:

❌ You need more power
❌ You want somewhere to sit your Deck

Naturally, if you're in need of a fully-fledged desktop Steam Deck dock, I'd point you toward the excellent Baseus 6-in1. However, we're talking about backpack supplies this time around, so it's Acefast's wee brick that makes the cut. 

Baseus Blade 100W power bank connected to Steam Deck on woodgrain table

(Image credit: Baseus)

2. Baseus Blade 100W power bank

Let's face it, the Steam Deck's battery life is a bit pants, and I can say from experience that venturing away from outlets can lead to tears. At least, that was until I got my hands on Baseus' beefy 100W power bank, as the only thing that stresses out my Deck now while playing Baldur's Gate 3 on the train is my questionable RPG choices.  

If you caught our Verbatim Portable Touchscreen Monitor review, you might recognize this rectangular slab, as it's the same power bank I used to make it truly cordless. 100W is enough juice to both charge the handheld and supply power to devices like external monitors, which is impressive, to say the least. If you're not quite as ambitious, you can always simply use it to keep both your Steam Deck and smartphone charged up, which is exactly why it has a permanent residency in my backpack. 

Baseus Blade 100W power bank | $129.99$74.99 at Amazon
Save $55 -

Baseus Blade 100W power bank | <a href="https://target.georiot.com/Proxy.ashx?tsid=8426&GR_URL=https%3A%2F%2Famazon.com%2FBaseus-Portable-Charger-Charging-20000mAh%2Fdp%2FB09N3PRJZK%3Ftag%3Dhawk-future-20%26ascsubtag%3Dhawk-custom-tracking-20" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"" target="_blank">$129.99 $74.99 at Amazon
Save $55 - You can already pick up this 100W power bank for less thanks to a 23% price cut and an on-page $25 coupon. If we're lucky, we'll see this accessory reach a record-low price on Black Friday while retaining the aforementioned money-off voucher.

Buy it if:  

✅ You take your Steam Deck travelling
✅ You want to power multiple devices at once

Don't buy it if: 

❌ You always play next to a power outlet
❌ You'd prefer something smaller

As for capacity, we're talking 20,000mAh, so you'll be able to charge up your Deck multiple times before running out of juice. I even use it to charge my gaming laptop from time to time, as I am an airhead and forget to do it while at home.

Asus ROG Cetra earbuds next to Steam Deck on woodgrain table

(Image credit: Future / Phil Hayton)

3. Asus ROG Cetra True Wireless earbuds

Yes, I know, these earbuds share design queues with the Asus ROG Ally, and I mean, that because they're part of the Asus ROG family. Does that stop me from consistently using them with my Steam Deck? Nope, as they offer pretty robust sound quality and a long runtime to boot.

I'm sure there are plenty of Bluetooth earbuds out there that'll deliver a similar experience, but I've spent a lot of time with this pair. Before picking these up, I was using a cheaper JVC Gumy set, and the difference in quality is pretty dramatic. So much so that I'd end up reverting to an old wired pair, which isn't ideal when it comes to traveling. 

Asus ROG Cetra True Wireless earbuds | $99.99$85.99 at Amazon
Save $10 -

Asus ROG Cetra True Wireless earbuds | <a href="https://target.georiot.com/Proxy.ashx?tsid=8426&GR_URL=https%3A%2F%2Famazon.com%2FASUS-ROG-Headphones-Low-Latency-Cancelation%2Fdp%2FB0BRSCKG2D%3Ftag%3Dhawk-future-20%26ascsubtag%3Dhawk-custom-tracking-20" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"" target="_blank">$99.99 $85.99 at Amazon
Save $10 - These earbuds recently dropped to $79.99, and that's the price you should watch out for this coming Black Friday. If they drop any lower before the big event, you should probably just grab them.

Buy it if:  

✅ You want a reliable pair of Bluetooth earbuds
✅ You're looking for something with flair

Don't buy it if: 

❌ You'd prefer a wired alternative
❌ You've already got a set of Bluetooth earbuds

Asus claims these earbuds will run for up to 27 hours, and I think that's pretty accurate given that I haven't charged mine in weeks. They also benefit from fast charging, so even when I did have to plug them in last, they were good to go pretty quickly. If you'd rather pick up something that matches Valve's dark side aesthetic, you'll be pleased to know they're also available in black.

Xbox Wireless Controller next to Steam Deck on woodgrain table

(Image credit: Future/ Phil Hayton)

4. Microsoft Xbox Wireless Controller

Pairing the standard Xbox Wireless Controller with the Steam Deck doesn't feel very handheld hipster of me, but reliability wins me over when it comes to traveling. At home, I tend to use the Trustmaster eSwap Pro, and the only reason I don't take it with me is because it's wired. After using the DualSense and Nintendo Switch Pro controller out and about for a bit, I ultimately ended up permanently opting for Microsoft's pad, and it now pretty much never leaves my backpack. 

Unlike older Xbox controllers, the newest Wireless Controller can hook up to devices instantly using Bluetooth without a dongle. That's ideal when it comes to the Steam Deck, as it means you won't have to use any weird USB-C adapters to kick back and play games with a pad. Battery life is also fairly decent, and you'll be able to choose whether to invest in a play and charge kit or keep some spare AAs handy. 

Xbox Wireless Controller$59.99$46.99 at WalmartSave $20

Xbox Wireless Controller | <a href="https://goto.walmart.com/c/1943169/565706/9383?subId1=hawk-custom-tracking&sharedId=hawk&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.walmart.com%2Fip%2FMicrosoft-Xbox-Wireless-Controller-Carbon-Black%2F752722058%3Fathbdg%3DL1800" data-link-merchant="walmart.com"">$59.99 $46.99 at Walmart
Save $20 – You can grab Microsoft's wireless controller for a chunk cheaper during Black Friday, and it dropped to $39.99 last year. I'd avoid paying full price for this pad if you can, especially if you're only picking it up to live in your backpack.

Buy it if:  

✅ You want a reliable Bluetooth controller
✅ You prefer to keep things wireless

Don't buy it if: 

❌ You want something beyond standard
❌ You prefer symmetrical thumbsticks

If you've already got an Xbox Series X/S, you should be able to simply use the console's gamepad with the Steam Deck. Otherwise, your best bet is to try and pick up one for cheap thanks to Black Friday Xbox controller deals. You'll normally find one for far less than a PlayStation DualSense, which is partly what prompted me to pick one up in the first place.

Hand holding Steam Deck with Deckmate attached

(Image credit: Deckmate)

 5. Deckmate

The Deckmate really comes in clutch when it comes to using other add-ons with the Deck. You've perhaps heard it being referred to as the 'Swiss army knife' of Steam Deck accessories, and that's because it offers so much functionality. Even when it's doing the bare minimum, it functions as a great place to tuck away your microSD cards, while taking full advantage of it will allow you to strap an external SSD to the back.

Admittedly, there are plenty of things you can do with the Deckmate that aren't going to be useful outside your house. In a way, that's the whole point, as the clip system enables you to release it from a VESA monitor arm and quickly attach something else for gaming on the go. Whether that's an SSD like mentioned above or a power bank is up to you, but you'll certainly be able to find a use for it.

Deckmate |&nbsp;$54.99$49 at Amazon
Save £5.99 -

Deckmate | <a href="https://target.georiot.com/Proxy.ashx?tsid=8426&GR_URL=https%3A%2F%2Famazon.com%2FDeckmate-Kickstand-Universal-Anything-Compatible%2Fdp%2FB0BV8N5JS2%2F%3Ftag%3Dhawk-future-20%26ascsubtag%3Dhawk-custom-tracking-20" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"" target="_blank">$54.99 $49 at Amazon
Save £5.99 - Down to its lowest price in 30 days, it feels like the Deckmate is worth picking up now. If you've already got the need for a versatile system like this for your Steam Deck, waiting around might not be that worthwhile.

Buy it if:  

✅ You want to mount your Deck to things
✅ You regularly use an external SSD and power bank

Don't buy it if: 

❌ You need more than two USB ports
❌ You use a Steam Deck case/shell

Admittedly, the Deckmate feels a bit niche compared to what you'd normally pick up for the Steam Deck. Yet, if you know the pain of trying to use the Steam Deck on a train with various add-ons balanced on the daft shaky table normally aboard, you'll benefit from picking one up.

Jsaux Modcase standing on white desk

(Image credit: Future / Phil Hayton)

6. Jsaux Steam Deck ModCase

The Steam Deck already comes with a very good case, but I do admittedly use Jsaux's ModCase most of the time. Partly, that's because I end up shoving other bits and bobs in the original one to take with me, but it's also because this alternative comes with a kickstand at the back and a shell that proves effective protection at the front. 

The 'mod' part of this case is provided by a watch strap style holder at the back, which sort of functions like the above Deckmate. It's a little less sophisticated, but it'll happily hold onto external SSDs and power banks if you tend to use one while you play. 

Jsaux Steam Deck ModCase | $29.99 at Amazon

Jsaux Steam Deck ModCase | <a href="https://target.georiot.com/Proxy.ashx?tsid=8426&GR_URL=https%3A%2F%2Famazon.com%2FJSAUX-PC0104-Detachable-Accessories-Protective%2Fdp%2FB0BRXHK2QL%3Ftag%3Dhawk-future-20%26ascsubtag%3Dhawk-custom-tracking-20" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"" target="_blank">$29.99 at Amazon
The lowest price this case tends to drop to is $27.99, so waiting for Black Friday could help you snag it for less. Since the Deck comes with a case by default, holding off shouldn't do too much harm. 

Buy if:

✅ You want a protective shell
✅ You'd benefit from a built-in kickstand
✅ You need something to hold other accessories

Don't buy if:

❌ You'd prefer a more slimline case
❌ You're happy using the default case

This case is going to prove invaluable if you hate having to protect your Deck by stowing it away. Not to mention the kickstand at the back sort of emulates the likes of the Nintendo Switch, providing a familiar level of tabletop functionality that really comes in handy.

WD_Black SN770M SSD sitting on Steam Deck

(Image credit: Future / Phil Hayton)

7. WD Black SN770M NVMe SSD

A bit like a matryoshka doll, WD Black's Steam Deck SSD technically lives inside the handheld which lives inside my backpack. That may feel like cheating the question a little, but honestly, I wouldn't be able to take my Deck with me these days without the drive dwelling within.

That's down to the fact it increases the Steam Deck's capacity to 2TB, meaning I can take a chunk of my Steam library with me. While it's a smaller 2230 SSD, it's also PCIe 4, meaning it will load up games just as fast as the original drive included. The only real caveat here is that you'll have to operate on the Deck to get it inside, and that may lead some of you to use a microSD card instead. Personally, I'd rather have the option of expanding my storage further while still having lots of internal space.

WD Black SN770M NVMe SSD | $239.99$219.99 at Best Buy
Save $20 -

WD Black SN770M NVMe SSD | <a href="https://shop-links.co/link?skuId=6551144&ref=212&loc=1&gclid=CjwKCAjw1t2pBhAFEiwA_-A-NDMuBnu-e6C-SdsawtaBa7b0EFxuaGEGaJKt6nlyxKTbuS32nQ4vdxoCCrsQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds&publisher_slug=future&exclusive=1&u1=hawk-custom-tracking&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bestbuy.com%2Fsite%2Fwd-black-sn770m-2tb-internal-ssd-pcie-gen-4-x4-m-2-2230-for-rog-ally-and-steam-deck%2F6551144.p%3FskuId%3D6551144%26ref%3D212%26loc%3D1%26gclid%3DCjwKCAjw1t2pBhAFEiwA_-A-NDMuBnu-e6C-SdsawtaBa7b0EFxuaGEGaJKt6nlyxKTbuS32nQ4vdxoCCrsQAvD_BwE%26gclsrc%3Daw.ds&article_name=hawk-article-name&article_url=hawk-article-url" data-link-merchant="bestbuy.com"" target="_blank">$239.99 $219.99 at Best Buy
Save $20 - For whatever reason, the 2TB version I use within my Steam Deck is only available at Best Buy right now. Still, it's $20 cheaper, and it feels like additional Black Friday discounts will kick in this November.

Buy if:

✅ You want to maximize your Steam Deck storage
✅ You want to avoid only using microSD cards

Don't buy if:

❌ You'd rather not open up your Deck
❌ You'd be happy with smaller capacities 

There are admittedly cheaper Steam Deck SSDs out there, and I reckon they'd perform similarly to WD Black's drive. However, even the more affordable Sabrent Rocket 2TB SSD costs $199, so you're not paying that much more for the former considering it's a big brand name.

The contents of my backpack will no doubt change over time, but these are all the main Steam Deck accessories that have a sort of permanent residency. I'll make sure to keep you in the loop if I find any other invaluable add-ons, so keep an eye out for more recommendations in the future.

If it's deals ahead of Black Friday you're looking for, you'll find some down below. Just keep in mind that the biggest savings tend to pop up during the event itself, and holding off could please your bank account. 

Looking for a portable powerhouse? We've got you covered with our collection of Black Friday gaming laptop deals. Not into leaving the house? Why not peek at the best Black Friday gaming monitor deals ahead of the big annual event.

Phil Hayton
Hardware Editor

I’ve been messing around with PCs, video game consoles, and tech since before I could speak. Don’t get me wrong, I kickstarted my relationship with technology by jamming a Hot Wheels double-decker bus into my parent’s VCR, but we all have to start somewhere. I even somehow managed to become a walking, talking buyer’s guide at my teenage supermarket job, which helped me accept my career fate. So, rather than try to realise my musician dreams, or see out my University degree, I started running my own retro pop culture site and writing about video games and tech for the likes of TechRadar, The Daily Star, and the BBC before eventually ending up with a job covering graphics card shenanigans at PCGamesN. Now, I’m your friendly neighbourhood Hardware Editor at GamesRadar, and it’s my job to make sure you can kick butt in all your favourite games using the best gaming hardware, whether you’re a sucker for handhelds like the Steam Deck and Nintendo Switch or a hardcore gaming PC enthusiast.