Sunday, 31 March 2013 11:47

STM - truly delightful, well made, Aussie laptop travel bags


Over the many years of business travelling I have come to use a backpack to transport my laptop and “stuff’ instead of a briefcase – if only to leave my arms and hands free when negotiating customs and baggage carousels. There is certainly no business or boardroom “suit” stigma or snobbery anymore against backpacks.

My favourite was a red ochre canvas one that I picked up attending a conference in Darwin for three main reasons.

First it did not have a flap over the top, just a zipper – top flaps are a damned nuisance to undo and get into the bag (just like those stupid wheeled hard cases that have to be fully opened to get anything in or out).

Second it was red ochre and made of canvas – just a little different from the millions of boring or garish black poly and plastic monstrosities made in Asia.

Finally it was particularly well made and has lasted the distance.

I was therefore keen to try out some of STM’s bags – a Sydney based company that has a particular style and a mission to transport digital devices (laptops and more) in safety.

STM’s Convoy canvas medium laptop backpack redefines design parameters and adds good old fashioned timeless style and quality to the equation. RRP $149.95 is good value for this premium bag.

How do you review a backpack (as all reviews in iTWire must be objective and more than a press release rehash)?

First was to wear it for a day – traipsing 10+km around Sydney on foot on a warm, sunny, beautiful day accompanied by my wife to do some shopping.

Appearance. Olive green is a little different – reminiscent of my old school Cadet days (also available in black). It has a solid construction (14oz water resistant canvas lined with 210D water resistant nylon) with really thick arm straps and generous breathable, back padding. Retro style – rates well with this baby-boomer.

Comfort. A whole day without soreness or discomfort – this 1.7kg backpack makes the grade there. It has a very flexible suspension strap system with an elasticised sternum (chest) strap and waist straps.

Storage – a deceptive 33 litres for a 15” laptop and big stuff. The main compartment at the rear has a padded back plate which stops any sharp objects pressing into your back. Inside the large two part compartment is built to support weight – a laptop in one segment and all the cables and power supplies in another (and those multiple duty free 1 litre bottles).

The middle compartment is a business persons dream - a detachable split ring to hold all your keys (it is so easy to lose keys), a zippered compartment (good place for a passport), four pen holders and little slip cover compartments. Passes there.

The front has three pouches which are great for mobile phones – I loved the fact that the clips had a one finger fastening stud/loop that allows you to press the stud closed against your finger instead of what is inside. This is finished by two side pockets for drink bottles and a phone/pod holder etc. Hidden in the bottom is a pull out rain cover.

But wait there is more. I took a liking to their canvas Flight small laptop shoulder bag for those short day trips. It’s good for my 13” notebook or tablet and like the Convoy backpack has a top zip instead of a flap (hate those flaps). It is available in olive and back as well. RRP $79.95.

It weighs just 600g and is made from a lighter weight water resistant canvas and lined with the same water resistant nylon and softer nylex no scratch for the laptop/tablet compartment.

It has a large, removable padded shoulder strap and plenty of zippered pockets and hidey holes for everything.



About STM

STM (standard technical merchandise) bags cover a wide range of laptop, tablet and phone protection in backpacks, wheeled and sleeves. Its products are available from JB Hi-Fi, Mountain Designs, Dick Smith, Apple stores and many more or online. Give this Aussie company your support.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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