STM, an Australian company that makes very nice bags, has been featured here before. This time, I get to review one of their full-sized laptop bags- the medium-sized, vertical shoulder bag. It’s a great looking bag and I could not wait to try it out!
When I look for a bag, I want something that will carry my stuff in an organized way, be good quality for the cost, and look OK doing it. The STM Vertical Medium Laptop Shoulder Bag runs $70 from eBags.com and is a good size- 16.3′ x 11.8″ X 3.1″ with a laptop slot that is 14.8″ x 10.4″ x 1.3″ and holds my 14.5″ HP with a little room to spare. The proportions are such that they feel OK on both me, a very large guy, and my slender wife. The removable shoulder strap is generously cut and easily adjustable. The bag also features a handy and very sturdy grab handle, which I really like in a bag.
The bag is very well made. As was noted in the previous review, there is a lot of attention to detail- sturdy hardware, interesting and strong zipper pulls, and a really well-done shoulder pad that does not slip and is very comfortable. The main pockets are lined with a grey fleece material with some quilting that feels nice and soft. I do not worry that anything will be scratched in these pockets!
The lining fabric, zipper pulls, and shoulder pad. Notice the Velcro on the front pocket- that is what holds the main flap down.
Shoulder strap hardware
So, high marks for looks and quality. (Forgive the fuzz and mild wear- I’ve been using this bag now since I got it and I carry it daily, and we have a cat, so…)
The bag features a large main pocket for the laptop or whatever you want to fit in it, a full sized back pocket, a pocket in the outside main flap with a zipper on the side, a large pocket in front of the laptop pocket almost as wide and tall, another one about 2/3rds that size (which seems to be designed for an iPad), and an organizer pocket with an exterior pocket, a large gusseted opening, several pen-type slots, another zippered pocket behind them, and a key clip.
The bag can hold quite a bit without looking bulgy, although since it is a vertical bag, it is designed to be rather thin and does not particularly like thick stuff. It cannot easily handle things like water bottles, lunches, and even big ‘power bricks’ well although it is fine with magazines and files. The photo below shows everything I was carrying when I took the photo. There was still plenty of space, but mostly for rather flat stuff. In fact, the camera shown sort of has to be ‘positioned’ in the top part of the organizer pocket so it does not make a bulge.
There are a couple small things about this bag that bother me a little. The laptop flap and the main flap just secure with relatively small areas of Velcro. In fact, the Velcro area for the main flap- the wide oval shape on the organizer pocket shown a few photos up- really does not allow for much variation in bag thickness. The other minor thing is the relative inability to hold thicker stuff. If I was taking this on a plane or trip, I would need another bag for bulkier items. If you need bulkier storage or more secure front flaps, consider the Scout bags, or one of their other shoulder bags.
They have a nicely worded warranty, but since the company is in Australia it would be interesting to know how it actually applies.
Not quite my ‘dream bag*’ but a nicely put together bag that will probably hold up for a long time with daily abuse. (*- I want a nearly impossible collection of mix-and match components so I can carry what I want when I want without spare bulk and not shuffle items from bag to bag. Dream on, right?)