STM BagPack review – Your super sneaky secret travel weapon!

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REVIEW – Look at me, on vacation, carrying things! I’m testing the STM BagPack, a packable 15 liter backpack that you can stuff and pack for travel, then pull it our when you get to your destination. But this bag has another secret: it’s got an inflatable laptop sleeve if you need to haul your tech with you! Let’s learn more. To the review!

What is it?

STM BagPack is a packable backpack with a built-in inflatable laptop sleeve that will accommodate a 16″ MacBook pro!

Hardware specs

  • 210D nylon build
  • 15 liter capacity
  • 1.1 pounds
  • Packed size: 9.5″ by 6″ by 4″
  • Unpacked size: 18.9″ tall by 12.4″ wide by 6.3″ deep

Design and features

The STM BagPack is designed as a foldable, stowable backpack that you can throw in your luggage and pull out at your destination. This starts with a solid block of 210D nylon measuring roughly 9.5″ by 6″ by 4″ and weighing in at just over a pound.

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You open up that zip and start unstuffing the goods. As you go you’ll be inverting that pouch, which then becomes the  front pocket of the backpack.

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Once you’ve opened her up, you’ll find yourself staring at a full-sized 15 liter backpack with all the basics you need for roaming, The shape is a pretty straightforward and functional box with some rounded edges, and sports a bit of a teardrop shape in the side profile.

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That front zip packet is generously sized. I have my Leuchtterm 1917 notebook stashed in there for reference.

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You get two HUGE bottle pockets on each side of the bag. Each pcoket is big enough for a larger hydration bottle.

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Despite the packable nature of the design, the back panel & shoulder straps incorporate some thin quilted padding. The contoured shoulder straps are designed to wrap around your torso for a snug fit.

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A simple nylon loop serves as a top handle for hanging the bag and quick-grab maneuvers on the go.

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Your hardware is basic, but effective. The strap clips are plastic. The zips all have clean travel with some nice tabs to help when you’re pulling them back and forth all day.

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Now here’s where things get really interesting. The STM BagPack itself has no structure when you unpack it. But there’s a rubber sleeve/divider on the inside of the bag. If you pull aside this flap, you’ll find an inflator nozzle.

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Blow into that nozzle to inflate the sleeve, then seal it with the cap…

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… and now you have a fully functional padded laptop sleeve that accommodates a 16″ MacBook Pro! This sleeve provides padding on the back panel, sides, and front for all-around protection.

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Here’s my laptop in place. Plenty of room for the 16″ MacBook Pro. I could even stuff a small notebook in there.

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The inflator nozzle has a post/button that you’ll press to deflate the sleeve. You’ll want to make sure you squeeze that air out before you repack the bag. This starts by laying the bag out with the backside facing you, then you fold in the two sides as shown below.

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Once that is done, you’ll fold down the top and bottom of the bag towards the middle.

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You’ll then fold that in half again, so that it aligns with what was the zip on the exterior pouch.

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It was hard to get a picture of this, but basically, you take that pouch and invert it by peeling it out and wrapping it around the body of the folded material. That STM logo used to be on the inside of the pouch for reference.

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As you complete this move, the inside of that pouch becomes the outside. The zip is double-sided, so you now pull on what was the inside zip pull to get it all together.

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BOOM! You’re ready to move on to your next destination!

Performance

The STM BagPack presents a compact profile and a surprisingly comfortable design despite the lack of extra padding or firm structure. In the pics below, I have it loaded with my MacBook Pro, a rolled-up sweatshirt, a Yeti hydration bottle, and my Zoruichi travel coffee thermos.

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You can see how that teardrop shape conforms to the curve of my back in these pics.

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Stuff also tends to drop to the bottom of the bag with the teardrop shape and lack of structure..

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I actually don’t find this to be a big issue for two reasons. First, the zips travel 3/4 down the sides of the bag which enables you to easily get into the guts for stuff that may have settled at the bottom.

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It’s also not a huge bag. The proportions of the STM BagPack are pretty streamlined despite supporting a bigger laptop. It’s just easy to get in and out of the corners. Here’s a shot of the bag at the office, where I have an assortment of stuff in there including some admin pouches and my notebook. I can get in and grab anything I need without issue.

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The contoured shoulder straps are also comfortable. I really haven’t had any issue with comfort in using this bag in a couple of different use cases.

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Speaking of use cases… this was my bag of choice on a recent trip to Disney World, and it’s a marvelous solution for an on-demand daypack. I stuffed this in my checked bag and pulled it out for the week. We hit a weird December cold streak for part of our trip, so I usually hauled a couple of sweatshirts in there (along with souvenirs, water bottles, and sunglasses) as we walked. And walked. And walked….

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The STM BagPack’s comfort and convenience were spot on. Easy to get in and out of the bag as I was going into buildings or grabbing a sweatshirt. It’s light, comfortable, and stays close when you’re doing crowd maneuvers.

I even found a bonus use for the laptop sleeve. I don’t haul my electronics around the park, and I liked the unstructured nature of the bag for assorted stuff. But my wife found a big glass ornament in a store that she HAD to have. They packed it in a box, and I inflated that laptop sleeve to give it an extra layer of protection until we returned to our room that night. Said ornament arrived safe and sound!

 

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Now you may or may not have a laptop with you on your travels, but I really appreciate that the bag works equally well with or without the inflatable sleeve.

The durability of the bag has been great so far. The 210D nylon is deceptive; it’s so thin and light that you kind of expect a seam to pop somewhere. I haven’t seen any issues yet despite kicking this thing around pretty good! The zips are holding well to constant use. Even the nozzle/seal mechanism for the inflatable sleeve is well constructed. We’ll see how it holds up over the course of several trips.

If I were to nitpick, I’d love to see a key lanyard in there somewhere and maybe another internal safe pocket for a wallet or valuables… but those are nice-to-haves and not critical for this type of bag.

My only other real critique is the re-packing process can be quite a chore until you get the hang of it. You want to make sure you get all the air out of the inflatable sleeve! There’s a lot of folding and stuffing (and grunting) involved to get the footprint tight enough to fit into itself. But I’m getting better at it with practice.

What I like

  • Just the right size for a day bag
  • Comfortable for all day use
  • Works well with or without a laptop
  • Simple layout is very user-friendly with big water bottle pockets

What I’d change

  • I’d love a safe stash pocket for a wallet, cash, passport, etc.
  • Repacking can be a wrestling match, but gets better with practice

Final thoughts

The STM BagPack is a really clever solution for the traveler who needs an extra bag for their destination but not for the journey to get there. This bag is an outstanding multitasker for day trips and/or work travel that performs just as well with or without the laptop sleeve. I love the minimalist functionality & the clever laptop sleeve solution. It’s a little chunky, but the weight only adds a pound to your carry-on or packed luggage. We’ll see how it holds up in long-term testing!

Price: $79.95
Where to buy: STMgoods.com
Source: The sample of this product was provided by STM Goods.

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