The STM Bagpack promises compact size and airbag protection for your laptop — but it can really only cover one of those goals.
|Super compact when not in use
|Inflatable protection pocket deflates way too quickly
|Lightweight, so good for travel
|Expensive for a simple backpack
|Dual drink bottle holders
|Simple interior with few inside pockets
I mentioned in my re-review of the STM Drifter that the company made some of my favourite backpacks.
The intersection between luggage and technology doesn’t happen all that often, so when the company sent me a pitch for the STM Bagpack, I was kind of intrigued.
The core concept is one of those “yeah, that sounds interesting, but will it work?” kind of deals; a collapsible backpack that also features an inflatable airbag to form a very precise laptop protection sleeve. Smart stuff in theory… but does it work?
The STM Bagpack’s design certainly meets one of its core goals. If you need a backpack but you don’t want the larger scale or hassle of having to store a backpack, then the way it folds up is really quite smart.
You can watch me struggle with the initial unpacking in that video above – that is quite literally my first few minutes with the Bagpack – but after a month’s usage, I’m far more used to how you essentially stuff it into its own outside pocket like some demented reverse haggis.
It’s smart design for storage purposes – but a good backpack needs to be more than that.
There really is an entire backpack inside this tiny bag. Honest!
Staying on the positive side, the STM Bagpack is also really very light, which could make it a great companion bag for flight travel, especially in these days when so many airlines want to weigh your carry-on baggage before letting you on the plane. By my measurements it’s about 430g all up, which for a backpack of this size really is impressive.
This zipper holds in a LOT of backpack.
This much backpack, in fact.
I also appreciate the fact that it’s got not one, but two external drink bottle holders, so there’s scope for using it on days where you’re hiking or otherwise needing to carry hydration around with you.
Remember kids — stay hydrated.
The STM Bagpack’s party piece is its inflatable interior airbag, capable of taking a laptop of up to 16 inches in the rear compartment of the bag. Inflation is easy enough, with a simple spigot at the top to blow air into.
I do wonder about its freshness over time and whether you’d want to put your lips to it a whole lot after a few years, though you might be able to rig a simple footpump to it if it got too gross.
A comfy cushion for your laptop or tablet, right? Well…
All of that is fine, and first impressions are that my laptop would be wonderfully cushioned and protected throughout my working day.
Sadly, that was a first impression that just didn’t last.
Have you ever slept on an airbed?
Most people have, and I suspect you’ve hit the exact issue that the STM Bagpack suffers from all too rapidly. When you’re sleeping on an airbed, you go to sleep on a cushion of air, very comfortable and portable and all that good stuff.
My laptop feels secure for now — but that’s because I’ve only just inflated the airbag.
All too often, when you wake up, you’re on the floor, because significant air leakage has occurred. That’s the story with the STM Bagpack, which typically managed an hour or so of reasonable coverage before it basically wasn’t protecting a laptop at all.
It’s not that the laptop’s going to fall out of the STM Bagpack, because the zip is stil a robust little thing, but an hour just isn’t enough. For an asking price of $109.95, I’d ideally want an all-day level of laptop protection, because any other standard laptop (like my beloved STM Drifter) does just that.
It’s undeniably a tricky engineering challenge, because if the airbag was more robust, it would add weight and be much trickier to fold down too. Still, for a real world product that consumers are meant to buy, it’s easily the most disappointing part of the STM Bagpack’s offering.
STM Bagpack: Alex’s Verdict
I love the idea of the STM Bagpack… but it’s a tough one to recommend, because one of its core selling features really doesn’t work all that well at all. It would work quite well as a travel backpack if you weren’t relying on the airbag, because it’s so gloriously light. If you just wanted a basic backpack that you could easily store away because it’s so compact, it scores highly there.
But still, with an asking price of $109.95, my enthusiasm deflates for it about as rapidly as its airbag does.
STM Bagpack: Pricing and availability
The official RRP for the STM Bagpack is $109.95 in Australia… if you can find one.
The other oddity with the STM Bagpack is that it’s kind of hard to find.
STM sent me one for review, and it’s meant to be on sale in Australia right now… but the only merchants (or indeed mention) of it that I can find are in New Zealand with stores that are 100% sold out. I’m waiting to hear back from STM on this score, because it’s a backpack that you might be keen on – but actually not all that readily able to buy.
Update: 26/09/2023: STM now has it available at its online store locally.