For work, I carry around a lot of tech. As well as my iPhone, I’ll usually have my 13” MacBook Pro with me, as well as my iPad and current Android testing device. Carrying tech also means bringing along associated chargers and accessories, not to mention low-tech solutions like notebooks and pens.
My daily carry is too much for most shoulder bags but I’ve never been a fan of (or had need for) humongous, bulky backpacks either so I’m constantly on the hunt for bags somewhere in between — something with enough room for my devices, that is protective, and that doesn’t make me look like a total nerd everywhere I go.
I’ve been taking a look at STM’s Prime backpack from its 2016 Velocity collection for a couple of weeks. Built to carry 13” laptops, STM calls Prime a “perfect daily companion” so I was keen to put it to the test.
The I first got my hands on the “frost grey” Prime, I was struck by its compact size. At 16.5” tall and just a smidge over 10” wide, it’s fairly small for a laptop carrying backpack. It doesn’t immediately scream ‘computer bag’ and looks like a normal rucksack for the most part, which I like.
Despite it’s compact form factor, storage space still feels plentiful. Internally, there’s a large padded sleeve for holding laptops of the 13” variety with a number of smaller sections appended to it that are large enough to hold an iPad. This section of the bag features STM’s ’slingtech’ protection which suspends the pocket in the middle of the bag, avoiding contact with the floor when the bag is placed down. Added corner padding also mean the devices inside are well protected. I felt confident taking my gear around in the Prime knowing the protection of my bag’s contents was of paramount importance.
Two internal pockets allow plenty of room for chargers, cables and accessories while the main cavity has room for a few items — enough clothing for a weekend away, perhaps, but there’s not quite enough space in the Prime alone if you’re making an extended trip.
Externally, there’s a quick access pocket for things you need, erm, quick access to as well as a zipped, fleece-lined pocket which I used primarily to store sunglasses. Standard elasticated side pockets allow space for a water bottle on each side, or travel umbrella.
I’ve used the Prime as my daily carry since taking delivery of it and it has not left me wanting more in terms of storage space or design.
The fit and finish of the Prime is top notch. Materially and structurally the bag feels solid and well put together, and I was confident that my gadgets were being well liked after. Heavy duty zippers, water resistant fabric and patterned internal linings add to the overall feeling of quality — reflected in its $79.95 price tag too.
The Prime is an ideal middle ground between large backpacks and slim shoulder bags or laptop sleeves. It’s not for those with larger laptops — 15” or larger and you’re out of luck — or if you are planning on taking only the Prime with you on an extended trip. But for a daily commuter or as a companion to your main luggage, the bag nails it with its small profile, abundant storage and quality build.