To say I’ve had a bit of a love affair with backpacks, laptop cases and sleeves is an understatement; it’s my guilty pleasure I think. I’ve owned some big, some small, some smart and some not. The STM Myth is an interesting product for me to review. It isn’t ‘smart’ which I like my bags to be, but it is clever.
- Well thought out pocket placement
- Small-feeling for 28 litres
- Water repellent coating
- Nice design
- Price might be a bit steep
If you’re not familiar with STM (Smarter Than Most), the company hails from Sydney, Australia, and has been up and running for 20+ years, delivering cases and protection for technology throughout that period. Head over to the STM website for more background on them.
The STM Myth is available in two flavours; 28 litres and 18 litres. I’m checking out the 28 litre variant and I have to say I’m quite happy about that. My first impression of the STM Myth was that it was rather large inside but in a compact way. Let me elaborate.
The laptop compartment alone can fit up to a 16″ device, and it can be quite a chonky device too due to the support it has around it. The outer dimensions of the bag are 47 x 30 x 17 cm. It’s the height that makes it look a bit bigger than it feels either in your hand or on your back. Those dimensions increase by only a few centimetres over the 18 litre version but it’s noticeable when you have everything in your backpack.
- Laptop carry size – 16″
- main material: 100% polyester
- outer dimensions: H 18.5 x W 11.8 x D 6.7 in (H 47.0 x W 30.0 x D 17.0 cm)
- capacity: 28.0 L
- weight: 2.69 lbs (1.2 kg)
- Slingtech – the laptop never impacts the ground
- CableReady – you can charge anything in-bag
- Luggage pass-through – attach it to your luggage for easy portage when walking
- ComfortCarry – mesh and padded back and straps for comfort
- AirPod pocket offers quick, easy access to your wireless headphones
- TPU coated webbing handles with rivets ensures durability
- Water repellent C6DWR coating applied to fabric
- Air channel back panel system promotes air flow, keeps you cool and comfortable
- Reverse coil zippers protect teeth, keep moisture and grunge out
- Internal fleece-lined sunglasses pocket
- Weather-sealed laptop pocket
As you can see from the above, there has been a lot of thought go into this backpack, not just from an aesthetic or a load perspective, but in terms of how it can protect your valuables. The laptop section, for example, is the closest pocket/sleeve to your actual body, on the outer portion of the STM Myth. The inner lining is fleece to reduce the risk of scratching, whilst the material wrapped along the outer of that fleece lining is hardened which will cushion the device should the backpack be dropped.
There are ample pockets for you to play with also. The two other large compartments can easily store tablets and phones, or books and water bottles. There are small pockets for wires, charging bricks and notepads/pens, as well as larger pockets for your tech, headphones and even spacing for a battery pack with wire passthrough to specific compartments. The last part is critical for me, but I’m not a huge fan of the aesthetically-challenged “USB block on the outside of your backpack”. This allows you to pass wires through compartments but doesn’t specifically point you to having your USB cable dangling from one side of the backpack.
The design of the STM Myth is interesting to me also. There are three colour options: Granite Black, Slate Blue or Windsor Wine – the one I’m reviewing. The Granite Black and Windsor Wine options are two-tone both in colour and material which is quite striking and I think loves lovely. Then there’s the opposite side of the design aspect, with STM delivering a few clever tricks. The back padding, for example, is ample, but it’s also split in half, allowing an air gap for your spine so you don’t get as hot or sweaty lugging your kit around. There’s also a chest strap for increased comfort and stability as well as luggage pass-through for those airport trips.
There are a couple of downsides for I’d like to air from my testing. The first one is that there could be more padding on the arms. The padding that is there is acceptable, but given this is a 28 litre backpack, it’s likely to pull on your straps quite a bit when fully laden and added padding would help those longer trips/events from becoming tiresome.
Then there’s the price. At £115 this is at the higher end of what I’d consider paying for a backpack that could fit all my tech, protect it, and be comfy. The price is justified by the theory and practice, but it is let down somewhat when you delve into the market and check out the competition. There are other brands out there that can deliver a lot of what STM have managed here, perhaps with a more ‘professional’ aesthetic, at a lighter load on your wallet.
There are a couple of design elements I’m not sure of also. The top carry handle seems completely at odds with the rest of the backpack, with it feeling cutting if the backpack is fully laden, as well as feeling flimsy and an afterthought in general. I didn’t use that much anyway; as the name suggests, it spent most of the time on my back!
Finally, none of the compartments open out fully (180 degrees) which means at airports you might get pulled a bit more often if you’re not careful. I personally like the ability to just open up each side and lay the bag out straight.
That being said, my time with the STM Myth would have me looking at them again if I was on the lookout for a backpack to spend my own money on. It’s comfortable, spacious whilst not being tiring whilst carrying, as well as having ample pockets for different types of product to be carried. I would certainly be benchmarking them against the competition a little more closely though.