There’s a myriad of companies around the world that produce laptop backpacks but not many throw the gauntlet the way STM does. STM means smarter than most, which sort of gives an indication of what the Myth 28L, one of the company’s flagship products, aspires to achieve.
Being better than the competition in a very, very crowded market and good enough to well, earn a following, an audience and a slice of the pie. The Myth 28L is available from STM direct for $139.95 including free delivery in granite black, slate blue or windsor wine colours.
First impressions do count and in the case of the Myth, we really like the colour scheme of the backpack, cognizant of the fact that it is a very subjective take on a product. The blue colour theme matches STM’s attempt to make the bag as – how to put it – aerodynamic as possible with as little interference as possible to the bag’s design lines. The blue material even matches one of the writer’s jeans in tone and design.
STM opted for a 100% polyester approach to craft the Myth plus a few key features: the TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) coated webbing handles have rivets that ensure durability, water repellent C6DWR coating has been applied to the fabric, reverse coil zippers protect the teeth (of the zip) while keeping moisture and grunge out and last but not least, there’s an internal fleece lined sunglasses pocket.
We are not sure of how useful that would be given that most people would likely have a sunglasses casing which will protect them better. Also note that water repellent doesn’t mean waterproof or water resistant; this bag shouldn’t follow you in the pool under any circumstance.
At 47 x 30 x 17cm, it is large enough for most laptops – STM claims that it can take in a 16-inch MacBook Pro – as well as a fair number of accessories while at the same time feeling nimble enough to carry around without much second thought. Although it has a rated capacity of 28L, it’s the way that it uses the available volume that is worth looking at. Just bear in mind that it weighs a rather substantial 1.2Kg as well
STM goes beyond the usual padding solution found in most laptop backpacks, something that the company says focuses the corner gaps. Its proprietary feature, SlingTech, adds extra padding and gapless corners that suspend the laptop away from the edge of the bag, isolating it from the bump zone. In layman’s terms, it means that your device will feel the shock of any fall last, hopefully protecting it better against any damage.
There’s also the CableReady system that lets you charge on-the-go with cords out of sight using a reinforced hole in one partition that allows the user to slip one or more cables and powering a smartphone housed in one of the numerous pockets. STM also introduced an AirPod pocket for your wireless earphones while a nearby tie – called the earbud keeper – helps secure any wired ones.
A luggage handle pass-through is integrated with the lumbar support in the bag’s back panel, a good example of where STM tries to set itself apart from the rest of the competition. Another one is what STM calls an “air channel back-panel-and-yoke system”, designed to wrap around the user and provide improved weight distribution. You can also fit a water bottle on each side of the Myth thanks to two side pockets.
We like the loop on the zipper pull; they allow the owner to use a compatible padlock to help secure the bag. The shoulder straps are well padded and the “air channel” system works surprisingly well, a boon for anyone that has a sweaty back from long sessions of backpack carrying.
As mentioned before, STM wisely split the 28L volume quota in four separate compartments (excluding the side pockets) that contain a whopping 12 pockets between them (two of them zipped). Three of those compartments are zipped with the fourth – the smallest one – curiously left unsecured. Why? We don’t know. While there’s an argument for putting wet umbrellas or jackets in there, there’s no way for the water to drip and you may end up with a mess.
The haul loop should have been designed differently as the one is mostly a strap that can quickly become uncomfortable should you have to carry a fully-laden bag around. A tubular construction with softer material would have been a more acceptable alternative. And yes, it’s thickness and width (2mm x 18mm) make it look rather flimsy.
The Myth 28L also eschews a common trend we’ve seen in a lot of laptop backpacks, that of bundling an external USB port that enables users to connect their devices outside the bag to a battery pack, inside the bag. The straps and the lumbar support appear to be a bit stiff but we assume that, like foam mattresses, they will soften with time. A 15.6-inch (Windows) laptop fit snugly in the notebook sling and we can’t recommend enough the fleece lining that makes that compartment seem so comfortable and secure.
The Myth by STM doesn’t look like your traditional laptop bag, it is more refined. The price reflects it and so do the materials used to produce this backpack. There are some minor issues that we’ve highlighted (the price and the dubiously-designed haul loop) and we can’t comment yet on its long-term durability, however, from what we’ve witnessed, it is one that should be on your shortlist if your budget stretches to $140, which is what it costs at Amazon. The sheer number of pockets, the ingenious design of the cable loops, the lumbar support, the inner lining of the laptop compartment and the cable tie are some of its features worth highlighting.