STM Large Loop: Leader of the (Back)Pack

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Date: Monday, September 13th, 2004, 23:45
Category: Archive

STM Large LoopAny PowerBook user worth their salt is just as concerned about the vehicle that carries their PowerBook as they are about the machine itself. After all, what good is your expensive hardware if it gets damaged while being toted around in an inferior rucksack?
A good laptop bag is defined by two characteristics: 1. Being rugged enough to protect a PowerBook while commuting back and forth between home/work/school, and 2. Its sexy good looks. Now you can laugh all you want about that second point, but I just won’t carry around a bag that looks like “a computer case” and neither should you.
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STM Large Loop: Leader of the (Back)Pack
Any PowerBook user worth their salt is just as concerned about the vehicle that carries their PowerBook as they are about the machine itself. After all, what good is your expensive hardware if it gets damaged while being toted around in an inferior rucksack?
A good laptop bag is defined by two characteristics: 1. Being rugged enough to protect a PowerBook while commuting between home/work/school, and 2. Its sexy good looks. Now you can laugh all you want about that second point, but I just won’t carry around a bag that looks like "a computer case" and neither should you.
Having a fetish for Cordura and heavy-duty zippers forces me to keep close tabs on the world of computer luggage and I thought I had pretty much seen it all, but I was surprised by a new line of computer luggage from a company half way around the world. Enter STM, purveyors of "luggage for the global digerati."
STM is an Australian concern that designs, imports and distributes luggage for laptop computers. Two years ago they recognized that more and more people were buying laptops and the only bags available were the briefcase type. There was no recognition of the fact that the new laptop users were students, IT personnel and other people with mobile lifestyles.
STM builds their bags with the mobile technologist in mind using quality components like extra strength Duraflex buckles and clips, high density webbing, self repairing zippers, 420D nylon and 600D polyester. The exclusive back system on all STM backpacks includes heavy padding and contoured straps to take the load and strain from the shoulders. To keep your back comfortable and cool an air-mesh backing increases air-flow between your back and the bag.
The Large Loop backpack is big enough to carry a 17-inch PowerBook and the exclusive Trieste padded suspension cell allows you to reduce the depth of the middle pocket to safely carry a 15-inch (or smaller) laptop too. The Trieste suspension cell is essentially a "false bottom" attached with velcro that keeps your laptop suspended off the pack’s floor, safe in its own padded shock resistant compartment.
I really dig STM’s sound port. Feed your headphones through the tiny port on the outer pocket of the bag and you can keep your iPod safe inside while jamming to your headphones outside. The inner pocket opposite the port is large enough to hold an MP3 or CD player and some accessories which is nice. I am not a huge fan of velcro because it can destroy fine clothing – luckily STM uses it sparingly. I would prefer some other closure method for the small inner iPod, PDA and mobile phone pockets but their tiny velcro tabs aren’t likely to hurt anything.
Waterproofing the zipper on the laptop compartment is a brilliant idea that I haven’t seen on another bag. Any extra protection from moisture will always get my attention and this feature is pure innovation, especially useful if you commute in inclement weather.
Another testament to this bags toughness is the strong top handle. Second only to the shoulder straps, the top handle takes the most stress on a backpack (especially when fully loaded). Unique to the STM Large Loop backpack is a cool double top handle that looks like it couldn’t be torn off by the winch on a pickup truck. Nice work guys.
STM’s Large Loop backpack has the pre-requisites covered, it’s brutally tough and good looking at the same time. Its innovative waterproof zipper and burly top handle set it apart and more than make up for any small nitpicks that I have.
STM Large Loop Backpack
US$94.95
Available from RadTech
1-314-972-7623

Figure 1. The STM Loop backpack in black and charcoal. Note the pass-through for your iPod headphones.

Figure 2. The Loop has a well-padded middle pocket to protect your (up to 17-inch) PowerBook.

Figure 3. The front pocket has pouches to hold your iPod, PDA, phone, pens and yes, it even has the all-important key clip.

Figure 4. One of the highlights of the Loop is the burly double top handle. Don’t be afraid to grab this backpack by the horns!

Figure 5. Another highlight – the Loop is the first bag I’ve seen with a waterproof zipper protecting the middle (laptop) pocket.

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