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Aug 29 2013

STM Convoy Review

stm convoy

STM Convoy

When the Convoy arrived at my office, I felt like I was getting ready to suit up to jump out of a plane. It just had the feel of safe refuge that might want to make someone jump out of a perfectly operational plane.

The Convoy is a 33 liter pack made of water-resistant canvas and lined with water-resistant nylon. It is divided into two main, zippered compartments. The front section has an organizational panel with pen loops and pockets and a happy, little key fob…or maybe that is the parachute release.

stm convoy

The large back section could be stuffed with enough clothing to last several days, or a large quantity of well folded silk! This section also has the hidden laptop compartment, which is subtle enough it took me some searching to find. It will hold up to a 15 inch laptop and is padded and reinforced.

The outside of the pack features six different snap sealed pockets that make great places to stuff power supplies and other widgets.

First Impressions
The first thing that I noticed about this bag was the way that it holds its shape. The rugged “duffle bag” look, made me think that it wasn’t going to have much structure. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I set the bag on its bottom, and it sat straight up. I love the fact that it held its shape, but I was a little worried about putting under the seat in front of me on a plane. Again, to my amazement, it didn’t snag or get held up at all!

The Convoy has room to spare. The bag that I was retiring was, quite literally, bursting at the seams. When I transferred everything to the Convoy, I had thought for sure that I missed something. There was so much room! There were pockets left unused. How could this happen? I’m still convinced that I lost something large in the process.

The concealed laptop section serves as a great deterrent for anyone who might go snooping into your bag looking to take your laptop. It also lets you put your pc and your tablet in the same pocket without them banging against one another. The neoprene ring around the inside of the laptop compartment is a very nice touch.

The Devil is in the details
When you start to button up the Convoy, that’s when you start to appreciate the attention to the design details. The pocket snaps are on nylon loops, so that you can get your finger behind the snap. It made snapping the snaps, a snap!

The straps are extremely comfortable. My maiden voyage with the Convoy was to a trade show where it spent several hours on my shoulders, navigating various airports. Having both a sternum strap and a waist belt makes it work well no matter how much I have overloaded it.

I have had surgery on both shoulders and have back problems. I carry a backpack style bag, partly because having even weight distribution is the only way that I can survive a week of travel with my bag. Normally, after the first day I am cursing my bag choice. Five days into my trip, I still didn’t have a single complaint.

With the thick padding over the shoulder straps and the entire back, wearing the Convoy is like being hugged by your bag. The waist straps also tuck away to keep things neat and tidy. I must admit, I just realized where they were tucked away, last week. Two and a half months after I started using the bag.

Several months ago, a colleague of mine showed me his new bag which had a rain cover that tucked away when you didn’t need it. I made fun of him for it. Now that I have one, I want to show it to everyone. It hides cleverly in a small velcro pouch on the bottom of the pack. I will likely never use this feature, but having it makes you feel like it needs to be shown off.

Conclusion
After two and a half months with this bag, my only complaint is that the cell phone pocket on the shoulder strap is a bit small if you have anything other than an iPhone. That being said, every single other aspect of this bag has been a delight.

As a business traveler who continually over-packs and is extremely hard on luggage, I highly recommend this bag. I dread the day that I may have to retire it.

STM Convoy Backpack $99

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