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Jun 06 2013

STM Linear iPad Bag Review

“The Australians are coming, the Australians are coming!”

No, that’s not it. It just seems like it should be so with the number of Australian products I have been looking at lately. Clever blokes, down under!

Currently, I am looking at the STM Linear iPad Bag. STM makes this bag in several sizes, but this one is the smallest version. This vertical format messenger is designed to hold an iPad and some essentials for a day out or a short commute.

At roughly 12 by 9 by 2.5 inches, it is a svelte bag made of 300D and 200D poly with brushed nylex inside to give your tablet a soft place to snuggle. The whole bag has a real feel of quality with solid hardware and great stitching.

The bag I checked out was a vibrant blue with a vaguely purple undertone to it. Not exactly understated, but a cool color. The reds that I saw from STM also had some personality to them. If you play it safe when it comes to color, you should probably look at the black version of this bag.

For a bag in this size, I am impressed at the number of little flourishes that STM has included. The shoulder strap has a removable pad for comfort, which I would expect. What surprised me was the fact that they also included a quick adjust cam. Much like a bike messenger bag, this lets you quickly adjust how tight the strap is. Running through a crowded airport? Snug it up tight against your back so it doesn’t flop around, and then loosen it to get to your boarding pass. All with just one hand!

With most bags, changing shoulders would put the quick release on your back…well out of reach. However, STM thought ahead on this issue. The strap is attached to the bag with guardian clips so you can easily change it around or take it off completely.

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The bag has a large flap that covers the main storage section and buckles closed for security. The operation of the clasp is not immediately obvious, but pushing on the STM logo on the plastic buckle will pop it silently open. I am happy to report that there is not a stitch of velcro on this bag!

The front flap has a vertical zipper along the left side that opens into a lined pocket. This is the perfect place to store your phone, sunglasses or something you may want access to quickly.

The back of the Linear has an open top magazine slot and a quick grab handle. So many companies leave off the grab handle on small bags, but I really appreciate having it there. It makes maneuvering the bag so much more comfortable.

Opening up the flap reveals three storage spaces within. The largest section in the back is lined in nylex and surrounded by high density foam to protect your small format laptop or tablet. The corners are gusseted and fold in to protect the corners of your device. I can squeeze a Mac Book Air 11 in this space, but it pokes out just a touch past those gussets. I would suggest only doing this if you absolutely have to. For an iPad or any other device with a 10 inch display, you should be golden.

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While the bag makes no claim to be waterproof, the fold over flap kept everything inside dry and safe for me, even through a dreary London downpour.

Immediately in front of this is another open top pocket. Perfect to stow a Moleskine notebook and a couple of chargers. While the top is open there is no way stuff is coming out of this pocket with the flap secured.

Finally, there is a horizontally zippered pocket which opens to reveal a small organizer panel. Inside are a pocket, three pen loops and a key clip. My car keys go into my carry-on bag as soon as I get on a plane, so I really value that little touch.

Conclusions

I used the Linear extensively on a 5 day trip to London and found it to be a joy to carry. It was just the right size to carry my iPad, a guide book and some essentials. I had convinced myself that I HAD to have my iPad available for Google Maps and restaurant searching, but seldom found myself actually using it. The Linear was great because it was never a burden and made carrying a bunch of stuff I never actually used really easy. The few times I actually did need to pull stuff out, it was easy to access and quick to put back. The size was perfect and the buckle was secure so I never felt like I was in pickpocket danger.

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At around $50 online, the Linear is a great value. It is also small enough that it can easily be stowed in another bag, if you want to pack it in your luggage and pull it out when you get to your destination.

Highly recommended.

STM BAGS, LLC
12840 Danielson Court, Suite B/C
Poway, CA 92064
Phone:858-391-0061
info@stmbags.com

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