I am both organizationally challenged and unable to pack light, so STM’s Kings Laptop Backpack is ideal for my travels and for daily use.
The first thing I thought when I saw the dark grey Kings pack was, “I could wear this in the city.” It definitely has a minimal urban style, which also makes the bag feel more secure. Aside from a few zipper pulls, the pack is free of buckles, ornamentation, or anything that could get snagged on something. I like how the zippers of the two front pockets are well-hidden under flaps of material. I didn’t even know they were there when I first took the back out of the box. I always run late when I travel, so I use the top outside pockets for stashing my phone and keys.
The bottom outside pocket is padded and large enough for my iPad mini. This means when I’m traveling, I can quickly stow it in an accessible place during boarding, and retrieve it from the overhead bin without taking the entire pack out. It contains a metal-grommet reinforced port so I can run my power cord into the main compartment where I carry a charger. There are two flat sleeve pockets on the bottom of this pocket, too. I use those for my earbuds and charging cord.
I am a huge fan of hidden pockets, so I was happy not to discover the pack’s two zippered side pockets until I’d used the pack a couple of times. Duh. The zippers are hidden under flaps of material, so it would be pretty hard for someone to get into those pockets without me noticing. I use those pockets for extra socks and underwear (never know when your checked luggage might arrive later than you do) when I travel and for my swimming gear when I use the bag around town.
The Kings pack has two main compartments that can hold a lot of gear. The main compartment is cavernous, with a lightly padded sleeve that I use for folders, a notebook, and cords. The lightly padded bottom of the compartment is quite wide, about five or six inches, so there is enough room for a change of clothes (great for overnight travel or for gym gear and tennis shoes). The sleeve can also be used for a laptop or device. It ends about two inches before the bottom of the bag, so when I set down the bag I’m not dropping my electronics on the ground; they stay suspended. There’s a fleece-lined zippered pocket on the bottom side of the front of the compartment. I used that for my iPod and other small items. This pocket also has a cord port, as does the panel in between the main and back compartments.
The ports are very handy. While I traverse the airport or city streets my devices get their juice. I’m just starting to use portable chargers, so it’s nice for piece of mind to know that when I need to make a call or use a device it will be charged.
The Kings pack has a little surprise: a zippered pouch that’s attached to the inside of the main compartment with a long lanyard. I always lose pens, so I am grateful to have one place to stash them, along with my assorted mobile device accessories. No more fumbling around the bottom of the bag, trying to locate a pen or my lip gloss!
The second, back compartment is compact, offering just enough room to slide a 15″ laptop into a suspended, lightly padded sleeve. On the underside of the panel, opposite the laptop sleeve, is another flat sleeve (with another flat sleeve on top of it). I don’t usually use these sleeves for my tablet or iPad since the compartment is fairly snug and my iPad mini lives in a thick Otter case that I never remove. But there are many ways to use this compartment. I could pack my iPad in the back and my computer in the main compartment.
Contrast-colored zipper pulls make it easy to get into the pack’s main compartments. There’s a moderate amount of padding on the back of the pack, and the shoulder straps are adjustable, nice and wide, and have a sternum strap.
The Kings pack is not the most attractive or the most padded pack I’ve tested, but it has tons of space for my many devices, notebooks, chargers, and even a change of clothes. I have always traveled with a purse and a laptop bag, but with this pack I can fit everything I need into one bag. Very nice.
The Kings pack is available in several colors: green, blue, brown, and grey.
Manufacturer’s Site: stmgoods.com
$149.95 at Amazon