Review: STM Bags Protect Your iPad, Netbook, and Other Stuff


The Scout Extra Small bag. Photo: STM Bags

To this day, the majority of my computer and internet use is through my desktop machine. It sits there, solidly on the floor (not the desktop), not dropped, shaken, or stirred. Short of a forest fire or lightning strike, I don’t really have to worry about it. And I’m home most of the time, so I have not been an early adopter of the technology that makes it easier to stay in touch while out and about.

However, that hasn’t stopped me from obtaining some mobile devices. I have an iPod Touch, a little netbook (albeit temporarily), and now an iPad 2. My iPod Touch is easy to keep safe, but the other two are behemoths in comparison. They need special care. I’ve tried using a variety of bags, but they either weren’t the right size or weren’t protective enough, so I had to be extra careful with my cargo.

Then I discovered STM Bags. I wrote to them and asked for a sample bag to review. They sent me two: the Scout for iPad and the Scout Extra Small. Recently, the Scout for iPad bag got quite a workout when I brought it along to Maker Faire. It served mostly as my iPad bag, but it had additional room for things that would normally go in a purse. The Scout Extra Small is the perfect size for my netbook, and will be put through the ringer on my upcoming summer road trip. The iPad bag performed marvelously, and I have no doubt the Extra Small will as well.

The Scout for iPad bag. Photo: STM Bags

STM Bags make a wide variety of bags for laptops, iPads, and other uses. Visit their website to see what they offer. Each of the products has many accompanying photos, and videos that give you a tour of each bag. Chances are they have a protective bag that is right for your large laptop, your iPad, or anything in between.

There are similar features across the collection. The compartment in which your device is stored is very well padded, surrounded on all six sides by high density foam, and it closes with a hook and loop closure separately from the rest of the bag. This means you can open the main bag flap and no one will see your device, nor will it accidentally fall out. The section is large enough to hold the device and any small case it has (such as one of the new iPad covers). The rest of the bag has plenty of extra pockets for chargers, headphones, flash drives, pens, notecards, papers, a paperback, a Kindle, etc.

While there is easily enough room for an iPhone or iPod Touch in each of the bags I reviewed, other doubling up may not work. I tried putting my iPad and 10 inch netbook together in the Scout Extra Small bag. They would both fit together in the cushioned section, but only without any added protection between them. So, except for careful jaunts, a good general rule is to have one properly sized device per bag.

These bags are perfect for what they do. They keep your devices very well protected, safe, and hidden, while giving enough room for a few accessories. They are small enough to carry around without feeling bulky, yet they have just the right about of foam for protection. But, as I learned, they will not carry everything at once.

For Maker Faire, I tried to use the Scout for iPad as my purse, too. With the number of items I wanted to carry around, it was a bit snug. For me, I need a separate purse. But for the average person (and most men), the bags have enough extra pockets for other items that need carrying.

The Scout for iPad bag has a vertical orientation. The Extra Small Scout Laptop bag has a horizontal orientation. Otherwise their carrying capacity is really the only difference. Both have plenty of storage pockets and a stylish but conservative look.

The outside of each bag is a soft but durable canvas. The two models I reviewed both come in black and olive. The inside of the device portion is a very soft flannel type fabric. The seams are strong, the shoulder strap and hardware robust. The front fastener is a little oddly placed, but it is adjustable for a snug closure. There is a removable padded shoulder strap part as well.

I have great confidence that my iPad or other electronics will be safe in an STM bag. If you travel lightly, an STM bag might be all you need to carry around with you.

STM Bags offers protective solutions in a variety of shapes and sizes, including shoulder bags, backpacks, and sleeves, as well as accessories. To find out which bag is right for your hardware, check out their spec sheets on their website. The Scout for iPad bag retails for $54.95, and the Scout Extra Small bag retails for $59.95. The bags are definitely worth the price and are well-made, protect your equipment very well, have room for additional items, and look darn good in the process.

Note: I received two STM bags for the purpose of this review.

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