The STM Haven Backpack looks very small. I normally carry a rather large backpack to and from work so I was a bit skeptical of this backpack’s ability to hold all the things. I often carry two laptops with me and even a tablet now and then. I have a dedicated work laptop that is owned by my company which I need each day to do my job. I try to abide by the rules and not use it (much) for personal reasons. So if I think I may get a chance to write a bit during my lunch hour I will put my personal laptop in as well. If I’m going to use it extensively I will surely need the charging cable, too. In goes the notebook for work meeting notes, the Moleskine I carry to record ideas and quotes for future writing, a water bottle, a small tablet I use exclusively for reading comic books on, and a few sundries. I fully expected this backpack to burst at the seams and collapse defeated to the floor. Nope. There was even room to spare! It has become my daily travel pack when I commute to work each day and I love it.
First, the boring part. Specs. No one likes reading specs but when I say this backpack seems tiny it really does look tiny. I was able to fit all the above in it and I should note my personal laptop has a 17in screen so looks are definitely deceiving. You should always check the specs before you pick up a new backpack. This backpack claims it fits most 15in screens and I can vouch for that one since my 17in fit though not with any room to spare in the height department. The full spec sheet can show all the details.
I performed two field tests on the backpack. The first was using it as my daily commute backpack for work. I have carried this every work day for 6 weeks. It is an extremely comfortable wear. The straps tighten and loosen easily. I like to wear a single backpack strap and this is the first backpack I’ve worn that lets me do that and the bag doesn’t slide off my shoulder over and over again. When I slide the backpack on the strap shape and thickness helps the pack flatten perfectly against my back so that the weight distributes more evenly than standard backpacks. I did not try the sternum strap because…well…womanly parts but I had my son who is disturbingly the same size as me at 11 years of age try it and the straps are adjustable and comfortable and he indicated they did help make the bag feel lighter to him.
The second test was the three full days I spent at Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio. I packed my laptop, notebook + pens, phone, water bottle, business cards, etc. into all the many pockets and pouches. I was able to wear the backpack with only a bit of shoulder soreness the morning of day three. I also noted that the small footprint (backprint?) of this pack was of much use when watching game demos or perusing things to buy. Many other people had backpacks and their packs took up enough space to be another human standing behind them but mine did not.
I have not purposefully tested the claims that this pack will better protect your electronic devices because I am a chicken. I did manage to drop the pack once when retrieving it from the back floor of my car onto concrete and everything was just fine. I also noted this pack did not make my back hot and sweaty like my other one does when worn for long periods of time in warm areas.
GeekMom was provided with a complimentary sample of the STM Haven backpack for review purposes.