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Technology Today - March 2015 - STM Drifter Backpack
By Robert Sanborn

Even though my Volkswagen Camper is turning 19 this year, I still love to hit the open road and finding a good backpack to travel with has been quite a difficult task. And there are tons of them out there and I have a good number that I have tried and given away over the years as well. I probably have at least 20 of them running loose in Africa right now, and more to go.

So what caught my eye at the International CES this year was a bag from STM, www.stmbags.com that if you have a laptop or tablet inside, and drop the bag, it stays protected because as it is suspended inside the bag, it is also well padded in all the right places ensuring greater protection. The Drifter is considered a medium bag but through a terrific design process, has enough space and compartments to allow you to take pretty much anything you need. It is 18.5 x 12.2 x 75 inches in size and weighs just 2.3 pounds so is easy to carry around. The shoulder straps are padded in just the right places with padding on the bag to keep anything from wearing a sore spot as you move around. The location and kinds of storage pockets are just right and the inside sleeve has just enough space for a 15 to 16 inch laptop and a separate padded sleeve for a tablet as well. There is a thin divider inside the main pocket to help you keep items separated and there was enough space to be able to accommodate my daughters rather large 3 ring binder full of baseball cards. The main compartment top opening folds down to a mesh zippered pouch in it to make it the perfect place to store the loose items you are carrying especially for airport scanning. Both sides have slide in storage locations for water bottles and the like and thank you, no mesh to get caught in and one of the sizes has a zipper closer as well. Need to keep the bottle snug, just tighten the side compression strap. Drifter

Drifter Open

A front pouch has slots for pens, a key ring, and small items as well and a small front top pouch has padding for fragile items like phones and eyeglasses. Everywhere you see heavy duty zippers that look like they will last beyond the life of the bag and the inside stitching looks like those zippers will stay free of snags on the bag as well.

This is actually a comfortable bag to carry, again with all the right padding in the right places. The straps are easily adjustable and there is a clipping sternum strap for easier carrying. Three other things really make this bag stand out from the crowd.

One is at the very bottom is a zippered pouch that holds a detachable rain cover for the backpack.

The second is that there is an integrated luggage pass through slot so that you can slide the Drifter down over the handle of your suitcase or carryon bag to transport it easily in the airports. And third is the RewardTag that is included to hopefully, allow the bag to find you in the event it gets lost. The Drifter comes with a lifetime warranty and is available from Amazon for around $140.

Rain Cover

Drifter Back

I really like how well this backpack is put together and the details in the zippers, padding, and protection for my electronics make it a worthwhile traveling bag as well. We took it on a mini vacation to New Mexico and it performed very well. I really like how well it is constructed as it was quite easy to haul through the airports we traveled on our way. And because it is a “mid-sized” bag, it travels very well on the plane. Well worth looking into.

More from CES later.

Robert Sanborn

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