As a journalist, we’re often carrying the tools of our trade with us wherever we go along with a ton of other additional kit. Quite often, a backpack that we’ve tested often has form prioritised over function and in other cases proved to have comfort somewhere on the low list of priorities. We jumped at the chance to field test STM’s Myth 28L backpack and took it for a whirl for a month. Here’s how it fares under practical conditions.
Seeing as I rely on a good chunk of public transport to get about, I needed an excellent backpack that offered the ability to protect my gear, has some measure of water resistance against Malaysia’s temperamental weather and, above all, some measure of comfort while carrying modestly light loads.
At the bare minimum, we’re looking at an inventory list of the following:
1 15.6-inch laptop with associated 1m long charging cable
2 power banks with USB Type C cables
1 700ml water bottle
1 first aid kit
1 pair of Klipsch True Wireless earbuds
The laptop itself weighs a good 2 kilos while the power banks and other kit have a collective payload of about another kilo or so. The dry payload of the STM Myth 28L is 1.2kg. This base weight of backpack and cargo is usually supplemented by additional gear like additional phones, cameras, gimbals and whatever else is needed for a particular day offsite which may also involve items like paper folders from press releases, groceries and whatnot.
It looks light but things start to add up when you’re chasing after buses, trains, Grab cabs and MTR coaches in short order which demands a comfortable backpack that has everything securely stowed so that it doesn’t slosh about in a distracting fashion. Fortunately, STM’s Myth 28L aims to resolve these complications and more.
For the uninitiated, STM stands for Smarter Than Most, a technical outfitter company from Australia that makes a variety of other gear including docks, cables and power banks too.
Externally, the Myth 28L has, as you’d guess from the name, approximately 28 litres of carrying space which is about enough for an overnight trip out of town while carrying all your gear. It comes in three colour combinations – Granite Black, Slate Blue and Windsor Wine which is a combination of light gray and dark red. Our test unit came in Granite Black.
This translates to a sort of stone gray dappled finish that blends in with the usual urban concrete sprawl. So far so good but it’s the little touches that technical goods purveyor STM has put into the bag that make it such a joy to use.
Features of the STM Myth 28L backpack
Many backpacks sold in the market tend to have a base and underside made from the same material as the rest of the backpack. This also means that if you accidentally put your pack on a wet surface much like the monsoon that we’ve been experiencing for the past month, you’re going to get the underside and eventually the contents at the base of the backpack all soaked in crud.
In the case of the Myth 28L, they’ve lined the base with a water resistant faux leather so that even if you leave it on rain-slicked pavement, your worldly goods don’t get wet as well. Score one for STM.
This attention to detail also extends to the adjustable slings which were both well padded and had a chest strap to secure the weight better. These straps were made of plastic; if they were made of aluminium it would have been most welcome but in this case it’s a pretty high grade plastic that will last for several years at least so it’s still a solid choice of material. The Myth 28L also has some extensive padding on the back at key stress points along with a luggage pass through, both of which come in handy for frequent travellers.
The rest of the backpack material is made from 100% polyester that has been coated with a coating of C6DWR, a water resistant compound and has four primary compartments with extended zipper pull tabs that make it easy to open and close them. The front-most compartment has no zippers at all but is extremely roomy, allowing you to toss non-critical gear in like a magazine or tissues when you’re on the move. The remaining three compartments all feature reverse coil zippers with long pull tabs for easy deployment.
The rearmost compartment uses what STM calls their SlingTech technology which involves a series of protective mechanisms that hold a suspended laptop sleeve capable of supporting up to a 15.6-inch notebook from drops, dings and dents. The internal sleeve is also lined with smooth fleece to ensure your laptop isn’t scratched which is a nice touch. There’s also a bit of space for a folder or two of documents.
The two middle compartments have a series of handy compartments that allow you to keep smaller items for easier access like business cards, gum and whatnot along with what STM calls their CableReady system which allows you to keep your cables for your headphones and power bank neatly out of sight.
STM Myth 28L Field Test
After carrying it around for work for a full month, the STM Myth 28L backpack performed with flying colours, It was comfortable to tote around and was able to carry our standard work payload without undue trouble or discomfort.
The additional water resistance was a boon too and allowed our laptop plus several sensitive paper documents to survive a mild rain storm or two. The generous padding and well designed straps also made carrying it a pleasant affair in hot weather and even with buckets of sweat streaming down and a blazing sun overhead, there was still sufficient ventilation on the back portion and the straps to ensure that the back of our work shirt didn’t end up a sodden mess.
We also took it out for an overnight trip out of town and there was enough space in the middle compartment to pack a change of work clothing and a toiletry kit too. While the bag is roomy and has relatively large compartments, it doesn’t stretch all too well so there is a hard limit to how much you can cram into it if you’re in a bind though that is hardly a concern seeing as it’s not intended for backpackers.
That minor quibble aside, the STM 28L Myth is an excellent proposition as a daily EDC around town and for short overnight trips out of town. In Malaysia, the Myth 28L backpack retails for RM499 and is available online at Lazada at http://bit.ly/STMstore
What we liked Exceptionally comfortable straps, well designed compartments, highly protective laptop sleeve, water resistant exterior lining
What we didn’t Metal buckles would be nice
We say The STM Myth Backpack 28L is a well designed offering with superior comfort that features a number of well thought out features ideal for urban commuters. This is well worth what you’re paying for as the excellent materials and stitching mean it will stand up to hard work, heavy loads and constant day to day use for years to come.