Sunday, June 23, 2024
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REVIEWED: STM Velocity Haven backpack

Don’t think this daysack is big enough for a week-long business trip, with laptop, gadgets and clothes? Thanks to an incredible design, this one can do just that.

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What measures just 28x13x47cmm can take a 15-inch laptop, and can get you to Hong Kong for a week’s business and travel? The STM Velocity Haven, that’s what. Using some judicious light-packing techniques, this brilliantly organised, but never over-engineered bag just went global – and how.

Power to the people

Probably the biggest claim of STM’s new Velocity Haven is its gadget recharge design. First, you zip-up your laptop’s power block, or portable smartphone/tablet charger, in a small pocket on the bag’s side. Then, thread the cable into the bag using small reinforced holes into whichever area of the bag your gadget is. There are even some small cable brackets to keep the cable from tangling on anything. Then just plug the laptop power brick into the wall! It worked so well in a cafe in London Heathrow Airport, and again in several conference centres, cafes and the airport in Hong Kong.

Pockets a-plenty

However, there’s much more to the Velocity Haven than the power-friendly design. The opposite side of the bag to the power brick pocket is an elasticated water bottle pouch. That’s essential, and it’s often missed out by bag-makers. The main area at the back is for a laptop, but there’s another pouch there for storing A4 (and even a little larger) documents and papers. A further section in the middle is for clothes, with a section for stowing a shirt flat, a soft-pocket for sunglasses, and even an elasticated, U-shaped netting area for storing socks and underwear. Add a relatively large bottom area, and there was plenty room for just enough clothes.

Front and centre

It’s those front pockets that are the real winners, though. A zipped area has a security section, a key fob, a passport-sized pocket (what a winner!), even section for pens and a toothbrush. Ass an open section on the front for stowing things you might wants quick access to when going through security (for liquids) or boarding a plane (a Kindle and some earphones is what we went for) and the STM Velocity Haven was really impressing us. It’s as much about the lightweight materials used as the design; we’ve tested a few bags like this with designs just as functional, but which use thick fabrics that make the bag much heavier than it needs to be – and that defeats the original intention.

Wash ‘n’ wear

So how did we get to HK and back using just the STM Velocity Haven? With an Apple Macbook Air, Kindle and earphones the main gadgets, the rest was about ‘wash ‘n’ wear’; two pairs of quick-dry underwear, socks, and a travel shirt. Seriously, what else do you need? A handy grab handle and a padded back area that was always comfortable, our only complaint is that we did get ‘sweaty back syndrome’. But, then, in HK’s humidity, that was completely unavoidable; the only cure would be a concave design, and that ruins a bag’s laptop-friendliness.

The perfect carry-on?

If you’re always on the lookout for a brilliantly organised bag that will get you through airports, business meetings, conferences and general travel by carrying just enough stuff , the STM Velocity Haven is well worth a look. It’s small, but with some judicious packing it can be the perfect carry-on.

Price as reviewed: £74.95

Buy the STM Velocity Haven backpack