Compact 13" backpack with bells and whistles.

kriista1234

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 12, 2008
279
8
So I'm shopping around for a 13" backpack for going back to school in a couple of months. I'm very much into the STM Evolution Small Backpack at the moment as it's got a built in sleeve type thing, water bottle pockets (important) and seems to have general good design happening (padded straps, rain cover, accessory pocket etc...

I've read some conflicting reviews on reliability with some people swearing by it, and other people saying the zippers come apart easily etc...

I did a bit of searching, but most of the stuff came up for either 15" backpacks and/or messenger style bags.

What are people using as their 13" backpacks for school?
 

kriista1234

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 12, 2008
279
8
Yeah I saw that one, but the lack of waterbottle pockets on the sides made it a deal breaker.
 
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kny3twalker

macrumors 65816
Oct 25, 2009
1,241
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If you are getting a STM backpack for the 13" and plan to also use a padded sleeve, I would get the 15" version. I own the 15" version of the rogue and use it with my waterfield sleevecase. The fit is tight, just right, both in the depth and width while there is extra space on the height which is no big deal.
From the specs on STMs website the figment with 13" version would be very tight when using a sleeve in addition. Also I will say this; while STM uses high quality materials their quality of workmanship leaves something to desire. On mine the webbing on the back of shoulder straps has started to come loose in under just one year of use, and if you read reviews, you will see similar comments about their construction.
Overall I wish I had bought the slightly more expensive spire torque backpack I was considering.
Check them out at spire.com
They are made in the USA unlike most which come from china.
 
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chris2k5

macrumors 6502a
Jun 30, 2010
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Best Buy has the $9.99 deal on Targus backpacks with the laptop compartment. To save on shipping, just choose the pay online and pick up at store option.

I bought 3! :) Makes great gifts.
 
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kriista1234

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 12, 2008
279
8
The reason I mentioned the Evolution one is that it has a built-in sleeve, so I wouldn't need one for it. I'm not a big sleeve fan to begin with, preferring it naked or in a laptop bag of some kind.

If you are getting a STM backpack for the 13" and plan to also use a padded sleeve, I would get the 15" version. I own the 15" version of the rogue and use it with my waterfield sleevecase. The fit is tight, just right, both in the depth and width while there is extra space on the height which is no big deal.
From the specs on STMs website the figment with 13" version would be very tight when using a sleeve in addition. Also I will say this; while STM uses high quality materials their quality of workmanship leaves something to desire. On mine the webbing on the back of shoulder straps has started to come loose in under just one year of use, and if you read reviews, you will see similar comments about their construction.
Overall I wish I had bought the slightly more expensive spire torque backpack I was considering.
Check them out at spire.com
They are made in the USA unlike most which come from china.


No Best Buy in the UK unfortunately.

Best Buy has the $9.99 deal on Targus backpacks with the laptop compartment. To save on shipping, just choose the pay online and pick up at store option.
 
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kny3twalker

macrumors 65816
Oct 25, 2009
1,241
0
The reason I mentioned the Evolution one is that it has a built-in sleeve, so I wouldn't need one for it. I'm not a big sleeve fan to begin with, preferring it naked or in a laptop bag of some kind.





No Best Buy in the UK unfortunately.
The rogue has the same built in laptop compartment as the evolution. It's padded but you should probably not rely on it alone as the padding is thin.
Like I said there are better constructed backpacks. I really like the materials STM uses but padding and workmanship should be better for the price.
 
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kriista1234

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 12, 2008
279
8
I looked at the Spire but it looks huge (17"?). I've got a 17" laptop backpack (Samsonite) that I'm fairly happy with, so I specifically wanted something smaller/lighter.

The rogue has the same built in laptop compartment as the evolution. It's padded but you should probably not rely on it alone as the padding is thin.
Like I said there are better constructed backpacks. I really like the materials STM uses but padding and workmanship should be better for the price.
 
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kny3twalker

macrumors 65816
Oct 25, 2009
1,241
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I looked at the Spire but it looks huge (17"?). I've got a 17" laptop backpack (Samsonite) that I'm fairly happy with, so I specifically wanted something smaller/lighter.
Oops I meant the spire Volt.
http://www.spireusa.com/products/VL10.htm

And since you already have a larger backpack, the STM would probably be a good fit as long as you do not plan to load it with much more than the macbook.
 
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kriista1234

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 12, 2008
279
8
Yeah I saw that one too once I went to the page. Seems better built, but not as well laid out as the Evolution.

Tough call it seems.
 
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kny3twalker

macrumors 65816
Oct 25, 2009
1,241
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Yeah I saw that one too once I went to the page. Seems better built, but not as well laid out as the Evolution.

Tough call it seems.
I think the evolution will work good for you, but at the same time, STM should make their products to a higher standard considering their price.

Here is the list of backpacks, cases, and sleeves:
https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/79073/

This might give you the opportunity to find something else if interested.
 
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guitargoddsjm

macrumors 6502
Feb 25, 2008
389
0
MA
If I was looking for a backpack, I would go for this Timbuk2 bag. They make absolutely bulletproof stuff. I use one of their D-Lux messenger bags for my MBP13.

http://www.timbuk2.com/tb2/products/backpacks/q-backpack
I was ready to say that Timbuk2 makes sweet messenger bags but ugly backpacks, BUT that thing is sweet looking!

The STM you posted looks pretty cool. I do like the rain cover... I hate to be that guy, but have you looked into The North Face stuff? I have a Hot Shot which I used for my 13" Macbook for the last two years (before that I had a Kelty Redtail). The Hot Shot is probably on the bigger side (although it looks fairly compact), but they do make smaller bags. My roommate from last year had an Amira. It's designed for women, but that basically means that it's a smaller bag for smaller frames. Anyways, I'm typically a fan of North Face gear. It's not the absolute best out there, but for the money, I'd say it strikes a nice balance among style, functionality, and construction.

Also, if you're worried about water, you can either buy a separate rain cover (from stores like REI or EMS) or you could use something like Scotch Guard to add a water repellant coating.
 
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