STM Drifter laptop backpack review

STM Drifter


Build quality






Use of space





  • Looks great
  • Soft areas for gadgets
  • Many, many pockets
  • Rain cover
  • Back padding


  • Temptation to overload
  • Straps could be a bit more padded

stm drifter camo front angleThe STM Drifter backpack has joined the new Annex Collection which has been devised as some of the most stylish, comfortable and organised bags the company has to offer.

After testing the Trust laptop messenger bag and the backpack by C6 I wondered if STM had anything that would combine the plus points of both.

I’d love the multi-pocketed Trust with the twin shoulder-strapped comfort of the C6.

Could the Drifter accomplish this or will it prove to be nothing more than style over substance?

STM Drifter design

I knew to expect quality after using the STM Trust and I was not disappointed when the STM Drifter arrived and I quickly tore in to the packaging.

I have been lucky enough to be sent the Drifter in this awesome camouflage design. I am loving the way this has been mated with the bright orange zip pulls. OK, so not great if you were intending to be wearing the Drifter whilst stalking but, for the urban jungle, I think this looks great.

On the practical side of things the back of the rucksack is stiffened, which is one thing it has over the soft-backed C6. The Drifter also as a 3D foam mesh back panel with air flow channels which should cut down on those sweaty back days when we eventually get warmer weather once again.

stm drifter insideAs I have come to expect from STM there are plenty of zippered pockets and compartments which means there’s no end of the ways to which you can organise your stuff.

You’re able to keep things in the multitude of outside pockets for quick access and your larger, more fragile kit inside.

stm drifter raincover pocketThe STM Drifter also has some neat additions that you might not notice at first too. There’s reflective loops for night time safety, luggage pass-through which enables the Drifter to slide over the handles of your wheeled luggage and a little pocket that holds an included and attached rain cover.

Areas such as the laptop and tablet compartments and the top exterior zipped pocket are all coated in that nice, soft, yellow, gadget-friendly padded felt material.

Water resistant 320D brushed poly is used all around with the exception of the bottom which is an even more hardcore 640D reinforced fabric – the STM Drifter should last a while and is reasonably water proof even before you slip on its extra rain coat.

stm drifter side detailAgain attention to detail comes to mind. First, not only does the backpack have an open pouch on one side, it also has a zipped side pouch on the other. That’s brilliant because with the open end, you can easily put in a water bottle or compact umbrella and in the open, elasticated pocket and hold it in place with the compression strap. Whilst, on the other side, you can place your mobile phone, cigs, Swiss Army knife, or amulet of healing in the zipped side for easy access. Best of both worlds there, then.

The Drifter has three good sized exterior pockets, four if you include the aforementioned side pouch.

The bottom, front pocket has your customary pen holder slots and a key strap. The middle pouch can store random gear, at the moment it houses my gloves. As I have touched upon earlier, the topmost pocket is lined with that gear protecting felt padding, perhaps for your phone or sunglasses, and also contains two pouch inserts. That’s pockets aplenty.

stm drifter back angleTurning the backpack around and you’ll see a strong handle at the top that feels quite strong and unlikely to break. Just in case you are unaware people that use London’s public transport – this means you can actually take off your backpack when on the train, bus or tube and carry your rucksack or simply place it between your feet when having to stand. Amazing!

stm drifter strapAnyway, where was I. Oh yeah, the back straps are padded and are quite comfortable. The straps also have an adjustable chest support strap to stabilise the backpack. One thing I’ll point out here is that they didn’t cheap out with the buckle. You won’t find a cheap plastic one. Instead STM Bags opted for a nice shiny metallic one. Another nice touch.

What really separates this bag from others is the raised foam pieces that forms 4 zones to provide incredible support and more back comfort. In addition to that, because the support is raised it naturally forms venting channels so you won’t be a victim of unrelenting sweat in the summer.

Going across the padded back panel is the luggage pass-through strap that allows your wheeled luggage handle through so you can give your back a rest.

Diving inside the Drifter, the top flap, whose zip opening slices the top at an angle which helps with access, has a zippered mesh pouch which is perfect for your laptop accessories or headphones.

The main open part of the bag is large enough to use as a weekend bag as well as stuffing it full of tech.

stm drifter top detailThe chunky zips used are smooth in use and feel like they are more than capable of performing their duties without fail for a long time.

I feel like I should give this neat little addition a special mention. Whilst rummaging around the bag I found a little plastic bag that contained a tag. I didn’t really give it much thought until I read what it was later.

stm drifter reward tagThis little thing is offered by way of a partnership between STM Bags and RewardTag. It is basically a little keychain that has a unique ID. If you register the bag with RewardTag and you lose your bag, whoever finds it can easily return it. Why should they? Well, apart from being the right thing to do, there is also an incentive to return it because there’s an award attached to it.

This program is entirely free! Granted, there’s no guarantee that all your gear will still be in the bag, but it’s a nice idea.

Saying that though, you don’t necessarily have to register your bag – you could attach the fob to your keychain, camera bag, or your kid if you so wish!

STM Drifter performance

I have been using the Drifter as my work bag on the daily commute and it easily takes my breakfast and lunch as well as tablet, laptop and a variety of charging cables – that’s my daily carry. There have been days when it has carried back a Wi-Fi router, powerline adapters, and an LED light panel, for instance. Such is the mail I get delivered to my day job.

I have only used it to one press event so far but it carried my camera and other associated stuff without a problem.

It has performed faultlessly thus far.

stm drifter loadI decided to load it up with what I reckon I’ll be taking to the Sound and Vision Show in Bristol at the end of the week. This amounts to: my camera in its bag, assorted cables and chargers, umbrella, laptop, tablet, headphones and other bits of gadgety stuff that I’ll need to do my job. This all packs away without issue and there’s still room for some clean clothes as I’ll be stopping over night.

Not only that, any small equipment, such as chargers, spare batteries, spare business cards, etc all have room in one of the many organiser slots, pockets, or hoops.

According to the spec sheet, the STM Drifter is rated at 18L.

The straps are comfortable and, should I feel the need to jog or cycle (HA!) the chest straps would keep the Drifter from drifting and the reflective bits should help avoid me getting squished.

stm drifter top downI am not the most fashionable guy out there, in fact I think the last time I was in fashion was the 80s, but I do like how this pack looks. There have been a few inquiries made about it by my colleagues too and some of those actually appear to know about trends and such like.

STM Drifter review conclusion

I think that STM Bags has a sure-fire winner with the Drifter. It is compact enough to use on the commute (remembering to take it off when boarding public transport) but has the capacity to satisfy its use as carry-on luggage or overnight bag.

The STM Drifter will keep your laptop, tablet and any other gadgety kit safe and sound and all those other little bits organised. On the subject of organisation, between the pen slots and key chord in the front pocket and more slots, hoops and sections in the main bag, your main problem will be finding stuff to stow away.

Nice touches such as the rain cover, reflective sections and myriad pockets should not be overlooked. Add in to all that the fact that it is a well made, good looking backpack. I think it’s a must have in what ever colour you prefer.

STM Drifter price and availability

The STM Drifter is available in camo, graphite or navy and retails at£80 on

If you want more details, or to buy from STM direct, head over to the official STM Drifter product page.

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