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The Bowery Laptop Brief from STM Bags is my current go-to when I travel for work, and makes a great everyday bag when I don’t need something that holds all my photo gear too. This is not a bag for camping or even day trips, but if you’re like me, you have to work a day job to pay for all those adventures, and that means dragging around your laptop and a bunch of other stuff. Since I knew I’d be making a few trips between Utah and Texas, I reached out to STM for something smaller than my usual messenger bag (which can hold a camera body and lens or two). The slim size of the Bowery is ideal for cramped planes, and the lack of bulk is appreciated even when I’m not trying to wedge it under the seat in front of me.
I asked for the 15″ model (they have a 13″ Bowery as well), which fit my slim 15.6″ laptop like a glove. That is, there was no room to spare. I’m sure Apple products fit just fine, but check the dimensions (listed below) before you buy if you’re not sure. Inside, there are all sorts of pockets for pens, business cards, snacks, and even a clip for your keys. The rear pocket zips open big enough to hold magazines and has a handy phone pocket. Both my laptop and tablet have their own sleeves, protected by high density foam and a soft lining. Speaking of soft, the Bowery is made from the same sort of durable material I’ve come to expect from STM, but it has a much softer feel. That means it should last for years, but doesn’t feel like sandpaper against your skin as you carry it.
Outside, you’ll find big YKK zippers, a padded shoulder strap, and some comfy grab handles. There is also an open-top pocket lined with fleece, for your phone or glasses. The Bowery includes a pass-through for those that still travel with wheeled bags, but I roll a bit lighter than that, with an expandable backpack, so this feature did not get used by me. With its “goes with everything” grey color, it doesn’t look out of place when I’m in jeans or even dressed up a bit. They also offer a nice blue (above) for those that want a bold touch of color.
For my last trip, I packed the Bowery with my laptop and charger, a resume’ and notes for each of the 10 applicants we were going to interview, my EOS M2 camera and spare battery, some snacks, phone charger, earbuds, an iPod shuffle, eyeglass wipe, small flashlight, and a notepad for analog note-taking. There was still room for a lightweight waterproof shell, in case of bad weather. Working out of this bag was easy, as there are enough pockets and sleeves so that everything has a place, and is can be found quickly. Of course, you could fit all that in a paper shopping bag a lot easier, but the Bowery kept it all organized, which is the key reason we don’t lug our office around in paper bags. If you need a brief, messenger bag, iPhone or iPad case, check out stmbags.com for durable, smart designs that carry your gear and more.
15″ Bowery Laptop Brief
- main material(s): Cottna 320D
- lining: 200D water resistant polyester
- device space: 10.04 x 14.76 x 1.18 in / 25.5 x 37.5 x 3 cm
- outer dimensions: 12.2 x 15.7 x 4.3 in / 31 x 40 x 11 cm
- capacity: 732.29 cu in / 12 L
- weight: 1.70 lbs / 0.77 kg