STM Trestle Review: Comfortable Compact Backpack

The STM Trestle is a compact backpack that lets you carry everything you need for a busy day, or act as your carry-on computer bag on a flight with ease thanks to several smart features.

While many backpacks are rather large to allow you to carry the essential gear to and from work or school, the STM Trestle is thin and compact. Smart storage pockets, openings and quality materials allow you to carry quite a bit more than you’d expect .

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STM sells the Trestle backpack for $119 in slate grey, camo and navy blue. We used the slate grey with yellow accent version for the last month and found it capable, compact and comfortable.

The STM Trestle is a compact and comfortable backpack with lots of organizational options.

The STM Trestle is a compact and comfortable backpack with lots of organizational options.

The STM Trestle is designed for 13-inch laptops, but you can fit a 11-inch to 14-inch notebook in it if the 14-inch model is on the thin side. We used it to carry the 13-inch MacBook Pro and the 12-inch MacBook.

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A padded compartment keeps the laptop safe, with extra padding in the bottom corners. STM includes a small opening right in front of this padding to hold an iPad or similar size tablet.

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In the main section there is a lot of organizational pockets with room for a phone, a backup battery, pens and a larger pouch for miscellaneous items. The open area between these pockets is large enough to throw in shorts, a shirt and other items for a stop at the gym or when you need to change while on the go.

A organized main section is more roomy than you expect for a bag this size.

An organized main section is more roomy than you expect for a bag this size.

You could fit a complete change of clothes in this if flying, but it’s not something I would take as my only carry-on while on a trip. The back of the bag includes a strap that slips over the handle on a traditional roller carry-on and can keep your shoulder straps from flapping around.

The shoulder straps are comfortable and a 3D mesh padding with an open are helps keep you cool even when hauling around a full load in the summer. You can remove the sternum strap if you don’t plan to use it.

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Slide the straps in this band and use it to hook your bag to rolling carry-on luggage.

Slide the straps in this band and use it to hook your bag to rolling carry-on luggage.

The front section includes a variety of pockets to carry chargers, cords and other items as well as a key hook and pen slots. There is no shortage of pockets in the STM Trestle and all of them fit a purpose.

I love the two side pockets that allow me to carry a bottle of water on one side and other items in a zipped closed section on the opposite. All the zippers on the STM Trestle are high quality and did not catch or come off track.

Another pocket at the top of the front holds a phone, a camera or sunglasses safely thanks to fleece lining. Straps on the front allow you to connect items with a carabiner or other attachment.

The STM Trestle weighs 1.6 pounds empty and even loaded up with our full gear for a day of working from the park was not too heavy to carry around on a walk from various benches and tables. If you routinely go to places with bag size restrictions the 16.5 x 11 x 5.25 inch dimensions may be just small enough to meet the limitations while still carrying everything you need.

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Users looking for a compact backpack that is comfortable to carry and still holds a lot in an organized way will love the STM Trestle. You can buy the STM Trestle direct from STM or from Amazon.