Waiting on a flight out of Indianapolis, a fellow passenger inquired about the gadget bag I was carrying. I suppose the bag caught his eye when I pulled out my 15-inch Mac Book Pro, notebook, power cables and iPhone.
Then I got to work. An hour wait for a plane is a good time to get some writing done. With my computer, iPhone for free Wi-Fi hookup and handy power cables, I can easily carry my office with me on the road.
I suppose my fellow traveler was interested to see what I pulled out of that handy bag. But he hadn’t seen the half of it.
As a long time travel writer, I am always on the lookout for the perfect gadget bag. It has to be big enough to carry all my equipment yet small enough for me to carry it. The STM Velo 2 shoulder bag seems to do all that.
One of the first things I noticed when I got the bag was how lightweight it is. If a bag is heavy before I even load it, then it sure won’t work for me. The STM Velo 2 is made of polyester fabric and weighs 2.8 pounds empty. But it doesn’t feel flimsy. The bag can withstand the rough and tumble of daily use, as well as offer protection against rain.
I was impressed with how well the bag is made. The zippers are sturdy, with big secure toggles making them easy to grasp and open. May seem silly but those bright orange toggles on my grey bag stood out and I was surprised at how much I liked them. Because of the color, I could easily see the toggles and didn’t have to fumble to find them in a hurry.
The Velo 2 bag comes in black, blue or grey. As I said, mine is grey with a lighter grey interior of silky polyester and the same bright orange highlights.
But looking good doesn’t matter if it doesn’t work well. So I loaded up my Velo 2 to see how comfortable it would be as a travel bag. The bag has multiple pockets for organization and security and plenty of padding to keep tech gear safe.
A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING
Even though I try to travel light – my suitcase is always a carry-on one, no matter how long the trip – I have some heavy stuff that I have to take in my shoulder bag. First off is the laptop computer, iPhone, two cameras, assorted cables and chargers, notebook, backup batteries, camera disks, USB drives, eyeglasses, sunglasses, three ink pens, hard candies, business cards, insurance and other ID cards, paperwork, passport and small Vera Bradley coin purse with driver’s license, credit cards and cash. The Vera Bradley purse is on a clip-on chain, which fastens inside the Velo 2 bag for extra security.
The Velo 2 bag has a padded pocket for my laptop. That is a big plus for me. A bag I used to carry sort of lumped my laptop with other gadgets. The Velo 2 keeps my laptop away from other tech devices and it also is discreetly tucked away when I open the rest of the bag. I really like that separate section of bag so my laptop can be accessed without opening the whole bag. This makes it easier when travelling through airports that don’t offer the TSA pre-screening option so I have to remove my laptop when going through security.
And there is still enough room in my bag for the iPad I won two years ago if I want to carry it, which I don’t. I also tucked in my omnipresent large soft black scarf which always comes in handy on frigid flights.
The bag has handy zippered compartments on each side for water bottles, umbrellas or whatever you want to carry in there. No noisy Velcro anywhere on this bag. I appreciate that and am sure my travel buddies do, too. They don’t have to hear the grating Velcro noise similar to fingernails on a chalkboard.
COMFORTABLE TO CARRY
Anyway, after I loaded the bag, I looped it over my shoulder and was pleased to discover it is comfortable and all my tech stuff is safe inside. The adjustable shoulder strap has a padded back panel.
Shoulder straps are my friends. And this one is extra special because it has a 360-degree swivel joint. Now the strap never gets tangled as so many do at the most inopportune times. There is also a long handle on top of the bag if you want to carry it like a briefcase.
Another important feature on my Velo 2 is that it has a flap in the back to slip over my suitcase handle. I don’t carry even a shoulder bag any more than I have to. It has become a healthy habit to slip my shoulder bag over my suitcase whenever I am walking through the airport or anyplace else. I’ve seen too many longtime newspaper reporters and photographers dealing with shoulder, back and hip problems because of all the gear we used to carry for years.
The guy who was talking with me at the airport noticed a strap that he said would come in handy for him. I haven’t used it and doubt if I will. It’s a waist strap to help stabilize the bag and keep it from sliding from one side to another. The guy said he bet that would be useful for a bike rider to keep the bag from flapping around. Never thought of that.
All in all, the STM Velo 2 is a great travel bag. It seems to have a place for everything and, as my airport buddy noted, the bag functions quite well as an away-from-home office.
As a final compliment, the fellow traveler checked out the STM website and said he might order one for himself. Here is the website if you want more to look up more information or order one yourself – www.stmbags.com