STM Bags are the producers of my favorite shoulder bag to date, the Velo 2, so naturally, I got excited when the opportunity arose to review another of their bags, this time a super-minimal (but feature-packed) backpack, called the Aero. STM touts this back as a super-lightweight bag that will hold mostly everything you need for your day. Does it live up to that? Read on to find out.
In fitting with the super-lightweight aspect, the Aero comes in only so it will fit at most a 13“ laptop. This isn’t a problem for me since I have a 13” MacBook Pro, but for those of you with anything larger than that, you will need to look elsewhere for a new bag. There are 3 color options: Berry (red) with grey accents, Black with black accents, and Grey with orange accents. I got the Grey version.
Just as with the the Velo 2, STM has jam-packed this bag with intelligent organization. The main compartment is sub-divided into 3 smaller sleeves, one for your laptop which is lined with a soft nylex and padded generously, one for a tablet (also lined), and then the remainder is open. Lining the remainder is a series of smaller pockets, including a zippered pocket (which is great for a laptop charger or even a small notebook), and space for pens and maybe a battery pack or two. On the outside of the bag is an external zippered pocket, which is lined with the same nylex as the interior pockets so it is perfect for sunglasses and maybe a phone. Under this compartment is a small strip of elastic material, which I assume is for attaching a rear light for cycling (or anything that you need to hook to yourself I suppose), which is a nice touch. Flanking the body of the bag are the seemingly standard elastic pockets great for an umbrella or a bottle of water. STM has also included a pass-though on the strap-side of the bag that you can use to slip the bag over a luggage handle.
All told, this bag holds precisely what I need to carry, with a bit of space left over in case my carrying load gets higher (I managed to fit a textbook in this bag after I loaded it up with what I needed to carry, so there is certainly some space).
Following the Velo 2 tradition, build quality of the Aero is great. The zippers all function admirably, and I have not run into any pulling or catching yet. All of the seams are well-stitched, and stitching overall seems really strong. The bag is made of 300D water resistant micro ripstop polyester, but nowhere does STM claim the bag is waterproof. I have used it in light rain with no issues, but I can’t confirm water resistance in any more serious conditions.
The Aero is a very comfortable bag. The weight comes in at 1.5 lbs. and I can honestly say it’s a bit weird to have a legitimate backpack that weighs so little. That is not a negative, either. I can fill the bag and toss it on my back and wear it for hours with no pain. The adjustable sternum strap has an elastic component which makes it quite nice to use, unlike a majority of the sternum straps on other bags. The bag is also comparatively tiny, but not awkwardly so. All told the bag is 16.14“ tall, 10.24” wide, and 5.51″ deep, making it one of, if not the, thinnest bags I have ever had, and as mentioned above, the efficiency of the internal layout makes this bag as effective as many other larger bags.
Just as with the Velo 2, STM has crafted a winner. This bag has become my go-to bag, and I fully intend to use it for the foreseeable future. It may not have all the bells and whistles as my former favorite backpack (MOLLE connections, for instance) but I think that 99% of the time, I have no use for that, and with that in mind, the Aero is the perfect bag for me.
At the time of writing, the Aero can be purchased for $65 from Amazon
- Great capacity for size
- Well priced
- Zipper could be better