Road Test: STM Trust Messenger Bag

Gone are the days of the utilitarian faux leather laptop case. Today, we have hundreds of options made from different materials, catering for the needs of those simply wanting to carry their notebook computer safely through to travellers looking for a bag that can double up as a protective cocoon for their mobile office and overnight bag or schoolbag. The STM Trust fits into the latter category, as a great bag for those who need to carry more than just their computer and a charger.

First, the specs

STM Trust

Materials Cottna 320D/640D Water Resistant Poly with Polyester and Brushed Nylex lining
Laptop size Two models, suited for laptops up to 13-inches and up to 15-inches
Outer dimensions 15-inch Trust: 30.5 x 40 x 14 cm, 13-inch Trust: 28.5 x 38 x 12 cm
Capacity 20 litres
Weight 15-inch Trust: 1.15 kg, 13-inch Trust: 1.0 kg
Price $149.95

Features & design

I travel quite a bit – up to 100 days per year is spent on planes and in airports. Reducing the amount of gear I carry has become something of an obsession. What I really like about the Trust is that I can carry all my gear without it becoming completely disorganised.

A separate, zipped up compartment holds my laptop (currently a 13-inch MacBook Pro) safely. When I go through an airport security checkpoint, I don’t need to open the whole bag as the laptop compartment is outside the Trust’s main storage space.

At the back, there’s a large pocket that can easily accomodate A4 sized paper so I can keep travel documents handy. Even though most airports and airlines can operate paper-free, there are times when a printed copy of you itinerary can be useful. There are also two side pockets that are large enough to hold my wallet and smartphone. These pockets have external straps that can be tightened so that my gear doesn’t fall out on the security conveyor belt or in the luggage compartment on the plane.

At the very back is a strap I can slide over my suitcase’s handle so in can securely hold the Trust in place as I drag my suitcase through terminals and train stations.

Once you unlock the flap protecting the main compartment you aren’t faced with one large, cavernous space. STM has compartmentalised the Trust so you can easily organise your cargo.

An internal pocket easily accommodates a 10-inch tablet. There’s also a pocket that’s perfectly sized to hold a passport and another for business cards. Another zipped pocket can hold a small notebook (the paper type), pens, other accessories and there’s a small hook for hanging your keys so you can find them quickly instead of rifling through all your gear to find them.

There’s yet another zipped pocket for holding other bits and pieces.

The largest compartment can hold a lot of gear. I’ve used the Trust as my only bag on overnight and two-night trips. Assuming you dress quite casually you can easily hold a small toiletry bag, a couple of changes of t-shirts, socks and jocks as well as your work equipment. Even for a busy day trip, where you might need to carry a bunch of documents, or even a small LCD projector, the Trust would fit the bill nicely.

Build quality

STM has made the Trust to last.

I’ve been using an older Trust for a couple of years and it’s seen a lot of action. The zips, locks and straps are all working perfectly. The newer unit I’ve been testing this last week or so looks to be made identically so I can’t imagine it performing any differently.

The inside of the bag is soft and the laptop compartment is well padded.

My biggest criticism with the Trust is the weight. With the 13-inch model tipping the scales at a full kilogram and the 15-inch model hitting 1.15kg, this isn’t a light bag. With some airlines reducing carry-on baggage limits to 7.5kg, you lose just over 13% of your limit just on the bag. I’ve been hit with a luggage fee by a local airline weighing my bag at the departure gate so I’m pretty careful.

The shoulder strap is wide so it doesn’t cut into my shoulder but the sliding pad that offers some extra comfort has no way to stay in place so it’s often in the wrong spot when I sling the bag over my shoulder. The strap length can be adjusted but I’ve had the clasp open spontaneously, resulting in the bag slipping down my side quickly.


The STM Trust is a great bag for travellers and students. The large capacity is well organised so you can stash your gear and retrieve it easily. The internal padding offers good protection for your electronic devices and it’s very well made.

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