Review: STM Goods Dux Backpack
Given our fondness of techy backpacks, products by STM Goods have always been able to grab our attention with something new. At CES 2023, we could not help but notice the Dux Backpack on display at their booth. At first glance, it looks like your run-of-the-mill clamshell backpack, sporting a basic yet sleek appearance. However, knowing that this is an STM Goods backpack, we knew that there was more meets the eye with the Dux Backpack. What we soon learned is that the Dux Backpack has the most organization options that we have seen in a backpack to date.
The Dux Backpack comes in 30L and 16L models, with each model featuring four colorways: Black Night, Blue Sea, Grey Storm, and Black Camo. Here, we will be focusing on the Dux Backpack 30L in Black Camo.
Dux Backpack 30L Specs
|Main Material(s):||black camo- 500D x 750D Poly. black night, blue sea, & grey storm- 330D Twill|
|Outer Dimensions:||20 x 13 x 9.5 in / 50.8 x 33 x 24.1 cm|
|Weight:||3.92 lbs / 1.78 kg|
|Capacity:||30.0 L/ 1830.7 in|
|Device Compatibility:||fits most 17” laptops & 16″ MacBook Pro|
Product specs taken from product page.
Build and Features
Named “Dux”, which is Australian slang for “best in the class”, the Dux Backpack 30L sports a subtle yet attractive appearance. Starting from the outside, each of the color variants are easy on the eyes while giving off that “gets the job done” vibe. The outer shell features STM Goods’ FoamFortress tm. 360 degree padding. This exterior is designed to offer rugged military spec protection while being water resistant, deflecting rain and spills.
The back features a molded EVA foam back panel, providing airflow while allowing for comfortable contact against your back. Here you will find the bag’s adjustable shoulder straps, complete with a sternum strap for added wearing stability. At the bottom sits the PassPort tm. lumbar pad which doubles as a luggage passthrough, allowing you to slide the bag onto your rolling luggage. Lastly for the exterior, on the top of the bag you have a standard carrying handle.
While the externals of the Dux Backpack 30L are impressive in their own right, what really caught our eye with this bag are its storage and internals. The way the Dux Backpack 30L in particular handles storage is impressive, to say the least. The main compartment of the bag features removable internal shelves that can be repositioned as needed. This does not only allow you a myriad of organizational options and opportunities. It also allows you to keep your most important items from coming in contact with one another. See this quick demo video from STM Goods to get an idea of what is possible with these shelves.
The quickest way to access the Dux Backpack 30L’s main compartment is through either of the bag’s zippered sides. Each of these side flaps feature sleeves of their own, allowing for even more internal organization of your goods.
When you open the bag for the first time, you will also find an included zippered pouch at the bottom, perfect for stowing wires and cables.
The main top compartment on the Dux Backpack 30L is also particularly interesting. It opens up to reveal not only a nice bit of storage space, but also three more zippered compartments. However, the bottom of this compartment also unzips to lead into the Dux Backpack 30L’s main compartment. If you need have to have one big chunk of undivided space, you can remove all of the internal shelves and pop out this section’s bottom.
STM Goods also has a short demo video of this, which you can see here.
The laptop section of the Dux Backpack 30L is also very spacious, allowing for the storage of most 17-inch laptops. This section uses the SlingTech tm. technology we have seen in other STM Goods bags. Laptops and other electronics are held in place, suspended away from potential external impact zones. Next to the laptop section and under the bag’s handle, you have another more-narrow sleeve which extends about 10 inches deep. On the sides of the bag, you have identical pockets which unzip to extend outward. These pockets are perfect for storing water bottles or umbrellas at a moment’s notice.
At face value, the build and features of the Dux Backpack 30L do nothing but impress. The backpack itself is not too bulky or protruding when worn, despite its considerable storage capacity. Within that storage, you have a multitude of organizational opportunities and a very accommodating laptop section that protects your devices. All of this is contained in 360 degrees of military spec padding, all while maintaining an attractive techy appearance. This bag gets nothing but top marks in the build department.
Performance and Comfort
The Dux Backpack 30L delivers in day-to-day use while opening up so many travel possibilities. During the weekdays, I would travel to and from the office with two laptops and my gym gear. Thanks to the replaceable shelves and zippered side panels, organizing and reaching for these items never felt easier. I did not think I would like side openings in a backpack until I used the Dux Backpack 30L. It was just such a simple task to simply open up a side and grab exactly what I wanted without having to shuffle through other contents. Every item was out of each other’s way and in their own place.
Of course, I wanted to push the envelope to even further. So, on one of my in-office days, I bought myself a box of shorts and a new bomber jacket. Without having to sacrifice any of my day-to-day backpack contents, I was also able to stuff these additional items into the spacious Dux Backpack 30L as well. First, I moved my gym bag to the top-loading compartment, which slotted in perfectly to my surprise. I then made minor adjustments to the internal shelving and slipped my new purchases into the bag with little effort.
All of this is not only a testament to the roominess of the Dux Backpack 30L. It is also a testament to the integrity of both the top compartment’s collapsible bottom and the replaceable internal shelving. The collapsible bottom of the top compartment is zippered securely in place. So, whatever you put in there stays put and will not drop down into the bag’s main compartment. In the main compartment, the replaceable shelves are held in place by some very strong Velcro strips. Once affixed into place, any shelves you attach to the main compartment’s walls perfectly resist sliding of any sort. This bag’s organization system was as sturdy as it was flexible.
You then have the laptop section. While it has been some time since I had or used a 17-inch laptop, I was still able to stress test this bag section as well. Almost effortlessly, I was able to store a Dell Latitude 7320 Laptop 13-inch laptop, a Microsoft Surface with an attached Brydge keyboard, and a Razer Blade 15, while still in its protective case. The laptop section of the Dux Backpack 30L was able to store this odd assortment of devices without issue.
Now, taking all the items I listed above, you are looking at about 20 lbs. plus of weight to tote around. Even at this weight, the Dux Backpack 30L remained comfortable to wear during long durations, even when I went out of the way to make it heavy. Sure, I am used to carrying loaded backpacks around in either my day-to-day travels or when I am covering conventions. However, it is still comforting to know that the Dux Backpack 30L does its best to ease that burden with its comfortable back cushioning and adjustable shoulder straps.
The Dux Backpack 30L is an excellent backpack that immediately took over as my mobile storage solution. Its rugged and protective exterior combined with flexible storage options was simply unmatched by any backpack I have covered so far. $249.95 is a worthwhile investment for a bag this handy. It is well-made and ready for anything. E3 2023, here we come!
If you want to check out the Dux Backpack 30L for yourself, you can do so by clicking here.
† There are no affiliate links contained within this post. We were provided a Dux Backpack 30L and some stock images for review purposes and were not compensated for this review.