A Review Of The Stuart & Lau Capstone Backpack
Disclaimer: Stuart & Lau sent The Peak Lapel this bag for free for the purposes of this review.
Gentlemen, Stuart & Lau has done it again. A while back we reviewed their Cary Briefcase and felt that it was one of the most refined, detailed, and delightful products we had ever tested. More recently, they released a backpack — The Capstone Backpack ($335) — and we really love this thing as well. So, without any more of an introduction, let’s get into it.
Packaging & Experience
The website is pretty clean and sleek (though might be a tad confusing to navigate at first). The ordering process is simple and quick. Shipping is fast and free. It arrives in a standard fare cardboard box. Nothing special on that front, then. Overall, no real complaints. A-
Style, Design & Quality
The difference between using a briefcase and a backpack comes down, ultimately, to one of personal preference. Yes, if you’re a lawyer you might want to use a nice leather briefcase. But, in general, you can usually get away with either a backpack or briefcase even if you’re dressed up in a suit. While a true briefcase will always be technically more formal, if you use a backpack that is sleek, neat, and of a subdued color, you can absolutely get away with it. Plus, if its more comfortable or functional for you, then it’s really a no brainer. Luckily, the Stuart & Lau backpack checks all those boxes, and then some. It’s super sleek and cleanly designed. I love the deep black color and leather accents, along with the pop of blue on the interior. Plus, by nature of it being a backpack, there is just a whole lot more room in there than a standard briefcase. And being able to throw it over both shoulders really makes for a more comfortable mode of transportation. While I have two briefcases and enjoy using them on occasion, I really think, in the end, I am a backpack sort of guy.
I love that the way to open this backpack is with two magnetic snaps/buttons as opposed to a zipper. It makes access so much easier, in a way that you’ll never fully understand until you use it. There is a thoughtful loop underneath each snap that allows you to grab them from the top to easily snap the lid closed. Then, of course, there is the brilliantly designed sides of the bag. They zip open from the side, allowing you to swing the bag off of just one shoulder to your front, and access anything inside easily. One side unzips to reveal the entirety of the bag’s interior, while the other side is a pocket, with a mesh section. Oh, and the bag comes with a leather key ring that magnetically attaches to a corresponding leather magnet in one of the side pockets making accessing your keys when you get home super easy and convenient.
And then there is the hidden pocket, the leather accents, side pockets perfect for a water bottle or umbrella on rainy days, and rear slot to stick on the top of a carry on handle. The laptop pocket in this bag is entirely separate, and unzips straight across from the rear of the bag. I love this feature as it keeps your electronics totally separate. Speaking of, this backpack has the same three great elastic pockets at the top of the bag, perfect for storing your cables and chargers.
Here’s another super cool thing. You know how when you tighten a backpack straps the “excess” strap hangs around and dangles in an unsightly manner? Well these backs use a simple loop that lets you slide it right over the excess which tucks it away along the rest of the strap. It’s ingenious and make the bag look that much better and sleeker when worn.
The bag is also water resistant, if not fully waterproof (I am a bit nervous about the leather accents, but no water should penetrate the actual bag), and ever element of this bag is just super quality. Compared to my old Herschel bag, say, this thing is in a league of its own. The leather is rich and supple out of the bag. All the zippers and snaps are so smooth and easy to open and close. It’s just super well-made.
In short, it is peak performance and usability all in a super sleek and sexy package. It is a bag that work the way you want it to, and you really need to use it in person to fully understand. It is, for me, the perfect backpack. A+
Value & Conclusion
The Capstone Backpack ($335): In the area of well-made and well-thought-out bags such as this, there is solid competition. Bags like the Nomatic or other similar options offer similar features and build quality at, admittedly, a lower price. Thus, if there is anything I would say about this bag in a slightly negative light it would be the price. It’s a bit expensive. That being said, we have not tested these other options in person, so to compare quality directly would be impossible. Quite honestly, I do not know. What I do know, though, is that for the price, you are getting a damn near perfect bag from Stuart & Lau. A+