• Organization 70% 70%
  • Comfort 70% 70%
  • Security 80% 80%
  • Laptop Protection 70% 70%
  • Weight 90% 90%

Price: $280

Weight: 3.42lbs (1.55kg)

Dimensions: 21x14x9”

Capacity: 40l

Laptop Size: 15”

What We Like: Waterproof and water bottle pocket.

What We Don’t: Odd external material set up.

Nomatic has created the Swiss Army Knife of one bag travel backpacks, but I am not entirely sure that is a good thing. While there is 40l of room and even a shoe pocket, there are some flaws. The external material is essentially all weatherproof except for the front panel, which is the panel on the ground while the pack is in duffel bag mode. The laptop sleeve is also in the main compartment which does keep it well protected, but it’s quite tricky to access while on a plane or in a tight space. The waterproof water bottle pocket is a nice touch, but the pocket is limited in size and would not fit a larger water bottle. Nomatic did some nice things with the Travel Bag, but I think there are better options on the market.

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Promoted as the travel bag with other 20 innovative features, the Nomatic 40l travel bag is an excellent companion for a trip of up to seven days or more, if you can do some laundry. Created by cousins who wanted to build a better wallet, Nomatic has expanded into a Kickstarter machine, and they are now producing several varieties of packs and travel accessories.

Their Nomatic travel bag is available in a 30l variation and a Travel Pack, which starts at 20l but will expand to 30l if needed. Both of these packs have similar innovations as the 40l, so I only look at the 40l for this review.

Best Travel Backpacks: Nomatic Travel Bag - Gear Hacker

Storage

As mentioned in the name of the pack, the Nomatic Travel Bag is set to hold 40l of cargo. Nomatic has divided the outside of the pack as well as the main compartment into a few storage areas. Along the bottom of the pack, there is a shoe pocket that is built to hold an extra pair of shoes and keep them protected as well as the rest of your clothes protected from dirty sneakers. On the top of the bag, there is a smaller zippered pocket built to hold underwear or a light jacket for improved organization and compartmentalization.

The main compartment is opened with a “full perimeter zipper” that gives great access to all of your belongings. The zipper is actually on the back of the pack, so your body protects the zipper from potential security hazards. The laptop and tablet sleeve is also located in this pocket along the back, closest to the wearer’s body. A nice addition is that along the removable hipbelt there is some zippered storage. It is quite tight along the hipbelt, so it is tricky to get a cellphone in the pocketbut it was certainly a nice addition.

Best Travel Backpacks: Nomatic Travel Bag - Gear Hacker

On the side of the pack, there is a full zippered pocket that opens to give access to multiple zippered pockets, which is great for small valuables such as cables, passports, and wallets. One of the pockets is RFID safe to protect your cards and passport.

Along the top of the pack is a small zippered fleece-lined pocket, which is great for your cell phone and sunglasses. Next to that pocket is a water bottle pocket that is lined with a waterproof fabric to keep your gear dry in case of accidental leaks. On the left side of the pack are two top-loading zippered pockets, great for small books or other thin materials.

Included with the 40l Travel Bag is a laundry bag that is stored in the shoe pocket but will expand to hold your dirty laundry and, when full, will fit in the main compartment to keep your clothes separate. Nomatic has checked all of the storage boxes in my mind for a travel bag. Everything is well thought out, as they went through 20 prototypes before being satisfied with their final product.

Best Travel Backpacks: Nomatic Travel Bag - Gear Hacker

Laptop Pocket

As with all travel bags these days, there needs to be a laptop sleeve. Nomatic has opted to put the laptop sleeve on the inside of the main compartment along the back of the pack. This setup makes getting the laptop out in the security line fairly straight forward, but when you’re on the plane, you need to open your entire bag, which takes up some serious room. With this setup, I immediately missed the ability to open a dedicated pocket that solely holds my laptop for easy access and storage.

Comfort and Harness System

The harness system is where things get a bit confusing. The Travel Bag is able to be carried in a standard backpack mode, with detachable hipbelt, or as a duffel bag. The straps can be adjusted between these two setups to reduce the amount of webbing that might hang out, but the transitions are not as simple as I would have liked.

The width of the pack makes the duffel bag mode a bit uncomfortable because you have to keep the pack so far from your bodyit’s a massive lat workout. The snap handle in duffel bag mode is also known to pop undone while being carried, which is inconvenient. 

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In terms of comfort, the shoulder straps are soft and moderately padded. The hipbelt can be awkward for some wearers, as there is no torso length adjustment. It is removable though, so that is a bonus. With this pack, as with others I have tested, the harness system and overall comfort seem to fall by the wayside as the production team wants their pack to have the trendiest pockets and sleekest look.

Security and Material

Made from a water-resistant tarpaulin fabric and sturdy Duraflex hardware, the Travel Bag is going to last quite a while. The major negative is that the front panel of the bag, the side that would be placed on the ground while in briefcase mode is not made of the weatherproof tarpaulin but of a ballistic weave nylon instead. Meaning, the side that would be on the potentially wet ground is not weatherproof and could cause your cargo to get wet… What were they thinking?! 

Another miss for the Nomatic Travel Bag is the lack of security zippers. None of the zippers on the pack have dedicated travel lock loops. I understand the entire point of single bag travel is that you never have to part ways with the pack, but the additional peace of mind is never a bad thing.

The Bottom Line

Nomatic spent a long time developing this pack and went through 20 versions before settling on the current one bag model. Unfortunately, I think they missed the mark in a couple ways: the front panel missing the weatherproof material, the lack of security zippers, and the tricky-to-access laptop pocket. For $280, you expect a fairly well constructed and thought out out pack, but there are too many misses for me. With the competition between large brands like Osprey and Patagonia as well as small Kickstarter pack companies, everything is in the details.

The dedicated pockets for shoes and a waterproof water bottle pocket were nice touches, and the removable hipbelt with storage is also a great feature. I just think that there are certain boxes that need to be checked for a pack to be a great travel bag, and the Nomatic Travel Bag did not check enough of these boxes. 

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We participate in affiliate programs to help us fund Gear Hacker. Some of the links in this website are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product using our link, we will earn a small commission. Don’t worry! This comes at no additional cost to you, and we will never base our reviews on whether or not we earn a commission off of a product. With that said, if you find our review helpful and decide to purchase an item we review, we would be very appreciative if you use our links to do so. It will help us bring you more awesome content in the future!