Nomatic 40L Travel Bag Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
Safe electronics pockets, high-level organization, and ample space make the Nomatic Travel Bag the perfect option for the business traveler. The laptop sleeve is placed close to your back, ensuring optimal security and the small device organizer on the side makes traveling with cables a breeze. The designated shoe pocket, waterproof pocket, and felt pocket are just three of many useful packing options this bag offers and the 40 liters of carrying space allows for up to a week of travel. Items like the mesh laundry bag and removable waist strap are just the icing on the cake.
The Nomatic Travel Bag comes with a removable waist belt, adjustable sternum strap, and comfortable shoulder straps. Not only is the waist belt completely removable, but it is padded with breathable foam and comes with a nifty zipper pocket on each hip. The padded shoulder straps are slightly curved to avoid any pinching or unnecessary contact with your armpits and the sternum strap can be adjusted in length and position via a sliding rail.
The material is stiff which offers the pack structure and the laptop sleeve is located closest to your back which helps keep bulging items from poking you. Considering this bag is not built with ample back panel support and can be switched to duffel carry in seconds, we were pleasantly surprised with the level of comfort the harness system provides. In the duffel position, the handle is comfortable, however, if this 40-liter pack is bursting at the seams it may be pretty heavy to carry one-handed.
While we consider the Nomatic to be a comfortable bag, it simply cannot stand up to some of the others in our test suite due to its lack of ample padding and heavy-duty hip straps. The back panel fabric is not breathable, so a sweaty back is inevitable if the weather is warm. The shoulder straps do not have load lifters and the hip belt is very stiff at first — although after a few wears it softened up and formed nicely to the body. Wearing this travel bag through the airport, on a quick walk to your hotel, or even around the city for a short time is a non-issue, however, if you're planning on spending countless hours roaming to your heart's desire you will want to explore some of our long-wear comfort packs.
The Nomatic Travel Bag was clearly designed with the business type in mind, but it is not without its fun gadgets. It is a simple pack but scored highly in this department because of the minimal yet helpful features.
First and foremost is the innovative patented strap system which allows you to go from duffel to backpack carry in seconds. The way the straps come together in the middle of the bag distributes the load evenly. This may seem trivial, however, 40 liters of carrying space can get heavy quickly, and an ill-placed strap can cause a rather imbalanced carry. It is nice to carry as a backpack while traveling but switching to duffel mode once you've put on your freshly pressed suit for that important meeting makes all the difference.
The backpack-to-duffel feature isn't the only thing to write home about. The Nomatic comes with a hangable laundry bag, removable waist straps, solid tech organization, and a back panel that slips over your rolling suitcase handle. It is also carry-on compliant, but be careful, because this bag is very stuffable. It's always a good idea to weigh and measure your travel bag once it is packed to ensure it complies with airline specifications. Overall, our biggest bone to pick with this pack is the lack of compression straps. It is advertised as a travel pack that can accommodate 3-7 day trips, but it would be nice to be able to compress the bag down for your shorter travels.
Packing & Accessibility
This pack shines brightest in this metric. The full perimeter zipper allows access to the entire main compartment with ease and the thoughtful pockets offer optimal organization.
On the sides, you will find two easy-access pockets and one larger electronics organizer. The top of the pack has a felt pocket for more fragile items like your cell phone or watch. There is also a waterproof pocket which is advertised as a water bottle pocket. Unfortunately, this compartment is not the right dimensions for a larger water bottle like a 32oz Hydro Flask, but it may fit a smaller one. That being said, this is a great spot to put your makeup, shower goodies, or snacks that you don't want spilling all over your clothes and electronics. Happy accident? We're not sure, but this pocket definitely came in handy.
Underneath the waterproof compartment, you will find another easy access pocket. It is large enough for a book or even larger over ear headphones. On the bottom of the pack, there is a designated shoe compartment. We love this packing feature, however, it is worth noting that while the shoe compartment opens from the outside, it spills into the main compartment, so a pair of big chunky shoes in there will limit the amount of space you are left with. The back panel opens up to a padded laptop sleeve and tablet pocket — large enough for a 15" laptop and a 13" tablet.
Like the shoe compartment, the pockets found on the top of the pack open from the outside but take up main compartment space when filled. The waterproof pocket is inside the compartment for your book or clunky headphones so it is important to take a moment to strategize where you want all your items since not every area can be stuffed to the gills at once. This may bother some people, as they will feel that one pocket's use renders another unusable, but we appreciate having the options, and because the liner is so thin, an unused pocket doesn't take up much space.
One big issue we have is that to access the laptop sleeve, you have to open the main compartment. If there are any personal items you would rather your fellow travelers not see — like your undergarments — you will want to tuck them away. Lastly, hydration is important, especially if you are going to be bouncing around from meeting to meeting the second you set foot at your destination. The lack of a water bottle pocket is disappointing and the waterproof pocket is just too small for anything over 16 ounces.
Volume to Weight Ratio
The Nomatic weighs roughly 4 pounds and has a fill capacity of 40 liters. This is one of our heavier bags and we are not surprised. The heavyweight material that makes this pack durable, plus all the smaller compartments and their accompanying zippers definitely weigh this bag down. This doesn't make us like the Nomatic any less, it simply reiterates the fact that this travel bag is not meant for extended wear time.
On the plus side, this bag is 21" x 14" x 9" and will most likely pass for carry-on luggage, so while its size in volume by weight may not be the most desirable, its length, height and depth are something to be desired.
The Nomatic is not only a pack that is built to last, it is also built to weather a storm. It is made of Tarpaulin which is commonly used on expedition bags because of its ability to endure abuse and keep gear dry. This waterproof material paired with water-resistant zippers ensures that rain or shine, your clothes will remain dry and your electronics safe.
We are not brand junkies but we do appreciate it when the gear we test is made with trustworthy hardware. The Nomatic does not sport YKK zippers. This is far from a deal-breaker and we did not experience malfunctioning during our hands-on testing, however, there are some reports of failed zippers after extended use.
This 40-liter pack is an expertly crafted bag for those who travel for work. It comes with several pockets and usable features that make your packing experience truly unique, however, these added perks don't come cheap. The Nomatic Travel Bag clocks in at one of our higher-priced travel bags but as long as the zippers do not fail, you won't need to buy a new one any time soon.
The general design of the Nomatic 40L Travel Bag makes it a great option for the business traveler. With the full perimeter zip and clamshell opening, packing and unpacking is a breeze and the main compartment provides enough space for a 3-7 day trip. The easy-access pockets provide a safe place for your on-the-go items and the more specialized areas like the shoe compartment help to keep your work clothes fresh. The laptop sleeve, tablet sleeve, and cable organization pockets seal the deal for those traveling with electronics. This travel bag is the perfect size for overhead storage or under the seat in front of you and complies with most carry-on rules regarding the size. If you travel for work and don't want to check your bag, this is a solid pick.
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