This week we’re back with a look into a backpack from Nomatic’s Collapsible Collection, the Navigator Collapsible 16L Pack.
Let’s be honest, no one enjoys lugging around a massive pack all day, we do it simply out of necessity, as the opposite would be considerably worse truth be told. But daypacks provide the perfect compromise, exploration without being weighed down by everything you tote around everywhere. Nomatic brings another great product to the table with this collapsible daypack, allowing you to leave the 70L pack back in the hostel and hit the town with a little more of a minimalistic approach.
Designed to be tossed into your suitcase or clipped to the outside of a larger backpack, Nomatic’s collapsible daypack is a great option if you’re in the market for a new travel companion. Zipping into the lower back-pad, I honestly didn’t know if this was a backpack when I first got it in the mail. But when I flipped the hard-shell case inside-out, a 16L was definitely best-case scenario.
Alright onto the nitty-gritty, here’s a deeper look into the Nomatic Collapsible 16L Pack.
Weight: 0.86 lbs
Outer Dimensions: 19″ H x 10.5″ W x 6″ D
Passes the Ryanair carry-on size test!
Designed to house up to a 16” laptop or hydration bladder, the main compartment is prepared to take you to the top of that mountain or across the street to the local café. Both of which are rather impressive when you consider this thing can pack down to the size of an empanada.
The main compartment is really the only compartment aside from a small pocket on the top of the bag designed for quick access to your phone or a set of keys. Most good travel daypacks I’ve used have been between 21-30L, so I thought this bag may feel a little small, but it honestly held all my usual items with ease.
I would recommend that you have your laptop in an additional laptop sleeve or case, as the front end of this pack is rather thin and won’t protect your laptop. Nomatic will say this when showing off the backpack on their website, so just keep that in mind when tossing your beloved computer in this thing.
The Exterior and Carry Options
When collapsed into itself, the pack is protected by a textured hard-shell with a small carry handle, allowing it to easily be tossed into a bigger pack or clipped onto the outside of one. The shell is made from EVA material, making it durable and water resistant without being too heavy.
When unfolded the backpack features two water bottle pockets, one on either side of the pack. So overall, it’s a pretty standard daypack, apart from closing down into a case of course.
Sizing and Fit
As an absolute tank of a man myself (average build, 5’10”), this pack fits me really well. It comes with adjustable, ventilated shoulder straps, so you can make sure this thing sits on your back just the way you like. The sternum strap also helps to secure this bag to your back a bit more, though at times I did find it to be a little uncomfortable. But take that with a grain of salt, I seem to have a vendetta against daypack sternum straps and tend to not like the way they feel across the board.
Weight and Capacity
I think the first thing that really stuck out to me about this pack was how light it was. Unpacked, you almost wouldn’t even know it’s on your back.
Boasting a 16L capacity, I’ve found this to be the perfect size to bring along on backpacking trips where I may want to venture out from the campsite a bit. Being able to carry a hydration pack, this Nomatic bag is a pretty good option for a summit pack, allowing you to leave your larger pack back down in basecamp.
Toughness, Durability, and Materials
Don’t let this backpacks’ light weight and packability fool you though, as it doesn’t feel cheap by any regard. The EVA back pad (also the case it zips up into) helps to prevent whatever is in your pack from poking through and jabbing you in the back.
The material is also water resistant, but if you’re walking around with your laptop or any other electronics in here, I wouldn’t recommend getting caught in any downpours unless you have some kind of rain cover that fits this pack (not included).
The tamper proof zippers also feel high quality and haven’t given me any issues so far. Backpacks with zippers that seem to snag on something every time you open or close it is definitely a pet peeve of mine, but this pack has not failed me yet.
In the past, security with a day pack wasn’t even a thought for me, as most the bags I used just didn’t offer it. So when I discovered Nomatic’s tamper-proof zippers I must say, I was pretty excited. They work by feeding the eyelet of one zipper into the base of the other, making it pretty tough for pick pocketers to unzip your pack without you feeling their sly hands behind you. If you’re looking for additional security beyond this though, you may have to start taking some karate lessons.
Like with most of the Nomatic gear collection, Nomatic opted for the sleek black look on this pack. They also threw on a couple reflectors at the top and base of this bag, giving it a little extra glow when the lights are on you. I may be a little bias, but I really do like the way this pack looks on my back or collapsed down, hanging onto my main pack by a carabiner.
The ventilated shoulder straps also look really good and feature eight gear loops, so style and functionality once again meet with this backpack. Even if you don’t use the loops for anything, you can rest easy knowing you look like a gear head.
I suppose all good things must come to an end. Just kidding, that’s a bit dramatic, but for the sake of a well-rounded review, I made sure to find a couple potential cons you may want to know about before dropping $99 on this backpack.
For starters, I found the EVA pad to be a bit odd at times, not sitting the same way on your lower back the way a traditional backpack would. I understand it was created to prevent things in the pack from poking you, which I must admit does work, but it still feels weird at times nonetheless.
The only other thing I really found was the sternum strap as I mentioned earlier. I moved it around a bit up and down the gear loops, trying to find a spot that suited me, but I will probably end up just taking them off when using this pack. They’re nice if you’re moving around and don’t want the weight shifting around your bag, but with no hip belt or straps, this sternum strap will only do so much anyways.
Nomatic Backpack Review: Final Thoughts
So to wrap this up, I think for $99 Nomatic delivers a stylish, packable backpack you won’t regret bringing along on all your adventures. I would say this pack it probably better suited for city use over the trails, but that’s just my opinion.
If you’re in the market for a new daypack to bring along without sacrificing too much space in your larger bag or suitcase, this pack should definitely be on your radar.
Thanks for listening to me ramble on about the Collapsible Nomatic Navigator 16L Backpack, what can I say, I just love talking to you all. Cheers.
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