The burgeoning backpacker company Matador has been around for close to 10 years. They started out with a need for gear that paired with a “fast-and-light, flexible approach to travel.”
However, their single product, the Pocket Blanket, blossomed into an array of simple, modern, and high-quality backpacks and travel-related accessories to help overlanders and travelers alike get to where they need to go in an efficient and stylish manner. We tested one of their newest releases: the Matador Seg28 Backpack to see if it stands up to the abuse we typically throw at our gear.
Matador Seg28 Backpack Details
The Matador Seg28 Backpack is meant to be an everyday bag. It is also designed for airline travel, personal-item compliant on most airlines (as it’s 28 liters in capacity). The Seg28 pack’s most noticeable feature is its oversized sealing zippers in the front. These conceal large, billowing compartments that fill the backpack’s interior core when full.
There is a padded top-access laptop pocket big enough to stow our 14-inch Lenovo computer, but not one much bigger. An “admin pocket” keeps smaller items like pens, a passport, and other basics readily available. Additionally, a large zipper opens from the top, down one side of the backpack, then across the bottom. It reveals the interior in a clamshell fashion.
How Do You Use the Matador Seg28 Backpack?
Ordinary backpacks have a single front cover and large, cavernous and open center core where you compartmentalize yourself. However, the Matador Seg28 Backpack opens to reveal the backside of its front segmented compartment pockets, which bulge into the main core. The Seg28 can be used with or without these compartments. Fill up the front cubbies before you go and load dirty clothing in the main core during the trip—effectively shifting the load within the backpack.
If you choose not to use the front compartments and leave them empty, you can use the Matador Seg28 like a traditionally designed backpack. We packed our Peak Design Medium Camera Cube V1, among other necessities in the main core, to test it as a dedicated camera carrier. The Matador Seg28 Backpack fits the camera storage cube and other necessary gear adequately. However, the empty compartment’s interior fabric was prone to catch in the main backpack’s zipper if not careful.
Furthermore, if we loaded a few small items in the front pockets and tried to close the main “lid” over the camera cube, they’d slide to the backpack’s spine when moving. This prevented an easy-and-quick close due to shifting gear within the setup. They’d get stuck near its spine until we forced them back to the center of the backpack and then zipped it shut.
The Matador Seg28’s exterior offers a generously sized external water bottle holder and compression straps, which work well. External pockets showcase zipper security loops, and sturdy grab handles are featured on the top, bottom, side, and back of the bag. This makes the Seg28 a cinch to grab, no matter where it’s stashed.
The Matador Seg28 also has a comfortable and cushioned breathable back and adjoining shoulder straps. Behind it resides a clever luggage handle pass-through with a stealthy hidden pocket for small essentials. The base of the Seg28 boasts a thin removable hip belt and adjustable chest strap for carrying heavy loads. The overall specifications are:
- Volume: 28 liters
- Weight: 2lb 5oz (1043g)
- Dimensions: 20 H x 12 W x 9.5 D in
Quality and Sustainability First
This 28-liter traveler comes with a ton of features, some of them you can see but some of them you can’t. The patterned portion of panels on the Matador Seg28 consist of high wear-resistant UHMWPE-reinforced material (ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene). So far, the bag hasn’t shown any wear after multiple off-roading treks and travel excursions through two countries. It also has waterproofing elements to withstand the elements.
If customers ever have an issue with Matador products, the company offers in-house repairs whenever possible.
The premium Seg28 backpack is also constructed with post-consumer recycled materials that meet Bluesign criteria. The Bluesign standard offers an independent approval method for the textile industry, considering the entire production process, minimizing the impact on the environment and protecting people’s wellbeing.
Not only does Matador reuse discarded materials as part of its Seg28 backpack, but its Colorado headquarters is powered by wind energy and is certified by Green-e Energy. They’re also offsetting carbon emissions on shipments from manufacturers to their U.S. distribution network.
Matador Seg28 Backpack Impressions
Designed by travelers for travelers, the Matador Seg28 Backpack offers a lot of carrying comfort and durability. It’s not your ordinary daily bag, but then again, why should it be? By pushing boundaries and thinking outside of the box, Matador created a self-sufficient backpack that can successfully haul necessities in a variety of ways.
Even though you may need to juggle small items around when solely using the main core as its luggage compartment, that pales in comparison to the Matador Seg28 Backpack’s rugged nature and wearability. It withstands dust, moisture, and other abuse to keep contents protected. It’s quickly become a go-to pack when adventuring near and far.