NOMATIC Travel Pack Review: Most Functional Travel Bag?

eattalktraveljapanGear, Travel

Why the NOMATIC Travel Pack?

I was immediately drawn to the NOMATIC Travel Pack when I saw their Kickstarter campaign. Since I travel so much, I was looking for a backpack that was stylish, functional, weather-proof, and built to last. This is surprisingly hard to find…

I liked the minimal design and the attention to detail blew me away. It’s well organized with multiple compartments and pockets to store all your gear. The full-perimeter zippers and the material appeared to be high-quality.

But, pretty much every backpack claims to use high-quality materials. I wondered if the actual product would be as good as it looked online…

(Spoiler: it is)

They have now successfully funded, manufactured, and delivered on schedule three different products and have a new one in the works. This review will focus on the NOMATIC Travel Pack.

Be sure to stop by their website to see the different travel bags. You’ll get to see all of the different features and differences beyond what I mention.

(Disclaimer: We DID NOT receive this for free. We bought the NOMATIC Travel Pack ourselves during the Kickstarter campaign and Joshua has been using it for almost six months. However, the links in this post are affiliate links so if you buy through the links we receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.)

NOMATIC Travel Pack basics:

The best combination of quality, style, and function that I’ve seen in a travel backpack.

Most distinctive features:Downside:
  • Minimal design
  • Extremely functional
  • Tuckable straps
  • Retractable key leash
  • Magnetic bottle holders
  • A bit large
  • Multiple features can be complex

Price: $219 (Buy here)

So, what is the NOMATIC Travel Pack?

After making a wildly successful travel bag, NOMATIC created a smaller version based on the customer feedback they got. Rather than simply making one backpack, they decided to create two: The NOMATIC Travel Pack and the NOMATIC Backpack.

The Travel Pack is meant for 3-day trips, while the NOMATIC Backpack is an everyday backpack.

The two bags look very similar on the outside, but the Travel Pack is a little bigger because it has a separate laptop compartment and expands from 20L to 30L. On the inside, the Backpack has three interchangeable inserts that give you many options on how to use the space, while the Travel Pack has a mesh divider and compartment.

Personally, I chose the Travel Pack because I travel a lot and I like the way it is designed. These different features add some bulk, but I didn’t find it to be enough to be a problem. So, while it’s not really designed as an everyday backpack, that’s how I use it.

Unique features of the NOMATIC Travel Pack

High-quality waterproof materials:

The material of this bag really stood out to me. Pretty much every bag claims to use high-quality materials, but NOMATIC actually delivered. The material is really thick and the zippers are well sealed. I also really like the matte finish of the material.

NOMATIC Travel Pack

The material is thick and rugged. It’s great in the rain and the zippers keep everything dry.

Extremely functional with multiple pockets and compartments:

Functionality is NOMATIC’s main claim and they have really gone above and beyond on this one. It’s almost obsessively functional with multiple zippers, pockets, and compartments to store virtually anything.

NOMATIC Travel Pack

This is a view of the three main sections. The outer section holds various small items, the back opens into a laptop and tablet holder, and the middle contains a shoe compartment and mesh clothes section.

Tuckable straps:

You can tuck the shoulder straps into the back to make it more like a briefcase. I’m not sure if I would use it as a briefcase replacement, but I’ve really come to appreciate this feature. When walking through crowded areas, it’s very helpful to be able to hold the side straps and tucking in the straps makes it easier to store under the front seat on airplanes and in other luggage compartments.

NOMATIC Travel Pack

This is what it looks like to tuck in the shoulder straps. I’ve found it helpful for fitting in tighter spaces and for carrying it through crowds.

Expansion from 20L to 30L:

One of my favorite features is the huge expansion capabilities. The extra space makes a huge difference when you’re packing to maximum capacity. I was also surprised by how well the expansion is integrated into the design. The Travel Pack is just as functional when zipped as when unzipped and the expansion zipper blends into the bag so well that you probably wouldn’t notice it if you weren’t looking for it.

NOMATIC Travel Pack

Without using the expansion it’s a little big, but still reasonable for most situations.

NOMATIC Travel Pack

The expansion is really helpful when traveling. Even when expanded the material is still thick and waterproof.

Two magnetic water bottle holders:

This is another cool feature. There is a holder on each side and each combines a mesh interior with a magnetic top and bottom. This allows the holder to blend into the side when not in use, but also stretch out when you want to add a bottle. Having one on each side is also helpful if you want to carry both a water bottle and an insulated thermos or something else.

NOMATIC Travel Pack

There are water bottle holders on each side that have magnets to keep them in place when not in use. You can carry both a water bottle and coffee thermos easily. I also use one container to carry an umbrella when necessary.

Easy access laptop storage:

The laptop compartment is completely separated from the rest of the bag with its own full perimeter zipper meant to make airport checkpoints easier. It also keeps your laptop near the back of the bag and provides extra cushioning.

NOMATIC Travel Pack

Very helpful for quickly removing your laptop without opening the whole thing.

Cord pass-through easy access pocket:

There’s a small top pocket for things like a phone that you want to reach easily. It also features a small hole to pass through a cord if you want to use a portable charger.

NOMATIC Travel Pack

There’s a small hole to allow a cord to go from bottom to top. I store a power bank inside, pass the cord up to the easy access pocket, and easily charge my phone when needed.

NOMATIC Travel Pack

This is what it looks like with an iPhone Plus inside. It’s a tight fit, but it works. A smaller phone should fit pretty easily.

Easy access key holder:

There are multiple mesh pockets inside and the bottom one has a key ring attached to a retractable cord. You can easily reach your keys, unlock the door and put your keys back. I’ve found this to be really useful, especially with larger sets of keys.

NOMATIC Travel Pack

Who is the NOMATIC Travel Pack for?

The Travel Pack and the other NOMATIC bags are for people who want a rugged, high-quality backpack and care about function and design.

All the bags have a minimal look to them and are only available in black. They are extremely functional and hold a lot of stuff without wasting space.

Downsides of using the Travel Pack daily

Rather than try to make the perfect backpack, NOMATIC made two slightly different bags that work in different situations.

The Travel Backpack is meant to be an everyday bag and the Travel Pack is meant for 1-3 day trips. However, I use the Travel Pack as both a travel bag and a daily backpack. Generally, this works great, but there are some disadvantages.

Size:

There isn’t a huge difference in size, but the expansion system does make the Travel Pack a little bulky for daily life. Since I travel so much this is a worthwhile tradeoff for me, but if I didn’t, I’d strongly consider going with the Backpack instead.

Complexity:

The downside to all the pockets and compartments is that they complicate using the bag. If you forget where you put something there will be a lot of zipping, unzipping and searching in order to find it. I can see how the organizational system of the Backpack would be a lot more useful in daily life.

Experience using the NOMATIC Travel Pack for almost six months…

NOMATIC Travel Pack

This is what it looks like to hold it like a briefcase. You can tuck the straps into the back part which makes it easier to carry. The side handle isn’t that comfortable and I don’t think it could replace a briefcase in a professional setting, but I’ve found it helpful to carry on its side in crowded places. Tucking in the straps is helpful for storing under your seat on flights, too.

I’ve now had the chance to use the Travel Pack in many different situations. I’ve taken on a weekend trip to visit family, a flight on a cramped, budget airline, and on my current trip to Japan.

(By the way, if you’re interested in Japan, be sure to check out our introduction).

I use it on a semi-daily basis and have gotten to test it on cars, trains, and buses. I’ve walked long distances and carried it while riding a bike.

I’ve used it in light snow and moderate rain.

So far, I’ve been really impressed with how the bag is holding up. The thick material is great for keeping out the rain and all the organizational features are great for keeping things with me. The material doesn’t have any significant scuffs or scratches yet.

It’s great for carrying on airplanes and it can usually fit under the seat, even with both bottles inside. Once, when I had it expanded out and totally full it was too big to fit under the seat so I just put it in the overhead compartment.

NOMATIC Travel Pack

Megumi and me for a side by side comparison of the size. I’m about 6 feet (182cm) and Megumi is about 5’3” (163cm). It looks bigger on Megumi, but she was surprised by how well the weight is distributed and the comfort of the shoulder straps.

So, should you get the NOMATIC Travel Pack?

Hopefully, I’ve given you a good idea of what makes this bag unique.

For me, it’s the closest that I’ve found to the perfect travel bag. I love the design and appreciate the quality materials. But, I also travel a lot more than normal and bring a lot of various stuff with me.

If you like the style and are willing to pay a little more for quality, then you’ll love the NOMATIC bags. They really deliver on the quality and functionality promised. There’s also a 30-day return policy if for some reason you don’t.

I’d recommend really comparing all their travel bags, though. The slight differences between them make it easy to choose the one perfect for your circumstances.

Where to buy it?

The best place to get the NOMATIC Travel Pack, Backpack or any of their other bags is through their website. You also may be able to find it on Amazon, but when I last checked they don’t have everything available.

(Disclaimer: We DID NOT receive this for free. We bought the NOMATIC Travel Pack ourselves during the Kickstarter campaign and Joshua has been using it for almost six months. However, the links in this post are affiliate links so if you buy through the links we receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.)