The Ultimate (Singaporean) Nomatic Bags Review | May 2018


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Summary – Pre-order an authentic Nomatic Travel Pack / Travel Bag / Backpack with us. Get S$30 off! Delivery estimated on 30 June or earlier. Use this special link. You’re probably reading this because you’ve Googled the Nomatic series of bags. It’s no secret – Nomatic makes great backpacks. They’re the most funded travel backpacks in the history of Kickstarter with good reason. We spent 3 days reading every single article and watching every review video made about the Nomatic bags. We’re working on the ultimate guide to Nomatic bags, but in the meantime here’s a distilled summary of everything out there. THERE ARE 3 NOMATIC BAGS IN EXISTENCE First off, you’re probably as confused by the products as we were given the close sounding names. There are actually 3 Nomatic bags in existence. (1) Nomatic Travel *Bag* What It is.  This was launched on Kickstarter in 2016 as a large (but cabin-sized) backpack that had tons of cool and useful pockets/compartments (like one for your shoes, finally!). The Nomatic Travel Bag is made of a high-quality tarpaulin leather-like material that is water resistant and spots well-padded comfortable straps. The Most Successful Backpack Kickstarter.  It quickly became the most funded Kickstarter travel backpack in history, rasing USD1.7M from 9,067 backers (yes outdoing even the Bobby Backpack, which only raised £640,923 from 10,665 backers). Following this success, Nomatic launched two new products in 2017 – the Nomatic Backpack and the Nomatic Travel *Pack*. (2) Nomatic Backpack and (3) Nomatic Travel *Pack* What They Are.  (Take note, the Travel Pack is not to be confused with the Travel Bag.) The first Nomatic Travel Bag was made to be carry enough stuff for 3-7 days. In contrast, the Nomatic Backpack and Nomatic Travel Pack were made to be the everyday carry / short-trip (1-3 day) versions of the original Nomatic bag.

Product NameCapacityInitially LaunchedUse Case
Nomatic Travel Bag40L2016All-in-one luggage replacement (compacted into a carry-on).>7 days
Nomatic Travel Pack20L. Expandable to 30L.End 2017Everyday carry + short trips.1-3 days
Nomatic Backpack20L. Expandable to 24L.End 2017Everyday carry.Daily

FEATURES All 3 Nomatic bags pack a lot of cool and useful features. As a gauge, YouTube review videos usually last about 15 minutes – but Nomatic reviews last about 30 minutes! To keep this post short, we’ll only be summarizing the main features of each Nomatic Bag here. Here’s a list of resources you can check out for an in-depth explanation of each feature.

FEATURES All 3 Nomatic bags pack a lot of cool and useful features. As a gauge, YouTube review videos usually last about 15 minutes – but Nomatic's reviews last about 30 minutes! Here's a quick summary of the features of the Nomatic Backpack and Travel Pack. We'll be updating with the Nomatic Travel Bag shortly.

Nomatic Travel PackNomatic Backpack
Internal OrganizationMesh-divided central compartment and shoe compartment. Compressible packing cubes.Swappable inside panels
ExpansionFull perimeter expansion zippersExpansion zippers that end at sides
Laptop CompartmentTop-open.Separate zipper compartment, opens fully flat.
Shared Features
Tuckable Straps
Magnetic Water Bottle Pouch
Durable Waterproof Materials And Zipper
Hidden Pocket Behind Straps
RFID Safe Pocket
Retractable Key Leash
Roller Bag Sleeve
Cord Pass Throughs
Full Perimeter Zippers For Easy Packing
Top Access Pocket

Product update (20 April 2018)!  Nomatic has decided to eliminate the shoe panel due to low demand for that panel. Furthermore, they have combined the tech panel and the paper panel into 1 combined panel. Nomatic's email: "We also have some great news! We have updated the NOMATIC Backpack panels! After receiving feedback from our customers we have realized that we can offer more functionality to the NOMATIC Backpack by combining the tech pocket and the paper organizer into one pocket. We also realized that the shoe pocket panel was not in high demand and will not be including that panel with the Backpack any longer. We are really excited for these changes."

REVIEWS Features on paper aside, how do the Nomatic Backpack and Nomatic Travel Pack measure up in actual use over a few months? For this, we turned to third-party independent YouTube reviews, professional review websites and the comments section of various places (from the everyday man) to find out. We'll refer to this whole group of people simply as "reviewers" below. (1) Positive Comments • Top handle is well-padded and comfortable to hold. Many backpack handles are thin and cut into your hands after holding for some time. Not the Nomatic’s. Reviewers love that these are so luxuriously padded that it is a pleasure just to hold them. • Well padded straps, ventilated backing. Reviewers note that the Nomatic bag straps are well padded. The back panel (part pressed against your back) material dissipates heat well, and its ventilation grooves increase airflow for even better cooling. Overall the Nomatic bags are comfortable to carry for hours (a couple of YouTube reviewers actually did so). • Side grab handles. Reviewers love the fact that there are grips for you to hold the bags by their sides (like a briefcase). This allows a better distribution of weight (and are overall easier to carry) when packed heavy, as opposed to holding by the top handle. Not all felt comfortable going as far as using it as a briefcase given the "backpack" look however. • Magnetic Water Bottle Pockets. Everyone who reviewed the Nomatic absolutely loved the magnetic external water bottle pouches on each side. It expands when needed, and satisfyingly snaps shut when empty to maintain the Nomatic’s sleek profile. • Trolley Luggage Slide-On Sleeve. The Nomatic bags are designed with a back panel gap that allows you to slide the bags onto the handles of trolley luggage. Reviewers thought the ability to drag your trolley bag and the Nomatic together was a nice touch. • High quality Tarpaulin Material and Sealed Zips. Reviewers like that the Nomatic bags are made of a quality rubbery/leather-like Tarpaulin material that is very water-resistant. They also were pleasantly surprised at the Nomatic's weather-sealing zipper (has a sealing layer on top of its teeth) that further improves water-resistance. PS: No zipper-based backpack can truly be absolutely waterproof / submersion proof. For that, you’ll need those roll-top bags). • Top Quick Access Compartment. Reviewers generally think that this fleece-lined compartment is super convenient. This is especially for small delicate items that you might want to easily reach. Some of them feel it could have been made deeper however. • Full Perimeter + Side Access. This was one of the most loved features of the Nomatic bags. You can fully open the main compartment – 180 degrees flat – for easy packing. On the move, you can swing the bag in front and easily access the main compartment simply though a side zipper (no need to fully open the top). • Quick-access laptop compartment. Reviewers like that the Nomatic bags have full-open laptop compartment – separate from the main one – that opens flat. This makes airport security checks a breeze. • Many, MANY mesh elastic pockets. The consensus from all reviewers was that the organisation design is brilliant. There are so many mesh elastic pockets – of every conceivable size – strategically placed all throughout the Nomatic bags. You’ll definitely find one that works for any item you want to pack. The only downside is that you may sometimes forget where you kept an item. • Protective Sunglasses Hard Case. Reviewers like that a fabric-lined removable hard case was included for glasses / sunglasses. They thought it is a little bulky, but not really an issue since it is removable anyway. (2)  Negative Comments As with all products, there are the fans and the haters. Based on our experience, you have to be careful with one-off negative comments – creators of competing products sometimes post false “complaints” to ruin their competitors’ products. It’s unethical, but it happens more often than you'll think. That being said, we want to transparently deal with these negative comments, and let you form your own judgement. Issue: Some commenters have noted that after 40 minutes of heavy snow/rain, the insides felt damp. Analysis: Nomatic explicits states that the bag is NOT submersion proof. Exposing it to heavy rains for 40 minutes is really almost like submerging it in water, so this dampness is actually quite understandable. Despite so, professional reviewers – who have their reputations on the line – specifically noted that they had no such problems under normal rain / snow conditions. "Normal" likely means less than 40 minutes exposure – which, let's be honest, is more normal and reasonable to expect. Some commenters have also noted that the zippers have to be properly closed, as there is a tenancy for it to spring up a little when zipped to the bottom. This could explain why the insides of the Nomatic got wet under heavy rain. Issue: Some commenters note that the zippers do not close as smoothly, and sometimes get stuck. Analysis: This is odd as YouTube reviewers have said and shown on camera that the zipper work pretty smoothly. It is likely the person who made this complaint received a mildly defective product. There have been no complaints since Jan 2018, so if this was an initial production problem, it's gone now. Issue: Nomatic Travel Pack unable to stand on its own without laptop inside. Analysis: Frankly this is understandable. It’s hard to design a bag that stands on its own even when its center of gravity changes – especially when there are things like an expandable zip and a laptop’s weight to take into account. Given that the Travel Pack stands on its own either when (1) a laptop is inside, and (2), the expandable part is extended, we don’t see this as a big problem. If this is a deal breaker to you, skip this bag. Issue: There have been a couple isolated comments that the quality does not feel as great as they thought it should be. Analysis: There are many people whose comments disagree with this and stand by the high quality of the Nomatic bags. All YouTube reviewers we came across for instance thought the rubbery Tarpaulin material felt great and was of a good quality. Many YouTube comments also agree with Nomatic's quality claim. What likely happened was that the complainers were used to a different type of "rugged" material, and incorrectly assumed the Tarpaulin material is inferior. So far the evidence suggests the Nomatic bags are well-made and great quality for its price point. Issue: A YouTube comment noted that the bottom of the bag got scuffed after a few months of usage. Analysis: This shouldn’t come as any surprise if the bag is treated roughly in everyday usage. Dragging the bag across sandy or concrete floors could cause shallow scratches to the bottom part. What’s important is sensible care in everyday usage. Incidentally, you may want to check out our Heroclips to avoid leaving bags on the floor. In conclusion, we spent hours pouring through tons of reviews to bring you this quick summary. It's meant as a starting point for you to do your own research (since we – even us – have our own biases naturally). We've included links from our research so you can form your own opinion based on firsthand evidence :) This summary is a work-in-progress and constantly being updated.

SPECIAL DEAL:

Pre-order an authentic Nomatic Travel Pack / Travel Bag / Backpack with us. Get an extra SGD 30 off! https://interstellargoods.sg/shop/travel/nomatic-travel-bag/ Delivery estimated on 30 June or earlier. Text 90616593 or drop us an email to ask@interstellargoods.sg.