I may not be one of those adventurous people going on annual backpacking trips and frequent hikes, but I have used a fair bit of travel backpacks and I’m here to share with you why I like the Matador Freerain24 2.0 and Freefly16.
Forget the stereotype that travel backpacks are made only for serious backpackers or hikers. The Matador backpacks can be used for so many purposes, like attending music festivals (it rained for five hours during Siloso Beach Party 2017 and my iPhone was spoiled – If you had a waterproof travel backpack, you were one of the smarter ones), water activities like kayaking during a trip to Bali, Phuket or Krabi, or simply for outdoor sports.
As Compact as a Can of Coke
Personally, the key feature that makes a Matador backpack the ideal travel bag is that they are extremely lightweight – the 30D Cordura ripstop nylon contributed to an extremely light weight of 188g for the Freerain24 and 136g for the Freefly16. I am also not joking when I say they can be squeezed into a packed form which can be as small as a can of coke at 5” by 3” with a thickness of around 2” for the Freerain24. This is surprising as it expands up to 24L in capacity, a size that is not too big to swallow up my frame and spacious enough to store my travel needs.
I’m sure when most of you travel, you end up carrying more things back to Singapore than what you brought overseas. Your dirty laundry just seems to be twice the size as your neatly folded clean clothes. And let’s not forget all your shopping loot! With such a compact travel backpack, I can throw it into my luggage when I travel without worrying that it occupies too much space, or clip it on with a carabiner and it will take up absolutely no space inside my luggage. All I have to do is to simply expand the backpack when I pack for my return trip to Singapore.
The Rain Can’t Get to You
Afraid of taking a walk outdoors and getting caught in the rain unexpectedly? I have that exact fear all the time as I don’t have the habit of carrying an umbrella around. The backpacks are waterproof, thanks to the siliconized waterproof coating (very hydrophobic), internally sealed seams, and Hypalon roll top main compartment (with a buckle on both sides of the bag). If I throw my electronic gadgets in the main compartment, go for white water rafting, and if the bag falls out of the raft, I am absolutely confident that not a single drop of water will touch my gadgets. The front pocket is only water resistant though, so your things in that compartment will survive a downpour but probably not a dip in the pool.
A backpack strap makes or breaks the comfort level of the person carrying it, especially when I fill it with several heavy items. I definitely cannot expect a padded strap when the backpack can shrink to the size of a can of coke, but the air mesh shoulder straps are certainly good enough for evening out light to moderate loads. Thankfully, the shoulder straps are breathable and non-absorbant so they won’t stink of sweat after a day out in the sun.
The sternum (or chest) strap is detachable and adjustable and helps a lot in weight distribution and comfort when I carry a heavy load. It secures the top of the bag close to my body so that the load won’t sink and I will feel much less weighed down.