Last Updated: March 6, 2020

Nomatic Backpack Review: A Great Everyday Pack?

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Nomatic Backpack

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The Nomatic backpack is a high-end everyday backpack. It’s designed to hold all your tech, and keep it safe from thieves, rain, snow and the apocalypse. Many would say this bag is perfect for the modern day digital nomad, but it actually suits many types of traveler!

In this review, we will take a really good look at the Nomatic travel bag. And I mean it - I’m about to dissect every single feature of this backpack, in an attempt to see where it excels and where it fails. 

So, if you’re thinking about splurging on the Nomatic pack, you definitely need to read this review. It’s the best way to find out everything you need to know about the bag, and figure out if it really is the right fit for you!

I prefer numbers to words, when expressing just how good something is. I don’t care if it’s wonderful, amazing, enchanting - I care if it’s a 2 or a 5. So, here’s how I rate the Nomatic backpack, based on all of its features, value for money and comparison to similar backpacks: 

Overall Rating

74/100

Materials And Durability

3/5

Comfort

3/5

Accessibility And Organization

4.5/5

Versatility

5/5

Value For Money

3/5

Compartments

Two compartments; one main compartment and one front compartment

Pockets

More than 20 individual pockets, including an RFID safe pocket, magnetic side pockets and organizer panels 

Backpanel

Heavily padded backpanel with spaced out foam ridges

Access Type

Full perimeter zipper opening of the main compartment

Compression Straps

None

Overall, 74 is a pretty good rating for an everyday backpack - a solid B. Keep in mind that the Nomatic has a lot of competition - with so many brands doing awesome everyday backpacks, it’s not going to be easy to be the best on the market. 

There are some red flags, like the lack of compression straps and the high price point. But there are far more green flags - the numerous pockets, the versatility of use, premium materials etc. 

So, let’s take a look at the features of the Nomatic travel bag, and see why exactly it got this score!


Specs, Materials And Durability

The materials of a backpack tell you quite a lot about its quality and durability. Nomatic is a premium backpack with a pretty hefty price tag, so we’re expecting premium materials and a very long lifespan. 

Is that actually the case? We’ll find out together. But first, let’s check out the specs of this backpack!

Overview Of Nomatic Backpack Specs

Before we take apart the backpack and really examine all of its features, let’s first take a look at its basic specifications: 

NOMATIC Backpack- Slim Black Water Resistant Anti-Theft 20L Laptop Bag RFID Protected

Dimensions

18.5” x 12" x 5"

 Weight

4 lbs

Capacity

20-24 liters

The dimensions of the Nomatic tell us that it is on the smaller side. With a height of only 18”, this is a backpack you can easily use as a carry on. It will fit under every seat, and I doubt it will ever exceed an airline’s carry on restrictions. 

The backpack weighs just 4 lbs, so it is rather lightweight. Especially for an everyday backpack, which comes with quite a lot of features. And which is made from a heavy-duty material that we’ll talk about a bit later. Sure, we’ve seen plenty of ridiculously lightweight backpacks (like the Osprey Levity), but 4 lbs is actually really good for such a sturdy everyday pack. 

Last but not least, we can see that the Nomatic has expandable capacity - a feature rarely seen on backpacks. We’ll discuss this in more details later; for now, it’s enough to know that the maximum capacity of this backpack is 24 liters. That’s more than enough for your day-to-day necessities, and even plenty for an overnight stay. 

Durable Tarpaulin Exterior

The Nomatic backpack is made from tarpaulin - a very strong, durable, waterproof and flexible material. It is usually made from either polyester or canvas cloth, which is then coated with polyurethane for improved water resistance. 

The result is an almost indestructible cloth, which is frequently used as protection against weather conditions, due to great water resistance. In fact, tarpaulin sheets are commonly used to cover up construction work or performance stages, in order to protect them from rain or snow.

But what does that mean for the Nomatic backpack? Well, it means that the pack is capable of surviving quite a lot of wear and tear, and that it should last you for years. In addition to that, such a durable exterior also means that the pack has excellent abrasion and tear resistance. Basically, it’s a pack that can keep all your stuff safe and dry, and can take a beating and still look as good as new. 

Water Resistance

Nomatic Waterproof Exterior

A good backpack needs to have some water resistance. Everyday packs usually hold your most precious belongings, including tech that’s easily worth several thousand dollars. And a great backpack will protect your valuables from changing weather conditions. 

The good news is that the exterior of this backpack is waterproof. That includes both the waterproof fabric, and the sturdy YKK zippers. In theory, everything inside the Nomatic should always stay dry no matter how hard it is raining outside. 

However, the reality is not as close to theory as we’d like. The backpack is water resistant, thanks to the external coating. But it is not entirely waterproof; so, if you get caught in heavy rain, there’s a good chance that the interior of the pack will be damp. It is not going to get soaking wet, but damp enough that you would have to take out any papers, as well as your laptop. Which is not ideal for a backpack that was designed to carry all your tech. 


Comfort

Nomatic Sternum Strap One

Sternum Strap

Nomatic Backpanel One

The Backpanel

A good backpack is comfortable to wear. That’s one thing that I never compromise on, regardless of all the other features and accessories that are included in the price. 

The Nomatic received a less than perfect rating in this area, because it lacks some must-have features. Let’s see what those are, and just how comfortable this backpack is!

Padded Backpanel

Nomatic Backpanel

I have a love-hate relationship with the Nomatic’s backpanel. I really like the padding - it is thick and it feels really soft against your back. This will protect you from any bulky items inside the main compartment, which might poke you in the back otherwise. 

So, that’s a plus. I also like that the backpanel consists of spaced out foam ridges; this allows the air to circulate between them, and helps keep you dry during hot summer days. However, there’s no breathable mesh on the backpanel, so it’s definitely not the best ventilation you could ask for. 

But this doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker. Especially if you’re one of those people that casually throw their pack over one shoulder. And it’s important to understand why there’s no mesh - with the solid black material, this side of the backpack looks very sleek and professional. Mesh would have made it much sportier, so it would not be as professional. The current design of the backpack wouldn’t be out of place in a lawyer’s office, specifically because of the sleek design. 

Adjustable Shoulder Straps

Nomatic Shoulder Straps

The Nomatic backpack features adjustable shoulder straps. This allows you to really make the backpack fit you well, minimizing the overall strain on your back and shoulders. 

The shoulder straps are padded, therefore very comfortable to wear. And their inner sides are covered with breathable mesh, allowing your torso to breathe, and removing the chance for any nasty sweat stains on the front of your t-shirt. 

However, bear in mind that you can only adjust the length of the straps themselves. Adjusting the height and position of the harness is not possible, so you probably won’t be able to get that absolute perfect fit. 

Sternum Strap

Nomatic Sternum Strap

There is a sternum strap on the Nomatic, which is a useful addition. It helps keep both shoulder straps in place, and reduces some of the strain on your back while you are carrying this bag. 

The sternum strap is not removable, which is a downside. And that is mostly because of the design of the backpack; there is so much emphasis on the sleek and professional exterior, and a sternum strap does not really fit into that. 

Sure, you can hide it along with the shoulder straps, but I would have much preferred the option to remove it entirely. Especially because this is not a bag that will get so heavy that you actually need the sternum strap in order to stay comfortable. 

No Hipbelt!

The Nomatic does not feature a hipbelt. It’s not a huge deal, especially because this is a small backpack with a maximum capacity of 24 liters. It will rarely get so heavy that you actually feel like you need the additional support of a hipbelt, unless you decide to fill it up with bricks. 

I would have preferred a removable hipbelt - it would give you the ability to get that extra support when you need it, but you could also maintain the professional exterior of the bag by removing the hipbelt. The lack of this useful feature is something to keep in mind, and one reason for the lower score of the Nomatic in this area.


Organization And Accessibility

Internal Laptop Sleeve

Internal Laptop Compartment

Removable Organizer

Removable Organizer

The Redwing 50 really excels in this aspect. And yeah, that's a surprise because it only has one main compartment! I usually prefer packs that have at least one other larger compartment, because that works best for me. 

However, this pack has some really fascinating features that completely make up for the lack of an additional compartment. So, if you're looking for a backpack that will make organizing your stuff a breeze, I'm pretty sure you've found it!

Spacious Main Compartment With Full Perimeter Zipper

Nomatic Main Compartment

The main compartment of this backpack is very roomy, with a full perimeter zipper. You are able to expose the entire main compartment, and gain access to it from all sides. This allows you to easily see where everything is, and really simplifies packing. Especially if you are inclined to using packing cubes!

But not everyone is going to love this style of the main compartment. It is great if you are carrying your laptop, files, notebooks or other things that stand upright and that can easily fit into the designated sleeves. And you can also fill up the other internal pockets with some smaller accessories you would like to keep safe. 

However, the main compartment of this backpack is not ideal for packing clothes. Actually, packing is not going to be that difficult, since you can make the backpack lie flat and fit everything you want inside it. But when you want to grab something out of the main compartment, even a packing cube, you will need to be really careful - unzipping just the top will give you some access, but not enough that you can reach everything inside. 

And if you want to get something from the bottom or one of the zippered pockets, you will need to lie the backpack flat and then unzip it. This is not that convenient for grabbing stuff on the go, and the main reason why the Nomatic did not receive a perfect score for organization and accessibility. 

Removable Organizer Panel

Nomatic Removable Organizer

The Nomatic comes with a removable organizer panel, which lets you really tailor the bag to your needs. It features multiple slip pockets of different sizes, which are designed for tech accessories. The organizer attaches inside the main compartment, so it can also act as sort of a divider. 

The great thing about this quick access area is that you can use it for whatever you like. The bigger pockets are deep enough to fit a portable keyboard, a travel-friendly tripod or even some of your must-have drone accessories. It’s a great feature for organizing your tech, and I’m sure you can find a way to use. And there is also a tablet sleeve, which can easily fit 12” tablets or even some smaller laptops

In case you don’t find a use for the panel, you can remove it entirely and leave it at home, which is why we love it so much!

Front Compartment

Nomatic Front Compartment

The Nomatic backpack also boasts a front compartment with an organizer panel. It has multiple slip pockets, which allow you to really find a spot for every single tech accessory you want to put in the pack. 

The front compartment is rather slim, and there’s not much space inside it. You can fit all sorts of smaller items in the organizer panel, and maybe a folder or two in the actual compartment. However, you won’t be able to fit any bulkier items in this compartment, as it would make it almost impossible to zip it up. 

RFID Safe Pocket

Modern-day problems require modern-day solutions. And the Nomatic backpacks takes care of one of the worst 21st century nightmares - digital thieves. 

Tech-savvy thieves used devices that scan your data from afar. They are able to get your credit card info without getting too close, which can have horrific consequences. This is way lots of people choose to invest in anti-theft backpacks nowadays, and the Nomatic is one of the top options in that category. 

It features an RFID safe pocket in the front compartment, which will keep you safe from the modern-day thieves. This pocket blocks any signals, and keeps all your personal information safely tucked away. Plus, it’s a pretty spacious pocket, and it can easily fit your passport, wallet, ID, credit cards etc. 

Internal Laptop Sleeve

Nomatic Laptop Sleeve

The main compartment of this backpack features a padded laptop sleeve, which can fit most 15” laptops. Which means that the laptop compartment is not TSA friendly - you would have to unzip the entire main compartment, in order to be able to take out your laptop. 

Because the Nomatic is not primarily a travel backpack, this is not a big deal. But I would be lying if I said that I was entirely happy with the location of the laptop sleeve on this bag. 

Magnetic Side Pockets

Nomatic Side Pocket

The Nomatic features two stretch side pockets, just like any self-respecting travel backpack would. They are designed to fit water bottles, but you can use them for pretty much whatever you like. 

The special thing about the pockets on the Nomatic is that they are magnetic. Meaning that they will easily stretch when you’re trying to put a bottle inside, and then snap back in place when not in use. This makes the backpack look very sleek and polished - another reason why the Nomatic is such a versatile bag. 

All The Other Pockets

If I were to tell you about every single pocket on this backpack, we’d be here for days. Seriously, the Nomatic has more than 20 different pockets total, so let’s not discuss them individually. There are multiple zippered and slip pockets inside both the main and front compartment, as well as several other external pockets.

If you’re the type of person that likes to find a spot for every little item and organize everything neatly, this is absolutely the perfect backpack for you. With seven pockets just in the front compartment, you will be able to find a spot for every single item you want to pack in this bag.

And you get to decide just how easily accessible you want it. If you want to have something handy, just put it in the front compartment. And if you want it safely tucked away, it goes inside the main compartment. 

retractable key leash nomatic

Retractable key leash

Another cool thing they have included is a retractable key leash on the side of the main compartment. So, when you come home, or arrive at your car, all you have to do is slide your hand in and grab it. Open the door, and let it retract back into the pack.

dedicated shoe compartment

Shoe compartment in main packing area

On top of this, in the main inside packing area there is also a dedicated shoe compartment. Great for traveling with shoes, but not getting your clothes dirty in the process!


Versatility

The Nomatic is an excellent everyday backpack. But, it also comes with several features that allow you to turn it into a professional bag or even a carry on. So, let’s take a look at those features. 

Expandable Capacity

Nomatic Expandable Capacity

The Nomatic travel backpack has expandable capacity, which is absolutely amazing. I’ve seen this feature on very few backpacks, and every single one was exceptionally well built. 

Expandable capacity allows you to do some shopping while you’re travelling, without having to worry about how you’re going to fit everything you bought in your backpacks. In case you ever need the extra space, just undo the expansion zipper and voila - you’ve created extra packing space out of thin air.

Strap System

Nomatic Versatility

The strap system of the Nomatic is such that it allows you to easily transform the backpack into a briefcase. The shoulder straps can be tucked behind the backpanel, giving the backpack a sleek and professional look. Which makes the Nomatic an excellent choice for both travel and business. 

This is great because it allows you to use the backpack for lots of different purposes, and not just for commute. The many different pockets and compartments of the Nomatic are definitely suitable for work, and so is its exterior with just some minor adjustments!

Luggage Strap

The Nomatic backpack features a luggage strap in the back. You can put the backpack on top of a larger suitcase and pull the wheel handle through the luggage strap. The pack will stay stable on the suitcase, and you will be able to move around more easily. 

This is great for those of you that are looking for a carry on they can use with a larger, checked suitcase. The ease of travel with Nomatic is something you simply won’t get with a carry on suitcase, which is exactly why we love this backpack so much. 

Cord Pass Throughs

Are you always charging your phone on the go? Then you will love this feature! The Nomatic has cord pass throughs, which connect all of compartments. Meaning that you can put the external battery in one compartment, and still charge you phone that’s in a totally different compartment.

This is extremely useful for busy travellers that are always charging their phone. It lets you stay organized, while still taking advantage of all the backpack’s awesome features. 


Value For Money

No Nomatic travel pack review is complete without talking about money!

When considering the value for money a certain bag provides, we like to consider a few different things. One of those is the price of the bag; how much does it cost, and how does that compare to the pricing of similar backpacks from other brands? 

We also take into consideration any extra accessories you get with the backpack, and what their value is. This helps us determine exactly how much bang for bag you are getting, so let’s talk about that a bit!

Hardshell Sunglasses Case

This backpack comes with a hardshell protective case for your sunglasses. You can’t purchase this accessory alone, so it’s impossible to tell just how much it is worth. 

However, the actual value of this accessory depends on your habits. If you’re anything like me and misplace your sunglasses case all the time, then this accessory will really come in handy. It’s hardshell, so it will do an amazing job at protecting your sunglasses. And it has a rectangular shape, so it’s super easy to fit into any one of the many deep pockets of the Nomatic. 

Price Point

The Nomatic is not a cheap backpack. It costs as much as a high-end suitcase or even two high-end backpacks. Sure, it has some features that justify the high price tag, like the exceptional quality and durability of the bag. But it also lacks quite a lot of features, which would make this a great backpack.

If you need a really good everyday backpack, you can get it for half the price of the Nomatic, So, why should you spend your hard earned cash on this bag? Because it’s one of the few backpacks that you can actually wear to work even if you’re required to wear a suit to the office.

The Nomatic looks sleek and professional, making it a great work backpack. Especially because you can hide the shoulder straps, and turn it into a briefcase. 

In addition to that, the versatility of the bag really makes up for the price. The Nomatic also works as a carry on and as an overnight bag, so you’re technically getting more than just a good everyday backpack.

The Nomatic Backpack Review: Final Thoughts

So, what’s my final thought on the Nomatic backpack? I have to be honest - I’m a little torn. There were lots of features that I loved on this backpack, and which really help you get over that high price tag. Like the removable organizing panel - it’s such a useful addition, and it can really help you tailor the backpack to your needs. 

I also loved the durable exterior, the waterproof YKK zippers, the thousand different little pockets that let you organize everything, from your charger to your lunch vitamins. But, there were also some features that were really disappointing, like the not-that-good water resistance.

Especially because so many people who loved this pack at first were disappointed that it was not in fact waterproof, as Nomatic claims. This is such a shame, considering that this backpack was designed to carry all your tech, which is not something you want to risk getting wet. 

It also lacks some features that are staple in our favorite backpacks - hipbelt, compression straps, breathable mesh, TSA friendly laptop sleeve… 

Whether or not this backpack is worth it depends on what you’re looking for. If you need an excellent everyday backpack that you can use for your laptop, chargers, files etc., then the Nomatic is a really great choice. Especially if you want something that can fit into formal offices - this backpack would fit it pretty much anywhere. 

But that’s it. It is a versatile bag, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who is looking primarily for a carry on backpack. Nor would I recommend it to people who want an outdoor bag, since the Nomatic was not meant for the real jungle. Just the urban one. 

Overall, this is a great backpack for the office. If you’re okay with the price tag and you want something sleek, professional and durable, you will not be disappointed. 

If you think that this backpack is just not right for you, don't lose hope. There are loads of other amazing everyday packs you can get, and you will find the right one! Check out our related posts, for ideas on other great everyday bags. 

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