NOMATIC is understood for his or her extraordinarily profitable crowdfunding campaigns, the place they create progressive and distinctive journey gear. Designed as “essentially the most purposeful journey bag ever”, the Journey Bag raised a large $5m on Kickstarter and Indiegogo mixed. It’s most authorized keep on suitable and comes with a number of distinctive options that you simply’ve most likely by no means seen earlier than.
However will these options truly show to be purposeful on the highway? We took the NOMATIC Journey Bag round Detroit, LA, Joshua Tree, New York and Minneapolis for testing and to seek out out simply how sensible these distinctive options actually are.
Materials & Aesthetic
To not be confused with their “Journey Pack,” The NOMATIC Journey Bag seems to be like a large field in your again—as a result of that’s principally what it’s.
Different baggage that make the most of a “box-y” form, such because the Minaal Carry-on 2.0, have added some curvature to the sides, making it much less box-like. Not so with this pack! NOMATIC actually went all-in on this one, making the most of each nook to maximise house. The result’s some fairly sharp, box-like corners.
In the event you can’t inform already, we aren’t large followers of the aesthetic—however you do get that additional capability within the corners which is all the time good to have.
NOMATIC boasts that the bag is fabricated from sturdy, waterproof tarpaulin materials that can “final without end.” Nonetheless, we’ve discovered that whereas the tarp is powerful—and completely climate resistant—the opposite supplies on the bag are considerably missing.
The tarpaulin materials makes up the highest, entrance, sides and backside of the pack (5 out of 6 sides of the dice), and there’s additionally some on the straps, together with some foam padding.
Nonetheless, which means the again panel shouldn’t be made out of waterproof materials. It’s fabricated from a ballistic weave (both polyester or nylon materials) and a few extra padding.
What this actually means is that for those who have been to position the bag in a puddle of water, the water would seep proper in and soak all of your gear. This looks like a wierd option to us. Why promote the pack with waterproof supplies, when the underside of the pack, the place you set it down in duffel mode, isn’t even water resistant?
Simply as a sequence is barely as sturdy as its weakest hyperlink, this entrance panel appears to negate the advantages of the tarpaulin that’s used for the opposite panels (which, because it occurs, is completely climate proof, critically resilient stuff).
We will’t appear to determine why they wouldn’t have simply included the tarpaulin (or another waterproof materials) on the again panel as nicely. Lowered prices? Worldwide tarpaulin shortages? A full-blown authorities conspiracy? Who is aware of.
By way of branding, there’s a easy, low key emblem within the backside nook. We’re followers of minimalistic branding right here at Pack Hacker, so we’re glad they didn’t go together with something extra flashy.
Along with the emblem, additionally they have some triangle patterns in varied locations on the pack (the stylish mountain/triangle picture is their emblem). These are a bit daring for our style, and we’d want the designs to be a bit extra delicate. Maybe much less distinction between the pack and the triangles would assist, or simply having the designs seem in fewer locations. Having stated that, some individuals definitely admire extra conspicuous branding—to every their very own.
Wrapping it up, there are some sturdy Duraflex® buckles used on the harness system, and steel zippers on the pockets and primary compartment.
The principle compartment additionally options some partially “hidden” zippers, for elevated safety.
Total, NOMATIC has chosen some stable, sturdy supplies for this pack—though we’ve heard a pair experiences of damaged zippers. And whereas we do love the waterproof tarpaulin, we simply want it encompassed the complete bag. Alas. Let’s transfer on and try the surface of the pack.
One fast have a look at this bag and you’ll simply see that the exterior options of the Journey Bag are… minimal. The oldsters at NOMATIC have chosen to take care of a easy exterior fashion, reserving the principle improvements for the within of the pack. It definitely makes for a clear look!
First off, on the highest of the pack we now have a SUPER thick carry deal with. It’s actually sturdy and padded, nearly to a fault. We’ve by no means wanted a deal with to be fairly this thick, and it looks like they’ve gone a bit overboard with the padding. (You realize it’s severe once we say it’s an excessive amount of padding!)
There’s additionally a smaller deal with on the underside facet of the pack. We’ve discovered this to be helpful when pulling your pack off of conveyor belts on the airport, grabbing it from beneath a bus, or out of an overhead bin. On the whole, we’ve discovered that further handles are not often an issue and may truly fairly handy.
In distinction to the highest deal with, we expect the underside deal with is definitely a bit too skinny! We want NOMATIC had balanced these handles out a bit. Take a bit padding and energy from the highest deal with and add it to the underside one, then each could be excellent.
Midway down the again panel is a horizontal “move via” part, so you possibly can carry it securely on high of a curler suitcase when passing via the airport or attending to your bus or taxi. NOMATIC is clearly concentrating on a broad part of vacationers with this pack, so this function can be tremendous helpful for those who’re touring with curler baggage.
Now we come to one of many primary speaking factors of this pack—the shoulder straps that double up as “duffel fashion” straps.
NOMATIC has designed this bag as one thing of a cross between a backpack and a duffel bag. This implies the straps are a bit extra advanced than your common shoulder strap.
Slightly than being solidly anchored on the backside of the pack—as with most backpacks—the straps run via a Duraflex slider and again as much as the highest of the pack. While you need to carry the pack in duffel mode, you possibly can pull the “additional” part of the straps (that run again as much as the highest of the pack) and carry the pack utilizing these—identical to a duffel bag.
When it’s time to make use of the bag in backpack mode, simply pull the “primary” sections of the straps (that are padded, and run from the highest of the pack right down to the sliders) and use these to hold the bag in your again.
It’s a novel idea, with a reasonably slick execution. NOMATIC even has a clip of their promo video the place the man converts it to a duffel by throwing the bag up within the air, grabbing the straps on the best way down, and strolling away all non-chalant.
However in apply, we didn’t discover it to be all that sensible. Whereas we did give it a go ourselves, it took a number of tries to get it proper—and throwing your bag within the air whereas flailing your arms because it careens to the bottom in the course of the airport is decidedly not cool.
Our last level on the shoulder straps is the absence of load lifters, that means the pack tends to sag a bit, particularly when not totally loaded. With all of the thought and analysis that’s gone into this pack, it’s shocking they missed these out. Load lifters would have been a small addition that may actually enhance the carry.
Along with the flawed harness system, there have been a number of different sensible blunders with this bag.
Firstly, this factor is actually huge. This implies it’s important to maintain it fairly distant out of your physique to keep away from it bumping into your legs when you stroll. In the event you check out the advertising pictures on NOMATIC’s web site, you’ll discover that even their fashions appear to be holding it distant from their physique as they carry it in duffel mode. This isn’t an unlimited gripe, as you probably received’t be utilizing it in duffel mode fairly often—nevertheless it isn’t fairly as purposeful as NOMATIC would possibly make it out to be.
Secondly, the duffel strap is designed with a cloth deal with, which wraps across the straps and clips in place with some snap buttons. Due to the width of the bag and the truth that we have been carrying the pack totally loaded, these buttons truly popped undone when lifting the pack.
It looks like this method may have been thought via extra fastidiously. Growing methods to enhance the carry is all good, however what’s the purpose of getting that function if it received’t perform correctly when the pack is totally loaded?
Lastly, one other nitpick with the system is that we frequently discovered ourselves catching a hand on the duffel straps whereas placing the pack on as a backpack. It’s not an enormous subject—and maybe we might get used to the “approach” as we used the pack extra—nevertheless it simply appeared like an pointless inconvenience when all we wished to do was seize the pack and go. So far as we’re involved, you shouldn’t should be taught a particular approach to place a backpack on.
With all this dialogue across the multi-functional shoulder strap system… it begs the query: when would you truly need to carry a bag of this dimension like a duffel bag anyway?
Usually duffel baggage are used to hold gear for brief distances, like out of your automotive to the health club. For longer journey, the shoulder strap backpack design is healthier in nearly each manner. There are definitely conditions once you need to simply seize the bag and carry it a brief distance—from the safety conveyor belt to the inspection desk is one which springs to thoughts—however that’s what facet handles are for. It looks like an issue that’s already been solved in a a lot easier manner, and we’ve been beginning to really feel like the entire duffel bag perform is a bit gimmicky.
Anyway! Sufficient gripes. Let’s check out the hip belt, which we actually like.
Sadly for some physique varieties—particularly these with an extended torso—the “hip belt” will truly work out to be extra of a “abdomen belt,” which might be uncomfortable. To not fear although, as a result of the hip belt is removable, and that makes us glad!
With a pack of this dimension, a removable hip belt is all the time a welcome addition. With smaller baggage you will get by with out it, however once you’re speaking a couple of bigger bag for prolonged journey, you actually need a hip belt. In fact, if it doesn’t fit your needs correctly, it’s nice to have the choice to take away it, quite than having the unused straps flapping round on a regular basis.
One other factor we like concerning the hip belt is that it has pockets with a slanted zipper. Having the zipper at a slanted angle makes it simpler to look down at what’s contained in the pocket and entry your fast seize objects whereas carrying the pack. The one criticism we now have about these pockets is that they aren’t 3D, which reduces the capability and limits what kind of things you possibly can put in them.
In the event you’re planning to place one thing lengthy and inflexible in right here—comparable to your telephone—it’s going to be powerful. Bigger telephones have a reasonably tight match. Plus, for those who do get it in, it means the hip belt received’t wrap correctly round your waist. Lengthy story brief, these pockets are greatest for smaller objects or versatile stuff like money, tickets or receipts.
With all that stated, many of the options are on the within of the pack—so let’s open it up and see what we now have in there.
Alright, the within of this pack is the place issues begin to get attention-grabbing.
Beginning on the backside of the pack, there’s a spacious, separate compartment to retailer your footwear. We actually love when bag firms embrace a shoe compartment! In the event you’re used to touring with an additional set of footwear, you’ve most likely ended up wrapping them in a bag of some kind and simply stuffing them in your pack with the remainder of your garments. We want not have our funky footwear so shut to scrub underwear and toiletries, so shoe compartments are all the time a welcome addition.
In the event you’re not carrying footwear, then this part will are available in helpful for storing cumbersome objects you’d want to stay away from your clear garments in the principle compartment. Nice for moist garments or different odds and ends.
Subsequent up on the “superior and distinctive options checklist” is a packable laundry basket you can take out, untwist, cling on a doorway and use as a laundry basket proper in your resort room. (Simply as you’d have at dwelling—yay!)
In the event you’re not planning on washing your clothes in any respect on a visit, you possibly can simply load up your soiled garments in right here and stuff the laundry bag in your pack when it’s time to depart. Take all of it dwelling and wash it there.
Once more, this solves a pleasant little drawback for us. Too typically we find yourself stuffing laundry objects into plastic baggage, or discovering different methods to maintain soiled garments separate from clear objects. This supplies a terrific resolution to that and it has the additional advantage of serving to to maintain your resort room ground freed from soiled garments. In the event you use it, that’s.
Looking on the high of the pack, there’s a pocket just like the shoe compartment that opens proper up and affords an excellent quantity of cupboard space. It’s a bit smaller than the shoe compartment, and we discovered it helpful for storing cumbersome objects, or issues like socks and underwear that you simply need to hold separate and arranged.
Proper subsequent to that pocket, there’s one other pocket which is lined with a very waterproof, shiny tarp-like materials. Since NOMATIC doesn’t embrace any exterior water bottle compartments—as a result of they wished to maintain that slick, field form—they created this pocket to offer the choice of storing a water bottle. This, as soon as once more, solves a singular drawback. We will all relate to that anxious feeling you get when placing water bottles in the principle compartment with the remainder of your gear (ie; electronics). Concern no extra.
This pocket may be helpful for toiletries. Not solely to safeguard towards leaks, but additionally as a result of the situation on the high of the pack supplies easy accessibility if it is advisable take them out shortly—like at safety, or once you need to clean up at a relaxation cease.
Ending up the highest of the pack, there’s additionally a bit felt-lined pocket. It’s designed for fast grabs—passport, tickets and different objects wanted for safety—however the additional particular function is the felt lining. Nice for shielding your telephone and different electronics from scratches—a very nice contact that we haven’t seen on many different packs.
Shifting on, on one facet of the pack there are two exterior zippered pockets. One is two-thirds of the size of the pack, and the opposite makes up the ultimate third. They’re easy pockets with no separate compartments inside.
One of many points with these pockets—just like the pockets on the hip belt—is that they aren’t 3D. They don’t have their very own devoted house, so stuffing them with gear will eat into the cupboard space on the within of the bag. Likewise, stuffing the principle compartment to its restrict may also make it exhausting to get objects into the outer pockets. It’s not a significant subject, nevertheless it’s price noting that you simply’ll should discover a steadiness when packing your gear.
Flipping to the opposite facet of the bag, there’s a big pocket that totally opens up and divulges a whole lot of small organizational compartments inside. Trying carefully, there are two stretchy mesh pockets down on the backside, in addition to one other felt materials part. On the high, there’s a pretty big compartment that opens and closes with a zipper.
We even have a pocket that’s lined with RFID-safe materials. It’s designed for issues like passports, bank cards, telephones, or something that you simply need to block from exterior indicators. Whether or not you truly see worth on this function is a matter of non-public desire, nevertheless it’s there for anybody who does need to use it. It’s nonetheless a terrific pocket to have, even for those who’re not likely involved concerning the RFID safety factor.
Total, the zippered pockets on this part are going to be essentially the most helpful. The nylon, stretchy pockets and slider pockets are good to have, however once you begin shifting across the contents are going to get blended up inside, undoing all that group. The objects within the zippered pockets will keep put.
You additionally need to be a bit cautious when opening up this part—if you find yourself with unfastened objects bouncing round they generally tend to fall out once you open the bag up. The very last thing anybody wants is their gear bouncing round on the road or on busy public transport. That’s no enjoyable.
Now for the principle occasion—the clam shell primary compartment, which NOMATIC describes as “a full perimeter zipper to provide the widest opening attainable, for optimum packing and easy accessibility to the inside of the bag.” We will affirm that that is precisely what you get. It’s principally a large bucket with a whole lot of storage capability.
And it’s right here that we’ve come to understand the sharp corners of the pack. Having the ability to pack proper up into the corners means you possibly can pack it like a suitcase, flat packing your garments in a extremely organized manner.
The one factor to keep in mind right here is that the pockets on the underside and sides will eat into that primary compartment house for those who load them up too closely. Make use of a bit mindfulness when packing objects into the pockets/primary compartment although, and you’ve got a ton of room.
We’ve discovered we will match two rows of packing cubes in right here, which may be very satisfying and helps hold all the pieces tremendous organized. The principle compartment can also be splendid for flat packing garments—particularly shirts and different objects which were ironed and wish to remain flat.
Shifting via the laundry checklist of inside elements, we’re lastly hitting on the oh-so-important electronics compartment. The lid of the principle compartment is about as much as accommodate all of your flat electronics. There are two flat pockets on the within of the lid—a smaller pill pocket and a bigger pocket simply behind that in your laptop computer. The laptop computer pocket is spacious, and we had no drawback becoming in a 15-inch Macbook Professional.
Sadly, there’s a small subject with this method. When the bag is actually full, it may well really feel such as you’re jamming down your electronics for those who attempt to drive the lid closed on a very packed bag. You don’t get this subject when the laptop computer pockets are in the back of your pack (towards your again, like a framesheet—the absence of which causes this pack to crumple simply and undergo from an absence of construction), as is widespread with most packs.
Having your laptop computer within the lid of the pack additionally makes the lid very inflexible. It’s exhausting to open the bag barely, take a peek in, and seize no matter you want. You’re compelled to essentially open the pack up earlier than you possibly can attain any objects, as a result of the lid received’t flex and offer you house to achieve a hand in.
This subject is exacerbated considerably by the zipper being considerably hidden. It’s a safety function, which is definitely actually helpful for stopping would-be thieves from unzipping your pack and grabbing your stuff. The flip facet of this additional safety is that it additionally makes it tougher so that you can simply crack open the pack and attain for objects in a rush.
Having stated that, NOMATIC has included a whole lot of exterior storage choices for objects you need fast entry to, such because the felt lined fast seize pocket on the highest, and the zippered facet compartments. In the event you get used to utilizing these, you shouldn’t want to achieve into the principle compartment too typically.
Total, the inner options of this bag are fairly helpful in apply. We’re particularly happy with the waterproof bottle pocket and the laundry bag, that are distinctive options that actually turn out to be useful whereas touring.
Sturdiness & Testing
On the time of this evaluation, we’ve been testing the NOMATIC Journey Bag on journeys throughout the US, in cities like Joshua Tree, Los Angeles, Detroit, Minneapolis, and New York Metropolis.
Total, the sturdiness and high quality of the pack has held up to date. There aren’t any scratches or scuffs on the fabric and we haven’t seen any fraying or injury.