The minimalist philosophy of travel light and simple has gone from strength to strength for the last decade and it’s been boosted by airlines gradually reducing checked luggage or adding on costs. The quickest and cheapest way to fly is often with only a single piece of hand baggage. Nomatic have produced an answer. They call it the most Functional Travel Bag ever and it’s a bag built to just fit into carry on allowances and be as efficient as possible.
I’ve taken it on a couple of trips in in the last couple of months and although I’ve not had a chance to test it on an airplane yet it’s near the perfect short trip bag.
Price: ± $179 or £143 to include two add ons.
Paid extras: there are four extra add-ons available for the Nomatic. Waist Straps, a Vacuum bag, laundry bag and a cosmetic bag.
Nomatic was founded as BASICS in 2014 with a Kickstarter of a wallet. Unlike many Kickstarters it was successful and they followed it up with a Notebook that was double the size of fund which was also successful. Renamed to Nomatic they’ve just delivered on the Nomatic Bag,
The Nomadic at first sight looks like a well made but fairly generic grey duffel bag but get closer and the differences stand out.
The strap system on the Nomadic is interesting and one of its selling points. It switches in a couple of seconds from being a duffel bag to a surprisingly comfortable backpack using the same straps and therefore avoids any loose hanging extras. This is further improved by a couple of grab handles – one padded at the top and one simple at the bottom and the ability to thread a solid handle through the top of the bag to stay on a roller bag. I’d worried that it might be a little gimmicky but I’ve actually been very impressed by how well the strap system works. The one slight fly in the ointment is that the straps can sometimes get in the way of opening the main pocket. The Kickstarter video shows this being got around with clips but they were (properly) dropped from the final design as they were an point of failure.
The Nomadic rewards the organised traveller and it really feels like there’s pocket for everything and everything in its pocket. Once you’ve gotten used to this (and actually found all the pockets) this is great and for a regular traveller of the right mindset works very well. Infrequent users may have more trouble getting the best out of it or find it frustrating. I managed to loose my ear bud headphones in a pocket first trip I took with it but once everything is organised it works perfectly.
There are four extras that can come with the bag. Waist straps, a vacuum bag, laundry bag and a cosmetic bag. The standard package includes the laundry bag and one extra that you can choose.
The laundry bag when empty slides into the bottom of the shoe pocket and is designed to hang on a door handle in your hotel room and when full fit to the main internal pocket. Waist straps clip on in backpack mode and make it somewhat more comfortable to carry, the vacuum bag lets you pack your clothes into it then deflate them to save space. The cosmetic bag holds your cosmetics with one main pocket and two smaller net pockets and an internal hook. It is designed to fit into the top of the underwear pocket.
- Carry on size
- Dual use backpack or duffel mode
- Two small fixed handles top and bottom
- Numerous specific use pockets including tablet, laptop, book, valuables pocket, RFID shielded pocket and a soft pocket
- Waterproof water bottle pocket
- Internal compartments including underwear and shoe compartments
- Durable and waterproof external materials
Environment & People
At around £140 the Nomatic isn’t exactly a cheap bag but if you compare it to equivalently built luggage, it isn’t overpriced. The other perspective is how much you save. Compare it to Ryanair – £25 for a checked 25kg bag, Easyjet £22 for 22kg, Virgin £22 and every other airline seems to have similar costs. Fly more than six times with a Nomatic rather than a checked in bag and you’re starting to save money.
Product dimensions: 22.8 x 35.5 x 55.3 cm
Item Weight (empty and not including extras): 1.8kg
Colour: Black with grey accents
Laptop pocket size: 34 x 25cm
Tablet pocket size: 24 x 20cm
Waterproof: Somewhat handling rain with no problems but not immersible
Materials: Plastic Tarp
Warranty: Nomatic don’t list any form of specific warranty except for the normal 30 day return period. They also state this is US only – international orders have no return possible at all. This is a little worrying, but not unheard of for a US Kickstarter Indiegogo. If buying internationally I’d recommend purchasing with a credit card in case there are any issues. In addition be aware that there’s a good chance you’ll get impacted with import duties when it comes to the UK and at the moment this is around £35.
I’m usually wary of Kickstart campaigns. They can go well, but they can also go badly. There is no guarantee that the product you were hoping for will be the product that is made, and made well on schedule. Nomadic came to The Travel Bag Kickstarter with a decent record and succeeded in producing an amazing product.
The Travel Bag was touted as the ultimate carry on bag and it’s gotten very close to ideal. Among the most efficiently designed bags I’ve ever seen, it’s beautifully made – perfectly balancing a simplistic style externally with a pocket for everything internally. Comfortable to carry, easy to unpack or life from, whether going away for a weekend or flying out to somewhere warmer, this is the bag for both seasoned and the occasional traveller. Highly recommended.
The review is based on the Nomatic Travel Bag with laundry and cosmetic insert bags during February 2017. This article was first published on the 16th of March 2017.