A Super Lightweight Trail Option: The Matador Backpack Review
A Lightweight Look at The Matador Backpack
Matador came up with this really small, as in pocket-sized small, lightweight blanket. They decided to see if that concept could be carried further into the outdoor adventure world. The first thing that needed to happen was a move to Boulder, Colorado. Because that’s what you do when you want to be surrounded by outdoor enthusiast, a perfect playground, and the energy of hundreds of other companies with outdoor creativity on the brain.
Second, you take that same thinking and apply it to an item that everyone needs who ventures out to play in the outdoor playground. The Matador Backpack series takes an interesting angle, because it functions like its heavier and sturdier brothers, but without all the bulkiness and weight. It is also constructed of a stronger material than your average canvas pack that you might sling over your shoulder. And lastly, its design functions maximize comfort and storage.
“Testing” the Matador Backpack
I also have the great fortune of living in Colorado with an abundance of outdoor possibilities. Whatever your passion, a good backpack will come in super handy on any day journey.
I received the Matador Daylite16 and the Matador Freerain24 to give them a run for their money. I’ll mention the qualities and features of both, but for the purpose of testing, I will focus on the Freerain24. It’s been my go-to multi-use carry-it-all pack over the last couple of months, and want to present each and every aspect of the backpack.
For my daily job, I don’t necessarily commute, but I do run/bike dogs, take the kids to school, run errands, go to the gym, etc. That is where the bulk of my use came into play for the Matador Backpack Freerain24. It’s obvious that at 5.5 oz. this is probably one of the lighter backpacks you’ll ever take for a spin. Aside from that, the main thing I want you to take away from this is that the pack feels like it is practically non-existent when wearing it. Obviously, it depends on what you cram in, but the gloves, hats, shoes, lunches, snacks, water bottles, etc. all just seemed to gel together to fit very comfortably.
We don’t get a lot of rain here in Denver, so I can’t say I was truly able to test the waterproof feature in the outdoor environment. I did stick it in the shower for a bit, and the inside of the bag stayed dry. Do keep in mind that the exterior pocket and two side water bottle pockets are not considered waterproof. Hence, you keep your valuables in the main compartment.
Due to its weight, one could conclude that the durability or strength might be compromised. The Matador backpack freerain24 is constructed of a 30D CORDURA siliconized nylon ripstop. The ‘ripstop’ feature is starting to appear in a lot of your outdoor gear these days. I’m going to assume if you went at this pack with a knife that you could do some serious damage. In my experience, the daily bumps and bruises that I encountered never made an impact on the outer suface.
On one solo longer mountain hike, I even experimented with adding a water bladder to keep my hands free for a technical trail I took. It worked fine, although it sloshed slightly. I did have plenty of extra gear, layers, and food in the pack, so it was a nice compact package. There are plenty of hydration pack options out there, but I thought I’d give it a go. I’ll stick with the two bottles in the side pockets from now on.
The one thing I wished they would have done for the larger pack, the FreeRain 24, is add the little clip that would connect the two straps at the chest. As it sits now, the pack hangs slightly loose. When the intensity level of my activity increases on a hike, climb, run, or bike, I would have liked to tighten this thing down to avoid any swinging or movement. The Matador Backpack Freerain24 handled fine without it, but it would be something to consider for future iterations of the pack.
There are many packs for many uses. This Matador Freerain24 does not necessarily replace some of your other backpacks. Each pack and excursion has a purpose, and selecting the right one for the days journey will vary. My Matador came in best when either cycling or hiking when conditions were bound to change based on weather, altitude, and effort. Layering and softer clothing items were easily stowed without impacting the fit on my back. When I started to introduce larger or more solid items, it did become a bit more uncomfortable. For example, stashing my kids books for a trip to the library, swim fins for a pool workout, or cycling cleats when going for a professional bike fit could have used a more solid pack and support. Point being, that it will definitely get use, but it will depend on the nature of my outing.
Technical Specifications And Features of the Matador Freerain24
- Compact attached storage bag
- Ultra Light Design: 5.5 oz.
- Waterproof rolltop construction
- Puncture resistant
- 24 Liter capacity
- Breathable straps
- Reinforced seams
- ITW Nexus Hardware
- Genuine Cordura 30D waterproof material
- Top stabilizer straps
Final thoughts on the Matador backpack
Simple, super small when stowed away, lightweight, and ready for action is the driving force behind these backpacks. The Matador Freerain 24 and Daylite16 were perfect companions when hitting the trails and commuting on my bike. They’ve come in super handy when hiking with the family. I wore the Freerain24 and my wife took the Daylite16, and we had all our basis covered. You name it, juice boxes, mittens, hats, Barbies, and Beanie Boos were all accounted for. I recommend picking one up. These packs are seeing routine use in my household as a go-to multi-use pack.
The Matador Daylite16 retails for $49.99, and the Matador Freerain24 comes in at $59.99
For more information on the Matador Backpack and many other outdoor goodies please visit: www.matador.com