For those of you who like to travel light, Matador has a solution for the adventure traveler. A 28 liter technical backpack that easily packs into a carry on or checked luggage. The Matador Beast28 rolls up into a storage bag the size of a JetBoil stove. I’ve been in that situation where I was pressed for space and needed to pack an additional backpack for a heli-skiing trip to British Columbia. I had all my ski gear packed into my trusty travel bag but needed to add my ski pack. But there was no way its additional bulk was going to make this trip.
Matador was born in San Fransisco in 2014 after seeing a need for packable quality goods. It all started with a tiny pocket blanket that could seat up to 4 people. Then the quest to design and develop packable adventure gear began. As the company rapidly grew, Matador relocated from the Bay Area to their current office in Boulder Colorado. Where the team designs and tests their gear among the mountains, rivers and plains of Colorado.
Matador Beast28 Video Review
The Beast28 is a fitting name for this pint-sized tech pack. At first glance, you think there is no way a worthy backpack can fit into a tiny compression sack. As you unfurl it from the storage sack, you quickly realize that this pack is no joke. Constructed from durable 500D PU coated nylon ripstop material, the Beast28 has thick enough skin to endure some decent adventure. It’ll easily take a licking from rocks and other abrasive material without ripping. Although lightweight, it is not without several key features. Dual exterior water bottle pockets. An exterior flap for quick access to a rain shell or gloves. Several compression straps to fine-tune the pack to your specific load. And a zippered top compartment for those items you may need to grab without accessing the main compartment.
Lightly padded ergonomic shoulder straps bear the load of this 28-liter pack. While the fully adjustable sternum and waist straps keep the load firmly secured. During a recent 4 day trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, I had the opportunity to put the Beast28 into play. Short hikes from our basecamp to several waterfalls were right in the wheelhouse for this pack. Along with a treacherous 20-mile loop around Grand Island on fat tire bikes. The Beast28 easily fit my Mavic drone, beach towel, radio, water, first aid kit, swimsuit and few snacks. Despite the bumpy and rugged trail, this Matador pack stayed put as my bike and I bounced around.
Beast28 Specifications courtesy of matadorup.com
- 13 inch x 20 inch (33 x 50.8 cm)
- 1.14 lbs (0.52 kg)
- 500D PU-coated Ripstop Nylon (water-resistant)
- 28-liter capacity
- Waist and sternum straps
- Lid pocket and front stash pocket for organization
- Compression straps for added security
- Gear loops and daisy chains for attaching additional gear
- Accommodates most water bladders & includes hose routing features
- Color: Dark grey with slate blue undertone
- MSRP $89.99
FlatPak Toiletry Bottle
Two well thought out items from Matador that came in handy were the FlatPak Toiletry Bottle and Soap Bar Case. Both extremely lightweight and fold flat. The Toiletry Bottle is a welded Cordura bottle that can hold 3 ounces of any liquid soap or shampoo. A screw top lid makes loading it easy. And the flip top dispenser keeps things neat and tidy when you squeeze out the contents. Additionally, a handy snap loop allows the user to attach or hang the Toiletry Bottle for ease of use. Snapping it to our Road Shower kept it where we needed it while Overland Camping.
- 11.5 grams
- 3oz (90ml) volume
- Available in a 1-pack or a 3-pack
- TSA approved
- 5X lighter*
- 3.5X more compact**
- Large fill opening
- Waterproof fabric
- Snap loop with write-in contents indication
- Holds liquids, gels, and pastes
- MSRP $12.99
FlatPak Soap Bar Case
The FlatPak Soap Bar Case takes the cake, however. I’ve never been in love with those old-school plastic two-piece soap bar cases. They either come apart at the worst time or leak in my luggage. The beauty of the Matador Soap Bar Case is its ability to contain 100% of the moisture from a freshly used bar of soap. And using black-magic, allow it to dry before its next use. Another winning feature is the roll top closure which allows the case to get smaller as the soap bar shrinks. No more tiny sliver of soap rattling around in a bulky plastic container. These FlatPak items have become a permanent fixture in my travel kit.
- 11 grams
- Fits standard size soap bars (max. 4 x 2.4 x 1.3″)
- 3X lighter*
- 6X more compact**
- Dry-Through™ Technology lets soap dry through case
- Flexible Fabric design adapts to size of soapbar
- Hypalon® rolltop closure + YKK® buckle
- TSA approved
- MSRP $12.99
Matador offers a full line of well thought out travel accessories on their website. They do a great job of simplifying the often chaotic travel packing experience. And I’m all for anything to make life on the road simpler and less cumbersome. Time to follow the Matador mantra and “Put Yourself Out There”