Nomatic Navigator Lite Pack REVIEW (15L): The Perfect Backpack For Outdoor Adventures

Orlaigh Magennis
Written By:
Orlaigh Magennis
Last Updated:
September 26, 2023
This is my honest and complete review of the Nomatic Navigator Lite Pack 15L, an everyday backpack with great features and simple, minimalist aesthetics.
Navigator Lite Pack 15L REVIEW

The Nomatic Navigator Lite 15L is a great minimalist backpack catered for office workers or even digital nomads.

With a padded laptop sleeve, minimal but functional organisation, and a simple aesthetic, it might be what you’re looking for!

But not sure yet about its features and quality?

Don’t worry.

Today, I’ll be sharing my honest thoughts and opinions about the Navigator Lite 15L, including:

  • Who should & should not get it
  • Build quality and comfort
  • What makes it a great backpack
  • And if it’s worth buying!

Rating: 9/10

Let’s get started!

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Who exactly is Nomatic?

One thing to note is that the brand Nomatic goes by Gomatic in the UK and Europe. This is due to a trademark issue and some of their backpack products are under different names.

Gomatic does not have the Lite Pack 15L but does have the Navigator Backpack 15L.

They also have the 40L duffle bag instead of the 40L Travel Bag.

nomatic backpack

With that said, who exactly is Nomatic?

They’re a brand that does mainly travel bags and gear, from all sorts of features-rich backpacks, duffel bags, luggage, camera bags, accessories, and even some apparel.

All their products are designed in Salt Lake City and manufactured in the Philippines, using synthetic materials.

Nomatic Navigator Lite Pack 15L Video Review

Where can you buy the Nomatic Navigator Lite Pack 15L?

If you’re in the US or elsewhere in the world, you can buy the Navigator Lite Pack 15L from the Nomatic website.

But those in the UK and Europe can go to the Gomatic website, which offers the Navigator Pack itself and not the Lite (they don’t sell the Lite version).

Shipping is free to the 48 contiguous states in the US if you order over $49 (which you will with this backpack).

Nomatic also offers a Manufacturer's Lifetime Warranty against manufacturing defects, including broken zippers, torn zipper tracks, broken buttons, and seal or seam defects.

If you prefer shopping offline, refer to this store locator, which lists all their retailers across the US.

Quick overview: Technical Specifications

  • Price: $159.99 (current sale price $139.99)
  • Weight: 2.4 lb. / 1.0 kg
  • Dimensions: 19" x 12" x 5.5"
  • Noteworthy Materials: Water Resistant & Durable 400D Nylon by 330 Poly Melange
  • Color Options: -
  • Warranty: Manufacturer's Lifetime Warranty
  • Capacity: 15L
Get Your Nomatic Navigator Lite Pack here!

Who should get this backpack?

The Navigator Lite 15L is perfect for anyone looking for the ultimate minimalist backpack.

It’s for you who doesn’t like overwhelming amounts of pockets, but still want enough to organise your essentials and loose items.

This is a backpack that is compact and basic in its aesthetics but has long-lasting materials, so it’s great if you need something simple but durable.

nomatic lifepack

Who should not get this backpack?

If you want a backpack with a lot more features, this backpack may not be for you.

It doesn’t have that touristy city-break vibe, but is more utilitarian with a techy and office work feel. So, you might find the Navigator Lite a bit underwhelming if you like colourful bags with a more unique style.

Nomatic Navigator Lite Pack 15L Review

Alright, a quick introduction before we dive into the details of this backpack review…

Nomatic has the Navigator Pack 15L, whereas what I have and am reviewing today is the Lite. What is the difference?

Both of them have a 16-inch laptop compartment, expansion to 21L, quick access pocket, tamper-proof and waterproof zippers, organizers, and a luggage slit.

However, the Lite doesn’t have any RFID-blocking pocket, a reflective bar for pedestrian visibility, accessory straps, or any hidden compartments.

It’s essentially the stripped-down version that is also 20% more lightweight.

It comes in only one colour, which is a very business-looking grey. It’s basic but versatile!

This is what the backpack looks like on me. I am 5ft 6 for reference. 

not expanded

And this is what it looks like expanded:

nomatic backpack expanded

How well-made is the Navigator Lite Pack?

The materials are essentially what's going to make or break a backpack.

This one is made from water-resistant 80% 400D nylon and 20% Poly.

It’s long-lasting and fully vegan, which is a nice touch.

One thing I like about the Navigator Pack is that it holds its shape well, even when empty.

While this means less flexibility in the fabric of the bag, it actually gives more security to your belongings. For instance, when you set down the bag it won’t tumble over easily.

Not to mention that this is useful when you’re using the bag in briefcase or horizontal mode.

That said, whilst it does hold its shape, when it's not packed you almost have to fight it out to stop it from denting in…

Nomatic Navigator Lite Pack denting

I do like the subtle logo on the front of the backpack, which looks classy and goes with the clean aesthetics.

However, you’d expect to get YKK zippers for this price point and instead have zoom zippers.

While I was worried about excess material getting stuck in the zippers, thankfully they turned out just fine and all ran smoothly!

The rest of the hardware feels super solid too.

There’s a luggage strap that uses a seatbelt-like material. I’m personally not a fan, but here’s what it looks like on a luggage…

luggage slit

This backpack is unfortunately not waterproof, but it is water-resistant, which is good enough for minor spillages or light rain.

How comfortable is the Navigator Lite Pack?

In terms of comfort, the padding here is grand enough but nothing special that makes it feel especially comfortable or special.

The back panel uses EVA foam which is meant to maximize the breathability.

back padding nomatic

This padding runs onto the shoulder straps.

You also get a removable sternum strap, which can help distribute the weight more evenly.

shoulder straps padding

But I can’t imagine you would be packing this backpack that heavy considering its size and capacity, though the option for extra support is still nice!

What makes the Nomatic Navigator Lite bag a great backpack?

1. Wide access and feature-rich main compartment

The Navigator Lite Pack has a wide access main compartment with 3/4 zippers, which makes it easy to take out items when you have the bag fully packed.

While this bag is marketed to have full visibility, I still found it hard to see in a darker room as opposed to having a bright or patterned interior lining, but this is a minor thing.

Other than that, there are the gusset side panels which remind me of opening a front laptop compartment on a carry-on suitcase, which is great for the visibility aspect.

While there aren’t an overwhelming number of pockets here, you still get enough to properly store all your belongings.

wide access main compartment

For example, two mesh pockets, a zipped pocket, and some pen holders.

The elastic top on the mesh pockets is secure enough to fit knickknacks like your chargers, Airpods, or batteries.

There’s also a small fleece-lined compartment at the top, which is quick to access and perfect for storing your sunglasses or phone.

quick access fleece top pocket

This is definitely enough for me for everyday use, but if you prefer even more organisation, I would recommend checking out the Knack Bags Series 2

2. Expandable to 21L

The expansion to 21L is great for times when you have more stuff to bring or want to use it as a travel business bag.

Although it doesn’t expand right around, I guess this triangle stance is what helps hold the shape of the bag.

If you pack smart with packing cubes, you could probably fit a few days' worth in here with the expansion.

And the best thing is that it would still fit nicely in the seat in front of you on a flight, expanded or not!

3. Lightweight and minimalist

In comparison to the original Navigator Pack especially, this lite version is 20% lighter and more compact.

It’s always nice to not have the backpack itself already heavy.

But I like that you can still fit quite a lot of things into it and keep everything organised.

4. Laptop compartment with bottom protection

This bag can fit up to a 16-inch laptop as well as other accessories.

laptop compartment

What would have been great here are aqua-guard zippers for added protection, but I’m not complaining!

Another great and underrated feature of this Nomatic backpack is the fact that the bottom of the bag is well-padded.

This is great because it protects your laptop and other electronics really well.

I’d even say that I would feel confident if the bag dropped with all my devices still in there!

5. Comfortable back padding

I’ve talked about this in the comfort section above, but would like to include this point as it’s also what makes the bag great for me.

The back padding uses an EVA-formed foam panel that’s both comfortable and breathable, which is always a must for a backpack.

back padding

6. Great support and adjustable straps

There are thumb holes on the adjustable main straps, which isn’t something you see a lot but is great for the easiest adjustments!

adjustable straps on nomatic backpack

It comes with an adjustable sternum strap on the backpack handles too, which can help alleviate the weight from your shoulders when needed.

adjustable sternum strap

And when not in use, you can store it away through an elastic.

Not to mention that there are daisy chains on the straps that you can use to attach things externally.

nomatic lifepack straps
Get Your Nomatic Navigator Lite Pack here!

Cons of the Nomatic Navigator Lite Pack 15L

There honestly aren’t many massive drawbacks to the Nomatic Navigator Lite Pack 15L.

Other than the fact that it lacks an RFID blocking pocket, which again is a trade-off from the original Navigator Pack in exchange for a lighter bag.

There are quite a lot of handles for such a small bag too: three on top and two on the side.

And I am NOT a fan of these handles, mainly due to the feel and look of the material that extremely resembles seatbelts.

Now, to be fair, this is such a personal thing and I think other people may not have the same issue with them…

Another thing is the water bottle pocket, which I find to be quite funky.

water bottle compartment Nomatic

It’s not the greatest in terms of design. But although it fits with the overall vibe of the bag and functions well enough (it’s tight and there if you need), my question is how durable it is.

For the price of the backpack, I feel like that was just flung together, though at the same time I also see the idea behind it. 

water bottle compartment

Nomatic Navigator Lite Pack 15L: Performance over time

Here are my impressions after using the Lite Pack 15L for the first time, and then three weeks later.

First use:

  • Small and compact. I love how it holds its shape well
  • Clean and business-style backpack 
  • Great materials
  • Very minimalist but functional features

After 3 weeks:

  • Constant dent in the front of the bag that you have to adapt to form its full shape 
  • Remains to be a smart-looking backpack but not something that I would use casually 
  • Great materials! It’s best for people not wanting a backpack that is overwhelming in features but is long-lasting 

Overall verdict: Are Nomatic bags worth buying?

If you don’t have a lot of time to read this entire review, you’ve skipped ahead to the right section!

Here’s the most important question of the day…

Is the Nomatic Navigator Lite Pack 15L worth getting?

I would say yes, it is!

Overall, when reviewing this bag objectively for most people, it’s definitely a fantastic product that is minimalist, functional, and durable.

Nomatic navigator lite 15L

But in terms of style, it doesn’t really appeal to me as there’s no real character to it.

But I feel like it would be beneficial for people like my partner who works in an office in London. This bag is smart and compact, and has enough space for his laptop, accessories, lunch, and more!

Let’s say he needs to pick up a few groceries on his way home, then he can easily expand the bag and fit everything inside.

Moreover, the Nomatic Navigator Lite 15L is supportive enough for those train journeys, rugged enough to sit upright when placed down, and maybe not the most secure bags you can get, but does enough.

nomatic 15l litepack 2 weeks after use

My only other thing is that personally, I feel that this bag is a tad overpriced…

For me, the 15L is nice if you want a compact backpack! 

Although I would prefer something 20L or above.

That way, I can fit my barbell and all my gym equipment in there as well as tech equipment such as tripods, etc., as I do have a lot of stuff to carry on an everyday basis.

Get Your Nomatic Navigator Lite Pack here!

What else does Nomatic sell?

Navigator Pack 15L

The Navigator Pack 15L is very much like the Navigator Lite, except it’s way more rugged and slightly larger in dimensions. It’s got a bit more features like an RFID blocking pocket, reflective bar for night visibility, removable straps, and a hidden pocket.

Travel Bag 40L

For something larger that you could possibly take on weekend trips and more, the Travel Bag 40L is a great option. It comes with fantastic organisation pockets, has a water-resistant exterior, and has a unique duffle bag mode.

McKinnon Camera Pack 35L

This is for the photographers and travel bloggers or vloggers out there. With removable folding dividers, expansion, external gear loop, high-strength materials and hardware, the McKinnon Camera Pack lets you carry your gear and clothing in one bag.

Nomatic Navigator Lite Alternatives

Knack Bags Series 2 Medium Expandable Backpack

Knack Bags offer more organization but it is still adaptable. You have the option to expand it into a great travel bag or compress it to a smaller backpack for day-to-day use. 

Peak Design 30L Travel Backpack

This one has a similar style as it’s quite simple too. It’s slightly more expensive but Peak Design is a reliable brand. This is perfect if you’re looking for even more padding in the laptop compartment and a clamshell opening.

Alright, that’s all for my review today.

Have you ever used this Nomatic bag?

Or their other products?

Comment and let me know below!

Check out some of these other reviews:

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Some images courtesy of Deposit Photos.
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