Nomatic Travel Bag REVIEW! (40L) - The Most Functional Travel Bag!?

Orlaigh Magennis
Written By:
Orlaigh Magennis
Last Updated:
September 27, 2023
Here's my honest and full review of the Nomatic Travel Bag 40L, a spacious and practical travel backpack that converts very easily into a duffle bag.
Nomatic Travel Bag 40L REVIEW

If you’re looking for the ultimate travel bag, you’ve come to the right place.

Today, I will be poring over the material, features, and build quality of the Nomatic Travel Bag 40L.

It comes with a lot of space and organisation, and transforms from a backpack to a duffle bag easily.

This bag claims to be very functional and practical, but how good is it really?

Rating: 8.5/10

Let’s go!

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Who exactly is Nomatic?

nomatic travel bag review

Nomatic is a travel brand known to make various bags and gear for adventure purposes.

This includes backpacks and duffle bags, camera bags, apparel, and all sorts of travel accessories.

Designed in Salt Lake City in the States and made in the Philippines, Nomatic’s products use synthetic materials.

However, keep in mind that Nomatic is also known as Gomatic in Europe and the UK because of some trademarking issues.

A few of their bags also go by different names.

For example, instead of the Travel Bag 40L, they have the 40L Travel Duffel.

Nomatic 40L Travel Bag Video Review

Where can you buy the Nomatic Travel Bag 40L?

The best place to get the Nomatic Travel Bag 40L is through their website.

Meanwhile, if you’re in the UK and Europe, you can use the Gomatic website.

What’s great about buying straight from Nomatic is that you can get free shipping within the contiguous US for purchases above $49.

Not to mention the handy Manufacturer's Lifetime Warranty that protects against manufacturing defects such as faulty zippers, buttons, seals, and others.

Meanwhile, the store locator details all the offline stores and locations where you can shop for Nomatic’s products across the United States.

Quick overview: Technical Specifications

nomatic bag specificaions
  • Price: ‎$289.99
  • Weight: 3.42 lbs
  • Dimensions: 9" H x 21" W x 14" D
  • Noteworthy Materials: 90% Polyester and 10% Nylon, YKK zippers. Vegan and 100% synthetic materials
  • Color Options: Black
  • Warranty: Manufacturer's Lifetime Warranty
  • Capacity: 40L

Who should get this backpack?

I think this backpack is geared towards the travelling businessman or remote worker. 

While it doesn’t have the most techy features, there are enough compartments to store and organise your laptops, devices, and more, while also packing your clothes and other essentials.

But this Nomatic bag is also perfect for anyone who needs a spacious and versatile backpack that they can take on short trips and getaways!

Who should not get this backpack?

This bag is not a personal-item backpack so it won’t fit in front of you on a flight. So, if you’re looking for something smaller and more compact, this may not be the bag for you…

Moreover, while it’s got waist and sternum straps, this isn’t the most comfortable backpack you will find. If having the best ergonomics is a big priority, I’d recommend considering other options too.

Nomatic Travel Bag 40L Review

My first impression of this bag is that it’s giving me North Face vibes. My partner has two of their duffle bags and this reminds me of them, but almost better.

When you buy the Nomatic Travel Bag 40L, you will get waist straps and a laundry bag.

What is the difference between the Travel Bag 30L and 40L versions?

Besides being 10L smaller than the 40L Travel Bag, the shoe compartment on the 30L has a ventilated door with a water-resistant flap allowing you to choose if you want to keep water out or allow for ventilation. 

The 40L Travel Bag does not include a ventilated shoe compartment but does come with a custom laundry bag to keep dirty clothes separate as you travel.

Back to our 40L review…

There is a lot to unpack with this backpack, so let's get started!

Get your Nomatic Travel Bag 40L Here

How well-made is the Travel Bag 40L?

how well made is the nomatic travel bag

Just straight out, I love the shape of the Travel Bag 40L and how well it holds its shape, both packed and unpacked.

It is jet black so I couldn’t see all of the cool features until I explored the bag a bit more, which is great in terms of travelling as it’s not overly eye-catching. Plus, it was fun to figure out all the different parts and organisations, and this is overall a great, reliable bag.

The backpack uses a water-resistant tarpaulin material composed of 90% polyester and 10% nylon. 

What I especially love is that it’s vegan and made of 100% synthetic materials.

The industry-standard YKK zippers run great, while the PU coating allows nothing to seep in, which is exactly what you want to protect your belongings.

They also have tags to help pull them open easily.

One thing to note is that because of the colour and everything blends together, there’s a higher chance you might open up the wrong zip from time to time.

The handle on the top of the bag is strong and sturdy. It stays in this shape, stays up, and is well-padded. All in all, it does the job well.

While there is no side handle, the backpack can enter duffle bag mode so you have the two straps on the side of the bag. There’s a folded clip on one side that you can place over the two main straps. 

The construction is great for when you want to carry the bag that way!

At the bottom of the backpack, there is an extra handle that has this seatbelt-like material, which is handy for hanging up the back or picking it up or out of places. 

The material of one of the inner pockets is also laminated which makes it easy for spillages. Just fold it out and dry it off.

Overall I think this Nomatic bag aims to do well. It’s adaptable, stylish, and simple.

How comfortable is the Nomatic Travel Bag 40L?

How comfortable is the Travel Bag 40L

In backpack mode, I feel like there is a huge lack of support, airflow, and overall thought when it comes to comfort.

I think there could have been so much more done here that would make this an even better travel bag, especially for people like myself who need extra support. And even those who don’t, your back is just going to get sweaty when carrying it.

However, I guess I can kind of see with it being the main opening for that main compartment, so maybe they felt that would be too much or too heavy. Also maybe because this bag goes from duffle to backpack and vice versa, keeping it clean and minimal is what works best…

Moving on…

The strap comfort is fine and decent, but not great. 

For the price and compared to other travel backpacks, the whole back strap system of the Nomatic Travel Bag 40L could definitely be improved.

I would have loved to have seen more adjustable straps at the top of the backpack where you then have control over how straight and tight it can come into your shoulders and upper back.

Without this, you are left with a gap and the material is that seatbelt-like material. This won’t be a problem if you’re wearing a jacket with enough padding on it yourself. 

Otherwise, in hot weather, you will notice the rubbing on the skin which may cause blistering because of the lack of connection and the gap created

The main straps on the chest area can feel suffocating as there’s not much room here. There’s also a sternum strap that can be adjusted but not removed.

The sternum strap doesn’t have any added elastic to stop the excess material from flapping about so it just hangs there along with the rest of the material on the main straps and waist belt when you have that on.

Again for the price (and this goes for the 15L Lite too), I think Nomatic needs to upgrade the hardware. I’m seeing a lot of plastic and a lack of durability.

But with all that said, this bag is fine if you’re not hiking or walking for long periods of time.

Overall, I recommend using the waist belt as it helps distribute the weight, while the sternum strap will provide the support that the back of the backpack lacks.

What makes the Travel Bag 40L a great backpack?

So, what exactly makes the Travel Bag 40L so great? Here are some of its notable features:

1. Transformable duffle backpack

Transformable duffle backpack

You’ve probably realized that this is no ordinary backpack. It’s transformable and doubles as a duffle bag, which is adaptable to your needs and comfort.

When in duffle mode or not in use, the waist belt is removable via gatekeeper which is a better hardware style than the plastic. 

But if you are transforming from duffle to backpack mode, the hip straps should probably come off otherwise they are left hanging there and can be in the way. 

Personally, I don’t use this backpack as a duffle bag as I don’t find it useful for my lifestyle and daily wear. 

But if you do then this is definitely a huge plus and allows you to only bring one bag for multiple purposes, especially when travelling.

2. Very spacious

The bag itself is very spacious at 40L, which is perfect for travel.

The back part of the backpack is where you open up to the main compartment of the bag. It has something akin to a clamshell opening in that the bag opens up widely and makes it easy to pack and find specific items.

Nomatic does their own packing cubes and I feel like it would work well for getting the best out of the space, so I would recommend getting maybe 2 large, medium, and a small cube in there.

This will make organising all your stuff much easier too.

The bag is said to be ideal for 3-7 day trips, though I always think you can get more when you pack smarter (i.e. with packing cubes)

Also, this feels great for long travel. Say you are someone who wants one backpack that is not overly tall but with enough space to get through your adventures.

3. Great organisation system

great organistion system nomatic backpack

There are three quick-access pockets at the top of the backpack, and the one closest to the handle inside is lined with microfleece so you can put your glasses, earphones, etc in there.

It does have a cord pass-through pocket which makes it easy to store a power bank or portable charger inside while still using your phone.

Then there is the side tech pocket. This is where you can store money or other valuables as you can add a lock here when necessary, which I LOVE.

This compartment is sleek, it has all the fun you need for organising your smaller items.

It’s also RFID blocking and has smaller pockets, two bigger pockets, and a meshed pocket.

What more could you want?

On the other side are two more pockets, which are great for things you need quick access to.

Moving on to the bottom, there’s a shoe compartment for placing your dirty shoes and keeping them separate from your other items.

I love that this is separate from the main compartment and doesn’t take up room inside even when not in use.

Moreover, you’ve got a laptop compartment here that is not overly padded but has a microfleece material to prevent scratches and whatnot on your laptop. It’s nothing fancy but does the job. 

This space fits up to 16 inches, and in reference, my 11-inch Acer sits very nicely here.

Directly in front is a smaller pocket with the same fleece material, both held down by a velcro strap.

There is another pocket near the water bottle compartment (which I’ll get to in more detail in the “cons” section below) that’s great for things you might need first access to or simply keeping everything organised.

This one doesn’t run too deep which is great because you won’t be faffing about with it.

I’m thinking of when it’s in the overhead bin on a flight and you need to grab something fast from here, say a snack or your headphones.

With that said, just note that this pocket is easy to access, and should you leave your bag unattended, then someone could potentially unzip it easily.

Finally, the waist belt has two pockets on each side with waterproof material. It’s not overly big but enough to keep cards, your ID, and a phone.

4. Versatile look

This bag is very premium looking while serving both interrailing and business trip vibes. In other words, it adapts well to whatever your travel situation is.

I also love this ballistic nylon material as it adds character to the bag.

This bit is water-resistant and the front of it can get crinkled if not stored properly—it kind of folds into itself.

5. Waterproof & easy to clean

The tarpaulin material on this Nomatic bag is impressively strong and sturdy.

This is something I would definitely take with me camping to places like Donegal as it’s easy to wipe down and I wouldn’t be fearful of getting the bag dirty!

They recommend wiping the bag down with a damp cloth and soap if needs be, but remember that it’s not machine washable.

Not to mention that it’s weather resistant, making it ideal for travel.

6. TSA-ready flap

An underrated feature of this bag is actually the TSA-ready flap.

This smart design allows you to breeze through airport security without having to fumble with all your gadgets.

You can pass through TSA while keeping your tech inside the bag!

Cons of the Travel Bag 40L

What I immediately noticed about this backpack is that there is a lot of excess material but not enough added material.

I can understand this because the added material would take away from this sleek, clean, and minimalist design. But still, I would have loved maybe an extra loop or hook that I could externally attach things like my headphones, tripod, dumbbells, etc.

The backpack does have a luggage slit, but it does fall horizontally. I think it works well for this backpack but is not great because of the position of some of the pockets where if you open them things might fall out.

A big drawback for me is that there is no external water bottle holder. 

Yes, there’s a place for your water bottle at the top of the bag, which can hold up to about 9-inch-sized bottles. It has a water-resistant material so is fairly easy to clean.

But I personally don’t keep my bottle here as I prefer it to be on the side and outside of the bag so it doesn’t take up the internal room.

Another thing is that I wouldn’t love to be wearing this backpack on a hot day or in hotter countries. The material, although waterproof and strong, is the type that will stick to your skin on those hotter days. 

Good thing I live in Ireland so this isn’t too much of a problem for me.

The material here is also a bit stiff and heavy, which may or may not be your cup of tea, but is worth noting!

Nomatic Travel Bag 40L: Performance over time

Nomatic Travel Bag 40L Performance over time

Here are my impressions in bullet points after using the Travel Bag 40L for the first time, and then three weeks later.

First use:

  • Bulky, strong, and overall a great spacious backpack 
  • Clean and sleek in its design
  • A lot of features to keep you interested

After 3 weeks:

  • Continues to be strong and great to pack up with plenty of space, and comes with a hip belt and laundry bag 
  • There is no real back support on the bag such as a cushion or airflow so on a hot day that material will make you sweaty
  • Easy to clean, got great features, and sturdy bag for long trips or short adventures 

Overall verdict: Are Nomatic bags worth buying?

Here’s where to skip to if you don’t have time to read the entire review.

Should you buy the Nomatic Travel Bag 40L?

I would say yes, in most cases, you should.

Especially if you’re a frequent traveller or someone who will benefit from having great organisation features.

This Nomatic bag can also be ideal to bring in addition to a suitcase and you need all the extra space.

Get your Nomatic Travel Bag 40L Here

What else does Nomatic sell?

Nomatic Navigator Lite 15L

This minimalist backpack is perfect if you’re looking for an everyday bag for sightseeing and office use alike. It’s simple yet full of organisational features. I’ve written a full review of the Navigator Lite too!

McKinnon Camera Pack 30L

Nomatic’s camera bags are specially designed for photographers and vlogger. This one in particular includes an expansion option, gear loops, strong materials, and internal dividers.

Nomatic 40L Alternatives

Knack Bags Series 2 Medium Expandable Backpack

Knack Bags is a great alternative with more organisational features. This is also a transformable bag that you can expand or compress depending on what you need.

Peak Design 30L Travel Backpack

The Peak Design 30L is a fantastic alternative that is just a backpack with great quality and decent features. It’s simple in terms of style but has a special laptop compartment with plenty of padding. Check out my full review here!

Alright, that’s all for my review today.

Have you ever tried this or other bags by Nomatic?

Let me know in the comments below!

Don’t miss these gear reviews as well:

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