Matador Freerain28

Ready to invest in a well-designed trekking backpack engineered for the outdoors? We checked out the Matador Freerain28 Waterproof Backpack to see if it was as good as it looked. This waterproof and lightweight trekking pack is built from high-quality materials that offer exceptional durability.

It’s lightweight enough to take on a weekend trip yet it’s a heavy-duty pack created for extreme adventures. It has a high price tag so check out our review to see if its worth the investment.

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.2

Things we like:

  • check-mark
    Has space for a hydration bladder
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    Waterproof roll top closure also has a waterproof zipper for added security and expansion
  • check-mark
    The main compartment is waterproof and equipped with internally sealed seams
  • check-mark
    Can be compressed for travel and comes with a mesh compression sack
  • check-mark
    The wear panels are durable and have abrasion-resistant and tear-resistant fabric
  • check-mark
    A removable hip belt with pockets
  • check-mark
    The sternum strap is adjustable
  • check-mark
    Two gear loops with Hypalon reinforced shockcord captures
  • check-mark
    Breathable, weight-distributing shoulder straps
  • check-mark
    The front zipper pocket is water-resistant and comes with a sealing zipper
  • check-mark
    Compression straps on each side help with balancing loads
  • check-mark
    It has load lifters that help with weight distribution and a comfortable fit on your back

Things we don't like:

  • check-markIt lacks structure
  • check-markNo ventilated, suspended, back panel
  • check-markOversized mesh pockets are narrow and deep and not easy to get things in and out of
  • check-markExpensive

Where to buy:

Matador Freerain28 Product Image

Matador Freerain28

Specs & Features

  • Material: 70-Denier Robic Nylon Ultra-High-Molecular-Wight-Polyethylen reinforced ripstop, PU & Ultra-Tear-Strength waterproofing, 50-Denier Nylon
  • Unpacked Dimensions: 21.5 x 11 x 8 in (54.6 x 27.9 x 20.3 cm)
  • Packed Dimensions: 4 x 4 x 5.5 in (10 x 10 x 14 cm)
  • Weight: 12.3oz (350g)
  • Capacity: 28L
  • Style: Backpack
  • Colors: Black
See the complete list of the best Waterproof Backpacks here!

Weatherproof, waterproof, lightweight — these are just a few of Matador’s claims for its Freerain28 backpack. It’s supposed to have alpine-ready features and be built for the long haul. You should also be able to compress it when traveling. This bag sounds great, we had to check it out.

The first thing we noticed about the Matador Freerain28 Waterproof Backpack is that you do have to make a big tradeoff.  It is great that it is so light and can compress down to be extremely packable, however you then lose being able to have a ventilated, suspended, back panel. While we love the ventilation, and again the packability, of the mesh shoulder straps in front, we did get a sweaty back.

This did make us feel that while the Freerain28 has the load capacity to be an expedition backpack it is better suited as a daypack.

It is a nice looking and well made backpack.  The Matador Freerain28 will be excellent on the mountain, while you’re skiing or hiking. It is waterproof and has the space to carry warm weather gear for altitude and temperature changes throughout the day. And it also has compression straps to reduce the bag down and make it comfortable when you need to take the gear out and put it on.

Matador Freerain28 Backpack is built from high-quality materials
Matador Freerain28 Backpack is built from high-quality materials

Design and Construction

Consideration did go into making the Matador Freerain 28.  It’s crafted from 70D Robic® Nylon UHMWPE reinforced ripstop and has PU waterproofing, 50D Nylon mini-ripstop, and UTS waterproofing.

We like the ripstop nylon for its durability and resistance to wear and tear. There aren’t many travel backpacks on the market that can combine this, a hip belt with pockets that can be removed and a sternum strap that can be adjusted. Arcteryx backpacks come to mind, especially the Aerios 30. But with a structured backpanel the Aerios 30 is not as packable as the Matador Freerain28.

The Matador Freerain28’s construction is lightweight and can be compressed for travel inside an included mesh compression sack. Pack it in your carry-on or checked luggage, and you’ll be ready to take it out on the slopes or up into the mountains for daytrips.

Matador used Hypalon for the outer catches which stands up better to UV exposure and outdoor elements. There is room for a hydration bladder, again making it perfect to have on the mountain. There is a traditional waterproof rolltop closure but they also added a waterproof zipper should you need added expansion in the bag. This adds security and volume while still keeping the bag waterproof. They also included a water-resistant front zipper pocket with a sealing zipper to making the whole bag ready for any weather your adventure brings you.

We did not love the oversized side pockets. They are narrow and deep so it was difficult to get things in and out of them.

Hypalon reinforced shockcord captures to help you carry your gear
Hypalon reinforced shockcord captures to help you carry your gear

Final Thoughts

The Matador Freerain28 is a great daypack you can pack in your luggage to be ready for an outdoor adventure. It is perfect for when your are skiing or taking a short trek in the mountains as it can carry your warm weather gear and compress down when the bag has less in it.  Being waterproof it also seems well suited for waterfall, rainforest, or wet weather hiking.

It has great load capacity but we don’t think it would be comfortable for a long hiking and camping excursion without more structure and a ventilated back panel.

A similar rolltop backpack Thule Subterra 34L and a more structured backpack Nomatic 40L are both good competitors. One has a dedicated laptop sleeve, while the other features a TSA-approved lock — two elements the Matador Freerain28 lacks.

A heads up — if you’re looking for a travel backpack with a solid shape, the Matador Freerain28 isn’t for you. You’ll be better off with Nomatic 40L or eBags Weekender with the Freerain28 compressed inside ready for the adventure once you arrive.

The Matador Freerain 28 comes with a hefty prictag. It does seem on the expensive side when we consider it’s best used really is as a daypack. But if you are looking for a packable, waterproof bag that can carry a lot then it may be worth the extra cost.

Related Reviews

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.2

Things we like:

  • check-mark
    Has space for a hydration bladder
  • check-mark
    Waterproof roll top closure also has a waterproof zipper for added security and expansion
  • check-mark
    The main compartment is waterproof and equipped with internally sealed seams
  • check-mark
    Can be compressed for travel and comes with a mesh compression sack
  • check-mark
    The wear panels are durable and have abrasion-resistant and tear-resistant fabric
  • check-mark
    A removable hip belt with pockets
  • check-mark
    The sternum strap is adjustable
  • check-mark
    Two gear loops with Hypalon reinforced shockcord captures
  • check-mark
    Breathable, weight-distributing shoulder straps
  • check-mark
    The front zipper pocket is water-resistant and comes with a sealing zipper
  • check-mark
    Compression straps on each side help with balancing loads
  • check-mark
    It has load lifters that help with weight distribution and a comfortable fit on your back

Things we don't like:

  • check-markIt lacks structure
  • check-markNo ventilated, suspended, back panel
  • check-markOversized mesh pockets are narrow and deep and not easy to get things in and out of
  • check-markExpensive

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FAQ

Frequently asked questions

Which backpack is best for traveling?

A good-quality travel backpack should be comfortable to carry and have enough features to accommodate the traveler. It helps if it has padding and waterproof characteristics so that the traveler is able to use it in every setting. These are our favorite pieces:

Read more about travel backpacks here.

What are people looking for in a backpack?

The majority of buyers look for a backpack that’s durable, has a reasonable price, and has plenty of storage. It should also be the appropriate size and have a nice design/style. This includes sufficient or ventilated back padding, adjustable straps, and handy features like pockets and secure zipper closures.

Is it better to travel with a backpack or a suitcase?

The rule of thumb is that if you plan to stay in the same place for the entire duration of your trip, a suitcase is a more convenient option. If, however, you plan to move around and do more backpacking activities, a backpack is your best bet.

Can you bring a backpacking backpack as a carry-on?

You can bring a backpacking backpack as a carry-on only if it adheres to the sizing rules set by the airline you’re flying with. Every airline has its own size limits, so keep this in mind when deciding what travel backpack to buy.

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