Foldable, Many Pockets

This ultra-light, packable travel backpack is one of the latest innovations from Matador, the company known for minimalist travel equipment. The Matador SEG42 fits this definition well — it combines the design and functionality of a duffle bag, a backpack, and packing cubes all at the same time.

Featuring a 42-liter capacity with soft yet sturdy construction, it’s a great choice if you plan on going on weeklong vacations and shorter getaway trips. Because of a hybrid duffel bag and backpack profile, it can also be used as a weekender bag.

Described as a “one-bag travel pack,” the Matador SEG42 has designs that make it one of the most versatile packs for traveling. Beyond the 5-plus front pockets, the SEG42 also opens up like a clamshell.

While heavy on organization, the only downfall is trying to locate items in one of the many zippered compartments in the dark.

Our Overall Review

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

4.6

Things we like:

  • check-mark
    The materials are durable and water-resistant
  • check-mark
    Clamshell option
  • check-mark
    The padded shoulder straps with sternum strap work well
  • check-mark
    Zippered compartments instead of packing cubes
  • check-mark
    Shoulder straps can be zipped away for checked baggage
  • check-mark
    The laptop compartment
  • check-mark
    Use as weekender, a duffel or a backpack
  • check-mark
    It’s carry-on compliant with most airlines

Things we don't like:

  • check-markNot too good with more than 30 pounds
  • check-markIt sags unless filled up
  • check-markLaptop sleeve lacks padding for protection
  • check-markYou can’t pack it into itself like the rest of the Matador bags

Where to buy:

Matador Seg42 Product Image

Matador SEG42 Travel Backpack

Specs & Features

  • Material: 420D Bluesign® nylon, PU coated, DWR coating (PFC free); 100D Bluesign® nylon, PU coated, DWR finish; EVA foam padded straps and handles; Bartack reinforced construction; Hypalon tether and touchpoints
  • Coating: PU coating (polyurethane): durable waterproofing; PU coated water-resistant zippers
  • Packed Dimensions: 12.5 x 22 x 11.5 in (31.75 x 55.88 x 29.21 cm)
  • Weight: 2lbs 4oz (1030 grams)
  • Capacity: 42 L
  • Intended Use: Weeklong vacations and shorter getaways
  • Style: Backpack
  • Color: Black
See the complete list of the best Travel Backpacks here!
Matador SEG42 is built for the maximum organization in a minimalist design
Matador SEG42 is built for the maximum organization in a minimalist design

Matador is known to be a disruptor in the industry, and the company didn’t miss it this time around either. SEG42 is a unique travel pack that doesn’t look or feel like many other travel backpacks.

The sheer number of zippered pockets is quite surprising. This is a bag for very intentional travelers who value organization.

From collapsible “drawers” to the spacious laptop compartment, it’s packed with features that speak volumes about the backpack’s worth. Add the sleek design and a handful of carrying options, and you’ve got a versatile accessory that can serve you well in all traveling scenarios.

It might sag unless it’s filled up. But at 42 liters, it’s quite easy to do so. One compartment for toiletries, another for electronics, one for socks and one for laundry. Lay flat some pants and a pressed shirt in the clamshell compartment that has a zippered separator too.

As we test it, Matador SEG42 turns out to be a quality travel bag with multiple uses. We’ve taken it camping as well as on overnight trips and found it to be equally practical. It draws some comparisons to the Adventure Bag by Stubble & Co for its organizational capacity. But the SEG42 remains unique.

You can’t compare it to larger duffels or hiking packs designed for multiple weeks-long trips with the highest capacity on the market, but it’s pretty close to fitting all the essentials and then some more.

If your interest has peaked, keep reading to find out what else makes Matador SEG42 worth adding to your wishlist.

You can carry Matador SEG42 in your hands when you get tired of carrying it on your back
You can carry Matador SEG42 in your hands when you get tired of carrying it on your back

Construction and Design

Although the bag is currently only available in black, this color is universal enough to go with everything. Combined with the subtle branding in the form of the Matador name stitched in white thread and Hypalon logos, it makes for a great pack on a camping trip just as much as on a business trip.

It almost has a type of tactical quality to its looks with all the zipper compartments and the sleek black color.

We were pleasantly surprised by the 420-D Nylon fabric and waterproof coating that adds a level of protection every traveler needs on rainy days. The built-in packing cubes are also made from high-quality 100-D Bluesign Nylon, ensuring tear- and weather resistance. The additional PU coating is supposed to increase the fabric’s water resistance even more, but we couldn’t tell whether it made any difference since there weren’t any tears or rips throughout the usage of the pack.

The quality of the zippers was top-notch too. Although some consumers have complained about the small size of the zippers, we found that this didn’t affect the performance of the bag whatsoever. They come with Hypalon tabs attached to them which have a soft, rubber-like feel for easy grab and pull. Perhaps the tabs are why such a smooth zip despite the zippers’ size.

If there’s one detail Matador could improve with their SEG42 model, it’s the shoulder straps. Although padded, they are fairly thin for a backpack with a 42-liter capacity. However, we didn’t find them too uncomfortable when using the sternum strap. But as soon as the load exceeds 20-25 pounds it starts to limit the amount of time you’re going to want it on your back.

Matador SEG42 has plenty of pockets to help you organize your stuff properly.
Matador SEG42 has plenty of pockets to help you organize your stuff properly.

The laptop compartment could’ve been padded better for protection from accidental bumps and rough handling. Even though we didn’t notice any scratches or dents from carrying the laptop inside the bag, we can imagine that it could potentially be damaged if you forget to be gentle with the side of the bag where the laptop compartment is located.

The rest of the travel pack, including the mounting and lash points, zip-away panel, and a packing cube system is up to the standard. The backpack feels like a cocoon when you open it — there are 5 (!) individual cubes of different capacities easily accessible from the front. Separate your clean clothes from the dirty ones with the help of these cubes, and you’re good to head to your next destination without doing laundry.

Final Thoughts

We had enough time on different trips to play around with the Matador SEG42 to determine if it’s worth your money. There are plenty of features we liked about it; waterproof coating, packing cube system, and laptop compartment stood out as the ones every traveler would appreciate having on their trip.

That said, there were also some aspects of it we didn’t like, including the lack of padding inside the laptop compartment, the lack of frame sheet (sagginess), and thin shoulder straps.

The pros outweighed the cons for us, which is why we recommend taking a closer look at this travel backpack if you’re on the lookout for an innovative travel companion. One that folds away into next-to-nothing when not in use too.

It’s not a budget bag, so you should treat it like an investment piece that, if handled with care, can potentially last you many years.

Related Reviews

Our Overall Review

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

4.6

Things we like:

  • check-mark
    The materials are durable and water-resistant
  • check-mark
    Clamshell option
  • check-mark
    The padded shoulder straps with sternum strap work well
  • check-mark
    Zippered compartments instead of packing cubes
  • check-mark
    Shoulder straps can be zipped away for checked baggage
  • check-mark
    The laptop compartment
  • check-mark
    Use as weekender, a duffel or a backpack
  • check-mark
    It’s carry-on compliant with most airlines

Things we don't like:

  • check-markNot too good with more than 30 pounds
  • check-markIt sags unless filled up
  • check-markLaptop sleeve lacks padding for protection
  • check-markYou can’t pack it into itself like the rest of the Matador bags
FAQ

Frequently asked questions about Matador SEG42

What travel pack is best?

It depends on the size you need. Beyond that, a high-quality travel backpack needs to be made from water-resistant materials, have multiple compartments, and feature lockable zippers. It should also have shoulder straps padded for comfort and an internal frame giving it a sturdy shape. Here are our favorites you should check out:

Read more about travel backpacks here.

How to wash Matador's backpacks?

Empty the backpack and get rid of the visible dirt (if there’s any) before starting to wash it. Read the care instruction label and gently wash your backpack in lukewarm water. Once you’re done, rinse it in cool water and let it air dry.

Make sure not to throw it in the washing machine if the label doesn’t recommend you to do so. This way, you’ll prolong the life of your travel pack.

Is Matador SEG42 pack worth it?

If you’re looking for a travel-friendly backpack that you can take as a carry-on on every flight, Matador SEG42 is worth purchasing. It’s spacious, lightweight, and equipped with unique features like built-in packing cubes that make it stand out. You’ll get your money’s worth in no time.

Can I use the Matador pack as a carry-on?

According to Matador, you can take your SEG42 travel pack on a plane as a carry-on. This is great news for those who frequently go on business trips or don’t like checking in their backpack when traveling.

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