Matador GlobeRider45 Travel Backpack Review
The Matador GlobeRider45 Travel Backpack’s thoughtful organization gives a home to every piece of gear, and the materials are durable enough for any adventure.
- Durable and water-resistant materials
- Ample padding on the back panel and shoulder straps
- Thoughtful organization for long trips
- Water-resistant zippers can be slow to open and close
- May feel large for smaller-framed folks
- Shoe compartment adds weight to outside of pack
4.5 lb (2 kg)
22 in x 12.8 in x 11 in (55.9 x 32.5 x 27.9 cm)
Ripstop Nylon, Nylon, Recycled Nylon, YKK Zippers, EVA, YKK Buckles
Laptop Compartment Size
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At the time of writing, we’ve tested a handful of travel backpacks from Matador. Considering the more than 20 pieces of gear we’ve tried from the brand, it’s safe to say we were excited to get our hands on their newest offering. Upon first inspection, they’ve used high-quality materials, and the design looks intuitive. As we know from the other Matador gear we have at HQ, the proof is in the details! Let’s dive in.
To kick things off, it’s worth reviewing this backpack’s long list of materials. While it may seem overkill, each material has a purpose, so for transparency’s sake, let’s dive into them.
The first material listed is 420D bluesign® nylon with ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene reinforced ripstop. Next, we’ve got 420D bluesign® recycled nylon. After that, there’s a 100D bluesign® nylon ripstop. All of the above listed have PU waterproofing, too (though keep in mind that the bag itself isn’t waterproof). Our biggest takeaway from those materials is that they’re durable, water-resistant, and sustainably sourced. So far, so good.
The zippers are from YKK and have an AquaGuard, PU-coated zipper track. The hardware is from YKK, too. Although they may be more known for their zipper hardware, we’ve had no issues with their hardware either.
The GlobeRider45 has an aluminum framestay with an HDPE, or high-density polyethylene, frame sheet. Everything comes together using 210D nylon bonded thread with extra reinforcement added for good measure.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, you might wonder what this means for you, the wearer of this pack. Let’s jump in!
Overall, we commend Matador’s use of materials on the GlobeRider45. They’re durable, heavily water-resistant, and don’t weigh you down. The pack comes in at four pounds eight ounces, or 2041 grams, which isn’t light by any means, though it’s not a bad deal for the capacity and organization you receive on a travel backpack.
On each side of the pack’s front are daisy chains, which have a handle built into the middle. They make grabbing the pack from the top more manageable and ensure you can attach that gigantic carabiner your mom got you as a gift for your birthday a few years ago.
There are additional handles on the top and bottom of the pack, so you can get at this thing from every angle. Later, we’ll talk about how the shoulder straps are stowable, which makes these handles even handier. There’s a fair amount of padding on each one, so you’ll stay comfortable grabbing it from the overhead compartment.
A large water bottle pocket on the left side of the pack can fit bottles as large as a 32 oz Nalgene. It’s crafted from a stretchy mesh material to load various size bottles or gear inside. If you’re a photographer, your travel tripod might fit inside.
There are two unique compression straps on either side of the pack. Each has two brace points that come together on the other side with one hard plastic adjustor. They’re easy to manipulate and leave a large fabric loop. It’s a little goofy looking at first, although there isn’t much extra strap to speak of when the pack is full. You can also use the loop to attach a carabiner or other gear, which we dig.
Every zipper track has a loop at the end for theft protection. Once you’ve closed the pack, slide the zipper pull underneath it to deter a stranger from opening it while you’re in a crowded area. It won’t stop a determined thief though it may push someone to move onto an easier-to-access backpack.
The back panel has ample padding. However, it’s pretty stiff. For longer treks, we dig this! While soft padding is great for a quick jaunt, you’ll want something sturdier on your back when the meters turn into miles. The padding is relatively breathable, though it will get warm eventually, especially on hot days.
The shoulder straps are just as dense. They curve outward halfway down the pack and form well to your body, and load lifters help distribute the weight. The sternum strap is on a rail so that you can make micro-adjustments, and there’s a strap keeper to keep things around your chest organized.
The hip belt shares the sturdiness of the back panel and shoulder straps. It isn’t removable, though you can stow it alongside the shoulder straps.
To stow them, open the side zippers that run along either side of the back panel. The bottom of the shoulder strap has a small loop embroidered with white arrows. Near the base of the hip belt, there’s a metal g-hook. You’re supposed to attach the hook to the loop, stow the straps under the flap, and zip it back up. We found that difficult and had an easier time without hooking the two together, though it works either way. Regardless of your method, it isn’t as easy as it looks. Once stowed, it’s much easier to handle the pack as a packed bag.
Overall, the comfort of the GlobeRider45 is excellent. At times, it feels more like a daypack than a travel backpack, which is a good thing. The top of the pack rides relatively high, which makes it feel like a hiking backpack, although we don’t mind that. You might not want your bag to look like a trail backpack, yet having the comfort you’d expect on a hike is excellent.
Inside The Pack
There are quite a few compartments to go over, so let’s dive in.
There’s a hidden pocket behind one of the flaps on the back panel with a zippered closure. It’s an excellent spot to stow your passport.
On the left side of the pack, near the top, there’s a small zippered compartment that is a good size for a wallet or other small items. It’s right above the water bottle pocket and relatively easy to access.
There’s a sizable stretchy open pocket between the daisy chains on the front of the pack. The material is breathable, so wet items can dry and not get smelly, making it an ideal place for a travel jacket or umbrella while traveling.
Above that, there’s a zippered pocket with built-in internal organization. There are two zippered compartments, one of which has a key ring. Below is a mesh organizer, half of which is stretchy and the other half less malleable. There are six slots for gear ranging in size from a pen to a minimalist wallet. There’s a good amount of open space in this pocket to stow other gear like over-ear headphones, although it isn’t as easy to fill when the main compartment is full.
On the top, there’s access to an external laptop sleeve. We can fit a 15-inch laptop here, despite the tightness of the opening. The raised compartment means you aren’t throwing your MacBook onto the concrete if you drop the pack. We think quick access to your laptop is essential, and if the sleeve were inside the main compartment, it wouldn’t be as easy.
Speaking of the main compartment, it’s time to dive in.
You access it via a clamshell opening—the zipper runs around three of four sides of the pack. Because of the water-resistant zipper, it can be a little slow to open. Better to take a little longer and keep your gear dry!
The flap side has two compartments—one crafted from mesh and another using liner fabric. Both utilize zipper closures. The liner pocket works well as a make-shift shoe compartment or for larger pieces of gear. If you stow something heavy here, it’s not right on your back, which may get uncomfortable as time goes on. The stretchy pocket is ideal for smaller items like toiletries or other gear you don’t want swimming around in the main compartment.
Between the two sides of the main compartment are two more mesh zippered pockets. You can stow socks, underwear, belts, or other gear here. Again, it’s a solid spot for the smaller items you don’t want floating around unattended.
The main area is—mostly—untamed wilderness. A shock cord attaches in the middle so you can cinch down your clothing. We still think packing cubes are a better option because the elastic band doesn’t stop clothing from unraveling or bunching up. You can use the shock cord to cinch down your packing cubes, so it still comes in handy.
You can see the stiffly padded laptop compartment on the back wall. While gear can get lost behind it, the opening faces down, so it usually finds its way out without your interference.
Overall, this pack is a lot of fun to use. It has a lot of what we expect from Matador: an innovative design, durable materials, comfortable carry, and a moderate price point for what you get. The GlobeRider45 isn’t necessarily what we expected it would be, but we’re on board and can’t wait to see where this train leads.
- The pack has lots of handles to assist in carrying
- The exterior has a sleek design with accents and contrast
- Materials feel durable and water resistant
- Materials have held up well, even in the rain
- Zippers are water resistant but can be slow to open
- The back panel is amply padded and comfortable