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Matador SEG28 Backpack Review

The Matador SEG28 Backpack’s built-in organizational system is a one-stop shop for new travelers but might not suit those who like traditional packing cubes.

Our Verdict

7.6 /10
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  • Durable, lightweight, and heavily water-resistant materials
  • Thick padding with mesh on the back panel adds comfort
  • Built-in organization negates the need for packing cubes


  • Bag can sag due to its lightweight materials
  • Organization is superfluous for those who want removable packing cubes
  • Water bottle pocket can’t handle wide models

Technical Details

28 %

Carry-on Compliance

View 41/145 Airlines

54 %

Like the Look

Polled on Instagram

  • Capacity


  • Weight (lb)

    2.2 lb (1 kg)

  • Dimensions

    20 in x 12 in x 9.5 in (50.8 x 30.5 x 24.1 cm)

  • Notable Materials

    Nylon, Recycled Nylon, Ripstop Nylon, Polyurethane, Hypalon®, EVA Foam, YKK Buckles, YKK Zippers

  • Laptop Compartment Size


  • Warranty Information

    Matador "No Fine Print" Warranty

Buying Options

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Full Review

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If you’re looking for a bag that does all the organizing for you, the Matador SEG28 Backpack might be the one. Its built-in organization can do the job of packing cubes and other pouches. However, we’re curious whether or not this will work in practice. Let’s dive in and find out!

External Components

The exterior materials and liner are bluesign® approved, which is a great shout. This means that they’re sustainable, and who doesn’t love that?

Matador SEG28 Backpack Outdoor
Matador SEG28 Backpack | There’s a lot going on here.

The primary pack materials are 420D nylon reinforced ripstop and 420D recycled nylon with a PU coating. The ripstop is more durable, so it’s on the bottom of the pack, which gets more wear. Its classic ripstop design adds some contrast to a primarily black pack. These materials do well in rain, but you might want to head for cover if it’s pouring.

In addition to offering solid durability and weather resistance, the materials are incredibly lightweight. This is great for your shoulders and back; however, it can make the pack look slightly saggy because the fabric isn’t structured and therefore can’t hold itself up. In most situations, it looks fine, but when packed in a certain way with heavy materials, it’ll look a little seggy. See what we did there?

The pack utilizes YKK zippers. The exterior models have an AquaGuard finish, which adds to the water resistance of this pack. The pulls are simple and stay out of your way when you aren’t using them.

Matador SEG28 Backpack Full
Matador SEG28 Backpack | We dig the look of this pack.

The secondary compartments have locking loop tabs, adding a security layer. These won’t keep somebody out, but they’ll slow them down or deter them.

The hardware on this pack is from YKK and works as we’d expect it to. We’ve had no issues with the adjusters, and the buckles are snappy and easy to use.

There are handles on the pack’s front face’s top, bottom, and side. These are ideal for moving an open back around your hotel room or sliding it in and out of the overhead bin. Their design ensures they stay out of the way when you aren’t using them.

Another handle on the top of the bag is for classic carrying. It’s basic; no padding or aeration here. However, when you need to move quickly, it comes in handy.

There are two compression straps on both sides of the bag. These are ideal for cinching the pack down to save space or ensure it fits inside the airport carry on slider.

Matador SEG28 Backpack Water Bottle
Matador SEG28 Backpack | The water bottle pocket.

We’ve got a water bottle pocket on the left side of the pack, crafted from stretchy materials that eat them up. This is a good thing, we think, because your bottle shouldn’t fall out easily. It can handle small and medium-sized travel water bottles; however, we’ve found that some wider models aren’t going to fit. That said, there’s a pull tab to assist in getting bottles of any size in and out, which is helpful.

There are Hypalon anchor points on the top and bottom of the pack’s front face, which you can use to attach gear. When it isn’t full, you can use these to hang the bag up on a hook. When it’s full, you might be able to, but this isn’t the most helpful feature for us, considering there are other handles that are more functional for hanging.

If you’re a fan of traveling with roller bags, there’s a have a luggage pass-through on the back that stays hidden until you can use it. This trolley sleeve is under the back panel, which we dig. If you don’t want to use it, don’t. It won’t get in your way!

Fit Notes

Matador SEG28 Backpack Side By Side
Left: Eric Hergenreder, Height: 6’0″ (183 cm), Torso: 18.5” (47 cm) | Right: Kristyne Defever, Height: 5’5” (165 cm), Torso: 17” (43 cm)

The back panel has ample padding and solid breathability through the use of aerated mesh, making for a comfortable carry, whether heading on a road trip home for a long weekend or working as a Digital Nomad across the globe. The back panel transitions into the shoulder straps, one large piece. The shoulder straps have the same padding and aeration as the back panel, so there’s comfort there, too.

The harness system feels like a lot, but it remains comfortable all day, even with the bag fully packed. You might feel like you’ve overdone it for a short trip, but if you keep it on for a while, you’ll be happy that it’s there.

The sternum strap connects the shoulder straps. It’s on a rail, so you can make micro-adjustments if you want to.

The hip belt is removable, too. It doesn’t have any padding or added features for comfort, but it does change where the weight sits, which can be helpful. We dig that both the sternum strap and hip belt are removable, so you don’t have to use them if you don’t want to.

Matador SEG28 Backpack Harness Syste In Use
Matador SEG28 Backpack | The sternum strap and hip belt.

Overall, this thing is comfortable. However, just how comfortable it is will depend on what you’ve got inside. Well, what can you fit inside? We’re happy you asked!

Inside The Pack

Before we dive too far into the compartments, we should mention that the lining material is 100D Robic nylon. It has a PU waterproof coating, too, which helps add protection from the outside weather and spills.

Matador SEG28 Backpack Segs
Matador SEG28 Backpack | The segments on the front are handy.

There’s a ton of organization on the pack’s front. Essentially, the four compartments here are meant to replace your packing cubes and other organizers. Mostly, they do a solid job at it, too. However, for heavier items, like tech, you will still probably want something separate because of a lack of padding on the liner materials. Check out our tech pouch post for inspiration on that!

The four pockets here all have different capacities. The top one can hold 4 liters, the one below it can hold 6 liters, below that 8 liters, and the bottom 10 liters.

You might be wondering, where’s all this space coming from? Well, it’s the main compartment. If you max all these pockets out, you’ll have no (or very little) room left inside the pack. If you add up the higher end of all those compartments, you’re at 28 liters, which is the capacity of this bag. You don’t have to use all that space, and you can use a combination of the pockets and the main compartment, but we’ll get there.

Matador SEG28 Backpack In Use
Matador SEG28 Backpack | The quick-access pocket.

There’s a quick-access pocket on the top of the bag. It’s pretty significant and can fit most of your daily use items inside. It has a singular stretchy mesh pocket inside; the rest is open space. Inside that, there’s an elastic daisy chain and a key leash, which are both handy.

There’s a hidden passport pocket behind the luggage pass-through. It’s hidden behind the hook and loop fastener, so it’s very secure. Don’t forget you put it there, though!

The laptop compartment is a top loader with enough space to stow larger computers. It can be easy to confuse the zipper with the quick-access pocket we just went over, but you get the hang of it fairly quickly.

Matador SEG28 Backpack Empty
Matador SEG28 Backpack | The main compartment.

The main compartment is where the party is at. Well, kind of. There’s no organization in here at all despite having a clamshell-style opening. The lack of organization is because you’re supposed to use the exterior pockets we mentioned earlier to segment your gear. Depending on how much you use these pockets, you’ll have more or less room here. If you like the idea of these external packing cubes, have at it. If you don’t, the lining material doesn’t take up that much room, and you can use the main compartment as a dump pocket for all your gear. However, this probably isn’t the bag for you if that’s the case.

Matador SEG28 Backpack Up Close
Matador SEG28 Backpack | Time to hit the road.

Overall, we dig the organizational system but understand it wasn’t built for everyone. If you like to get into the nitty gritty of packing cubes and pouches yourself, this bag isn’t the ideal candidate. However, if you want to go all in on a bag that doesn’t require much else in terms of packing tools, the Matador SEG28 Backpack might be the best travel backpack for you.

Usage Timeline

Initial Usage

Condition: Excellent

  • The materials are lightweight and highly water-resistant
  • It feels comfortable so far
  • The materials are saggy when it isn’t fully packed out
2 Weeks of Use

Condition: Excellent

  • There are no issues with the materials in the rain or durability-wise
  • Intuitive design negates the need for packing cubes
  • The carry is comfortable, but the swivel can be annoying at times
By Eric Hergenreder
Created October 10, 2023 • Updated February 26, 2024
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