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Monday, November 30, 2020

Review: Matador Beast 28 Technical Backpack

 I received a Matador Beast 28 backpack over the summer as corporate swag. I've been using it for mountain biking and hiking as a daypack while exploring with the boys.

It comes with a stuff sack for packing itself, which I've never used, has a separate hydration bladder compartment, and 2 zippered compartments, 2 nearly worthless side pocket, 1 nearly worthless zippered bottom pocket, and one definitely worthless outside cinch pocket. The big pocket does unzip nearly all the way, ensuring easy access to anything inside, which I use for the hammock, hammock strap, lunch, and of course the hydration bladder. A nice feature is that the top of that main compartment has straps for hooking the hydration bladder onto.

The small top zippered pocket gets used for keys, clif  bars, gatorade chews, and anything I didn't want in my pockets. The side pockets are nearly worthless - you can use them for a tubeless tire repair kit or a bike pump,  but the bike pump has a tendency to fall out. The big pocket at the back has no zippers, and is so insecure that anything I put there falls out right away, so I can only assume it's just decoration. Finally, there's a small zipper pocket that I use to put a windshell. It's too small for anything else.

The fit is excellent, with easily adjustable straps. The lack of padding doesn't bother me, and the pack snugly hugs my back and doesn't disrupt any of my bike handling. On hot days, my T-shirts get soaked with sweat, but it's never been enough to bother me. The hip straps are easy enough to use that I use them, which helps a lot. The keys pocket work and work well.

All in all, I'm surprised by how much I used it (and we have plenty of other backpacks to use, so that I keep picking it must mean that I like it), comparing it favorably with the Flash 18 and the Dell Tek backpack, which I used prior to this. I'm not sure I would pay the retail price for this ($90), but the $90 waterproof Freerain 32 version of this backpack would be well worth considering for when my Sea-to-Summit daypack gives out.


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