THE NEED FOR LUGGAGE
A man on-the-go requires more than your average, “checked-bag and carry-on” combo, especially when the destination remains active and can be changed at any moment or when intermittent deployment between two locations is constant.
One way or another, such a man requires a special kind of luggage; a modular system that allows for numerous packing opportunities for dynamic missions that may expand or contract with little to no notice.
WEIGHT AND VOLUME
The struggle becomes a matter of weight and volume. And the struggle has led me to try a great many bags and packs and luggage over many years. It was an errand that I thought might never be complete, until now.
Last year, I discovered Matador, a company located in Boulder, Colorado that offers a collection of smart, highly sophisticated, lightweight, and durable adventure gear. And I have been slowly growing my Matador collection ever since.
FREEFLY 16 BACKPACK
My foray into Matador adventure gear started with a lightweight Freefly 16 packable, water-resistant backpack. This affordable bit of kit proved both versatile (packable) and handy. And the savings in packable volume within the bags I had already packed for my various adventures was truly priceless.
FREERAIN HIP PACK
Shortly thereafter, I added the Freerain waterproof packable hip pack, as a way to segregate my medical kit from my main pack for easy access.
Adding these packable elements to my go-bag seemed a godsend after so many years of packing, repacking, shuffling, and reshuffling various kit between my checked bag, carry on and backpack. But there was still room for more low-volume packable options.
FREEFLY 30L DUFFLE
I was so impressed with the material durability of the products that I had purchased thus far, I added the Freefly 30L packable duffle to the mix.
This was another fantastic option, only a bit cleverer and more sophisticated than my entry level purchases. Low volume packability like the last, yes. However, this one also has pocket compartments; one waterproof and the other mesh to allow moisture to drain. Perfectly placed compression straps. Ruggedized carry straps that allow the duffle to double as a backpack in a pinch. Along with a rugged, expandable strap, just the ideal thickness for the load that the pack might bear.
At this point, I was hooked; it was time to thoroughly examine Matador’s even more sophisticated options.
SEG 42 TRAVEL PACK
The next item that caught my eye was the SEG 42 Travel Pack. Another duffle, but this one segments into five individual compartments. Shirts, socks, underwear, pants, whatever else. That’s not counting a mini slim pocket or the fact that the belly of the duffel itself can be opened to stow everything from spare shoes to dirty laundry.
If you have ever been on a mission or adventure that might require that you take immediate inventory of such goods, you are well aware of the hassle associated with picking apart a neat stack of shirts, socks and the like to know for certain how many of each you have.
This is where the SEG42 becomes not only a life saver, but a way of life.
The SEG42 has carry handles, top, bottom and side as well as deployable (and comfortable) shoulder straps in addition to a sleeve compartment where one might stow their iPad, laptop or reading material before the flight.
But my Matador study did not end there. No, now I wanted to try one of their more sophisticated packs. So, I leveled my sights on what I considered the most mission capable option, the Matador equipment 28 liter Beast Ultralight Technical (tactical) backpack.
28 LITER BEAST ULTRALIGHT TECHNICAL (TACTICAL) BACKPACK
This Beast of a pack seemed to be the pinnacle of clever design, form and function, along with the low volume packable capability that drew me to Matador equipment in the first place.
Even featuring an ultralight packable/foldable internal frame, a water reservoir, dual water bottle compartments, trek pole hangers, removable waist strap, comfort shoulder straps – I wasn’t the least bit disappointed.
Form, function, comfort, durability and even style. This combined with light weight, low volume pack ability, of course!
MATADOR COMBO IN PRACTICE
This combo, the Matador SEG 42 Travel Pack, the Freefly Packable Duffle and the Beast28 Ultralight Technical Backpack packable frame pack seems to clinch every conceivable deployable travel necessity that I have ever encountered.
In fact, I am currently typing this review from a hotel on a contract, which requires that I must be both highly mobile, deployable and on a mission that might expand and contract on a moment’s notice.
The Matador SEG42 efficiently carries and keeps organized all of my clothing. The Matador Beast 28 serves as an effective carry option for my kit and equipment that I cannot be parted with at any juncture. And the Freefly packable duffle expands to hold all of the additional mission-critical items that might otherwise be carried along in a plastic grocery bag and more.
It’s become an amusing point of pride when I show up on a mission and catch one of my counterparts looking at my luggage in wonder, “Where’s this guy’s plastic bags full of supplies?” Well, I haven’t got one. Just this bag that I can throw over my shoulder and take along if and when we need to move!
Matador has a fantastic array of other clever travel necessities that I continue to consider indulging in. From Blankets (forgot to mention that I also have a blanket) to towels, to shave kits, to collapsible toiletry bottles, to pill containers. The list goes on. As well as other options in duffles and packs.
My foray into Matador gear is likely far from over. But with just these few pieces I feel that my travel and deployable capability has been enhanced, if not close to perfected.
For more information on these fantastic products and others like them, please visit – www.MatadorUp.com