The Beast28 Packable Technical Backpack by Matador goes from full sized fun to snack sized ease of storage pretty easily. It’s durable enough for a 3-day hike and laid back enough to hit the theme parks for a few hours.
I’m a connoisseur of backpacks and I have certain criteria for what makes a good backpack. The categories are:
Each category gets a score between 1 and 5. So how does the Beast28 measure up? Let’s find out.
The Beast28 gets high marks for comfort. It has straps to secure it around your waist as well as your hips for added support. The main straps are comfortable and feel like they can hold the weight of the backpack once packed to its fullest. I’ve used this with everything from just a book and my wallet to my laptop with no discomfort.
For a compressible backpack, this one has a surprising amount of pockets. The main compartment has a mesh divider that doubles as another pocket. You can also unzip the main compartment all the way to the base of the bag, giving you easier access to packing and unloading your gear–kind of like a suitcase. The top outer area has a lid pocket, perfect for putting the little things you need easy access to. There’s a bottom pocket that is marked for the compression case, but I also found this a good place to store my tougher accessories like my battery charger.
Again with the high marks here. I put my MacBook Pro in the main compartment and it held up just fine. For the most part, I felt comfortable walking around with it. This bag is not marketed or designed as a laptop bag, but if it fits, it sits. Matador tells me that they tested it on a 3-day hike with around 40lbs in it without issue. So I think it can handle my 2lb laptop and 1lb cable. (Seriously Apple, those chargers are bricks!)
The most important feature the Beast28 offers is water resistance. I live in Florida, so rain can hit at any time and, generally, it’s when I’m not prepared for it. When I’m out at a theme park, I don’t want to worry if my gear is protected during a spontaneous sun shower.
Other notable features include the ability to use an assortment of water bladders with areas to route the hoses and keep them out of your way when you open up the main compartment.
In its compressed state, the Beast28 weights in at around 20oz. That puts it in the ultralight category and perfect for packing in your suitcase as an extra bag or as your main bag for a hike.
The two tone black with red accents makes a simple stylish statement. I like how the colors are subtle and not overbearing, screaming out HERE I AM! LOVE ME!
Overall, this is probably the near-perfect backpack, my favorite feature being that I can compress it back down to a relatively small size and store it easily anywhere I can find space. When I first took it from compressed to uncompressed state, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to slim it back down. It wasn’t hard at all, though, and didn’t take any creative folding technique to do it. This one gets added to my list of favorite functional backpacks.
The Beast28 Packable Technical Backpack is available from Matador for $89.99.
Disclaimer: GeekMom received a review sample