Matador Beast28 backpack FI
Rachel Pasche

Matador Beast 18 Backpack Review: Your New Best Hiking Buddy

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When taking a long day hike, day trip, or camping trip, you want to have the right daypack that meets all your needs.

While technically, any backpack would work, you want to be sure you bring something easily packable (this is especially true for car camping, massive backpacks can be such a pain), with room for your water bottle or hydration bladder, and gear loops. It also helps to have comfortable shoulder straps and a flexible frame so the bag can move comfortably with you, especially if you're going to be hiking. The Matador Beast 18 packable backpack is a perfect day pack or travel bag for pretty much any outdoor (or not) adventure.

Not only do you need a spacious main compartment to hold all of your items, but you also need side pockets for any additional water bottles (this is especially important when hiking in hot climates) and additional zippered pockets on the inside for any small items you don't want getting lost, like your keys, wallet, or snacks. The Matador Beast 28 meets all of these requirements, making it perfectly suited for a day exploring some rugged terrain.

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The Matador Beast 18 Packable Backpack

I took the Beast 18 backpack on a few hikes to really get a feel for how it functions. One thing I immediately noticed on one of the mid-day hikes was how breathable the material was, I didn't feel like my back or shoulders were insanely hot, which happens fairly often with other backpacks that aren't designed to be worn during activities. It also had a compartment that was hydration compatible, so I could easily place my water bladder in it. Routing the hydration tube through the appropriate loops was super simple, which was awesome. This was a huge plus since I can't imagine hiking without my hydration pack out in Arizona!

The side water bottle pockets were perfect for carrying extra water for my dogs, too.

This pack has some pretty impressive design specs that make it well-suited to last through all sorts of expeditions. The exterior is made of 210D Robic high tenacity ripstop nylon, and the interior of 100D Robic high tenacity nylon. It's also UTS coated for up to 30% increased tear strength and has a DWR (durable water repellant) finish; this waterproof UTS coating renders it water-resistant.

The flexible frame moves with your body, and the EVA foam-padded, breathable mesh shoulder straps and back panel keep your back and shoulders comfortable and cool. A removable hip belt and adjustable sternum strap allow for a little more customization if you're planning on doing some more hands-on activities or difficult treks. The gear loops are perfect for any tools or hiking poles, and the Hypalon reinforced external daisy chain allows you to clip additional items onto the strap if necessary. The Beast18 ultralight technical backpack also comes with a stuff sack, this packable bag folds down to the size of a football when necessary, making it perfect for travel.

Since it is waterproof, I suppose you could use it as a travel backpack for other trips with some success. It might do well as a carry-on bag or even as a toiletry bag for camping trips or whatnot, though I haven't tested it in that capacity, so I can't speak to how well it would perform.

I also tested the pocket blanket from Matador, and both products were entirely amazing. It's by far the best hiking backpack I've used, which makes sense considering it was designed with long treks and other technical outdoor pursuits in mind. This should be on the wishlist of any outdoorsman or woman who desperately needs a new daypack to take with them on their adventures.

According to the Matador website, "Matador products all carry a minimum 1-year warranty on material and workmanship defects unless otherwise specified. We guarantee your product will remain fully functional for 1 year from the date of purchase for the original purchaser."

It's usually a very positive sign to see such a confident warranty, and from what I've tested so far, this backpack should last me well over a year.