Imagine waking up one day and not being able to live inside your home. Some serious water damage and, later, mold forced me to move out of my condo. Living out of a bag became my reality. Thankfully, as a gear tester, I had no shortage of duffels and bags to cram all my belongings into.
Still, on that first day, I had absolutely no clue how I’d pack to be away from home for an undisclosed timeline. What on earth would I need to bring? At the very least, the bare essentials. But also things like books, paperwork, kitchenware, extra toiletries, ski gear, apparel for the changing season, my toolbox — even a 30-pound bag of dog food.
I needed a bag to manage daily needs but also haul plenty of extras. And it needed to help keep me organized. And just in the nick of time, Matador offered a test sample of its latest do-everything travel bag, the Globerider45.
In short: While the Globerider45 has a pretty high price tag, it delivers on quality and design. Packing this bag full for a variety of travel (a ski trip, road trip, ice climbing trip, winter cabin vacation, and temporary living situation), I was amazed at how much space and organization it offers. Matador made sure its dimensions meet “carry-on” size, but it seems to hold lots more. Things like the padded back panel and shoulder strap design, its durability, as well as the zipper and pocket system all stood out, unlike any other travel pack I’ve used. This pack made it from my house to my car to the three others places I have set up basecamp and down miles of trails, and is still standing strong.
All told, the Globerider45 ($350) has traveled with me over 1,100 miles and counting. Did I test it for durability? You betcha.
Matador Globerider 45L Backpack
420-denier Bluesign nylon UHMWPE-reinforced ripstop nylon (bottom panel), 420-denier Bluesign recycled nylon (exterior), 100-denier Bluesign Robic nylon ripstop (interior), 210-denier nylon bonded thread, PU waterproofing
22" x 11" x 12.8"
4 lbs. 3 oz.
Yes (full internal aluminum frame stay)
Shoulder straps, hip belt, load lifters, sternum strap
5 (3 external, including padded laptop pocket up to 16")
Sealing YKK zippers, zipper loops, reflective zipper pulls
Daisy chain lash points, grab handles on every side
Great internal organization
Comfortable backpack carry
Plethora of grab handles
Versatile for all kinds of travel
Protective laptop sleeve
Narrow water bottle side pocket
Minimalist internal bungee cord
Shoulder and hip belt tricky to store
How It Fares for Travel: Matador Globerider45 Review
When it comes to testing anything designed for travel, you really have to go all in. Matador pitched its Globerider 45 to me as “the brand’s first foray into a generalist travel bag” — but combining the design of a traditional travel pack with materials typically used in the backpacking sphere.
The end goal? Create the ultimate primary backpack for adventure travel.
So how did I go all in? I packed it and re-packed it a dozen times. It came with me everywhere. I lived out of this bag for three months (honestly, I’m still living out of it now!). I used it as luggage, as a road trip duffel, as a bag to stash ski and climbing gear, and of course, schlepped it all over, both on pavement in travel mode and trails in backpack mode.
I’ve used this bag back and forth for several different road trips across Colorado. It arrived in November, right around the time I had to move out of my home and subsequently live out of a bag. Needless to say, the Globerider came at the perfect moment. This isn’t a sample I tested because I found the design intriguing compared to what’s on the market (OK, this is kind of true). But really, I tested this out of necessity.
The first couple of days I had this pack in my possession, I spent time familiarizing myself with its design. It’s sort of like visiting someone’s house for the first time — you have to figure out your way around.
For me, that didn’t take long for two reasons. First, this pack’s design is intuitive and not overly complicated. The pockets and zippers are well-placed and easy to use (more details later). Secondly, I immediately put this pack to use. This wasn’t a pack I tested out on a few occasions; I’ve used it nearly every day since receiving it.
After testing, the three biggest pros that stood out were the Globerider45’s capacity and overall packability, extreme versatility, and the plethora of grab handles and pockets. For months I was displaced from my home, and didn’t really know what gear or apparel I’d need or when. Some days, I just needed an overnight bag that could also carry my work laptop and accessories. Other days, I needed a capable, waterproof bag for winter travel. And on others, I just needed a way to carry everything that came with me daily — my life essentials — on my back. (I travel fairly light, but still, this is no small ask.) Over the course of weeks and months, I’d need a bag that could seamlessly do all three.
Now, this pack isn’t lightweight — it weighs just over 4 pounds and is sturdy thanks to the aluminum frame. The frame and back panel, with the added padding, is a crucial part of the design success of this bag. It’s comfortable to carry, even fully loaded.
The load strap lifters also adjusted well to people of different heights. If anything, there’s maybe too much padding on the center back panel. But the hip belt and shoulder straps are padded just enough to provide comfort without being bulky. And this bag has a whole lot more pros than the straps and fit.
This pack hasn’t just hauled clothes and shoes for a road trip. It’s hauled my work gear for the week, my rotating gear-testing wardrobe, meds and toiletries, birthday cards for friends, ice climbing gear, a bunch of legal paperwork, and a host of other things I can’t recall.
So how is this bag that holds everything I need more “versatile” than the rest?
Perhaps this pack’s biggest selling point is its thoughtfully designed internal organization.
Pockets and Intelligent Storage
This isn’t a one-compartment bag. If you are easily satisfied with a simple, U-shaped, dump-it-in duffel, then this bag isn’t for you.
I found myself using every single pocket regularly, and the same goes for the various grab handles on the front, top, and sides. And they all serve a purpose. If I was packing or accessing items from the top of the bag, standing up, the top grab handle was helpful. If I was loading the Globerider into a car, roof rack box, or overhead compartment, the side grab handles were there. When you stow the backpack straps away, the grab handles still make it very easy to lift, toss around, and carry.
Though Matador claims this pack is a bit “overbuilt,” I wouldn’t say so when it comes to its carry options. I used all the grab handles, the backpack straps, and the bag’s duffel mode (stowing the straps and hip belt away behind the back panel).
Stowing all the straps and components was more difficult than I expected because it fit very tightly in the compartment, zippered behind the back panel. But once it closed, I was happy. It reduces a lot of the exterior features that are easy to catch and snag on things in travel.
As for organization, I used the internal zippered pocket (above) a ton. Designed for shoes or dirty laundry, I found it perfect for separating out gear and used apparel. It’s a great size to stash not just sweaty clothes but also something like my next day’s travel outfit.
Or, you can reserve it for items you don’t need access to in the main compartment — i.e., as often.
The top “admin pocket” is another I used very often. It packed away things like a wallet, glasses, sunglasses, headphones, lip balm, snacks, travel first aid kit, multi-tool, writing pens, and more in a neatly organized way. And, in a better way than some other travel pack’s simple one-slot mesh organization pouch. Finally, the padded laptop compartment towards the back fit my computer, worked well, and provided plenty of protection.
If you travel often and look for crucial components like internal and external pockets, laptop storage, and backpack and hip straps, consider the Matador Globerider45. It’s a unique design in that the Globerider45 seems to have it all — every feature I’ve needed so far, both living out of it and in my travels — in a pretty packable size. And one that isn’t just a duffel but converts to a backpack mode. I really enjoyed its adaptability across a lot of different travel uses.
The cherry on top was how well it held up after some super-rugged testing over two-plus months. Testing included stuffing it with two ropes and hiking down over a mile of ice climbing approach trails, dropping it in a foot of fresh snow, wearing it on my back while I rappelled 100 feet into a canyon, shoving it under a seat on a train, and dragging it across a parking lot.
A do-it-all, built-for-anything, not-too-large, portable travel bag? The Globerider45 is exactly what I needed. During the past few months living out of this bag, I’ve only used one other piece of luggage (not counting two daypacks for hiking and skiing). Heck, I’ll probably review that luggage too, but it’s great for very different reasons.
Otherwise, the Globerider45 has solely carried me — and my apparel, footwear, belongings, dog’s belongings, work stuff, and gear — through an unanticipated stint of vagabonding, which is pretty badass. I’ve been living without access to my home office/desk, kitchen, dresser, gear closet, and various storage systems at home … and I’ve found a way to make do with this bag.
I can’t speak highly enough about this backpack. Yes, it’s over $300. But for me, that price is well worth what the Globerider offers.
I look forward to the day when I don’t need to live out of a backpack and can use this only for fun and travel. Wherever the open road takes me next — especially if the adventure requires a lot of gear but also the ability to be flexible and portable — you can bet the Matador Globerider45 will be accompanying me.
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