There’s Never Been a Better Travel Backpack in the History of Backpacks

Or traveling.

June 13, 2018 9:00 am

It’s grad season, and you know what the means: lots of backpackers will be heading off to farflung South American mountains and East Asian river valleys to revel in their newfound freedom. It’s a rite of passage at least as old as social media.

One huge downside of backpack traveling? The actual backpacks.

From the garish colors (ruining others’ photo ops), to the excessive branding, to the lack of accessible pouches despite the preponderance of zippers and straps suggesting otherwise, there are many reasons to avoid the run-of-the-mill packs slung at your local outdoor-gear store. And we haven’t even touched the engineering aspect yet: weight distribution across the human frame is vital, people. You only get one back.

And yet, for better or worse, travel backpacks are a necessary form of hell for anyone whose destinations don’t involve turndown service. I recently saw off my friend leaving for a few months of work in India, and helping her load the car, I wondered how the hell she was gonna make it work. She had but one body, yet it took both of us and her driver to load her four-foot-tall backpack, totes, gear bags and loose layers. I’m no crone, but even I looked upon this load with feelings mixed of “these crazy youths!” and “hope you have a heating pad in there somewhere.”

But just when I grumpily huff that maybe I’m not cut out for vacations because it’s so hard to find a multifunctional, not-hideous rig that can pal around both cities and nature with me, the NOMAD techwear travel backpack stumbles into my browser.

Where to start? How about with the fact that it looks better than 90% of the bags I see slung on the expensive-suited backs of my fellow Midtown Manhattan commuters (seriously: no Eastpaks in proximity to multi-billion-dollar hedge-fund offices, fellas). Or its reinforced memory-foam back, which adapts to your particular shape and doesn’t impose bad posture on your frame. Other little but brilliant touches: a magnetic buckle (you never know) and built-in USB port.

Naut also makes smaller, modular bags that can be attached to or removed from the NOMAD, including a Crossbody and Hip bag. And the backpack itself is imminently accessible, able to be used either as a roll-top or completely unzipped to open like a suitcase. Nothing is there without purpose.

naut (3 images)

Made from extremely durable Cordura 500D, this bag will last you at least until your next life crisis, which incidentally is a great time to book a trip. And if it doesn’t? That’s what the lifetime warranty is for.

Order before June 30th, and for $310 you will also receive two NOMAD hip bags and a COBRA belt — shipping (free with this deal as well) is slated for July.

Turndown service? Heating pads? Save those for the influencers.

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