Nomatic Navigator Backpack 15L Review (Updated 2022)

Nomatic Navigator Backpack 15L review (Updated 2022)

Just like all the Nomatic products, this Navigator Backpack 15L  is designed for digital nomads and business professionals.

It’s a great EDC to use to and from your office as it can carry up to 13″ laptop and it’s also can expand to 20 liters. Although this pack may not be charming for everyone, we are sure that some would love it for its organization and functionality. 

Watch our epic Nomatic Navigator Backpack 15L review below! 

Nomatic Navigator Backpack 15L
Overall Score

4.4/5
Overall Score - 4.4/5
Style
Comfort
Functionality
Durability
Value

Nomatic Navigator Backpack 15L Pros

  • Has a tall and slim profile
  • Has a simple user experience
  • Excellent expansion from 15 to 20 liters

Nomatic Navigator Backpack 15L Cons

  • It could have a better materials- some parts of the pack looks cheap for its price point
  • Has weird build issues, some has wavy stitching and irregular indentation

Nomatic Navigator Backpack 15L
Alternatives

Just in case you aren’t sold on the Nomatic Navigator Backpack 15L yet, we’ve added some alternative recommendations below. 

These recommendations are very similar to the Nomatic Navigator Backpack 15L, but have some important differences that might work better for you!

Alternative #1
Aer Day Pack 2

Aer Day Pack 2

Designed for the same purpose and capacity

Alternative #2
Nomatic Travel Pack

Nomatic Travel Pack

Perfect for EDC and short trips

Alternative #3
Bellroy Melbourne backpack

Business backpack with an Australian vibe

Melbourne Backpack

Nomatic Navigator Backpack 15L
Gist of the Pack

Welcome to our Nomatic Navigator Backpack 15L review.

Welcome to our Nomatic Navigator 15 Liter backpack review. Woo. She is a beauty, tall, slim profile, modern design, but does this backpack live up to the 250 US dollar price tag? 

All right. We’re going to start off by talking about just the overall gist of the Nomatic Navigator 15 Liter backpack. Really, this backpack, to me, comes down to its awesome design, and it’s got that super slim profile and sort of this modern futuristic look on the front of the bag. It’s black. It’s urban, but it doesn’t compromise functionality. Because you got a whole bunch of cool pockets. Nomatic is known for their pockets, but it’s simpler than their other line of backpacks. There isn’t like a bajillion pockets in here. It’s actually a lot cleaner and simpler of a user experience.

Some really great materials and some really bad ones. The backpack is really comfortable to wear, as well. We’ll get into that a bit more in the back section. It’s definitely great for techies or digital nomads, because that hard shell is going to help keep your tech gear secure and protected, especially with this laptop compartment in the back, as well. It can also expand from 15 liters to 21 liters, making it a more versatile everyday carry experience.

Nomatic Navigator Backpack 15L
Front of the Pack

Important points: External lash points, Junior Ballistic nylon for its exterior material, reflectors, keyring solution, & hidden secure pocket

Let’s talk about the front of the Nomatic Navigator 15 Liter backpack.

Some notes about the materials. This is like a junior ballistic nylon. Ballistic nylon is smooth to the touch, but it’s quite rugged and quite durable. This is not my favorite ballistic nylon. Typically, backpacks in this price range that use ballistic nylon will go with a company called Cordura. It feels fine, but I do think, for the price tag, that Nomatic  should have upped their game a little bit. I would’ve loved to have seen Cordura on this. We also have a tarpaulin material up here. I love this tarpaulin. It’s super durable. Let’s test how durable it actually is. That’s a knife. Woo. Yeah. Let’s try it. Yeah. Thanks for the knife, Tav.

Also, love Nomatic’s clean branding. The recessed logo right here on the tarpaulin looks very clean, but I do have some issues with some of the build of the front of this bag. We’ve had some problems with the Navigator series where you can see… You just got a little bit of waviness on these reflectors here. Also, you can see that the build, it looks fine on this side, but it gets a little bit of an indentation on the other side, which kind of takes away from the tidiness and cleanliness of the look a little bit.

This is a really unique selling point in this bag. Basically, these are external lashes. So these guys can be popped off, super simple, and the bag looks like this, a lot cleaner, or super simple just to hook them back on. But these are more than just aesthetics. They’re functional. They’re external lash points. Let’s say you got a tripod, yoga mat. You can go ahead and slide that in here. Tighten these guys up. You’re good to go. Now you can carry things on the outside of your back, and it should be noted, too, that these guys right here are actually reflectors, which makes a lot of sense on a matte black backpack, especially if you are in the city, you walk around, you’re in an urban environment. It’s just a little way to kind of feel a little bit more safe and secure.

Now, we got one pocket in the front. It’s this guy right here. Little side pocket. In the side pocket, we have a key ring and one additional pocket inside the pocket. The key ring is a pretty basic solution, just sort of a buckle. Now, I really like the location of the key ring here. Why? Well, because think about it. This is an everyday carry, and you’re going to need to access your keys on a day-to-day basis. So no matter when you need your keys, boom, accessibility, quick slide, quick unzip, quick grab, pop your keys off. That was what? Two seconds to grab my keys? You unlock the door, pop it back on, buckle in. Never had to take the bag off. Never had a struggle. Good to go.

For this pocket inside, I got mixed feelings on it. It’s nice to have a little extra organization and a hidden secure pocket, and it’s a good spot for, where is it, your wallet. But as you can see right there as I was fidgeting around, it’s not the most easily accessible pocket. It takes a little bit of finagling to get in it and to get out it, and also to open it and to close it. It’s tight, but it is a good place to keep something hidden in case you need it, maybe a backup stash of cash and a backup credit card. I don’t know the things that you need to hide, but whatever you need to hide, that’s a good spot to hide it.

Nomatic Navigator Backpack 15L
Middle of the Pack

Important points: YKK zip, basic nylon webbing, water bottle solution, scratch-resistant, and RFID-safe pocket

Next up, let’s talk about the middle of the Nomatic Navigator 15 Liter backpack. What you bringing to the table, dude? Yeah. It’s actually on the table. It’s like, “I’m on the table.” We got three handles, one on each side and one on the top. This is basic nylon webbing with a little bit of padding in there. Notice in the middle section, we have a lot of zippers, too. Let’s just talk about the zips real fast. These are not YKK zips. In fact, on my backpack, one zip is a YKK zip, but none of the others are. They are all PU-coated, though, excluding the expansion zipper.

This is one thing that annoys me about this backpack. I feel at this price range, it should have YKK zippers, but the zippers themselves, I actually quite like. They’re easy to interact with. We got these little poles, the wire, and then they’re, what’s the word, Tav, they’re tamper proof. So ain’t no crafty thieves going to be just pulling one zip out. They just kind of tie into each other. Pretty cool. Next up, let’s talk about the water bottle holder. I’m a big fan. You might not be. Same zip, and we have a little bit of a lockable situation going on up here. You can go ahead and pass the zipper through this little nylon guy, and it kind of makes the zipper tamper-resistant.

But I quite like this water bottle solution, because it stores the water bottle on the inside. I got an 18 ounce hydro flask in here. It’s a really nice fit. Waterproof materials in case your water bottle spills. Good. Good call, Tav, and there’s also a little drainage hole on the bottom in case of any spillage. Now, you need to understand there’s pros and cons for a water bottle holder that’s on the inside. The pro is sleekness. Right? Normally, the water bottle’s here. It’s just hanging off the side, and you’re bumping into people. But you get what I’m saying. So when it’s on the inside, the backpack has a super clean and sexy profile. But when it’s on the inside, it’s going to compromise the amount of storage space that you have in the main compartment, which we’ll talk about soon, not yet.

Next up, we have a quick access pocket on the top, yet again, non-YKK, but a waterproof zipper. Then, this is maybe some sort of microfiber or fleece material, definitely scratch-resistant, and that’s why it’s definitely a great spot for your shades. Also noted that there is a cord pass-through holder, which means you can keep a charger on the main compartment of your bag, throw the wire through. Since the pocket is scratch-resistant, you can keep your phone in here, which means it’s safe, and you can charge it simultaneously. Pretty sweet.

All right. Main compartment. Let’s open her up. Two zips. Zips both go down to here so you get a decent access. This is the main compartment. On this side, we have two pockets. The top one is an RFID-safe pocket, which basically just means that if you have your credit cards or passport in there, it’s not going to get scanned, and your information’s not going to get stolen. It’s a simple pocket. This is actually the YKK zipper, the one YKK zipper that we could found. They put it on their RFID-safe pocket. I have no idea why. If you know why, please let us know in the comments. No other internal organization there.

Next pocket we have is a mesh pocket. This is a good pocket, I think, for something like a notebook. I got my little notebook in there. I got a pen in there. It’s not a super big pocket. It’s only about yea big, but I love Nomatic’s mesh. Where I do feel like Nomatic skimped on some materials, their mesh is not one of them. Speaking of mesh, let’s talk about the mesh pockets on the other side. On this side we have one, two, three, four, five mesh pockets. The four on the top are smaller, and the fifth one on the bottom reaches the entire width of the backpack.

Yet again, love the mesh materials. Super stretchy. Super elasticy. They feel quite durable. Mesh is just great, because you can see what you store in those pockets. Because if you got five, six pockets, you might forget what you put where. It’s a pretty fine mesh, so it’s not super, super see-through, but it’s see-through enough as to where it just gives you that little advantage. I got something in each one of these pockets. You can see it’s big enough for a chunky computer charger, but then it’s good for smaller tidbits. I got a hand sanitizer, my AirPods, backup headphones, portable battery. Then, the bottom pocket is great for a notebook or a book.

But one thing to be aware of. We talked about the water bottle pocket. Now, right now, I have it clipped in so it’s nice and tidy, but if your water bottle is actually in the pocket, like we’re doing right now, like I said, on the good side, clean profile. On the bad side, though, now we’ve got some compromised functionality or at least less space in the main compartment. It’s not super obtrusive, but if you’re trying to put things on the left side or this side of the pack, the water bottle is going to compromise that ever so slightly. Overall, though, I got to say I’m a big fan of this main compartment. There’s enough pockets to keep you organized while still having a clean and simple user experience.

Nomatic Navigator Backpack 15L
Back of the Pack

Important points: PU-coated zipper, non-YKK, can fit up to a 16-inch, hard shell backpack, and luggage pass-through holder, 

All righty. Let’s talk about back of the bag. All right. Let’s start with the tech compartment. Yet again, it’s a waterproof, PU-coated zipper, non-YKK or non-branded, but it gets you inside here. It’s like a three quarters opening. Stops on this side. Stops down here, and kaboom. We have the tech compartment. I quite like this compartment, because it’s very simple. It doesn’t try to do too many things. It’s just like, “Hey. Keep your laptop in here or your iPad,” and that’s it. As you can see, I got a 13-inch MacBook Pro. I think it can fit up to a 16-inch. Double check, though, before buying.

I also like this compartment, because my laptop feels quite safe and secure in here. Two reasons for that. Reason number one, a decent amount of padding. This spot right here, pretty well-padded. The back panel, very well-padded. Not really much going on here, but it’s kind of a hard shell backpack. So, in general, just like the padding feels on point. Also, it’s a really good false bottom. It’s one of the better false bottoms I’ve ever used. Yeah. 

On the back panel, we have a little loop right here, good if you want to hang your backpack up on a hook somewhere. The back panel itself is a really comfortable wear. It looks sick. We got nice molding, definitely a little bit on the harder side, which I have slowly actually been growing … I don’t know. I kind of like harder padding now. I used to just like the super soft stuff, but now, the denser harder stuff kind of feels satisfying in its own way, as well.

The molding is a nice design, and you have these carvings right here, which will give you a little bit extra breathability on your back. There’s also a luggage pass-through holder right here. It’s well-branded. It’s got, “Life on the Move.” It’s like Nomatic’s slogan. But also, it kind of works as like going into briefcase mode if you want, because you can take the straps and slide them on through here. Now, this is not advertised like this, but it’s just something that you should be aware of, that if you do want to go into briefcase mode, hold it on one of these side handles. Then, you can. Now, the back is going to look a little weird. It’s going to look a little off, but the front is dope. You know? You can carry in briefcase mode and be a briefcase person.

Let’s talk about the shoulder straps. I’m a big fan of what’s happening with these shoulder straps. You’ve got a nice amount of cushioning. As to where the back is a little bit dense and harder, these shoulder straps are just a little bit more cushioned. It’s really comfortable to wear, but one thing you need to be aware of is when you’re wearing it … Oh. Wear, wear, wear. That’s a lot of wears in one sentence. If you go tight like I do, the should straps maybe dig into your ribcage a little bit, not much. It’s not painful. It’s just noticeable. But if you are more of a loosey-goosey type, this is not going to be a problem for you.

Moving down further south, we’ve got a sternum strap here, maybe by YKK, strangely enough. It’s a pretty good sternum strap. You got a clip system right here so you can take it on and take it off. So it pops out like that and slides out pretty easy. Got a little dangle stopper here on the sternum strap. Moving down to the shoulder straps, we have some more reflectors. Nomatic, keeping you safe. The hardware on the bottom of the shoulder strap is metal. I love this. I know it’s kind of a nerdy thing, and most people don’t think it’s that important. But it’s one of those parts of the bag that I interact with a lot, just trying to loosen it or tighten it depending on what I’m carrying and just how I’m feeling, or I’m fidgeting around with it. The feel of this metal hardware just feels so much better than the plastic, and I do think this is a really nice and sleek touch.

Nomatic Navigator Backpack 15L
Pros and Cons (Detailed)

Let’s talk about the overall pros and the overall cons of the Nomatic Navigator 15 Liter backpack. Overall, pro number one, got to be the shape. It’s very tall for a 15 liter backpack. It’s very slim, and that gives it a great aesthetic but also awesome comfort and functionality. Pro number two is that we love the simple user experience in the main compartment, and pro number three is going to be a very smooth and easy to use expansion feature. But on the flip side, there’s some cons of this backpack. We’ve got a few cons. Let’s talk about them.

Con number one is that Nomatic definitely skimped on some of their materials. For a 250 US dollar backpack, I would’ve liked to have seen YKK zippers, and maybe this ballistic nylon should be something that’s a little bit more name brand. Con number two is that we have some weird build and sewing issues. We got a little bit of waviness on the reflectors on both parts. While this side looks really smooth and well-built, this side has an indentation that kind of throws off the look a little bit for me.

Nomatic Navigator Backpack 15L
Alternatives (Detailed)

Let’s talk about who I think this bag is perfect for and who I think can take a pass on it. This is definitely a great everyday carry for you if you’re looking for a bag that gives you a lot of organization, especially for your tech gear. You got a great laptop compartment. The laptop’s going to be very well-protected. You got the pockets in the main compartment to keep all your chargers, and your mouse, and your keyboards, and everything sort of organized. Then, the hard shell is going to make sure that all that tech stuff is especially well-protected.

We also think this is a great pack for you if you’re looking for a business/work everyday carry. Not only is it going to keep all of your tech stuff safe as we just previously mentioned, but it’s got that business sleek aesthetic to it. This is also definitely a great bag for you if you’re super attracted to a bag that’s on the thinner side as opposed to the bulkier side. 

Aer Day Pack 2

As you can see right here, we have the Aer Day Pack 2 on my left and the Nomatic Navigator 15 Liter on my right. They’re both 15 liters, but at the end of the day, this pack is tall and slim versus other 15-liter backpacks have a tendency to be short and be a little bit fat... plumper, fat. Yeah. Sure. But on the flip side, here’s some people that I think can take a pass on this backpack. 

This might not be the bag for you If you’re like, “Dude, love the urban, sleek black businessy look, but I can’t drop 250 bucks on a backpack right now.” Check the Aer Day Pack 2(full review here). This also might not be the pack for you if you’re like, “Dude, I love the expansion thing that’s happening here, but I just wish that it expanded a little bit bigger.”

The good news is that there’s another backpack also made by the Nomatic which expands from 20 liters to 30 liters. If that interests you, check out the Nomatic Travel Pack. Watch our full review here.

This also might not be the pack for you if you’re like, “I really want a business backpack, but I’m not into the whole dark, black, sleek look. I want something that’s a little more fun, a little bit more colorful.” To that, I say check the Bellroy Melbourne Backpack. Watch the full review here for a different businessy type backpack that is less like black and just has more life to it.

Nomatic Navigator Backpack 15L
Conclusion

What do you think about the 15 liter Nomatic Navigator? Do you also agree that they should have YKK zippers at this price point? Does the non-dangle-stoppers put you in a cursing rage like it did with me? Or if you own this pack, please let us know what your experience has been like so far. We would love to hear from you, and your comments help make the internet and this channel just a better place, more educated, which means that people can find the pack that is perfect for them.

Thanks, guys, and we’ll see you next time!

***Disclaimer*** Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you use our links, Nomads Nation will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for the love and support!

Written by Aaron Radcliffe

City dweller. Dumpling crusher. Aaron is a serial entrepreneur, and the founder of Nomads Nation. Connect with Aaron Radcliffe -

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