Matador SEG30 Segmented Backpack review TL;DR: the best gym bag for people who like to keep their dirty underwear separate from their post-workout snacks.
I was looking forward to reviewing the Matador SEG30 Segmented Backpack even though we still can’t travel anywhere and I’m mostly working out at home. That said, I love quality backpacks and also love keeping my stuff organised so the SEG 30 seemed like a good fit for my needs, at least on paper.
And although the Matador SEG30 Segmented Backpack is not a dedicated gym bag – it’s certainly not the best gym bag – it works great as a carrier for all your gym gear, including protein bars, workout shoes etc. That’s because of the way the bag is designed: it features no less than seven organising pockets, and not just those flimsy phone pockets you find in most backpacks.
No, all of the 30-litre volume of the Matador SEG30 can be filled using the four main pockets. Or you can just chuck all your stuff in the main compartment and don't worry about your sweaty socks touching your gym water bottle. You monster.
Matador SEG30 Segmented Backpack review: price and availability
The Matador SEG30 Segmented Backpack is available to buy now at Matador US for a recommended retail price of $149.99.
In the UK, you can buy the Matador SEG30 Segmented Backpack at Wildbounds for £139.95.
Matador SEG30 Segmented Backpack review: design
The Matador SEG30 Segmented Backpack is advertised as a ‘minimalist’ organiser, I assume mainly because minimalist bags are still all the rage. What this minimalist design means is hard to tell but the SEG30 does have a bit of a stripped back quality to it: the all black exterior and tubular shape catches the eye with its sleekness.
Apart from looking cool, I also found the Matador SEG30 Segmented Backpack highly functional. As mentioned above, the four zipped compartments at the front can be used to fill up the whole 30-litre volume of the bag with each segment having more room inside from top to bottom. So while ‘Segment 1’ at the top is only 4 litres, ‘Segment 4’ at the bottom is a whopping 12 litres.
The main zipper on the side of the bag grants you access to the same space but as a whole and better still, it’s a ‘clamshell’ opening so you get a good overview of what’s in the bag. As well as these pockets, there is also a small pocket just under the handle at the top for phone/wallet etc. plus a dedicated laptop pocket at the bag. Aaaaaand there is also a separate compartment for water bottles. I wasn’t lying when I said there is room for everything in the SEG30.
Matador SEG30 Segmented Backpack review: usability
I know the main appeal of the Matador SEG30 Segmented Backpack is the segments but what I really like about it was all the handles littered around the perimeter of the bag, making it possible to lift the bag up with two hands using the handles no matter what position it was. There are two handles at the top, one at the bottom and one on the side, so you can carry the SEG30 however you want to.
Of course, given it’s a backpack, there are also shoulder straps and if you read my article about how to pack a gym bag properly, you know full well that I prefer backpacks over duffels when it comes to carrying gym gear: backpacks distribute the weight evenly across the two shoulders, helping you keep a better posture. The sternum strap will make sure the bag stays in place and can also come in handy when you cycle.
The Matador SEG30 Segmented Backpack is made of 420D nylon outer with ‘UTS waterproofing’ and I’m not going to lie, not sure what ‘UTS’ means but this technology apparently also protects the 100D Robic Dynatec weave interior liners so they are waterproof too. That said, I haven’t tried storing a wet towel in any of the compartments so I can’t confirm how well each pocket retains water. They look sealed enough to keep sweaty gym stuff contained.
One thing I noted as I went on a daytrip is that the softer pockets are better suited for storing soft stuff such as clothes and towels as opposed to, let’s say, food containers and headphones. I popped my Skullcandy Crusher Evo in one of the top compartments with the bottom ones not being full up with stuff and it ‘fell behind’ the lower pockets, making it less visible in the process. When you have a few different bits of electronics in there you might end up having to fold the pockets to find them. Nothing major, just a small observation.
Matador SEG30 Segmented Backpack review: verdict
You’ll love the Matador SEG30 Segmented Backpack if you’re a bag nerd like me: it’s sleek, well designed and amazingly versatile. I took it for a day trip and also for a weekender and on both occasions, it had no complaints about it. On the contrary, I loved how light yet resilient the SEG 30 was; people even complimented the bag on my travels, not something that happens to me often.
One downside of the bag is its price: $150 is a lot to ask for a bag, no matter how brilliant it is and for many, not even all the great features will be enough to justify the price. For the price, though, you’ll get an amazing bag that can be used as a gym bag, a day trip bag, cycling backpack, or whatever else you’ve got in mind.
Finally, if you need one more reason to get the Matador SEG30, let me remind you that backpacks are the superior gym bags, compared to duffels. Nuff' said.
Matador SEG30 Segmented Backpack review: also consider
Talking about expensive bags: I have been contemplating getting the Cotopaxi Allpa 35L Travel Pack for at least two years now: it looks equally as sexy as the Matador SEG30 Segmented Backpack but in a colourful way. It’s slightly larger and more expensive than the SEG30 but boy-oh-boy, does it look good or what.
I can’t recommend the Chrome BLCKCHRM 22X Yalta 3.0 enough, especially if you’re a cyclist. It’s more rigid than the SEG30 but it has a removable liner that doubles up as a tote bag (!) and it can probably withstand an atomic blast too.