Matador Freefly16 Review | Packable Backpack For Travel (Updated “Advanced Series” Design)

– In this video we aregoing to be taking a look at the Matador Freefly16.

I'm Tom, the Founder of Pack Hacker and we love helping peopleoptimize their travel experience with guides and reviewsjust like this one.

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Let'sjump right into the Freefly16.

Pretty much the nextiteration of the Daylite16, even though Matador saysthey are mutually exclusive.

So let's jump in.

[upbeat music playing] From an aestheticprospective the Freefly16 is offered in charcoal gray – which is basically a black on black with exception of the white Matador logo on the exterior of the compression sack.

We think this is a moremature color option.

The Daylite16 was offeredin like an indigo which actually looked alittle bit more like a blue, and then also a gray color.

So the black on black offers a bit more of a polished look overall.

However, aesthetics are alwaysin the eyes of the beholder.

So we decided to pollour Instagram audience over at Pack Hacker.

If you want to be involved in future polls, be sure to head over there and join us.

From a branding perspective, we are looking at asubtle gray on black logo on the exterior of the pack, an M logo at the bottom front, a white on black logo onthe compression pouch, and then a small M atthat base of the straps.

This pack also features30D siliconized ripstop Cordura nylon, that's sealed at the edges for additional weatherproofing.

Basically it's thin, lightweight, and overall strong material.

We have YKK buckles, which isfrom a Japanese manufacturer that makes some of thegreatest zippers in the world.

We also have Duraflex hardware for some of the strap adjustment going on.

And then some non-absorbingshoulder straps that are made ofnon-absorbant mesh material.

Lastly we have someteeny, tiny SVS zippers, going on in this thingand they're very small.

We're surprised not to see Matador beef these up a little bit more, especially after we'veheard a couple reports of zippers breakingafter only minimal use.

To compare the interior of ourFjallraven passport wallet – where you like hide extra coins and cards and things like that – it's actually about the same size zipperas the entire exterior of this clamshell opening of this pack.

Just some food for thought for you.

Also one important noteon the materials here, is that Matador states thatthey use waterproof materials on their website.

Andalthough this is true – and the bag is highly water resistant – it is not waterproof.

So you can't just dunk this into the sea or the ocean or anything like that, water will get inside.

However, if you are lookingfor a waterproof type pack, be sure to check out their Freerain24 2.


That thing does a really great job, and it is highly weather resistant with a couple improvementsas well on the 1.

0 version.

Starting with the compressed states – the Freefly16 is a little bit larger than the Daylite16 when fully compressed.

Also the mechanism by whichthe compression happens is a little bit different.

So on the Freefly16, we havethis kind of compression roll, similar to what you're goingto see on weather-resistant dry bags.

And on the Daylite16, it is a simple drawstring method.

Overall the drawstringmethod seems to work a little bit better foran item of this size.

Like you're not puttinga bunch of stuff in, it doesn't need to becompletely waterproof.

And it gets it a little bit tighter with this kind of roll-top design we got going on here.

It's a little bit harder to compress it fullydown, which leave this being a little bitlarger than the Daylite16 when in the compressed state.

A couple great things goingon with the compression sack of this thing though, is that there's a nice loop here, that's foldedover.

So you can hang it up or attach it with acarabiner, anything like that.

Also when uncompressed, the compression bag is attached to theinterior of the Freefly16, and this happened on the Daylite as well.

However, this time there is an option to detach it if you choose to -so, nice little thinking, and some nice improvement there as well.

One glaring production issue though – at least on our version – isthat it's starting to split at the seams here on the compression sack.

So actually, let me just compress it and show you a little bit better – roll the top, boom, like that.

So you can actually seethat it is splitting and starting to fray at the seams there after only about two months of use.

Now we have the bag inthe uncompressed state, let's kick it off with the harness system.

The shoulder straps are non-absorbing, which makes them idealfor inclement weather and they're not going to soakup a bunch of moisture.

At first, honestly, I wasn't sure what I thought about these -they were a little bit crinkly and somewhat stiff.

But after some usage I started to get used to them, and actually started tolike them a little bit more than I did initially.

And in comparison to theDL16 – the previous iterations – the straps would sort oftwist up every now and then, and you had to kind of straighten them.

But with the Freefly16 straps, that doesn't happen.

Also these straps are adjustable via Duraflex hardware.

Above the harness system wehave a folded and sewn hook, which is just great forhanging this thing up anywhere you need.

Each side of this packfeatures a water bottle pocket and it's a big improvement on the DL16, for a couple reasons.

First the elastic on topis thicker, stronger, and more stretchy.

It's not quite as hardcore as what we've seen on the Mystery Ranch In & OutPackable Daypack, but it's getting close.

Next, there doesn't seem tobe as much frayed stitching as we've seen on theDaylite16 after months of use.

Plus the pack now featurescompression cinch buckles, which is great forkeeping your gear secure.

It's just overall a tighter set up and these details matterin product iteration.

Next up there is oneexterior pocket on the front that opens up pretty widefor larger and longer items.

And the opening is also a lot wider than the Daylite16, which is just another great improvement on the pack.

Moving on to the inside of the pack, you've pretty much got a giant bucket.

The zippers open up in a horseshoe style down to the top of thewater bottle compartment.

On the interior you can really see where the Cordura was welded together to create some additionalweather resistance on the pack.

As far as packing thisthing up for the day, we would recommend a padded laptop sleeve if you're going to betoting one of those around.

And since the material is so thin we would recommend placing pointier items, or a lot of smaller items, in padded packing cubes or some type of pouchesso they don't stick into your back as you'recarrying this thing around.

At the time of this review, I have personally beentesting the Matador Freefly16 for about two months.

Overall the main benefitof a pack like this, is to compress it and stowit away in your larger bag for use when you need it.

That's not going to do super well, though, if that compression bag fraysand splits into nothing.

Other than that, everything else has been going pretty great – I've been testing it basically as a daily driver.

Taking it on my bike to andfrom the co-working space, and just generally takingit around the city.

I really dig using the DL16, so the Freefly16 is my personal favorite in this line up.

However, I think a lot of people actually prefer the Freerain24 due to the added weather resistance, and just generally waterproofness that goes on with that bag, as long as you close it securely.

I just dig the Freefly16for popping in my laptop, a couple other items, then I'm good to go to the coffee shop orthe co-working space, wherever I end up wanting tospend my time for the day.

So to wrap this thing upwith some pros and cons – this is very packable and great, paired with a larger one-bag travel bag.

It is highly weatherresistant and quick drying, especially those mesh straps.

The considered details makefor great functionality in a small package.

On to some of the cons – the compression system isn't ideal for maximum compressibility and it's starting to rip, which isn't great, only after two months of use.

The main zipper is quitesmall and could be stronger.

The front pocket is notideal for quick grab items, although some people mayenjoy a larger front pocket.

Overall the Matador Freefly16 offers some great improvementscompared to it's predecessor.

We love the thinking goingon with Matador's products and the small form factor.

However, the low durability alwaysleaves us wanting more.

From the splitting of the compression sack to the smaller zippers, itleaves some to be desired.

This is a little bit more excusable on a packable daypack thana main piece of luggage, but we hope Matador considersupgrading these things in those couple of areas.

Thanks for taking a look at our review on the Matador Freefly16.

Be sure to head over topackhacker.

com/newsletter, sign up for that newsletterand never miss an update.

We'll see you in the next video.

We also have Duraflex hardwarefor the strap adjustment.

Formerly known as the DL16 .



nope, those are reversed.

[Tom whistles].