When I came across Matador’s booth at Outdoor Retailer this year, I saw something that I don’t often ever see: Innovation. And not just some here and there, but a ton of it across an entire product lineup!
Headquartered locally here in Boulder, Colorado, Matador has come a long way since their first, initial product, the Matador blanket.
Since then, the team has been making major strides with outdoor gear innovation.
Take for instance, their waterproof 24-liter Freerain24 Backpack, which compresses down to the size of your palm. From hip packs to shower towels, travel ear plug kits, dry bags and beyond, if you call yourself an outdoorsman, chances are you’ll drool over their durable, ultra-light gear.
I know I did.
I just had to have their FlatPak toiletry bottle, Camera Base Layer and Nano Dry Shower Towel in my pack. After taking each piece of Matador gear out for a field test review, all have lived up to my expectations and then some.
Read below and you’ll discover why I like their gear as much as I do.
Flatpak Toiletry Bottle:
– TSA approved.
– Holds 3oz (90ml)
– Weighs 11.5 grams
– 5 times lighter and 3.5 times per compact (compared to traditional silicone travel bottles)
– Large fill opening works with liquids, gels and pastes
– Rear snap loop with writeable area for contents description
– Welded Cordura with Proprietary waterproof fabric coating
Camera base layer:
– Waterproof 30D Cordura
– Sorona synthetic Down 600+ fill power equivalent for bump/scratch protection
– Works with most DSLRs, mirrorless cameras, and micro 4/3 camera/lens combinations
– YKK Buckles
– Hypalon rolltop and accents
– Integrated waterproof ripstop nylon rainfly with taped seams
– Works with your existing camera strap
– Sub-second removal for taking the perfect shots on a moment’s notice
– Ultra-light weight at only 68 grams
NanoDry Shower Towel:
– 47 inches by 24 inches (120 x 60 cm)
– Ultra-light weight at only 5 oz, (142g)
– Nanofiber material is 2.3 times lighter than microfiber travel towels
– Absorbs 2.3 times its own weight in water
– Snap loop on rear of towel for hanging
– Machine washable
– Antimicrobial coating stops mildew from occurring
– Available in both Moss Yellow and Charcoal Grey color variations
– Includes a silicone travel case with carabiner
Matador Flatpak Toiletry Bottle Review
Meet the coolest toiletry bottle I have ever seen, the Matador Flatpak. This squishy, ultra-compact pack weighs virtually next to nothing at 11.5 grams. In comparison to other typical travel toiletry bottles, that’s about a 5 times weight savings. For anyone who takes ultra-light gear to an extreme, this piece of gear is an absolute must!
The Flatpak holds an impressive 3oz and fills up easily with anything from liquids to gels to even pastes. On one end you’ll find a large opened secured tightly but a leak-proof cap. On the other a nice loop tag with an area to write the contents in permanent ink.
While preventing inner contents from leaking out is one thing, Matador didn’t just stop there. Instead, Matador make the exterior of the Flatpak non-water absorbent.
Matador Camera Base Layer Review
For the longest time I’ve been on the hunt for a rock-solid camera bag to take with me while outdoors.
While waterproof hard cases offer plenty of protection, they weight a metric ton and take up way too much space! When it comes to softer, padded camera protective bags, virtually all of them are either backpack or lunchbox size. You’re lucky to find one that’s waterproof, and even if you do, chances are it’s going to take a long time to remove your camera gear for the perfect shot.
Instead of wasting precious moments and having to constantly stop and un-bag your photography gear, Matador has invented what I like to think is the best outdoor camera bag out there. It solves all the problems above and then some.
Meet the Matador Camera Base Layer. This wearable protective base layer allows you to keep the camera out and ready for use by using the neck strap or wristlet. Removal takes sub-seconds. It fits most DSLR and mirrorless cameras, and instead of being model-specific, fitment goes by straps which are just about universally all the same size.
In terms of gear protection, the padded exterior is not only cool to look at it, but it’s functional. A Cordura outer shell and Sorona fill padding offer both bump and scratch protection. Best of all, even with the above, the Matador Camera Base Layer only weighs a shockingly light, 74 grams! For some who loves ultra-light gear with a passion, I find this to be rather remarkable.
At the bottom of the Camera Base Layer you’ll find a tucked away, integrated fly for rain and dust protection. I like how they decided to put this at the very bottom which when not in use, ups the level of lens protection with a nice, thick cushiony area. When the fly is pulled out, it covers up the base layer entirely and offers two choices. One, where you can still use the neck strap, and two, where you can completely seal up the entire camera. For situations where there’s light rain or heavy rain, you’ve got nice options to take advantage of.
Matador NanoDry Shower Towel Review
At 47 inches by 24 inches, the Matador NanoDry Shower Towel is certainly true to its size description: Large. Yet, it weighs next to nothing thanks to a construction of ultra-light nanofiber material. In terms of water absorption this towel can soak up an impressive 2.3 times its weight. When completely soaked and squeezed out, I found the dry times to be extremely fast.
Best of all, Matador decided to incorporate a loop at the top of the towel which allows you to hang it from virtually anywhere. In my case, hanging this towel off the end of a tree branch while the breeze blew on by, got it bone dry super quick.
On the Matador NanoDry Shower Towel you’ll also find an antimicrobial coating to keep gunk and odors at bay. Plus an included silicone travel case with a carabiner attachment makes staying organized as simple as it gets.
I’ve seen a lot of camping/outdoor towels out there, but in my opinion this one takes the cake; it truly is the crème de le crème.