Nomatic Navigator Backpack (My Honest Hands-On Bag Review)
Most Travel Lemming content relates to destination guides, but really, our goal is to help readers have better experiences. Whether you’re going on a trip or following your everyday routine, having the proper gear is essential. When it comes to top-rated backpacks, few are as versatile as the Nomatic Navigator Lite.
Nomatic targets “function-focused minimalists,” a descriptor that resonates with me. I believe in purchasing fewer, higher-quality items for the sake of the planet, as well as my wallet. Sleek and modern, the Navigator backpack is stylish both at the office and wherever you’re heading for happy hour. It’s the perfect carry-on, but also comfortable and secure for daily commutes.
Though I’ve only personally tested this bag for a couple of weeks, I have no doubt that it will stand the test of time. It’s made with durable materials, inside and out. But does the build quality justify the $180 price tag? I’ll detail all the pros and cons of the Nomatic Navigator Lite backpack in this honest review.
Let’s dive in!
Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support us by purchasing via the affiliate links on this page, which may earn us commissions. The manufacturer provided a product sample for this review. Thank you!
Protective yet lightweight, the Nomatic Navigator Lite provides an organized solution for your everyday carry items. Made for “life on the move,” its sleek design suits commuting to the office as well as travel and adventure.
Nomatic Navigator Lite Review – Quick Summary
This backpack is part of the new Nomatic Navigator Lite series. This includes the 15L backpack that I tested, as well as three sling bags ranging in sizes from 1-10L. As far as materials and user experience, much of this review relates to the other bags in this line, too.
What I love most about the Nomatic Navigator Lite backpack is its versatility, thoughtful organization, and quality build. Along with that, it’s extremely comfortable with features that protect your personal belongings.
The line is similar to the original Nomatic Navigator series but was designed to be 20% lighter in weight. Comparing this to the standard Navigator Backpack 15L, the 0.3 lb. difference doesn’t matter as much as the $70 savings, in my opinion.
Still, some may argue that the quality doesn’t justify the high cost, especially when comparing it to competing models. I overview a couple of alternatives later in this review, which may be preferred by the budget-conscious shopper.
Pros of Nomatic Navigator
- Modern, urban aesthetic suits various environments
- Thick, comfortable shoulder straps and breathable foam back panel
- Durable, functional materials including a water-resistant exterior, tamper-resistant zippers, and a scratch-proof pocket
- Optional 6L expansion for extra storage space
- Several organizational features, including a hidden water bottle pocket and protective laptop compartment
Cons of Nomatic Navigator
- Expensive given the material quality
- Style is quite neutral and doesn’t express much personality
- Sleek appearance is diminished with no dangle stoppers on the shoulder straps
- Missing some of the key, customer-favorite features of the original Navigator 15L
Nomatic Navigator Lite is best for:
- Those seeking a single, go-to everyday backpack
- Digital nomads or any who generally carry multiple tech devices
- Fans of structure and organization
Nomatic Navigator might not be a fit for:
- Shoppers on a budget
- Multi-day travels
- Storing bulky items
Nomatic Navigator Lite – Full Review
That’s a brief overview, but there’s so much more to share about the Nomatic Navigator Lite. The brand put careful thought into designing this bag, evident in the functional features throughout. In this section, I’ll unpack each element, including the backpack’s materials, organizational options, hidden details, and more.
🧳 Need a Carry On Suitcase? Nomatic has one of those too! Check out Taylor’s Nomatic Navigator Carry On Review to see what she thought of it.
Overall, this backpack is built to last. The water-resistant exterior provides protection, and the mesh/foam back is incredibly comfortable. I also love the diverse materials used on various organizational pockets.
The Nomatic Navigator Lite is made from durable, water-resistant 400D nylon and 330 polyester. This high-density material is unlikely to snag or tear. Plus, the structured front panel provides additional protection.
Though, this isn’t as impressive when compared to the original Nomatic Navigator’s ballistic nylon exterior. The external carry straps and reflective bars are also not included with this lighter model.
The backpack features three handles, each made from a seatbelt-like material. You’ll find one on both sides, allowing the bag to be carried like a briefcase. The top-side handle is ideal for accessibility, especially when pulling it from an overhead compartment.
Back and Straps
Comfort is a big selling point for this bag. The back features an EVA formed foam panel lined with mesh. The same breathable mesh is featured on the inside of the wide shoulder straps. A removable and adjustable sternum strap is included to help with weight distribution.
The shoulder and sternum straps’ adjusters are plastic. However, both are from the YKK brand, a highly trusted manufacturer.
The backpack’s interior offers a softer touch compared to the exterior fabric. The front quick-access pocket features a scratch-proof fleece.
The main compartment includes four elastic pockets – two made with mesh, and two featuring the standard interior fabric. There’s also one wider zipper pocket on the front-side panel. This pocket’s opaque quality makes it an ideal space for a wallet or passport.
However, this isn’t as secure as Nomatic’s original model’s RFID safe pocket. The original backpack also features two zipper pockets inside the main compartment, versus just the one.
Whether traveling abroad or out on an ordinary day adventure, organized belongings allow for a better experience. I’ve touched on a few of the available pockets, but let’s go over these and more features in greater detail.
With gussets on the sides, the main compartment doesn’t quite extend to a clamshell design, but it opens plenty wide to find what you need. As mentioned, you’ll find four smaller pockets on one panel, and a wide zip pocket on the front-side panel. Here, you’ll also find two pen slots.
For more room, you can also expand the main compartment. To do so, simply pull the external expansion zipper, widening the bag to hold an extra 6L.
The compartment closest to the back side of the bag is a simple laptop/tablet pocket. Note that Nomatic’s website mentions a divider wall to accommodate both devices, but this is not the case on the Lite model. However, the pocket does feature a false bottom, improving protection for a laptop up to 16”.
Easy Access Front Pocket
Given its location, this front pocket is best for small, frequently-used items. However, I’d recommend storing your keys in one of the main compartment’s pockets. The reason being, one of this pocket’s key perks is its fleece, scratch-proof lining. This makes it an ideal space for sensitive items like your phone. Keys, though, diminish that protective feature.
Hidden Water Bottle Compartment
One of the most unique features of the original Nomatic Navigator 15L backpack is the hidden water bottle pocket. The Lite version keeps this feature to an extent. But rather than taking up space in the main compartment, the Lite allows up to a 20 oz. bottle to live on outside of the bag.
Really, the only thing that makes this pocket “hidden” is the fact that it tucks into the bag, maintaining a clean appearance when not in use. While it does allow for more internal space, I preferred the more diverse, waterproof pocket of the original model. The external mesh pocket on the Lite version limits what can be safely stored.
Nomatic truly considers their customers, evident in their luxury bags’ thoughtful features. Let’s go over some of this backpack’s interesting inclusions in greater detail.
The Nomatic Navigator Lite features PU-coated Zoom Zippers. Though not technically locking zippers, the backpack features two sets of interlacing zippers. One set protects the main compartment and the other secures the laptop compartment.
👉 Pro Tip: Note that the front easy access pocket does not feature a set of interlacing zippers. If traveling in a crowded space, I’d advise storing your valuables in the main compartment’s mesh organizational pockets.
For many, airports are stressful. Finding your terminal while juggling multiple bags, your neck pillow, and to-go coffee is a bit of a nightmare. Nomatic understands these woes and on the back of the bag, they installed a convenient luggage strap. This allows you to easily slide the backpack onto your roller luggage, transforming your travel experience.
Charging Cord Slot
Digital nomads will especially love the small opening that connects the laptop pocket and main compartment. The purpose of this, you ask? The outlet allows you to draw a cord through. Meaning, you could have your laptop connected to a portable power bank stored in the main section of the bag. Genius!
- Weight: 2.4 lbs (1.0 kg)
- Dimensions: 19 inches x 12 inches x 5.5 inches (48 cm x 30 cm x 14 cm)
- Material: 400D Nylon and 330 Poly Melange
- Color Options: Gray
- Warranty & Guarantee: Nomatic covers manufacturing defects and offers a more comprehensive warranty with an additional fee
Nomatic Navigator Lite Alternatives
Not sure if the Nomatic Navigator Lite is the right bag for you? Consider these two alternatives, both of which happen to be a bit more affordable at $100 retail.
BOPAI Your Style 17L Backpack
In many ways, this backpack mirrors the Nomatic Navigator Lite. Slim and sleek, this structured bag also features a top and side handle. A luggage strap, expansion zipper (extending to 23L), and tucked water bottle pocket are also featured.
It, too, is suitable for those who carry multiple tech devices and even features a USB charging port. Protection is a key feature, being made with water-resistant leather and ballistic nylon.
Osprey Arcane 20L Day Bag
I live in Denver, and most Coloradans are familiar with the locally-made Osprey brand. They’re maybe not as luxurious or modern as Nomatic, but they’re well-respected for their functional products.
The Arcane Day Bag is available in a similar heather gray color as the Navigator Light. Its minimalist style suits both business and outdoor environments. A 15” laptop sleeve, scratch-proof front pocket, and low-profile water bottle compartment are a few of these products’ similarities.
📚 Related Reading: Be sure to read Nate’s Osprey Porter review! After traveling to more than 60 countries with the Osprey Porter 46, he can tell you exactly what to expect.
FINAL VERDICT – Is The Nomatic Navigator Lite Worth It?
Overall, I believe that the Nomatic Navigator Lite is worth the investment. The brand has a cult following for a reason, offering stylish, versatile products. This comfortable backpack is made with solid, long-lasting materials. Its features will especially appeal to travelers and those that often carry tech devices.
Do you own the new Nomatic Navigator Lite? Tell us your thoughts in the comments; we’d love to hear about your experience!
For more honest backpack reviews, check out our guide to the best travel backpacks. This includes the Tortuga Travel Backpack and Backpacker by Salkan, a couple of Travel Lemming favorites.
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NAVIGATOR LITE BACKPACK
The Nomatic Navigator Lite backpack is comfortable and made with solid, long-lasting materials. Its features will especially appeal to travelers and those that often carry tech devices.
Product Brand: Nomatic
Product In-Stock: InStock