Matador Freefly 16 Review: Six-Month Check-In

Brand: Matador

Model: Freefly16 Packable Backpack


  • Waterproof 30D Cordura ripstop
  • 16-Liter capacity
  • Silicone outer coating, PU inner coating for weatherproofing
  • Water-resistant taped zippers
  • Sealed seams
  • Adjustable contoured air mesh shoulder straps
  • Large main compartment, small front compartment
  • External water bottle pockets
  • 17" x 11" x 8"
  • 4.8 oz

For full initial impressions, check out our previous post about the Matador Freefly 16.

Where we left off, I was thoroughly impressed how easily this ultralight packable pack integrated itself into my daily routine. Whenever my girlfriend and I would leave the house, we’d grab it with a couple of 32 oz Yetis and some snacks.

Having spent 6 months with it, I could not be happier. While it hasn’t replaced my regular backpack for EDC or travel, the Freefly 16 is the only pack I use on day hikes. It has been on my back for probably hundreds of miles. The "weight-distributing," "non-absorptive monomesh" shoulder straps are simply amazing. Their barely-there structure offers just enough comfort that I forget they're there.

One of my concerns about the pack was durability. In order for the Freefly 16 to be packable and ultralight, Matador has to use thinner fabrics, smaller fittings. For example, the body is 30D Cordura nylon. Compare that to the 1200D fabric on my EDC backpack. The zippers and clips are tiny. And yet, the body, hardware, taped seams all appear to be in mint condition.

The only sign of wear is the “siliconized waterproof coating.” Matador calls the pack, “weatherproof.” It remains water-resistant, but water gets through when it rains hard enough.

Matador has changed how I approach packing, space, and weight altogether. I’ve always had a penchant for the overbuilt, the overengineered. Often, less is more. Shop Matador here.