Nomatic Backback & McKinnon Camera Bag Review

Like many awesome brands, Nomatic is a crowdfunded company with humble beginnings on Kickstarted. It all began in 2015 when the founders designed an innovative wallet that broke records with over 6,000 backers on the Kickstarter platform. 

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Since then, the brand has gone from no-name to big name in the world of functional backpacks and travel gear. With 10 other Kickstarted campaigns under their belt and dozens of products on the market, NOMATIC has continued to innovate and manufacture great gear! 

What is the NOMATIC Backpack? 

We first heard of NOMATIC back in 2015, when their Travel Bag made waves within the travel community. Backpackers and bloggers were swearing by this excellent quality backpack and innovative design. 

Fast forward to 2021 when the time had finally come for us to upgrade our travel bags and NOMATIC brand popped back up on our radar. Many many hours of research later and we are now proud owners of NOMATIC Peter Mckinnon Camera Bag and the NOMATIC Navigator Series Carry On Roller. We’ll review both further down the post. 

Before we get into this NOMATIC backpack review, let’s take a look at the most popular NOMATIC Backpacks and Travel Bags to clear up any confusion about the bags, it’s names and functionalities. 

NOMATIC Backpack and Bags Range
NOMATIC Products Range
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NOMATIC Original Line

Launched on Kickstarted back in 2016 with the Nomatic Travel Bag that became the most-backed travel bag on the platform, this line quickly grew to include a Nomatic Backpack, Travel Back and a few other accessories. It was positioned as the most functional line of everyday backpacks and travel bags and includes the following bestsellers. 

NOMATIC Backpack Review

The NOMATIC Backpack is the brand’s most popular Kickstarter travel backpack. It is the perfect everyday backpack! Designed with durable water-resistant material, the Nomatic Backpack has a 20L capacity and a sleek urban profile.  The built-in expansion allows it to become a 24L bag if needed. 

Nomatic Backpack Features: 

  • An additional strap that allows you to convert the bag to a briefcase
  • Full perimeter zipper for easy access
  • Padded laptop sleeve suitable for 15 inch laptop, notebook pocket, and other hidden pockets for all your tech gear and other bits and bobs
  • Magnetic water bottle pocket
  • RFID safe pocket and a hidden pocket for extra valuables
  • Retractable key leash
  • Roller bag sleeve
  • Top access pocket
  • Cord pass-through
  • And of course, as with any NOMATIC product, the NOMATIC Backpack is covered by NOMATIC Lifetime Warranty


  • Truly an everyday backpack! You can take the NOMATIC backpack to the office, or to a coffee shop, use it as a day pack for a short hike on the weekend, or take it on your summer trip to Europe. 
  • Pockets, pockets, pockets and more pockets!
  • Stylish, comfortable, and weatherproof. 


  • The briefcase/backpack straps conversion seems a bit gimmicky – does anyone actually carry briefcases these days?
  • No hip straps, which means the NOMATIC bag is not really suitable for big hikes or long travel days. 
  • No padded camera compartment and limited space inside. Enough for maybe a sweater and a few snacks. 

The Bottom Line

The NOMATIC Backpack is a great everyday bag, but given that we mostly use our bags for travel and camera gear, it’s just a bit too small and not practical for our needs. 



NOMATIC Travel Pack Review

The NOMATIC Travel Pack was designed for everyday use but is also suitable for weekend trips.  It’s made with durable, water-resistant materials and reliable YKK zippers. 

The Travel Pack starts at 20L and expands to 30L, so it has a slim profile but expands if you need to pack more. The Travel Pack has the same backpack to briefcase strap system that allows you to tuck away the backpack straps and make the bag look a bit more professional. 

The truth is, it’s very similar to the NOMATIC Backpack but is slightly bigger inside and comes with an additional mesh divider and shoe compartment. 

NOMATIC Travel Pack Features 

  • Magnetic water bottle pockets 
  • Cord pass-through
  • RFID safe pocket and a hidden pocket for extra valuables
  • Retractable key leash
  • Roller bag sleeve
  • Top access pocket
  • Innovative strap system that allows you to convert backpack to briefcase
  • RFID Safe Pocket
  • PLUS: 
    • Shoe Compartment
    • Mesh Divider


  • The NOMATIC Travel Pack mesh divider and extra 6L in space create what seems like a ton more room for clothes and even a pair of shoes in this NOMATIC Travel backpack. If you travel light, this can be your all-in-one weekend travel bag. 
  • Tons of pockets for ultimate organization


  • Fully loaded, the NOMATIC Travel Pack can be quite heavy.  A sternum strap is helpful, but it’s a shame that the bag doesn’t come with built in hip straps. 
  • The laptop compartment is located at the back, which prohibits easy access to your laptop on the go. 

The Bottom Line

NOMATIC Travel Pack is a great carry on backpack for life on the move. It’s suitable for everyday use but is also great for overnight or weekend trips. It’s not the bag to go hiking with or to use for your camera equipment and thus wasn’t the right choice for us. 


Nomatic Navigator Series

Nomatic’s new Navigator Series launched on Kickstarter in 2020 as the culmination of everything the team learned over the last 5 years. The Series includes 2 bags for travel, 3 bags for every day and 3 accessories. 

NOMATIC Navigator Carry-On 37L Review

The Navigator Carry-On 37L Bag is in our opinion, the most unique of all the NOMATIC bags. It takes the excellent craftsmanship of the NOMATIC brand from a backpack to a roller bag. This two-wheeled roller bag is designed to maximize space for your next adventure.

The bag is an ideal travel bag for a short trip up to 5 days, or to use as a carry-on for longer trips. The Navigator Carry on is designed to hold both clothing and technology

The front of the bag is dedicated to tech and includes a 17-inch laptop sleeve and a number of zippers and mesh pockets for other accessories. The main compartment opens up like a clamshell and comes with a zippered mesh side and a compressed side and plenty of room for clothing and shoes. 

This NOMATIC bag is built with durable water-resistant materials, including a 100% Makrolon polycarbonate shell and a 3 stage Aluminum handle. 

NOMATIC Carry-On Bag Features 

  • 17-inch laptop compartment in the front pocket
  • Integrated X-strap compression for keeping all your clothing securely in place
  • Clever quick access pocket at the top
  • Generous front laptop compartment 
  • Several internal mesh slip and zippered pockets 
  • Lockable zippers
  • Water-resistant exterior shell
  • RFID-safe pocket 
  • Multiple (4) handles around the bag
  • Aluminum tow handle 
Costa Rica Nomatic Navigator Carry on bag 07337
Inside the NOMATIC Carry On


  • The NOMATIC Carry-on Bag is weather-resistant, thanks to its polycarbonate shell and YYK zippers.
  • A high-quality build ensures long-lasting use. Plus the bag is covered by NOMATIC NOMATIC Lifetime Warranty 
  • Great aesthetic. It looks sleek and professional. Perfect carry-on for a business trip!
  • Loads of compartments for organization for both clothes, toiletries and electronics. 


  • At $399, the NOMATIC Carry On Bag is pricey compared to other carry-on bags on the market. 
  • The bag has only two wheels, which is a bit of a disappointment. It would be nice to have a 4 wheel option so that you can easily roll the bag sideways. 
  • An empty bag weighs a whopping 7.8 lbs, so it’s quite heavy. If you often travel on low-budget airlines that cap the carry-on weight at 10-15lbs, this is probably not the right bag for you. 
  • The clamshell design is somewhat limited and may not allow you to carry bigger items
  • Lacks a water bottle pocket, so if this is the only bag you are traveling with, you’ll be forced to carry your bottle in your hand. 
  • There is no camera compartment or ability to add dividers to easily carry some camera gear in the bag. 
Inside the NOMATIC Navigator Carry On Bag
Inside the NOMATIC Navigator Carry On Bag

The Bottom Line

The NOMATIC Carry On 37L bag is a great addition to our travel setup. It’s a great, high quality, well made and reliable carry-on bag with enough room to pack for a few days. It’s perfect for those that don’t travel with a big camera set up or for those that need a carry-on for clothes in addition to a separate camera backpack. 



Nomatic McKinnon Camera Line

Designed hand in hand with Peter McKinnon, one of Canada’s top photographers, the McKinnon backpack is designed by a photographer for photographers. It’s the ultimate carry-it-all-in-your- bag system. 

NOMATIC McKinnon Backpack Review

Truth be told, we are in love with the NOMATIC Peter McKinnon Camera Backpack. It’s the perfect bag for our heavy-duty camera setup and is clearly made with professional photographers and their needs in mind. While it is advertised as a big enough bag for camera gear and clothes, we manage to stuff it full of electronics on almost every outing. 

We love the removable folding dividers as it allows us to organize the bag to suit our exact needs. The bag is expandable to 42L and comes with convenient hip straps that take the weight off the shoulders on longer trips or hikes. 

The quick side access is another great perk, keeping our camera easily accessible while on the go. The Peter McKinnon Backpack comes with a number of other great features. 

It’s stylish and sleek and a great choice for a waterproof camera bag!

Oksana wearing the NOMATIC McKinnon Camera Bag on the beach in Costa Rica
Oksana wearing the NOMATIC McKinnon Camera Bag on the beach in Costa Rica

NOMATIC McKinnon 35L Camera Backpack Features

  • Expanding zipper increases volume by 7L
  • Water-resistant exterior and waterproof zippers 
  • Foldout magnetic side pocket for a water bottle or travel tripod
  • Quick side access into main camera compartment
  • Front zippered accessory pocket
  • Locking zipper pulls
  • Padded rear-access laptop pocket (up to 16”), 
  • Padded shoulder straps, waist belt and chest clip make it ideal for hiking
  • Secure rear access zipper for the main compartment. 
  • Fully padded to protect gear during travel
  • Four long and five short padded folding dividers with strong velcro connectors allow for ultimate customization.
  • The interior of the back flap has a large slot for an iPad or tablet, along with multiple pockets for accessories like filters, batteries, memory cards, and cables. 


  • NOMATIC Peter McKinnon Bag offers loads of camera protection making it a great photography backpack
  • It’s a stylish camera bag that is weatherproof without sacrificing design
  • Removable dividers offer loads of customization for organizing your gear
  • High build quality with attention to details
  • Comfortable for a short walk around town or a big hike, even if it’s loaded to the brim with gear
  • It is much larger when compared to other camera bags on the market. This large camera bag fits both of our camera bodies: Sony A7RIII and Sony A7SIII, multiple lenses, including a long 200-600 Zoom, Mavic 3 Drone, tripod, as well as all of our accessories. 


  • At $399.99, the NOMATIC Peter McKinnon Backpack has a hefty price tag, on the higher side for comparable bags.
  • Despite the size of the bag, we find it difficult to fit our Sony 200-600 Zoom lens using the dividers provided. 
  • Although the bag is water-resistant, it doesn’t come with a heavy-duty rain cover. The rain fly needs to be purchased separately and costs another $30. 
  • Due to the side access zipper, only one side of the backpack has a water bottle/tripod holder, so you always have to decide between one or the other. 
  • And last but definitely not least, the backpack does not fit on top of the NOMATIC Carry On bag, which is such a shame. The roller bag sleeve is positioned in such a way that the camera backpack should sit on the roller bag upright, but the handle on the Navigator Carry On bag is just not long enough for this. So there is no convenient way to carry both through the airport or while in transit other than to carry the backpack on your shoulders. 

Costa Rica Guanacaste Rincon de la Vieja Max nomatic backpack 07293

The Bottom Line

The Peter McKinnon NOMATIC backpack can definitely be considered the best camera backpack on the market for professional photographers. It can be used as a hiking camera bag but is also stylish enough to be used in urban settings and on professional shoots. When it comes to functionality, the bag is comparable to the Peak Design Camera Bag. They share a lot of functionalities, but the Peter McKinnon NOMATIC bag is definitely bigger and more robust. 


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