Gear Review: VSTR Nomadic Pack

July 18, 2012 • Geared Up

Written by  Peter Viele

After spending a lot of time on the road, in airports, and at the lost luggage counter, I’ve become quite the minimalist. With the charges airlines are imposing these days for both checked and carry-on bags, not to mention surfboards, it’s only made it that much easier to take even less. Unfortunately, like most surfers, my boardbag is typically my primary concern, with the style of my backpack — usually some cheap freebie that I somehow pilfered along the way — being the last thought while packing. Then it dawned on me: Just because you’re a surfer doesn’t mean you have to look like a beach bum in the airport.

Why you need the VSTR x Partners & Spade Nomadic Pack: Simplicity is paramount when you’re hustling to your next gate while simultaneously grabbing your boarding pass, headphones, iPhone, laptop bag, and wallet. Juggling between your current, atrocious backpack — c’mon, you know that ugly branded one with the five-year-old logos and wax melted in the zipper — and that heinous laptop bag you got on sale at Office Max, you end up looking like a disheveled teenager as you struggle through the terminal, which is what I, apparently, looked like on an early trip to France as told to me by a young French beauty. So it’s time for an upgrade for all of us traveling, poorly styled excuses for surfers. Real men used to be concerned with their appearance, traveling with handsome luggage that echoed who they were and the lack of nonsense they put up with. What happened to that sentiment? Why have surfers settled for nylon, kitschy, ugly garbage bags with straps? I find it a little disconcerting that most of us wear the same packs that elementary students carry to school every morning. Every modern man should own a nice piece of luggage that complements his personality with fundamental functionality and a keen sense of style. Enter the new Nomadic Pack from the Kelly Slater-helmed VSTR brand. This is one of the best looking, toughest, and most versatile packs produced by any brand — surf or otherwise — in a long time.

Design specs: Designed in collaboration with NYC’s Partners & Spade firm, the Nomadic Pack is far from lacking in the style department with its vintage aesthetic and classic detailing. The zip-off, removable laptop satchel, one of the best features of the pack, allows you to keep your loose ends together — and keep you looking more like an informed savant than a hobo. As a larger pack, there’s also plenty of room here for more than a week’s worth of clothing, with great little pockets for all the surf travel necessities like fins, sunscreen, wax, ding repair kits, etc. And as VSTR’s minimalist marketing tagline for this pack suggests, if it doesn’t fit, you probably don’t need it.

Final verdict: That utter simplicity, coupled with surf-travel functionality and styling that makes you look more like Mike Hynson or Robert August in The Endless Summer than your average grom, is exactly what makes the Nomadic Pack so perfect. You’re already stoked that you’re headed out on a surf adventure — why not go with a little class and style? VSTR’s Nomadic Pack looks just as good if you’re trudging through a jungle in a tank top, boardshorts, and sandals as it does if you’re in designer jeans, classic oxfords, and a tailored shirt. This is the type of critical item that will elevate your status. Free first-class upgrade? Yes, please.

VSTR x Partners & Spade Nomadic Pack

MSRP: $395

Available at www.VSTR.com

Key Features:

  • Included compact stowable nylon hammock for those last-minute sleepovers
  • Zip-off stylish removable laptop bag
  • Durable waxed cotton canvas exterior and nylon interior for weatherproof coverage and extended travel
  • Wet/dry storage with waterproofed zipper, wisely placed at the bottom of the bag
  • Ergonomic and storable back straps for when you decide to check your bag
  • Plenty of pockets on the side of the pack for quick access to little incidentals
  • Rucksack entry with ample internal volume for a week’s worth of necessary wears
  • Excellent styling that transitions from extended surf travel to fancy jet setting
  • Minimal logo placement
  • Zipper pull tabs that double as leash ties
    That utter simplicity, coupled with surf-travel functionality and styling that will make you look more like Mike Hynson or Robert August in The Endless Summer than your average grom, is exactly what makes the Nomadic Pack so perfect. Free first-class upgrade? Yes, please. Photo: Viele

    That utter simplicity, coupled with surf-travel functionality and styling that will make you look more like Mike Hynson or Robert August in The Endless Summer than your average grom, is exactly what makes the Nomadic Pack so perfect. Free first-class upgrade? Yes, please.
    Photo: Viele

    As VSTR’s minimalist marketing tagline for the Nomadic Pack suggests, if it doesn’t fit, you probably don’t need it. Photo: Viele

    As VSTR’s minimalist marketing tagline for the Nomadic Pack suggests, if it doesn’t fit, you probably don’t need it.
    Photo: Viele

    The zip-off, removable laptop satchel, one of the best features of the pack, allows you to keep your loose ends together — and keep you looking more like an informed savant than a hobo. Also, the compact stowable nylon hammock is perfect for those last-minute sleepovers. Photo: Viele

    The zip-off, removable laptop satchel, one of the best features of the pack, allows you to keep your loose ends together — and keep you looking more like an informed savant than a hobo. Also, the compact stowable nylon hammock is perfect for those last-minute sleepovers.
    Photo: Viele

    Simplicity is paramount when you’re traveling, so it’s time for an upgrade for all of us traveling, poorly styled excuses for surfers. Enter the Nomadic Pack, a collaboration between VSTR and NYC firm Partners & Spade. This pack is far from lacking in the style department with its vintage aesthetic and classic detailing. Photo: Peter Viele

    Simplicity is paramount when you’re traveling, so it’s time for an upgrade for all of us traveling, poorly styled excuses for surfers. Enter the Nomadic Pack, a collaboration between VSTR and NYC firm Partners & Spade. This pack is far from lacking in the style department with its vintage aesthetic and classic detailing.
    Photo: Peter Viele

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