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Introducing the Matilda Backpack 

When looking for the next backpack you need to consider 3 main things, design, durability and your own style. We will go through these main points below. However the first impressions of this pack was the cool factor and our taste of personal style. This pack gives us the vibe of riding a helicopter with the boys above the triple canopy jungle. As the original ALICE Pack which inspired the Matilda have been through some of the hardest fighting conditions in SouthEast Asia during the Cold War. The Helikon Tex Matilda® backpack, based on the trusted and loved US Military classic ALICE Pack, has been made to emulate the ALICE Pack’s core characteristics of simplicity and spacious compartments. The Matilda has improved them with modern fabrics and design.  Now lets go into the details. 

Features:

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Matilda Backpack Review

Firstly let’s go through the features, designs and our opinion of the Matilda Backpack. So far we have used this pack for several camping trips and hiking. It has been used as a day pack and an overnight pack. We have found it to be a good overall choice for those activities.

We will start with the top flap. Its two large internal and external pockets are really convenient for quick access items and it is secured by two adjustable buckled straps. It also has elastic on the edge to keep the flap in place and a velcro section in the front for any patches. However, if you do put heavier items in, it will sag down. In our case we have a medium sized First Aid Kit and other quick access essentials like headlamp, multitool and a pocket knife, A point of improvement we see is to add some sort of webbing or attachment points on the top to secure things on top, whether it is a sleeping mat or camera tripod. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”8205″ img_size=”medium” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image” woodmart_inline=”no” parallax_scroll=”no”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”8204″ img_size=”medium” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image” woodmart_inline=”no” parallax_scroll=”no”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”8214″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image” woodmart_inline=”no” parallax_scroll=”no”][vc_column_text woodmart_inline=”no” text_larger=”no”]The main body is made out of 210D Nylon to ensure lightweight and 500D Cordura to reinforce durability in key points such as the bottom of the packa and its external pouches. Each external pocket has a drawstring sleeve to protect contents from spillage. Firstly, we do really like the large and wide space for the main body, we found that it was easier to put in awkwardly shaped items or was just able to stuff everything in quickly and easily. The top part of the interior of the main body has a single line of MOLLE to attach any MOLLE compatible pouch and underneath is a clip to secure your water bladder.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”8222″ img_size=”medium” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image” woodmart_inline=”no” parallax_scroll=”no”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”8220″ img_size=”medium” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image” woodmart_inline=”no” parallax_scroll=”no”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”8221″ img_size=”medium” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image” woodmart_inline=”no” parallax_scroll=”no”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text woodmart_inline=”no” text_larger=”no”]Although this is a 35 Litre pack, The external pockets adds only a few hundred grams to the total weight, it does provide simple and large organization space for quick access. The pockets are sewn on the corners, leaving a center channel capable of carrying e.g. a small axe or machete through. The slit between the external pockets and the main body provides simple flexibility for carrying tools. I would usually put tools you want quick access to, instead of putting it inside the main body itself. We were able to fit a standard military style canteen and cup easily. It would easily fit 2 packs of freeze dry food packs or a medium sized first aid kit. The single line of Molle webbing that goes around the upper exterior of the main body becomes helpful attachment points for equipment that goes behind the external pockets. It can also be used to hang items such as gloves or lights. Another small but handy feature are the Velcro strap tie downs which really helps keep the pack stream line and not accidentally adjusting itself. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”8217″ img_size=”medium” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image” woodmart_inline=”no” parallax_scroll=”no”][vc_column_text woodmart_inline=”no” text_larger=”no”]The sides of the backpack have two integrated compression straps fitted at the sides both top and bottom  that can also be used for a foam sleeping mat or a camera tripod. However when we don’t have much stuff inside I would use the adjustable side straps to sync it down to bring the weight distribution closer to my body or to stop items from moving around inside.

Additional MOLLE/PALS pouches can be added on the sides or around the body of the pack. The bottom of the sides has 2 by 3 Molle webbing for attaching any pouches. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image img_size=”medium” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image” woodmart_inline=”no” parallax_scroll=”no”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image img_size=”medium” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image” woodmart_inline=”no” parallax_scroll=”no”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text woodmart_inline=”no” text_larger=”no”]Moving on to fit and weight distribution. The wide shoulder straps are wide and semi rigid which are good because it helps distribute the weight better on your shoulders. They also have mesh padding to keep your shoulders comfortable. The upper part of the shoulder strap also has an elastic tab which can be used to attach your water bladder tube conveniently. The lower part of the strap has a quick release buckle, this is designed for the ability to quickly remove your backpack in an emergency situation, such as falling into deep water or getting the pack stuck on debris or trees while repelling down a cliff.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image img_size=”medium” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image” woodmart_inline=”no” parallax_scroll=”no”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image img_size=”medium” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image” woodmart_inline=”no” parallax_scroll=”no”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text woodmart_inline=”no” text_larger=”no”]The waist straps were comfortable as it was thin and had a partial rubber lining to keep it from shifting up and down when doing more dynamic movements. The back has two mesh ventilation pads running parallel to your spine which helps comfort and the gap above the spine allows air to go through. However, since the padding is thin, wearing a thicker outer layer can hinder the airflow. Even though you and is supported by an aluminum and plastic internal frame which keeps the weight light while providing good structure and support. 

Now comes some points of concern. For me, although the simple spacious main body has its benefits, I wished that it had some more organizational features, such as a way to organize inserts or pouches. I prefer to put my items in organizers to the main body with this pack because it helps me keep track of where things are due to the lack of larger internal pockets of the main body. This becomes important when you are going long distances, since the body is wide and spacious it is crucial to organize your items in the center and straight down to  distribute the weight. It would not be comfortable if heavy items are not balanced and will affect your body over time.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text woodmart_inline=”no” text_larger=”no”]

Matilda Backpack Pros

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Matilda Backpack Cons

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Recommendations and Modifications

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USE CASE: Minimalist Overnight Set Up

This is an example of how to set up a minimalist set for an overnight trip. However, we must say if you do choose this exact set up your comfort may vary. 

Everything in the pack are mostly essential tools and items. The amount of items can be adjusted depending on your personal needs and requirements such as outdoor experience level to personal medication, but they are key essentials to have. 

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Packing List: Depicted 

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text woodmart_inline=”no” text_larger=”no”]This setup going in line with the 4 Priorities of Survival; Shelter, Water, Fire, and Food.

Shelter

Water

Fire

Food

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Other Essentials:

 

Nice To Haves:

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Conclusion

Overall the Helikon Tex Matilda backpack is a good option for someone who wants a medium-sized pack that can want versatility, durability, and simplicity. Other classic-looking bags usually do not have the same modularity as other systems compared to the Matilda. We personally really appreciate the modularity of the MOLLE system which really lets us use any existing MOLLE pouches already, allowing us to scale up or down our load. So far in our testing the 210D Nylon and 500D Cordura have held up fine and have not had any surface damage yet. We really like the combination of these fabrics as it bridges the gap between a full outdoors backpack with super-light materials and the durability of tactical backpacks with their tougher and heavier materials. The final aspect of the backpack is simplicity. It is our favorite part of the pack. Although other designs have built-in organization pockets, the barrel-like interior gives you a lot of flexibility of mid to large items to fit inside. Overall the Mathilda Backpack is one of our favorites and top pics for your next adventure![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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