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Carry Awards

Matador Brand of the Year

Brand of the Year | Carry Awards X

by , June 7, 2023

At Carryology, we’re lucky enough to have the opportunity to work with the world’s best brands, on varying levels, and so we’re privy to the glowing inner workings of many. And, in our opinion, very few are as complete a brand as Boulder, Colorado’s Matador. 


Founded in 2014 by Chris Clearman with the vision to combine outdoor-industry expertise and the pursuit of travel, Matador has burgeoned into a brand that is much loved, smart, and agile.

They know who they are and what they do best, and they bring a consistency and cohesion to their ever-growing line, and a unrelenting dedication to innovation and the evolution of carry.

Matador Founder Chris Clearman

In their Boulder HQ – fitted with a prototyping lab, 3D printing lab, and in-house waterproof and air pressure testing – they continue to fully design, engineer, and prototype every product in-house, from scratch – persistently breaking new ground in doing so. From their Speed Stash HDPE stiffener bars to their Beast Series spring steel bar stock hoop frame and ‘segmentation’ architecture displayed in the SEG42, they’re always pushing the needle, for better, more useful design. 

And the results in the product line are telling, offering up a stable of travel-honed gear that finds new ways to innovate in travel accessories, hydration, packable bags, and travel packs alike. 

Because of this, the accolades have been numerous: Outside Magazine’s prestigious 2023 Gear Guide “Best Travel Luggage of 2023” and a finalist nod in the IHA Global Innovation Awards at the 2023 Inspired Home Show. And they’ve worked closely with industry giants like YKK and Dimension Polyant on custom hardware and fabrics, because sometimes ‘off the shelf’ just won’t cut it.

On the ethical and sustainability front, they’re pushing in all the right directions: exceeding their timeline to become fully PFA-free in 2024, running a quality in-house repair program, making ethical manufacturing decisions, employing carbon-neutral freight carriers, and juicing their headquarters with certified green energy.

Brand of the Year - Matador office

And they not only accomplish all this with a compact team of 11 full-time employees, with minimal third-party outsourcing, but they do it without outside investment – they’re fully bootstrapped and in control of every next move – and that’s a remarkable feat, and one truly worth recognizing in one of our most cherished and regarded awards.

And so, without further ado, I’d like to congratulate the entire team at Matador, for being a brilliant collective of humans, and our Brand of the Year!

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