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Carry Collaborations

Matador x Carryology EDX Series Trident Collection


Matador x Carryology | Travel with the Trident

by , June 20, 2023

16+ months in development, dozens of working prototypes, a brand new innovative water-resistant construction technique, hundreds of hours of product testing, and all of this effort with the goal to redefine the concept of One Bag Travel.


Introducing the Matador x Carryology EDX Series, Trident Collection –  our three-piece travel and EDC capsule.








Redefining One Bag Travel


This particular Odyssean epic starts with a concept or philosophy that we like to call “1.5 Bag Travel” (shoutout to our founder, Andy, for coining this one!).


First off, we admit, we’re always talking about the many benefits of One Bag Travel (it’s easier, it saves you a bunch of money, it’s way less of a pain on your body, it’s way more fun, etc.). But after many legs in the air and on the road, our team has decided the philosophy needs an update.


Hear me out… no matter where you’re traveling to or for how long, you don’t need everything in your travel bag with you at all times. Whether it’s 14 days across Japan or 2 days visiting your in-laws in Iowa, when you reach your destination you need to be agile. You need the ability to leave your travel pack behind, and day trip and explore.



You don’t need to carry the weight of 5 days' worth of clothes on your shoulders when you’re walking around a night market in Taiwan searching for a late-night snack. You don’t need your full toiletry dopp kit and extra pair of hiking boots in your pack weighing you down when you’re having a beer in a crowded pub in London. That extra stuff is heavy and bulky and causes friction. You don’t need it… at least in that moment.


Simply deploy your secondary smaller bag of choice, filled with your EDC essentials, and leave that heavy boat anchor behind. Everything you need with you, without the headache, backache, or hassle of your larger travel bag.

Sure, it’s actually a second bag but we like the term “1.5 Bag Travel”, dubbing that second bag as “half a bag” because it's smaller and lighter and can nest inside your larger bag. 


Some will choose to rock their secondary bag in conjunction with their primary bag (a travel backpack and a small sling across their chest while they are actively traveling, for example). Some prefer a packable small backpack or small messenger that hides inside their travel bag, ready to unfold at a moment's notice. Whatever works. There are plenty of awesome brands to choose from that we all love. But the brand that’s made their name in and innovated the whole “packable” space? That’s undeniably Matador


Pioneers of Packable Innovation 


Ever since their launch in 2014, they have been a force to be reckoned with. And they were just crowned #1 winner of Best Brand in this year’s Carry Awards, certainly no small feat. We love their stuff. You love their stuff. They make incredibly thoughtful gear. Most notably, the incredible carry goods that pack down to nothing. 


As a team, we have all experienced the benefits of the 1.5 Bag Travel concept and we all had our own individual 1.5 Bag Travel system preferences (swapping out travel bags and trying out a wide variety of supporting EDC packs). Ultimately, we were fueled with the exciting desire to create: “the world’s best packable travel bag system ever made that packs flat and can withstand any kind of downpour” (this is literally the product brief).



Packable? Quality? Design? Insanely water-resistant? Easy. We phoned up our close pals over at Matador and asked if they’d be interested. We had been wanting to do a collaboration with these folks for years now and they had reached out about the possibility a while back. But neither Matador nor Carryology wanted to do a collaboration project for the sake of doing it. We agreed to wait to do something awesome when it made sense. And this project was it!

Packable Without Sacrifice


But first… the problem with packable bags. Let’s be honest, save for a few rare options out on the market (like our friends Matador), most packable travel packs out there kinda suck. They’re made up of crazy ultra-light materials that aren’t very durable. They lack organization. They’re usually really uncomfortable to wear for any kind of long period. And aesthetics are an afterthought…


Using a packable travel bag as your EDC bag? No way. 


So how could we improve this entire experience for the user? How could we make it go from “sucks” to “awesome”?



After we dialed in this focus on “awesome”, we quickly narrowed the millions of shared ideas down to a three-piece system that we all agreed was the most functional and useful: a sling, a small messenger, and a backpack.


We wanted them to either be packable into a small pocket or at the very least, able to be packed flat. Lightweight was critical. And the final critical element… weatherproofing.

Rain, Hail or Shine


This was inspired from one particular travel experience of mine in Poland and Slovakia. My then-girlfriend-now-wife and I were traveling around Europe and it was pouring rain – and we’re not the type to stay inside our cheap Airbnb, despite pierogi-sized raindrops pounding down from the skies – but luckily I had my waterproof messenger bag, so I could carry my camera gear and essentials with confidence, everything remaining bone dry while our adventure kicked on. It was perfect. 



Well, almost. Unfortunately, that bag is way too bulky and heavy to use as a packable messenger. But the inspiration was now there – for this collection what we created had to perform at the highest level of water resistance.

Zeroing in on Capacity


Selecting the optimal volume for each product took some serious design thinking, with plenty of friendly back and forth among our teams as well as user research. Functional and packable into a main travel bag or pack was the primary focus for sizing. Ultimately, we selected 2 liters for the sling, 10 liters for the messenger (think large sling and small messenger), and 22 liters for the backpack. We found these three volumes were best suited to perform well for day-to-day EDC as well as traveling.





Designing an entire three-piece collection is no easy task and doesn’t happen overnight. In order to get to the final form, we had countless design revision meetings (both in person at Matador’s Colorado HQ as well as digitally). For the backpack alone, we went through 5 entirely different designs and 8 different in-house Colorado-built prototypes with different construction methods, materials, patterns, and more. The messenger; 3 different designs and 5 in-house CO-built prototypes. The sling; 3 different designs and 4 in-house CO-built prototypes. And the subassemblies? This includes large sections of the bags to experiment with patterning and the ability to actually create these for production. For the subassemblies, there were somewhere between 51-85 in-house CO-built subassemblies in total. For many brands, this is maybe 10X the amount of development and prototyping. The Matador team is made up of some of the most talented softgoods designers on the planet, who follow a finely-tuned process, and it shows.

Custom VX


We couldn’t really just choose a woven nylon for this one. For durability, packability, water resistance, and lightweightness, we had to brainstorm a bit. Well, it should be no surprise that we called our friend Taylor North and asked what might be possible for this unique project. VX21 is awesome stuff and many brands opt to use this fabric, but it just wasn’t packable enough for us. Taylor recommended VX07, one of the lightest offerings from Dimension Polyant. VX07 utilizes a 70D fabric blend of nylon and polyester with ripstop for durability, with a DWR coating for additional water resistance. It’s sandwiched with recycled polyester X-Ply for strength, a 0.25 mil waterproof film, and then backed with a 70 denier polyester backing.



Now, normally we’d opt for an orange liner fabric to drape inside. Due to this bag’s complicated patterning as well as to reduce weight, we placed a custom order of VX07 X-Pac fabric from DP, with a 70D polyester blaze orange backing. While it makes the patterning even more difficult, as you can’t “hide” any mistakes or sloppiness, it allows us to save on weight and increase packability via creative thinking and via Sam Goodhue’s (Matador’s Softgoods Designer) genius patterning execution.

New Play on Weatherproofing


Going back to the original brief, one of our primary goals for this collection was to allow users to roam around freely without any second thought about whether their gear would be wet or dry in a serious downpour. Seam taping every single seam was the only way we could make it work. However, due to the patterning of these bags, which are extremely feature-rich, it just isn’t possible. You’ll notice most bags that have seam taping are quite simple, usually just one main open compartment, maybe one additional pocket. These things have layers and dimension and pocketing and organization and magnets.


So we needed to innovate, and worked with Matador’s manufacturing facility on breaking their new technology – HydraGuard®, a water-resistant seam binding.


As a concept, it offers the same water-resistant barrier that expensive seam taping offers, while still allowing you to create complex patterns and layers in the design. This HydraGuard® technology utilizes water resistance seam binding as well as water-resistant threading, so where all the seams are joined, water doesn’t pass through like a traditional bag construction. It has an extra layer of defense against Poseidon and his buddies.



We call the collection the EDX Series. EDC, with an X factor. EDC + Travel (and beyond) = EDX. The X is open-ended and represents whatever adventures and travels you can dream up.



The Codename 


Water and water resistance were constantly at the forefront of the design brief and design process. It made sense to have some kind of product name inspired by this. We looked into the depths of an ocean’s worth of mythology from history. Water gods, water creatures, etc. When it comes to water and mythology, there is really only one king… Poseidon, the Greek god of the seas. And equally as iconic as the god himself, is his famously powerful golden trident. 


As some legends have it, the trident’s three spikes each represent a different form of water: oceans, rivers, and streams. For us, it instantly clicked. Three Poseidon-proof products, three spikes to his iconic staff, the codename would be: Trident.

Micro Mesh


On the back side of each product, we specified a high-strength black micro mesh on the back panel for breathability while keeping things ultra-minimal. Behind the mesh, you’ll spot our Matador x Carryology woven label discreetly hidden away. And just in case some water makes its way in through the mesh, the wall behind it is fully sealed from the main body X-Pac fabric with a small drainage port to let the water out. Note, the drain hole does not enter the main compartment, it solely exists to let moisture drip down and out from behind the mesh panel.

Minimal Branding


While traveling, you want your bags to be functional yet discreet. Like an English butler: highly organized, stoic, never in the way, but appears like magic when needed. Big branding draws too much attention and flashiness. To match the all-matte black exterior, we added discreet screen-printed branding, in black gloss. It disappears if you’re not looking for it, but looks great when you turn it towards the light. Black on black, gloss on matte.

Ultra-Limited Orange


You’ve seen this little move before. For those of you who love the eye-piercing blaze orange on the interior but wish it was also available on the exterior… we hear you loud and clear. All three products will be offered in an “inside out” version, Carryology orange on the exterior and black on the interior. Because life is too short to not have a little fun.

Usable Organization 


We didn’t just slap some pockets inside of these products haphazardly. In fact, internal organization might have been one of the biggest challenges for this project. As these products should all pack flat, the internal pocketing must also lay flat. This is quite difficult when you’re dealing with 2D patterns to create 3D spaces and then turning them back to 2D again. Through Matador’s expert patterning, we created tons of usable organization that stays out of the way until you need it. We added a rear padded tech sleeve on the back interior wall of each product to keep your phone, tablet, or laptop secured, and it closes neatly with magnets. Plus dual internal organization pockets for water bottles on the messenger, admin panels in the backpack, and quick-access on exteriors.

 Click-Click Magnetism

Speaking of magnets, the water bottle pockets along the side of the backpack (yep, count them, 2, one on each side) have magnetic closure, so they fold away like Origami when they’re not needed and blend seamlessly into the silhouette of the pack’s lines.



After experimenting with plenty of different units from some of our favorite brands, we landed on YKK for our primary hardware supplier. Sure, you might know them for zippers, but they’ve been making high-end buckles and injection-molded bits of all kinds for many years now. The sling and messenger both utilize YKK’s lightweight and strong side-release buckles for their shoulder strap, with an added D-ring for quick adjustments like a proper messenger bag.  





There was one incredible hardware discovery that happened late in the game for us. We had been trying out all kinds of different flap closure methods for the flap on the sling and messenger. They were all too bulky, or didn’t provide positive engagement, or required webbing, etc. We didn’t want to settle on something good enough and even discussed going full custom, which would delay the project by months or longer. And then… we found it… unveiled in 2021 but something brand new for all of us, MAG-HOOK from YKK. The MAG-HOOK utilizes magnetic force and a mechanical force latch to stay closed. Easy one-handed opening. Then, just let the flap close and it firmly latches closed, no need to fiddle. No webbing necessary. Lightweight. Simple yet complex. 


And extra bonus, it has a minimal footprint that is essentially invisible until you lift the flap. One of the coolest new hardware bits we’ve come across, from the legends at YKK. We’re really excited to be using this MAG-HOOK and we think you’re going to love playing with it and using it to get in and out of your bags.




Trolley Pass


These always come in handy when in transit, and so we decided to add a trolley passthrough webbing onto the messenger and the backpack. While it’s a simple strip of webbing, we add bartacking for strength and to ensure it lays flat while you’re wearing the bags. Simple and effective, with travel in mind.




Since we spent all this time sealing off the elements from this three-piece collection, we selected YKK AquaGuard zippers throughout the entire range. And to match the stealthy exterior, matte finish zippers were the perfect complement.


To round it off, we custom-designed thin cord with shrink-wrap tubing over the knots for easy operation and a jingle-free experience.







Each bag in the collection comes with its own custom breathable branded mesh pocket. You can roll up or bunch up each one of the bags and toss it into your main travel bag to save space. Or if you want to lay the bags flat in your travel bag, you can use the mesh pocket as a small organizer to keep your bits tidy. Additionally, we included a handful of orange zipper pullers for your customizing desires. The same design as the black ones that come on the bags, but… yep… they’re orange. Nice extras, courtesy of team Matador and team Carryology.





3-Tiered Morale


Each product comes with its own custom silicone ranger eye Velcro patch, affixed to the small loop Velcro panel of the rear-wall tech pocket of each respective product. We opted for 3 different colors of each respective patch to represent the three types of water: Green, Gray, and Blue. And for those who opt for the full package set of all three products, they will receive an exclusive large woven orange Velcro patch. Note, this set of three is only available in limited quantities.


We are Proud to Introduce…


A three-piece capsule collection of products designed to transition to your different needs on the fly, from travel to EDC and then back again. Highly water-resistant. Lightweight and durable. Packable and comfortable. Carefully considered organization with minimalist aesthetics.


Matador x Carryology EDX Series, Trident Collection (Sling, Messenger, Backpack).




Release Article with shop links will go live on Carryology.com on:


9am, MT, June 23rd.

(11am, New York, June 23rd)





Matador x Carryology EDX Series Trident Collection


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