Editor’s note: The Nomatic Travel Bag is a big success. It raised more than $1.7 million on Kickstarter, making it the most-funded travel bag in Kickstarter history. The bag delivered to backers on time, and reviewers have praised its quality and features. Hit the comments below to see what people are saying, and read our interview with the owners of Nomatic about their new backpacks.
Remember the “world’s best travel jacket?”
It made a huge splash last year on the fundraising site, Kickstarter, and the media ate it up. CNN declared, “This travel jacket does 15 things at once,” and Conde Nast Traveler called it “the stuff TSA dreams are made of.” But the boldest headline came from the New York Post, which predicted, “This jacket will change the way you travel.”
BauBax, the company behind the world’s best travel jacket, raised nearly $10 million from 45,000 backers. But what you may not know, because there were no exciting headlines, was what happened next. The world’s best travel jacket was a flop. BauBax missed a number of deadlines and wasn’t able to deliver its jackets in time for the holiday season, upsetting thousands of backers who planned to give them as gifts. When people finally started receiving their jackets in March, many were unhappy with the quality and ill fit. Customers complained on social media and created Facebook groups to share their displeasure.
A new crowdfunding project making a big splash on Kickstarter is eerily similar to the world’s best travel jacket. The Nomatic Travel Bag calls itself “the most functional travel bag ever!” (exclamation point included), and its campaign features the same type of bulleted diagram of innovative features. Its fundraising goal is also the same: $20,000. And it’s all over the media today. Yahoo! Tech declares, “This travel bag might make carry-ons great again,” and USA Today calls it one of the “coolest travel products on Kickstarter.” You can guess what the New York Post says: “This bag will change the way you travel.”
The creators of the Nomatic Travel Bag have raised more than $800,000 from nearly 5,000 backers in just three weeks since their Kickstarter campaign began. And funds continue to pour in.
Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter are a great place to discover innovative travel gear and emerging trends in the travel market. Smart bags, which made their debut on another crowdfunding site, Indiegogo, have become a sensation in luggage.
But backers should beware of the risks involved before funding a campaign. Many products, such as the world’s best travel jacket, are launched by amateur entrepreneurs who have little or no experience producing manufactured goods. The quality of the finished product may not live up to the hype of the widely touted prototype, and they won’t have the deep staff and infrastructure of an established retailer to handle fulfillment and customer service issues.
One of the things the Nomatic Travel Bag has going for it is that its creators, Salt Lake City cousins Jon Richards and Jacob Durham, have already produced two successful campaigns on Kickstarter, an all-in-one notebook and a minimalist wallet. Both products shipped, and their Basics Wallet enjoyed excellent response, but those products are relatively simple compared to a feature-rich suitcase.
The Nomatic Travel Bag is a carry-on that fits in overhead compartments and switches easily from backpack to duffel. Like the world’s best travel jacket, most of its 20 features are pockets and compartments meticulously designed to hold critical travel needs, from water bottles to laptops to underwear. It also includes a removable laundry bag and a nifty RFID-shielded pocket to prevent credit cards and IDs from being scanned. Nomatic’s killer feature is a vacuum bag that compresses the air out of your clothes so that, the creators claim, you can use it for trips lasting up to a week.
If you’re interested in the Nomatic Travel Bag and you’re comfortable with the risks of funding a Kickstarter campaign, limited quantities are currently selling at an early bird price of $169 (the final retail price will be $200). The bags are projected to ship to Kickstarter backers in January, but if it’s anything like the world’s best travel jacket, you should expect it to arrive in May.