REVIEW: Tortuga Backpack – The Best Carry On Backpack for Travel

Tortuga has recently released the brand new Tortuga Outbreaker Backpack and you can read my in-depth review right here: Tortuga Outbreaker Backpack Review 

Tortuga Backpack Review

Are you interested in purchasing a Tortuga Travel Backpack but want to learn a little more about it before you buy? Perfect. I’ve got you covered.

UPDATE: Tortuga just launched a very impressive new and improved version of the Tortuga Backpack and it’s called “The Outbreaker“. It comes in two sizes 35L & 45L and you can check out my comprehensive review here: Tortuga Outbreaker Review.

CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS NOW!

Tortuga Travel Backpack Review

By the time you reach the end of this in-depth Tortuga travel backpack review, you should have no issue deciding on whether this is the best carry on backpack for travel and the overall best fit for all your wants and needs.

About Tortuga Backpacks

The Tortuga Backpack is the brainchild of Fred Perrotta and Jeremy Michael Cohen, two childhood best friends from Newcastle, Pennsylvania.

In 2009, Fred and Jeremy took their first long term backpacking trip together and after returning from their trip with a long list of complaints about what they thought were the best travel backpacks at the time they decided to work together to create what would soon become the best all around backpack for travelers and online entrepreneurs.

For more insight as to how the company came about be sure to watch this short 60 second video below.

Personal Experience

Firstly, let me begin by saying that I’ve been the proud owner of my Tortuga backpack since July 2014. Yes, you read that correctly. 2014! In other words, I’ve owned this backpack for a while now to say the least.

Fortunately, for me, I was one of the lucky few that was able to get their hands on this incredible carry on backpack way back when Tortuga first launched and in short my trusty Tortuga bag has been carrying my travel gear ever since.

Before we get into the review of my Tortuga travel backpack, I think it’s important that I mention the following:

  • The Tortuga v2 backpack has been my primary travel backpack for the last two years on the road.
  • It’s carry-on-sized — 22″ x 14″ x 9″ (56cm x 36cm x 23 cm)
  • No more baggage fees — I have never had to check this backpack. I would estimate that I’ve saved somewhere in the range of $1,000+ USD in baggage fees over the last two years.
  • It’s a front loading backpack — That’s right. No more reaching deep into the top opening of your backpack blindfolded when you’re looking for something specific.
  • Is it theft proof? — No, of course not. We’re all well aware that no backpack, suitcase, duffel or any other type of luggage is theft proof but that being said there are always ways to minimize theft of your belongings and one of nice features about the Tortuga Pack is that all of the zippers on the main compartment of the Tortuga travel backpack are lockable.

Tortuga Travel Backpack Overview

The Tortuga Backpack is a rectangular shaped, spacious 44L backpack boasting 11 different pockets and a variety of useful compartments.

While this may sound like a little overkill, you’ll be pleased to know that the Tortuga still manages to keep a very slick and slim looking profile.

Tortuga Travel Backpack Durable Outer Shell

Strong Outer Shell Material

The body of the pack is made with a 1680D ballistic nylon which is incredibly durable and offers some resistance to the elements. The ballistic nylon is tough and somewhat thick to the touch yet it’s still light enough to not add unnecessary added weight to your shoulders.

Rating: 9/10

Tortuga Travel Backpack Duffel Handle

Convenient Duffel Style Side Handle

One of the best features when it comes to the outer shell of the Tortuga pack is the strong padded handle located on the left side of the pack which allows you to carry the backpack like a duffel bag.

This is particularly useful when you are moving short distances with your pack or when you’re in crowded transit situations where it’s necessary to remove your pack from your shoulders in order to avoid bumping into fellow passengers.

Rating: 8/10

CLICK HERE TO BUY YOUR TORTUGA BACKPACK NOW →

Tortuga Travel Backpack Lockable Zippers

High Quality Lockable Zippers

All of the high quality YKK zippers located on the outside main compartment of the pack are lockable. This minor yet important added layer of security is just one more deterrent and advantage over using a typical run of the mill, top loading backpack that you see most travelers using these days.

Rating: 7/10

Tortuga Travel Backpack Padded Hip Belt

Hip Belt for Heavy Loads

The hip belt is quite thick and can sometimes be a nuisance but at the end of the day it’s a feature that you’ll be sure to find very useful when carrying heavy loads.

Those of you who are planning on doing a medium to long term backpacking trip with your clothes, electronics and other accessories will know exactly what I’m talking about once you strap the hip belt on for the first time.

The hip belt has two really convenient zippered pockets which are great for storing your passport when in transit and passing through immigration. These pockets can also be handy for hiding emergency money, spare change and more.

Rating: 7/10

Tortuga Travel Backpack Storage Pockets

Storage & Pockets

The Tortuga travel backpack has a variety of pockets and compartments.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • 2 zippered side pockets — good for packing socks, accessories, cables, chargers, etc
  • 2 convenient hip belt pockets — great for passport and emergency money storage
  • 1 medium-sized accessory/front pocket — store a pair of shoes, flip-flops or other accessories
  • 1 large main compartment — storage for all your clothes and whatever else fits inside
  • 1 laptop sleeve — padded laptop storage for laptops up to 17″
  • 4 zippered pockets (internal) — two small zippered pockets on the two thing buckled parts that can be used as an organizer barrier for the main compartment and two transparent mesh pockets located on the inside of the front flap of the backpack

Rating: 8/10

CLICK HERE TO BUY YOUR TORTUGA BACKPACK NOW →

Tortuga Travel Backpack Interior Lining

Internal Storage Compartment

The interior lining of the Tortuga travel backpack is constructed with a durable 70D ripstop polyester lining which makes the pack feel that much more strong and seemingly everlasting.

The front loading main compartment of the Tortuga gives you to access your clothes and other belongings at all times and know where everything is without having to remove everything from your bag to find one of your items.

If you’ve ever owned and traveled with a top loading backpack you will know exactly what I mean when I say how convenient it is to travel with one. Trust me when I tell you that front loading backpacks are the way to go.

Rating: 8/10

Tortuga Travel Backpack Strap and Hip Belt Protector

Strap & Hip Belt Protector

The Tortuga Backpack comes with an incredibly convenient and useful built in strap and hip belt protector-slash-cover which is hidden inside of a velcro pocket located at the bottom of the backpack.

As we all know, those pesky airport conveyor belts can do quite a number on your straps while enroute from the check-in desk to the belly of your plane. I’ve heard endless stories of travelers checking their backpacks only to arrive at their destination and find out that the conveyor belt ate one of their straps. Not cool!

In order to avoid this travel nightmare you can use the built in strap protector to make sure your Tortuga travel backpack straps and hip belt are are safe at all times, especially when checking your bag underneath the plane.

Also, I should note that as you can see in the photo above when the protector is fully zipped up and put into action it really makes the pack look that much more slick and professional.

Tip: Worried about keeping your Tortuga Backpack clean when checking it? Pick yourself up one of these REI Duffles.

Rating: 9/10

Tortuga Travel Backpack Review - Carry On Sized Backpack

Carry On Backpack Sized

The Tortuga travel backpack is the best carry on backpack on the market. Why? Because it’s perfectly sized for most airlines (22″ x 14″ x 9″) or (56cm x 36cm x 23 cm). When packed correctly the Tortuga travel backpack fits into the carry on sized bins that the airlines use to measure baggage.

If there’s one thing comforting about this it’s that even if an airlines decides to question the Tortuga that it will still fit comfortably within most of the airlines baggage dimensions.

Rating: 9/10

CLICK HERE TO BUY YOUR TORTUGA BACKPACK NOW →

Tortuga Travel Backpack FAQ

What are the specs on the Tortuga Pack?

  • Dimensions: 22″ x 14″ x 9″ (56cm x 36cm x 23 cm) — Carry-on Backpack size!
  • Sizing/Fit: 18″+ torsos; learn how you can measure your torso in question #2 below.
  • Weight: 3.65 lbs (1.66 kg)
  • Laptop Sleeve: Fits laptops up to 17in
  • Materials: 1680D ballistic nylon body and 70D ripstop polyester lining
  • Zippers: YKK
  • Buckle Material: Duraflex

What are the specs on the new Outbreaker Backpack by Tortuga?

The new and improved Outbreaker backpack boasts the following specs:

  • Dimensions: 22″ x 14″ x 9″ (56cm x 36cm x 23 cm) — Carry-on Backpack size!
  • Sizing/Fit: 16-20″ torsos; learn how you can measure your torso in next question below.
  • Weight: 5.1 lbs (2.3 kg)
  • Laptop Sleeve: Fits laptops up to 17″
  • Materials: VX21 Fabric & Ariaprene Foam
  • Zippers: YKK
  • Buckles: Duraflex

How do I know if the Tortuga Backpack will fit me?

To measure your torso length, you’ll need to find someone to measure using the following instructions given by the good folks over at Tortuga.

  1. Use a soft tape measure
  2. Find your C7 vertebra
  3. Place your hands on the top of your hip bones with your fingers pointing forward, thumbs pointing backwards.
  4. Measure the distance from your C7 vertebra to the top of your hip bones
  5. While the Tortuga Backpack is 22″ tall, it can comfortable fit those of you who have torsos of 18″ or more.
  6. If you think this 45L model of the Tortuga might be too big for you, take a look at the smaller (35L), lightweight version called The Outbreaker — formerly known as the Tortuga Air.

Is the Tortuga Travel Backpack Waterproof?

The Tortuga backpack is water resistant like the majority of travel backpacks on the market but it is not waterproof.

Your best bet would be to pick up a rain cover as an added insurance of sorts when it comes to protecting your backpack from the elements.

Will Budget Airlines accept my Tortuga Travel Backpack as a Carry-on?

Depends. As you know many budget airlines can be sticklers when it comes to the weight and dimensions of your luggage. That being said I can tell you that I’ve flown on a long list of budget airlines over the course of the last two years from AirAsia, RyanAir, Aegean and more and I’ve yet to run into an issue with my Tortuga.

Is there a Tortuga Backpack Discount Code available?

No. Unfortunately, there are no known Tortuga Backpack discount codes available at this time. That being said, $199 is a very small investment when it comes to backpacks, suitcases or any other type of luggage.

What are the differences between the Tortuga Travel Backpack and the Tortuga Air?

In short, the Outbreaker 35L is built for smaller torsos. It’s smaller (35L), lighter and officially qualifies as a carry on bag on all airlines. Yes, including the strict policies of budget airlines such as RyanAir, AirAsia and more.

Outbreaker / Tortuga Air Specifications:

  • Storage: 35 Liters
  • Dimensions: 20.3 x 12.9 x 8.2”
  • Weight: 4.6 lbs (2.15 kg)
  • Laptop: Up to 15″

How good is the Tortuga Backpack for Hiking?

I’ve personally never used my Tortuga on a hiking trip although I can’t see why it wouldn’t be just as good as any other hiking pack on a short trip. For longer trips, you might want to check out some of these hiking backpacks.

Where can I find a Tortuga Backpack for sale?

You can buy the Tortuga Backpack by clicking on the button below.

BUY THE TORTUGA BACKPACK HERE →

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I hope you enjoyed this in-depth Tortuga Travel Backpack Review. If you have any questions or feedback about the Tortuga Backpack, please feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll respond to you as soon as possible.

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About the Author

Ryan Gargiulo is a location independent blogger, digital influencer and world traveler with a serious passion for the sun, the sea and adventure.

When he’s not out wandering the world, you can likely find him instagrammin’ from a paradisiacal location or hunched over my laptop, working away, somewhere along the coast of the Caribbean Sea.

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5 Comments

  1. Since I started traveling in 2012, I’ve gone through all different types of luggage options. I’ve used a variety of backpacks, duffel bags and all sorts of forms of different wheeled and hardshell luggage. Looking back, it’s easy for me to see why backpacks are so popular among global travelers. Being able to travel with the best travel backpack available can change how I feel about my trip and can make things a lot easier for me when I am abroad.

    1. Hey Antonina. Thanks for the comment. I completely agree and that’s why I’m sharing my review of the Tortuga Backpack. It’s by far the best travel backpack I’ve come across in my travels.

  2. Loved my Tortuga. Saving $$$ on silly checked bag fees. Combined with cubes and rolling clothes and wrinkle release spray it’s all you need for travel.

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