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Best Travel Backpacks: Tortuga Setout - Gear Hacker

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Tortuga Setout Review: Runner Up for Best One Bag Travel Backpack of 2020

Runner Up for Best One BagTravel Backpack of 2020

  • Organization 80% 80%
  • Comfort 80% 80%
  • Security 90% 90%
  • Laptop Protection 90% 90%
  • Weight 80% 80%

Price: $199

Weight: 3.9lbs (2.4kg)

Dimensions: 22x14x9” 

Capacity: 45l

Laptop Size: 17”

What We Like: Slim design, can accommodate a 17” laptop.

What We Don’t: Looks like a suitcase with backpack straps. 

The Tortuga Setout is an excellent travel pack for the modern traveler. It has a great laptop sleeve, it is easy to pack and organize the main compartment, and great spots for your valuables. The designers did not go over the top with the Setout, and the price point makes the backpack very friendly. The fabric that was used is weatherproof, and the pack is perfectly sized for most US Airlines as a carry-on. The Setout even looks nice with smooth corners and a clean front panel.

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  • Organization 100% 100%
  • Comfort 90% 90%
  • Security 80% 80%
  • Laptop Protection 90% 90%
  • Weight 70% 70%

Pros

Laptop and Electronic Storage Pocket

Harness System

Cons

Boxy shape

Material Aesthetic

Weight: 5.1lbs (1.7kg)

Dimensions: 22x14x9” 

Capacity: 45l

Laptop Size: 17”

Best Travel Backpacks: Tortuga Setout - Gear Hacker
  • Organization 80% 80%
  • Comfort 80% 80%
  • Security 90% 90%
  • Laptop Protection 90% 90%
  • Weight 80% 80%

Pros

Slim Design

Can Accommodate a 17” Laptop.

Cons

Looks Like a Suitcase with Backpack Straps.

Weight: 3.9lbs (2.4kg)

Dimensions: 22x14x9” 

Capacity: 45l

Laptop Size: 17”

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  • Organization 70% 70%
  • Comfort 80% 80%
  • Security 100% 100%
  • Laptop Protection 90% 90%
  • Weight 90% 90%

Pros

Zipper Security Systems

Price

Cons

Top Loading

Weight: 2.6lbs (1.17kg)

Dimensions: 21x14x8.25” 

Capacity: 40l

Laptop Size: 17”

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  • Organization 80% 80%
  • Comfort 100% 100%
  • Security 70% 70%
  • Laptop Protection 60% 60%
  • Weight 80% 80%

Pros

Great Harness System

Internal Storage

Cons

Laptop Sleeve Location

Weight: 3.17lbs (1.44kg)

Dimensions: 21x14x9”

Capacity: 40l

Laptop Size: 15”

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  • Laptop Protection 90% 90%
  • Weight 80% 80%

Pros

Multiple Access Points

Stow Away Harness System

Cons

Price

Weight: 3.42lbs (1.55kg)

Dimensions: 21x14x9”

Capacity: 40l

Laptop Size: 15”

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  • Laptop Protection 90% 90%
  • Weight 70% 70%

Pros

Made for Travel and Outdoor Adventures

Cons

Limited Organization

Boxy

Weight: 5.15lbs (2.34kg) 

Dimensions: 22x14x9”

Capacity: 45l

Laptop Size: 15”

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Pros

Internal Organization

Durable Material

Cons

No Frame

Awkward Straps

Weight: 3.4lbs (1.5kg)

Dimensions: 22.75x18x6.75”

Capacity: 45l

Laptop Size: 17”

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  • Weight 70% 70%

Pros

Adjustable Hipbelt

Good Company Values

Cons

Thin Harness System

Weight: 3.5lbs (1.6kg)

Dimensions: 20x12x8”

Capacity: 35l

Laptop Size: 15”

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  • Laptop Protection 80% 80%
  • Weight 90% 90%

Pros

Shoe Compartment

Slim Design

Cons

Small Size

Hipbelt Sold Separately

Weight: 3.7lbs (1.69kg)

Dimensions: 21.5x13.5x8.5”

Capacity: 33l

Laptop Size: 15”

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Pros

Waterproof

Water Bottle Pocket

Cons

Odd External Material Set Up

Weight: 4.5lbs (2.05kg)

Dimensions: 21x13x6.5” (expands to 7.5”)

Capacity: 45l

Laptop Size: 17”

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  • Laptop Protection 80% 80%
  • Weight 80% 80%

Pros

Included Rain Cover

Laptop Suspension System

Cons

Harness Stowing System

Weight: 3.12lbs (1.415kg)

Dimensions: 21.6x13.7x7.87”

Capacity: 35l

Laptop Size: 16”

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Pros

Looks Great

Waterproof Material

Cons

Hard to Organize

Limited Pockets

Weight: 3.3lbs (1.5kg)

Dimensions: 20x15x8”

Capacity: 40l

Laptop Size: 15”

Tortuga has been around since 2010 after their founders had a terrible experience traveling in Europe with standard backpacking backpacks meant for camping and mountaineering. They couldn’t find the perfect travel bag, so they made one.

Since then Tortuga has created a small but mighty line of great travel and commuter bags. The Tortuga Setout is an award-winning pack in their travel backpacks collection. The Setout comes in three sizes and styles: a 45l, a 35l, and an expandable backpack that can expand to 32l. All of the sizes come in a men’s or women’s, catering the shoulder straps and hip belts to each gender for optimal comfort while running through airports to catch connecting flights.

For the benefit of the article, I’ll be looking at the 45l backpack, and for only $20 more than the 35l, you get 10 more liters of storage in a great bag that is still carry-on approvedif just barely.

Best Travel Backpacks: Tortuga Setout - Gear Hacker

Storage

As with most one bag travel backpacks, the Tortuga Setout has a clamshell opening, giving optimal access to all of the items in the main compartment. There are two additional zippered storage pockets in the main compartment to assist in organizing smaller items.

Best Travel Backpacks: Tortuga Setout - Gear Hacker

Along the front of the pack is a half zipper pocket that is perfect for thin documents or wallets. It is a great feature that helps you quickly store and access your passport in a busy airport security line. Within this pocket, there are other great pockets to keep your small items organized and out of the main compartment. On the side of the pack is a water bottle pocket as welljust make sure you remember to dump it out before security!

The padded hipbelt also has dual zippered storage pockets, like you would find on a hiking backpack, to give users quick access to small items such as a phone or snacks.

Laptop Sleeve

What would a digital nomad be without their laptop? The Setout has a padded laptop sleeve that is able to accommodate a 17” laptop, a 9.7” tablet, and an e-reader. You could even throw a phone in there and create the ultimate electronics pocket. There are organization sleeves within the pocket to prevent your laptop and tablet from scratching each other. The pocket is located closest to the body for additional protection and security.

Best Travel Backpacks: Tortuga Setout - Gear Hacker

Comfort and Harness System

The Tortuga Setout comes with hide-away shoulder straps and hipbelt. The injection foam molded shoulder straps are ventilated and well paddedperfect for long walking tours through London or Istanbul. The backpanel padding is contoured to create airflow and reduce heat build-up. With a padded hipbelt, weight is distributed evenly to the waist for an improved heavy load carry.

Best Travel Backpacks: Tortuga Setout - Gear Hacker

The Setout even comes with a sternum buckle and load lifters on the shoulder strap for additional weight management and a very comfortable carry. The mass of the backpack will stick out from the body, throwing off your center of gravity, but the straps do a good job of hugging the body and keeping the weight distributed evenly.

Best Travel Backpacks: Tortuga Setout - Gear Hacker

Security and Material

With lockable YKK zippers and burly Duraflex buckles, the accessories on the Tortuga are not messing around. The entire pack is made from a 900D polyester fabric that is coated in a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) coating. The outer material is made using recycled plastic bottles, which is a nice addition to an already great bag. At 3.4 lbs, the Tortuga Setout is also quite light for a durable globe-trotting carry on. 

Best Travel Backpacks: Tortuga Setout - Gear Hacker

The Bottom Line

Tortuga only makes one bag travel and commuter bags, so they can concentrate all of their energy on making them world-class. The design and build of the Setout shows how proficient they have become in this pursuit since 2010.

From the 3 main storage compartments for laptops, clothing, and small items, to the sleek and minimalistic design, there is little to complain about in the Setout. With a price tag of $200, the value is well worth the investment. To have storage on the removable hipbelt is a great add-on that is not seen often in the travel bag market. These details show how a real-world experience has molded this pack into an excellent travel bag.

Best Travel Backpacks: Tortuga Setout - Gear Hacker

If you don’t want to carry that much stuff, the 35l version of the setout will also accommodate a 17” and comes with all of the bells and whistles that were mentioned in the above review. For any globe-trotting, city visiting, electronics carrying traveler, the Tortuga Setout is a great pack for any destination.

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