The Tortuga Travel Backpack is a sleek and modern bag with plenty of features. It will meet all your travel needs, as it can be both worn as a backpack and carried like a suitcase. It also gives you maximum space for your things while still being able to fit in a plane’s overhead bin. If you can afford it, this is a great bag for perennial travelers (of the spaceways). And that is why it is in our list of the best travel backpack.
Pros of Tortuga Travel Backpack
- Fits perfectly in carry-on bin
- Packs and carries like a suitcase
- Dedicated Laptop Sleeve
- Padding and Locks to protect your things
- Hip belt and padding to keep you comfortable
- Good Organization (hip pockets, pockets in main compartment)
Cons of Tortuga Travel Backpack
- Straps are not fully adjustable like a hiking backpack
- Might benefit from exterior straps of attachment points
- Cost could be prohibitive
Stowing it All Away
If you are a fellow traveler like me you might get tired of the same old gunny sacks and duffels for carrying all your gear and plunder. That is why the Tortuga Travel Backpack is a backpack that is also designed to double as, and have the feel of, a suitcase. It opens completely in the front like a suitcase so everything can be neatly packed.
It also warrants mentioning again that this bag holds up to 44 liters. That’s a lot, as much or more than some hiking backpacks. With this bag, however, you don’t have to shove all your stuff into the one hole on top, allowing for better organization. Who says a traveler can’t be tidy.
The Tortuga Travel Backpack comes equipped with a separate zippered pocket towards the back that fits laptops up to 17”. This compartment is also padded in case your voyage becomes turbulent (some particularly strong solar winds maybe?). Another great feature is that all the main zippered compartments (three in all) come with a lock so you don’t have to worry as much about thieves or rival buccaneers getting away with your spoils.
Designed to be Brought Aboard
This spacious bag has a large comfortable handle on the side so it can be carried sideways like a suitcase. This can be very helpful for maneuvering on planes and other tight places. It is perfect for when you decide to forgo smuggling in your star galleon and fly with the rest of the landlubbers. Please note, X-ray proof smuggling compartment is sold separately. You also have to know a guy, but forget I said anything.
As mentioned before the bag fits perfectly in the overhead bin on the plane, even when stuffed to the brim. It was designed to be the maximum carry-on size of 22 X 14 X 9.” If you don’t pack it all the way, it will also likely fit under the seat in front of you.
Going Ashore (or Planetside)
The Tortuga Travel Backpack has the padding on the shoulder straps and back of the pack itself you would expect with most high-end backpacks. One additional feature it shares with hiking bags, however, is the padded hip belt that holds it securely to your waist. This allows 80% of the weight of the bag to be carried on your hips instead of on your shoulders.
Anyone who lugs cargo for a living can appreciate that. The whole bag is significantly more padded than a usual hiking bag, which is great for crowded cities, airports, etc. The bag is 100% nylon and water-resistant, but you will want some other way to batten down the hatches in case of a heavy storm (a poncho is great for this).
The zippered pockets on the hip belt are great for easy access while your travels. These pockets are often smaller, unzippered or nonexistent on other hiking bags, so this is a definite plus. The official description says that it is perfect for people who like to pack light for trips of 1 week to 1 year.
I personally don’t like to leave the ship for that long but to each his own. If you find yourself needing extra space, especially for bringing stuff back on the return voyage, you can always get a collapsable day bag and pack it in the travel bag or have it as your additional carry-on item.
Drawbacks of Tortuga Travel Backpack
While the original list price of $200 is not quite robbery on the high seas, it is a little on the expensive end for most. Luckily, the model has been discontinued and now you can find it online for about $150, like here on Amazon. Also, by streamlining the outside look of the bag, the designers have forgone certain things that make hiking bags useful. These include things like clips, straps and other attachment points for hanging things like a water bottle or jacket.
Another potential drawback is that the shoulders and hip straps are not fully adjustable, so if you have been hitting the grog hard or are smaller than average this might not be the right choice for you. One reviewer, for instance, says it will ride up on you if you are under 5’6”. Despite all this, I would say that none of these cons are worth jumping ship over.
A Successful Voyage
Smart, stylish and endlessly practical, the Tortuga 44L Carry-On Travel Backpack is good choice. It has almost all the advantages of a hiking backpack but is significantly more compact, designed with other forms of travel in mind (again, space).
Everything is much easier to access, there is a dedicated spot for your laptop. Also the added security of locks for the three main zippers. If you can afford the price and don’t have the need for fully adjustable straps, there are very few better choices on the market.