The Outbreaker is the perfect blend of form and function! This backpack offers a sleek design with plenty of pockets while providing maximum comfort for any trip. Plus, it ships free from Tortuga HQ in Vancouver (yay!).
The Tortuga Outbreaker Backpack 35L will be the subject of this review. We’ve been pleased with Tortuga’s line of carry-on backpacks and travel gear, so we were eager to get our hands on the Outbreaker to see how it compares to the Setout.
We’ve been testing this unisex backpack in Detroit, Miami, England, and Spain for just over two months, so it’s had its fair share of adventures. Let’s get into the review and see how this travel bag fared in the lab.
Aesthetics & Materials
The boxy appearance of this pack made us nervous at first. However, we were pleasantly pleased by how sleek and crisp this pack looked once we put it on. We like the pack’s flexibility because of its minimalist style, which makes it suitable for both vacation and business excursions.
It’s pretty understated when it comes to branding. The front of the pack has a black-on-black logo, which is followed by logos on the zipper pulls and hip belt clasp. Inside the laptop compartment, you’ll discover another Tortuga logo as well as the phrases “On Your Terms” and “Tortuga Outbreaker.”
The black fabric contributes a lot to the sleekness of this pack, and the little shine of the cloth makes it seem very professional. The Outbreaker Backpack is only available in black, which (as you may have figured) isn’t a deal-breaker for us. We understand that all black-on-black isn’t for everyone, so if you want a splash of color, the Cotopaxi Allpa comes in a variety of colorways.
Let’s move on to the supplies. VX21 waterproof sailcloth, a mix of 210D Nylon with DWR and UV resistant coating, polyester, and PET film, is used to make the Outbreaker Backpack (phew, that was a mouthful). In layman’s terms, this implies that these materials combine to produce a highly water-resistant and long-lasting pack.
The materials also provide structure to the pack. This means it will maintain its form whether it is complete or almost empty, which we like. Plus, and this is something we’re very thrilled about, this bundle is self-contained. Yes, you read it correctly.
The crunchy, somewhat glossy texture was first off-putting, but we didn’t hear the pack “crunch” once while using it—it turns out quiet is really golden! The Ripstop diamond-like design on this pack (which can be seen up close) will contribute more to the longevity and strength of the bag than to its visual appeal, but we still think it’s cool.
The pack inside comprises Ripstop nylon, which accomplishes precisely what its name implies. Of course, Ripstop isn’t invincible, but it should keep any potential tears from worsening.
The cushioning in the shoulder straps is made of Ariaprene foam, which is soft, breathable, hypoallergenic, and non-abrasive. It’s also made of mesh, which provides much-needed airflow to keep you cool. But don’t worry, we’ll get to the harness system in a minute (promise!).
Let’s move on to the zippers, which were a dream to use (does anybody else dream about zippers or is it just us?). Whether you’re enjoying the regular rains of British Summertime or the rainy season in Asia, the YKK AquaGuard zippers provide durability and water resistance, keeping your things secure and dry. Lockable zippers are also included in the front, primary, and laptop compartments, providing additional security and peace of mind.
Duraflex, a company renowned for its toughness, provided the hefty buckle on the hip belt and the hardware surrounding the pack. The clasp is simple to use and secure, and its breadth and smoothness make it pleasant to wear for extended periods of time across your waist.
Components from Outside
Let’s start with the harness system—ahis is a backpack! The harness system is one of the most comfortable we’ve used so far, and the adjustability is impressive.
The back panel is the first thing you notice; it was created with comfort in mind. There is a lot of cushioning here (some may think it excessive), but we found it to be in all of the appropriate places. This additional cushioning also improves ventilation and breathability, which is excellent for long travel days—no one loves a sweaty back. A sturdy panel sits under the foam, assisting in the comfortable support of the pack’s weight.
The shoulder straps are also adjustable and comfy. They’re highly cushioned and, you guessed it, comfy thanks to the Ariaprene foam. We’re blown away by how much stress and weight has been lifted off your shoulders. The non-abrasive material also prevents friction even while you’re sweating, making this pack as pleasant to wear with a tank top as it is with a sweater. You may carry this pack higher or lower on your back thanks to the fully adjustable shoulder straps. Load lifters are located on top of the shoulder straps, allowing you to fully customize the carry to fit your needs.
We understand that there is no one-size-fits-all travel bag for everyone since everyone’s physique is different, therefore the more we can modify, the better.
There’s an adjustable sternum strap on the shoulder straps (if only we had a dollar for every time we said adjustable in our review). Moving it up and down may be adjusted to a comfortable position across your chest. The sternum strap is partly elasticized, which allows for some wiggle space when it bends while walking and relieves some of the strain. This harness system also has some strap management, so you can wrangle any loose ends or conceal the sternum strap when it’s not in use—get ready for the #danglefreeexperience!
This pack’s hip belt performs an excellent job of evenly distributing weight over your body, and the broad strap and clasp contribute to the comfort. To comfortably fasten this to your body, there are adjustment spots where the hip belt connects to the pack and by the buckle. The hip belt is thick, but the foam is somewhat thinner, allowing it to wrap around your body more efficiently. The hip belt is very large, but it is also fully detachable. So you may turn it off if it’s not required or if it gets in the way.
Two quick-grab pockets are located on the hip belt. When you’re wearing the hip belt, they are simpler to use and come in useful for any tiny or often used things. Although we didn’t use these pockets too frequently, they are useful if you’re on the run and don’t want to remove your backpack. We discovered that these pockets are large enough to accommodate a standard-sized smartphone (the Samsung S8) and are handy for cash, coins, cards, and receipts.
We should mention that the hip belt’s straps are longer than expected, so you’ll have a lot of extra straps. I discovered that they could be placed under the waist pack’s pockets. to keep them out of the way
A water bottle compartment may be found on both sides of this bag. These feature a convenient tab on the inside that makes it easy to put a water bottle in. We were able to fit the Hydro Flask 18 oz Wide Mouth Bottle within these pockets, but it’s essential to remember that if the main compartment is filled to maximum, the space inside these pockets will be compromised.
Two quick-grab pockets are located on the front of the pack. These are a perfect size and have come in helpful in keeping things that need to be accessed fast. The bottom pocket has a lip over the zipper for further security, however also makes it more difficult to reach when the pack is fully loaded. We utilized it to keep our toiletries apart from the rest of our belongings in the Ziploc bag for TSA. Our earbuds, smartphone, and ROAV Sunglasses were all stored in the top zipper.
A quick-grab handle is located at the top of the pack. The cushion in the handle absorbs the weight while you’re carrying it, and it’s also helpful in retrieving your bag from the plane’s overhead bins.
TTwo compression straps are on each side of the pack towards the top. They work nicely to condense the bag if you’re carrying fewer things; while they won’t make a significant impact (you won’t feel like you’re taking a daypack), having some flexibility is good.
The Inside of the Pack
Tortuga describes these packets as having “obsessive organization,” which we are glad to agree with. If that’s not your thing, don’t dismiss this collection. They won’t get in the way when the pockets and compartments aren’t in use. Isn’t that the finest of both worlds?
The main compartment has a clamshell shape, making packing a breeze compared to a suitcase. IThis bag may be an excellent place to start if you’re thinking about switching from a rolling case to a backpack; We suggest packing cubes to conserve space and keep your belongings tidy in this section.
Now it’s time to get organized! There are two thin pockets in the main compartment, one on each side of the bag. More minor things, such as sunglasses, socks, and undergarments, may be stored in them.
Two mesh pockets extend across the breadth of the bag on the opposite side of the main compartment (the top). These are ideal for things that are more flattering. We utilized the Fjallraven Gear Pockets to keep all of our minor things together. While these pockets may store a lot more, it’s essential to keep in mind that if they’re completely full, they’ll start eating up room in the compartment’s primary bucket.
You are moving on to the front compartment, which seems to be tiny yet contains a lot of information. With its clamshell shape, we appreciate how this compartment opens fully. This allows you to easily reach anything within while also increasing your visibility. Due to the locking zippers, we suggest utilizing this compartment for things you need fast access to that are more critical, such as your passport, cards, keys, and wallet.
Since a lot is happening here, we’ll go through the features individually. A big zipped pocket (approximately half the size of the pack) starts at the top, with a critical clip above it. A lined tablet sleeve sits under the zipper and should accommodate most tablets of any size. Three pen holders and a slide-in pocket for a tiny notepad are located on the front of this pocket. There are three card compartments, a slide-in pocket, and a somewhat elasticated pocket underneath this. Then, there’s a mesh zippered pocket n the opposite side of this pocket (don’t worry, we’re nearly done),
The laptop compartment is located on the rear of the bag. Another clamshell design, in keeping with the previous sections in this pack, greets us. But there’s nothing we can do about it! Because of the internal structure, this aperture reaches all of the pockets within. The cushioned rear panel protects the laptop compartment, which can accommodate up to a 17″ laptop (without the cover). A smaller compartment for tablets up to 9.7″ is located in front of this. Both cases are lined with a very soft fabric and cushioned. While we found these pockets to be secure, there is a Velcro strap over the top for further protection.
Three similar-sized mesh zippered pockets are located on the other side of this pocket. These pockets are perfect for keeping your charger and other electrical devices so that everything is in one place. The mesh also improves visibility.
Back Compartment Organization in the Tortuga Outbreaker Backpack
Testing & Durability
We tested the Tortuga Outbreaker Backpack for little over two months in Detroit, Miami, England, and Spain at the time of this review. So far, this pack has stood up nicely, with no signs of wear or tear, and we anticipate it will continue to do so in the future.
This pack comes in two sizes: 35L and 45L. We found that the 35L version works better on a more petite frame, but the 45L version may work better for you if you like to pack more, want a little more space to pick up things while traveling, or aren’t concerned about carry-on limits.
It’s up to you and your travel style to choose between these two sizes, and we were pleased with the information Tortuga provides on its website, which shows how much you can carry in each, as well as some other details to help you decide.
Even while there is a lot of internal organization going on, it isn’t as daunting as the Eagle Creek Wayfinder’s structure. So, if that’s a concern for you, don’t worry; it’s a simple concept to grasp.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a Tortuga backpack worth it?
A: A Tortuga pack is a very popular and well-known brand of backpack. While the quality does vary between products, there are high-quality bags that can be found for less than $60 on Amazon.
Are Tortuga Backpacks durable?
A: Yes. Although Tortuga Backpacks are made with high-quality materials, they do not have the same durability as their competitors in this market due to their light weight and lack of heavy-duty stitching on important handles or pockets.
Where are Tortuga Backpacks made?
A: Tortuga bags are designed and made in the United States by a small company located on Maui, Hawaii.
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