Tortuga is one of the most well-known brands in the world for high-quality, lightweight backpacks. The company has just released a new “setout” laptop backpack that offers unique organizational features and breathable mesh to keep you cool on long days off.

The Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack is a tech-focused daypack that fits perfectly in with the rest of Tortuga’s lineup—in particular, it looks a lot like the Setout Divide. As a result, we’ve been eager to get our hands on this pack and see how it compares to Tortuga’s other gear, which we’ve found to be generally impressive throughout our years of testing.

Aesthetics & Materials

To start with the materials, the primary fabric on this pack is a 900D heathered polyester covering the whole exterior. The heathered gray material is advantageous since dirt, and minor abrasions are less visible—this is the same material used in the Setout and Setout Divide, so that we can speak from experience. We’ve had a lot of success with both of those bags, which we’ve had for about four months.

We also tried Tortuga’s Homebase line, but we didn’t have as much success with that. That line is made of a crinkly sailcloth-like material that abrasions readily. However, Tortuga has chosen the same polyester as the rest of the Setout range, which is a welcome sight.

Tortuga has indicated that they intend to offer additional Setout gear in 2019, utilizing the same (or comparable) materials with a few other colors and design choices. Again, we believe this is a fantastic movie—with this material, style, and design, they’ve certainly discovered a winner. We’d be delighted to see more.

In terms of aesthetics, we think the heathered hue is crisp, and the pack’s smaller form factor—especially when compared to the 45-liter Setout—gives it a clean, tight appearance that works.

On the zipper pulls, near the quick grab pocket, and even on the Velcro and shoulder straps, Tortuga shell emblems may be seen. There are a lot of logos, but none of them jump out as LOGOS if that makes sense. They’ve been tastefully integrated into the bag’s general design, and everything looks good together. That is much appreciated.

According to our Instagram survey, 61% of our followers enjoy the appearance of this bag, which is very impressive! So give us a follow on Instagram (@packhacker) to participate in the polls and show off your incredible sense of style. Just make sure you don’t allow all that power to go to your head.

Tortuga has selected some sturdy zippers, which we like. These are YKK #8 RC (racquet coil) zippers, most of which are locking. They’ve also selected Duraflex for the plastic hardware throughout the pack, which is a fantastic and long-lasting option (as the name implies).

Finally, Tortuga’s harness system and back frame sheet are made of injection-molded foam, making them very comfortable to wear while carrying and providing additional ventilation.

Components from Outside

Let’s start with the harness system for the external components. Overall, this harness system is comparable to the other Tortuga Setout items we’ve seen. The Laptop Backpack differs from its other giant backpacks because it does not have a hip belt. For a pack of this site, we believe it’s OK—the overall harness system is sturdy enough that you won’t need it.

Tortuga has gone through a few revisions in their product lines to find out what works best across the board, and we believe they’ve finally found a winning harness system. The shoulder straps are made of the injection-molded foam we described before, and they are thicker at the top and thinner at the bottom. This keeps the bottom portion out of the way while keeping the straps comfy where they’re needed. Furthermore, you might argue that less material is utilized where it isn’t required, making this bag somewhat less wasteful.

Extra mesh and perforations in the straps provide additional ventilation and comfort. Finally, the Duraflex hardware at the bottom allows you to adjust everything, and there are some elastic keepers to keep extra straps in place.

A detachable sternum strap is appropriately secured to the shoulder strap. If you’ve been following us for a while, you’re aware that we have a problem with “detachable” sternum straps that are “removed-and-might-fall-off-without-you-knowing” sternum straps. So we’re glad to report that this sternum strap does an excellent job of staying in, and you won’t have to worry about it falling off.

When the pack is filled with heavy tech gear, we prefer to use the sternum strap, but if you’re going to a coffee shop for a few hours, you probably don’t need it.

Due to its design, the rear panel provides excellent ventilation. This backpack features high-density foam and breathable mesh, giving it some of the best ventilation in the daypack category. A stitched loop for hanging is located towards the top, and we like that it’s sewn since it provides a flatter place to hang the bag and is more durable.

You can hide anything on this harness system if you unclip the straps and tuck them into the strap hider region. This is a helpful feature if you don’t want your straps flying all over the place, and it’s also the same compartment as the baggage pass-through.

The baggage pass-through is a good size and can accommodate most handles. However, if the straps are tucked away, you may have to spend some time fishing the handle through. It may be inconvenient since it does not have its designated location.

One thing to remember while reinstalling these straps: when clipping them in, make sure the clip opening is towards the outside of the bag. In our testing with this bag and the bigger Setout, we discovered that these clips might frequently come out unexpectedly while lifting the load. Make sure they’re pointing outwards to prevent this.

This pack has two grab handles, one on the top and one on the side. They’re well-padded, and they’re delightful to use. They probably don’t need to be this thick since they add weight, but we enjoy how pleasant they are to hold.

To round out this portion, there is a beautiful water bottle compartment on the other side of the bag (the side without the handle) that lies flat when not in use. Unzip it when you’re ready to utilize it, and you’ll be prepared to go. Some excellent, flexible mesh will accommodate some pretty big bottles, but nothing as big as a full-sized Nalgene.

Inside the Bundle

Starting on the pack’s interior, we’ll start with the front quick grab pocket. We appreciate Tortuga included this—ideal it’s for swiftly stowing items away, how a quick grab pocket should be.

When you first open the front horseshoe panel, you’re greeted with a fantastic organizational area. However, there is one issue. It’s just too low to fit through the horseshoe hole! The horseshoe zipper can only be opened about a third of the way down the pack, but most of the organization is below that, making it difficult to use.

The horseshoe aperture could be a little deeper, and the organization panel could be a little higher. Tortuga has even gone to great lengths in its promotional video and photos to show you what’s actually inside. We believe that if there was more space and visibility, you could organize this area more effectively.

We’re really wondering why Tortuga hasn’t updated this yet. We’ve seen the same issue with a lot of their prior packs, where the front-facing organizing features are very difficult to reach. It’s a little perplexing.

But, speaking of those features, they’re very well-thought-out, and we really like the structure itself—just it’s the way you get there that we don’t like. We believe there’s just enough organization, but it does lay flat, so you’ll be OK if you don’t want to use it.

A stretchable black pocket for a battery bank or tiny hard drive starts at the bottom. Then there are four credit card-width pockets piled on top of one another, each with a different height.

Next to three pen/pencil/stylus pockets is a wider, somewhat cushioned divider for flatter objects, and above that is a deeper liner pocket. Finally, a zippered fast grab pocket at the top is comparable in size to the outside quick grab pocket and is quite simple to reach. A metal clip is also included, which may be used to attach any “keychain-like” objects.

Moving on, the laptop sleeve includes cushioning and can accommodate laptops up to 15 inches in size. Our 15-inch MacBook Pro fits well in this space. There’s also a fake bottom, so your laptop won’t fit all the way down to the bottom of the pack, safeguarding it from accidental drops.

A second pocket for a tablet or e-reader is located in front of that, and both compartments may be closed with a Velcro strap (which has a Tortuga logo on it, of course).

On the opposite side is a mesh pocket, ideal for storing cables, chargers, and other electronic accessories that are usually difficult to handle. You can throw everything in there, and it’ll be ready to go when you take out your laptop, a feature we love. This is a brand-new compartment for the Setout series—we haven’t seen it on the Setout or the Setout Divide—and it’s an excellent addition to a tech-oriented backpack.

The clamshell chamber, which is essentially a big bucket, is the major event. There’s a lot of polyester ripstop nylon inside, which is excellent since it keeps any tears from becoming bigger if they do happen.

This bag’s spacious compartments are ideal for travel, particularly if you’re utilizing packing cubes (which we recommend). One disadvantage of this clamshell design is that it may be challenging to determine which zipper is which at first look. This is because the zippers on the front horseshoe panel and the main compartment are very close together.

We’d usually put underwear and socks in the top flap’s two evenly split mesh pockets, which have a little dimension, to keep them separate from the rest of your clothes. Flatter objects will work here; if you don’t want to utilize them, they will fade into the backdrop.

Testing & Durability

We’ve been using the Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack for approximately two weeks at this review. We also spent three months testing the original Tortuga Setout and one month testing the Setout Divide.

We’re sure this bag will follow a similar trajectory in terms of longevity as the others since the materials are comparable. In addition, except for some minor cosmetic flaws on the 900D polyester, there haven’t been any durability problems with these packs yet.

When compared to the Tortuga Homebase’s sailcloth fabric, this is a significant improvement, and we believe Tortuga is truly hitting its stride with this series of packs.

However, if you decide to get this pack, we suggest checking at the Tortuga Setout Divide. Except for the mesh pocket in the laptop compartment, it contains everything this laptop bag offers and more. It’s a little bit larger, but it’s also a lot more adaptable.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Tortuga Backpacks good?

A: I would say no if you’re on a budget. However, if you have the money to spend and want a fantastic backpack that can withstand anything thrown at it (even some crazy exercise), then I would say yes!

Which backpack is best for laptops?

A: This is tough to answer without some clarification. What size laptop are you trying to fit in the backpack? If it’s a 17 or smaller, I would recommend either The North Face Borealis Backpack ( for school and work purposes because of its water-resistant design and spacious interior or our Editor’s Choice Osprey Xenith 22L Womens Rolltop Bag (

Is the Tortuga Setout waterproof?

A: The Tortuga Setout is not waterproof. You can quickly test this for yourself by submerging it in water.

Related Tags

  • tortuga setout backpack
  • tortuga setout divide vs setout laptop
  • tortuga setout divide review
  • tortuga setout 35l review
  • tortuga setout laptop backpack Uk
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