Tortuga Setout Backpack Review

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Updated June 27, 2022
90 Expert Rating

A number of pockets with pouches of their own, a pretty durable body and numerous adjustable straps all come together in the Tortuga Setout Backpack. Packing becomes easier than ever as you open it up like a suitcase, and with the added functionality of the pouches and separate packing cubes you can organize everything within your back without wasting space. Thus making for much quicker access and a good amount of padding for both durability and comfort, the Tortuga Setout Backpack is among one of the best backpacks you can get right now.

Why We Like It – Tortuga Setout Backpack

With a premium price, the Tortuga Setout Backpack is a near perfect backpack for you travellers out there. It’s feature filled design paired with both a good amount of space and durability, will allow you to store everything you need quickly and easily, without much worry about damaging the backpack. Thus, with a compact and stylish design, the Tortuga Setout Backpack makes it possible for you to easily walk past everyone at the airport without worrying about giving or picking up luggage before and after every flight.

  • Great amount of storage
  • Solid and durable design
  • Comfortable to carry
  • No fixed body structure may cause a bit of sagging
  • Hip belt can’t be adjusted


To start off, the Tortuga Setout Backpack comes with 4 pockets, including the side pocket for water bottles, giving you quite a bit of option when it comes to organizing the stuff you have, making sure you don’t have to unpack for every little thing everytime. The North Face Ruthsac Backpack also has side pockets that are enclosed for safe storage of items. Now, from the front of the Tortuga bag, we have a small pocket that reaches about 7.5 Inches in depth, allowing you to store small things that you may need quick access to. Following that, the Tortuga Setout Backpack offers a organizable medium sized pocket featuring a number of pouches starting with three to store pens, one large enough to keep your phone or a deck of cards, one to keep a journal in as well as a zipped pocket for small items, which measures to be pretty much the same as the front pocket, just slightly narrower. You even get the added benefit of a metal carabiner to attach some keys, and while you can store things outside these pouches in the space within the pocket, having the big main compartment next in line just makes it unnecessary.

Being the most of the 35 or 45 Litres of space itself, from whichever option you choose, this main compartment comes with a lot of space as well as two zippered pockets for separated storage on the front of the pocket. This is where you’ll keep most of your clothes, shoes and other necessities without worrying about damaging a device as the laptop compartment at the back of the backpack is much better for that. Apart from that, the main compartment can also be packed more efficiently with the separately sold packing cubes, so check them out if you’re willing to spend a bit more. And, to end it off about the main compartment, you’ll be happy to know that while all the YKK zippers are strong and lockable, the main compartments zips have an easily distinguishable design, therefore making it so that you don’t end up mixing up the different pockets in a rush.

Either way coming around to the laptop pocket we get a padded laptop sleeve, which although doesn’t have a very fixed frame will provide quite a bit of protection for your 15Inch laptop. It even contains a separate pouch for your tablet or kindle making it easier and safer to store your devices, separated from a pack of clothes. Additionally, you can also keep your laptop steady in its place using the velcro strap while keeping documents in the rest of the pocket, optimizing for both storage and quick access. Although professionals can go for this bag, you could also look at what the Amazonbasics Backpack Laptops Up 17 Inches offers.

As for the water bottle pocket on the side, the Tortuga Setout Backpack comes with a lay-flat pocket which is made of mesh, with an elastic top for securing your water bottle or umbrella. This also makes sure that the pocket doesn’t hang onto something, tearing apart in the process, when it’s not occupied by anything.

Furthermore, coming around to the handles and straps Tortuga offers, you get a pair of padded handles on both the side and top which make it easy to carry the backpack. On the other hand, a fabric handle on the top makes it easier to hang the backpack and even carry it for a long while if you need to. Aside, from that, the Tortuga Setout Travel Backpack comes with injection molded shoulder straps which also offer both good padding and are covered by mesh for better ventilation. All of this along with the padded back, adjustable sternum strap and hip belt give the backpack a better weight distribution, thus making the Tortuga Setout a great carry-on backpack for city travel.

Speaking of the sternum straps and hip belt, while the sternum straps can be put into a velcro pocket along with the shoulder strap by unclipping them, the hip belt is actually completely detachable via velcro and even comes with some pockets of its own to store important things you may need. Now being an elastic belt, it may not be the right size for everyone, but that’s where Tortuga comes and provides you with choices for both men(17-19 Inches) and women(15.5-18 Inches) torso sizes, making sure the hip belt does indeed fit and help with the weight distribution.

What contributes further to the Tortuga Setout review on amazon com as one of the best travel backpacks out there is that the Tortuga Backpack comes with an added messenger strap if you want to attach it to the included clips. Plus, you also get a built-in suspension system in the body which helps protect your belongings from damage even if you accidentally drop it.

And finally, the Tortuga Setout Backpack is made of 900D polyester unlike the sail cloth of the Tortuga Outbreaker, but it is still pretty durable, rarely picking up marks or scratches whilst still retaining a pretty good look and feel.


When it comes to the size of a backpack Tortuga made sure that you would be satisfied. With a carry-on size for most airlines, the Tortuga Setout Backpack can fit in things like clothes as well as your devices into a single luggage and would measure to be at most 22 in x 14 in x 9 Inches. Now this may vary depending on how much you put into the backpack, but with the added packing cubes it becomes super easy to pack it and go through the airports with little to no trouble at all.

As for carrying it, providing options for a messenger strap and also a side handle, the Tortuga Setout Backpack can be carried in a multiple different ways, each of them easy and comfortable enough for school and travel. However, we would say that for school, the Nike Hayward 2.0 Backpack and the Matein Travel Laptop Backpack might be better options. But for travel, the Tortuga Setout Backpack is as good, if not better than The North Face Borealis Backpack.

Other than that, the Tortuga Setout Backpack is moderately stylish with a few colours available, but it may have a weird shape if you stuff it with a lot of things without the packing cubes.


Priced at almost $200, the Tortuga Setout Backpack isn’t the most affordable backpack out there. It’s a premium product with a premium quality. Now although the material of it is slightly likely to catch marks and scratches, with a good amount of functionality with its pockets and straps as well as a easy to pack and use build, the Tortuga Setout Backpack is a great value backpack for those who really need that extreme space for packing and simultaneously be able to take it as a carry-on luggage during flights.

Tortuga Setout Backpack Wrap Up

Delivering a great amount of functionality with its set of pockets and their own respective features ranging from pouches and sleeves, a good build quality for both the body and the zippers as well as a good amount of padding for comfort, the Tortuga Setout Backpack is a great travel backpack with a whole lot of space. And although it’s on the expensive sides of backpacks, for those of you who are willing to spend as much, the Tortuga Setout Backpack is most definitely worth it considering how you’ll be able to just get out from the flight and walk out from the airport without worrying about picking up any extra baggage.