Tortuga Setout Review | 45L Travel Backpack (Maximum Legal Carry-On Bag)

Tortuga Setout Review | 45L Travel Backpack (Maximum Legal Carry-On Bag)


– In this video, we’re going to be taking a
look at the Tortuga Setout, a massive, maximum legal carry-on size backpack for travel. A lot of people in the Pack Hacker audience have requested
that we review this pack, so we’re really excited to get into it and share our thoughts with you. I’m Tom, the founder of Pack Hacker. We share our travel trips and tricks, we do guides and reviews
just like this one. If you’re new here, consider subscribing. Let’s jump right into the
Tortuga Setout review. [upbeat music playing] Tortuga tees up the Setout to be a ‘just right’ travel backpack for travelers. It’s accessible to the average traveler wanting to carry
everything in a backpack with the familiarities of a suitcase. The Homebase, which is
another pack in their line, is designed to be a little bit more lightweight for minimalist
packers and shorter trips, but this thing is the maximum legal size for a carry-on bag. They definitely went all out with it. It’s a little bit bulky but
that’s the intention of it. So you can fit a bunch of
stuff inside of this pack and carry it on for the airlines that allow for larger carry-on bags. This thing comes in at 45 liters and we’d agree with that. It’s definitely super roomy and it also comes in at 3.3 pounds with the attached hip belt. In contrast to Tortuga’s other two bags, the Outbreaker and the Homebase, which are made with sail cloth, the Setout is made with
900D heathered polyester. Polyester is cheaper
than nylon and sail cloth which brings the Setout a little bit lower than the Outbreaker
and the Homebase in price. As an added bonus to that polyester, it’s kind of the multicolored
heathered pattern here and that’s going to help
with dirts and scuffs. They’re not going to show up quite as much on this multicolored
kind of design going on here. In contrast to the sail cloth, especially the Homebase
which we’ve observed, that picks up a lot of
aesthetic scuffs really fast. There’s some rip-stop nylon
on the interior of this thing and it’s going to help with the
weather resistance of the pack as well as some of that durability. With the polyester, you don’t quite get as
crinkly of a texture as you do with the sail cloth present in their other two packs. With the bulk, we feel that the features on this thing look decently slick and refined. Of course, it’s just a
massive travel backpack, but it blends in well
with an urban environment. Depending on how full you pack this thing, you may be able to slide it under the seat in front of you, but it’s going to do the best if you use an overhead bin when
you’re on the plane. Lastly, the Tortuga branding is displayed minimally throughout the pack and we definitely like the small details that they’ve added without screaming Tortuga on everything. Up here on the straps, you’ve got very minimalistic kind of branding going on there and then also on the front here of course, we’ve got the little Tortuga
turtle shell going on. To round off the materials used, everything they used
here is pretty durable. We have some beefy YKK zippers as well as Duraflex plastic
and Duraflex buckles going on. We definitely like to see that and there’s also injection molded foam that we’re going to get into in a second. [upbeat music playing] Let’s start with the external
features of the pack. Let’s start with the
compression straps here. Overall, these are expertly placed and they don’t cover up the zippers. You can see here that
they’re basically attached, not getting in the way of that zipper. You can move freely throughout the pack to open it up fully, or you can kind of just get that front flap open without adjusting and fiddling with the
compression straps at all. This is great overall but
when the bag is fully packed, we did notice a stress point on the zipper near the compression strap. We think because the bag is so wide, it might be adding additional
stress to that zipper. Not something to be
immediately concerned about. We didn’t have any issues with it. With that repeated stress on that zipper, it may be kind of tough
in terms of durability. Again, zippers are some of
the weakest part of backpacks and those tend to break first. Good thing these are high quality zippers. There is a top handle here and a side handle here for some quick grabs. Again, not super structured and sturdy. You can see that there’s
a little bit of give here, but there is some anchoring here going on to add to that durability. Again, this is going to be
good for just quick grabs, going short distances, popping this thing in the overhead bin above you, or taking it on with you
onto a bus or public transit. Again, we wouldn’t really
recommend this in briefcase mode. One thing Tortuga does that we really love is that they have this separate kind of strap going on up here to hang the bag up if you’d like to. There are two clips on the outside here, maybe for a messenger strap, not really sure why you’d
want to wear it that way, but there are two clips here for that or maybe securing anything else that you’d like to secure there. On the side opposite of the handle, there is a lay flat water bottle pocket. Again, this looks good
and slick, it’s minimal. Low profile when not in use. When you do need to use it, there’s some reinforced elasticity above here that’s going to be able to hold that water bottle in place. Roomy sides. We can fit a large Swell bottle in there. Definitely a good size. Let’s move on to my personal favorite part of the backpack, the harness system. These are injection molded foam straps and they’re kind of tricky. There’s a couple things going on here. Basically there’s a gradient,
so it’s very thick up here and then very thin down here. Definitely some custom
shaping going on there which is pretty cool. It kind of has these
holes in it and this mesh for some added breathability. Kind of reminds me of Nike Air technology or something like that. To add to that, these
straps are kind of curved so they nicely contour to your body. There’s a fully loaded sternum
strap here that’s adjustable. They have a little keeper here to kind of help manage that excess strap so it doesn’t hang off too much. Also, these straps un-clip nicely and stow right into this
Velcro system right here. The one thing that we did
have an issue with here is that on two occasions, these straps just randomly came off. What we found out is that this little metal clasp down here at the bottom actually should be facing out. This totally makes sense if you observe where the carabiner clip pulls on where’s it looped into. As you can see when you’re pulling on it, that strap can make its way
under that silver buckle without you wanting it to based on the pressure that’s being put on it. As long as you have that silver clip faced towards the outside, you’re likely not going to
run into that issue. To wrap up the harness system, there is a beefy, comfortable
hip belt attachment that you can use. Tortuga does mention
on their product specs, we really like that they do this, but this is meant for
17 to 19 inch torsos. I’m about a 19.25 inch torso and this hip belt is more
of a stomach belt to me. It doesn’t fit me super well. It does distribute weight but it’s over my belly button and
isn’t necessarily comfortable. Just make sure that your torso is the right side before grabbing this. In contrast to the Outbreaker, the hip belt is not adjustable. We were also wondering why Tortuga used Velcro on the hip belt instead of a metal mechanism
that they had down here. Durability wise, not sure
if it’ll last quite as long, but I’m sure there’s some kind of reason as to why they did this. Maybe they can answer in the comments. Lastly, on the back of this, there’s some nice padding going on here that’s going to add a bit of airflow. It’s a nice mesh here. Of course with backpacks, you’re usually going to
have that sweaty back, but Tortuga has done a great job here with the consideration of this. Overall, I would say the harness system is a pretty comfortable carry. There’s one thing also again that I kind of want to nitpick with this. This thing tends to sag down a little bit on your back when it’s
full of stuff inside. I get that they tried to add a little extra room at the top here to
help distribute the weight, but maybe they could benefit from a stiffer frame shin on the inside. It’s definitely pretty flimsy or potentially some load
lifters at the top here to kind of pull that top of the pack a little bit closer
to your upper back. Again, I’m not a designer. At Pack Hacker we just review these things so I’m not really sure if
that’s the exact solve, but definitely a nitpick and something that we wanted to surface to you. [upbeat music playing] Moving onto the interior of this pack, let’s jump right into this
YKK #5 zipper and this kind of quick-grab
pocket on the top. It’s about 7.5 inches deep. Again, good for quick-grabs if you’re going through security at the airport. Just stuff everything in here, boom! Hit your bag right through
the conveyor belt, good to go. If we move back here, just
take a look quick at the laptop and tablet compartment going on. Again, kind of wish that frame sheet had a little bit more structure for maybe a little bit of a better carry. There’s a nice kind of Velcro mechanism here that’s going to hold your laptop secure. Laptops up to 15 inches can go in here, then there’s a little pocket in the front that can help hold tablets. You can fit some other kind
of flat items in here overall, but we’d just recommend
that mainly for the laptop. Let’s zip that right back up. Move this around to the front pocket here, which is super nice organization pocket. Up here we’ve got this carabiner clip, which again is going to match that carabiner clip that we see on
these straps on the outside. Good for keys or anything that you just want to hang off here free floating. Again we have a pocket
up here, a zipped pocket. Again, 7.5 inches deep, about the same depth
as this pocket out here but a little bit less in width. Any smaller items, you can definitely just
toss them in there. Then we have this little pouch here for some additional separation
and organization. Moving onto my favorite part. I think Tortuga does a super great job with the organization and
the interior of packs. They’re a team of travelers. They definitely know what they want and I know they survey
their audiences well to see what they’d like to see in a pack. I’m personally a big fan of what they got going on in here. We have three spots
here for pens, pencils, maybe a stylus, something like that. A passport would fit perfectly
into this pocket here. We have this mesh and elastic pocket here, which is the same exact material that’s used on the exterior
for the water bottle pocket. And then we’ve got kind of three credit card spots right here. And another larger pocket right here which is going to be good
for added organization. Gotta get those points when you’re traveling and no foreign
transaction fees on your cards, right? In addition to that, we have some room here at the bottom. I’d recommend putting some slimmer kind of pouches or packing cubes in there. Moving on to the main compartment, we have these #8 YKK zippers here with some little grabbable
zipper pulls which are great. Good way to tell those two pockets apart since they do have different pull designs. We open up this main
compartment and on the inside, we actually have the Tortuga Setout packable Day Pack as well. We think this thing is really great. It’s kind of a miniaturized version. It’s got a similar aesthetic. A little bit of different
material going on here, but it’s good to kind of
pair this with this pack because this thing is huge. When you get to your destination, you don’t necessarily want to be walking around outside
carrying this thing all day. This little Setout packable Day Pack is going to be a good solve for that. Just unpack this, maybe
throw a couple packing cubes inside of this thing and
boom, you’re good to go. ‘Cause you can see here, that this is just a massive
compartment going on here and it’s going to be good for people that are used to traveling with suitcases. It’s got that similar
organizational style. Just kind of one giant bucket. Then you’ve got these
mesh pockets up here. These aren’t necessarily 3D mesh pockets. They don’t stick out, but you can actually
fit quite a bit in here – from t-shirts to socks, to things that are a little bit less bulky, but you just want some additional
organization width. We recommend packing
cubes for this main area because just putting
everything in here willy-nilly is going to be a little bit tough, especially with these sides that aren’t necessarily structured,
this nylon and polyester. Kind of gives pretty easily. It’s just much easier to chuck
in a couple packing cubes, a lot easier to handle
when you’re traveling. [upbeat music playing] At the time of this review, we’ve been testing the Tortuga Setout for about three months across Detroit, Minneapolis, New York, and California. We wanted to make sure to
give it a pretty thorough test and a good run before we
did a review on it here. The reason being is that
in the Tortuga Homebase that’s made out of sail cloth, it’s actually right up there
in the upper right hand corner, we noticed a lot of aesthetic blemishes that happened on it. We wanted to make sure that the Setout didn’t follow that same fate. Overall, we gotta say that it passed. There are a couple minor smudges going on here but nothing too noticeable. With that heathered kind of
gray pattern going on here, it sort of just melts
away into the background. Any light blemishes or scratches are easily going to be covered up by that. Based on the materials
used, all high quality. We assume that this Tortuga Setout is going to last for months to come, years, on a ton of different trips. To wrap this thing up
with some pros and cons, Tortuga does a really great job at thinking through the design
and the features of the pack. That heathered polyester
is great for the aesthetic. The suitcase-like interior will have travelers feeling at home that have used roller luggage in the past. Definitely has a good travel
backpack vibe going on. Moving onto some of the cons. The hip belt is not adjustable and may not fit all people. There is also some sag off of your back when the pack is fully loaded and the frame sheet in the back
is somewhat flimsy. We preferred it to be
a little bit thicker. Overall, the Tortuga Homebase is a great option for maximum legal size carry-on. It’s just right for the average traveler. The smart organizational features and design outweigh the couple of nitpicks that we’ve found with the pack. Thanks for taking a look at our review on the Tortuga Setout. Be sure to head over to
packhacker.com/newsletter. Sign up for our newsletter
and never miss an update. Thanks for checking this out. We’ll see you in the next video. We share our travel tips
and tricks … we do guides … (giggles) (female laughs) Wow, he’s wearing the same
t-shirt in every video. It’s just Outlier, I just like it, okay? [upbeat music playing]

27 thoughts on “Tortuga Setout Review | 45L Travel Backpack (Maximum Legal Carry-On Bag)

  1. Thanks for your reviews. I like a lot your stile. Why don't you review the opposite travel pack? It is in you wall in some of you videos

  2. Thanks for the review guys, been looking forward to this. So, unlike some other Youtubers, it seems the long term test has exposed some QC and wear and tear issues right? Still think it's very good value for money but, speaking of value, can you schedule reviews of the Arcido Akra & Vaga bags? They really seem to hit a lot of right marks, at a very good price point indeed. Peace…

  3. Thank you for this terrific video! Question about the hip belt – When you remove it, is there a special compartment for you to stash it in?

  4. I’m in love with this bag – I feel like I can fit more in it than a couple of the 65L bags I have. I got the custom packing cubes that fit in it perfectly, and I highly recommend them. My only 2 gripes align with yours – it could benefit from some load-lifting straps to prevent it from sagging, and the hip belt does seem to hit high (but at < 50L, I don’t feel like that’s a deal breaker). I’m probably going to start using this pack for business travel too! I test-packed it for a 1 week trip and I have room to spare (and I’m a high-maintenance chick and chronic over-packer).

  5. Hi Pack Haker, I’m planning a three month trip to Europe, including a 23 day Contiki tour. I was about to purchase the Tortuga Setout as I like the suitcase like opening. But I have watched a whole bunch of your videos and you have given me so much more to consider! Is there another bag you would recommend over the Tortuga? Must be carry on. Thanks for all the awesome videos!

  6. Great review! No other videos show the "flimseyness", which kinda turns me off. What do you personally think about comparing it to the Minaal? Going to use the bag for max 1 week.

  7. This is great, thank you so much for all the reviews! I was thinking of getting the tortuga setout, I love that it has so much space. But it looks like I will have a 1 cm too little in length because I have to fit it my tent that is 57 cm long! do you think I can fit it in diagonally? if not, my other choice would be Co-op Ruckpack 40. I am travelling to Costa Rica to music festival and I need lots of space to pack a tent but also warm clothes for hiking in Arenal and summer clothes for a coast. that will be a packing challenge!

  8. I find it unfortunate that such a bag does not have a waist belt with all that it can hold + the computer.The waist belt would remove the weight on the shoulders.

  9. The Setout Divide uses the same waist belt. When taking an internal flight the limit for carry on was 7 kg. I took the waist belt off and used the Velcro crossed and wore as a belt under my jacket. After check in I took off the waist belt and jacket and stuffed both into the front pocket.

  10. It looks floppy…. anyone can compare this with Instinct Backpack, which I think it look more sturdy and stylish.

  11. Just purchased and received the Tortuga Setout 45L Black Backpack . There are some significant differences between the gray backback reviewed here and my black one: e.g., my black one has load adjusting straps on top; the gray heather does not. Also, the black and blue Setouts are made of 900D polyester recycled plastic bottles; the gray is 900D polyester only. Minor issues perhaps, but they affected my decision on color. GREAT, thorough review here! Thanks.

  12. I recently bought this bag for a 5 week trip to avoid luggage fees, but I am starting to get nervous about the size. I am glad that y'all showed it actually being worn and on the plane, it kind of reassures me that the size is fine.

  13. They just came out with a women’s version. Do you think this bag is good for long term travel for months at a time? Is it sturdy enough to withstand going from hostel to hostel and constantly traveling through plane or train?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *