Tortuga Setout Backpack for Women

Roll-aboard carry-on bags are extremely convenient. You can get them with soft sides or hard sides, you can get them the perfect size to be a legal carry-on, you don’t have to carry them but roll them alongside as you walk. And yet, I’ve recently grown weary of mine.

That’s not to say it’s not useful, but only that I get tired of rolling on with my carry-on and “personal item” and have dreams of only having one item, period, for my shorter trips.

It’s fortunate that this feeling started right around the time I began to test the Tortuga Setout Backpack.

It looks and carries like a backpack, but the clam-shell opening is like a suitcase. Simply unzip and pack up to a week’s worth of clothing and toiletries in the main compartment and the two organizational pockets. The front zip section fits essentials, like your wallet, passport, earbuds/headphones, book, keys, and a wrap to keep warm on a chilly airplane. The back, padded section fits a laptop and notebook, and whatever chargers you need.

Thick, padded shoulder straps make the bag comfortable to carry, and they tuck away when you want to streamline the pack for storage. The padded hip belt helps distribute weight in the pack, and also has pockets for quick-access storage for thinks you need quickly, like a passport. It’s also removable. The fabric is weather-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about the short walk from the airport to your car when there’s a downpour.

Will it take the pace of my roll-aboard bag? No. But it’s nice to have as an alternative for those times (like now) when I want to take a break. Having a Women’s Fit option (the suspension system fits narrower shoulders and shorter torsos) is especially helpful for folks who need something that doesn’t “fit all.”

The Torguga Setout Backpack with Women’s Fit comes in 35L (a smaller carry-on for even the strictest airlines) for $179 or 45L (a larger carry-on that’s allowed on most airlines) for $199, both available on the Tortuga site. There’s also a men’s fit version of this pack, available in the same sizes and prices.

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Jill Robinson is a freelance writer who lives in a small California beach town near the big wave surf spot, Mavericks. She divides her time between writing about travel, running a kayak business and trying to wring awe-inspiring adventure out of every day. Her articles have been featured in the AFAR, National Geographic Traveler, Outside, the San Francisco Chronicle, and more. Catch up with her adventures on and IG/Twitter at dangerjr.

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