eBags Mother Lode vs the Tortuga Travel Backpack

Note: This page does not include any images of eBags' products because the company has asked us to take them down. You can see photos of the bag at the link below.

The eBags Mother Lode TLS Weekender Convertible, like the Tortuga Travel Backpack, is a front-loading, carry on backpack.

eBags did a nice job with the bag, considering that making bags isn't their expertise, but left out a few crucial details that make the TLS Weekender less comfortable and less convenient than the Tortuga.

Ergonomic Hip Belt

The TLS Weekender's waist belt (below) is woefully inadequate. The belt is only webbing to keep the pack closer to your body. While this is important, it omits the biggest benefit of a well-designed hip belt.

A hip belt should be padded so that you can transfer your pack's weight from your shoulders to your hips. Using a padded hip belt will make your bag feel lighter and reduce the strain on your neck, shoulders, and back.

Without a proper hip belt, you would have to carry the entire weight of the TLS Weekender on your shoulders.

Here's what Steve H. had to say about the TLS Weekender which he tested (and returned) before buying a Tortuga:

Uncomfortable with a heavy load. Straps dug into my shoulders and waist belt was too wimpy to be of any use in transferring the load to my hips.

The Tortuga features a padded hip belt (below) to reduce the strain on your shoulders by allowing you to transfer your pack's weight to your hips. The belt also includes pockets for your travel documents, money, and tickets.

Tortuga Travel Backpack padded hip belt

Convenient Pockets

The TLS Weekender also lacks pockets that you can reach while wearing your bag. It doesn't have any pockets on the sides of the bag or on the waist belt.

When you carry a Tortuga, you have four pockets within arm's reach: two on the waist belt and two more on the bag (one on each side).

You can use the side pockets (pictured below) to store a map, guidebook, water bottle, or umbrella. The waist belt pockets are great for holding your money, credit cards, passport, and tickets.

When going through airport security, I move everything from my pants pockets into the Tortuga's waist belt pockets. Then, after I've cleared security, I transfer everything back into my pants pockets.

When you're on-the-move, you need your ID, money, and travel documents within reach. Here, the Tortuga excels while the TLS Weekender disappoints.

Tortuga Travel Backpack side pockets

Who Makes Your Backpack?

REDACTED. eBags has asked us to remove our description of "how eBags works and where [its] expertise does, or does not, lie." Instead, we'll tell you a bit about ourselves...

Tortuga is a small company 100% focused on making travel backpacks. That's all we make. We make everything that we sell. Tortuga was founded by Fred Perrotta and Jeremy Michael Cohen, two childhood friends. We couldn't find the perfect travel backpack, so we made it ourselves. Read the story behind Tortuga Backpacks.

Our flagship product is the Tortuga Travel Backpack, a carry-on-sized backpack that is both comfortable and convenient. To learn more about the Tortuga, click the button below. Or compare more travel backpacks here.

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