Steve wearing the Tortuga Air Carry On Backpack
Courtney wearing the Tortuga Air Carry On Backpack
Courtney wearing the Tortuga Air Carry On Backpack
The Tortuga Air's main compartment is split into two sections for organized packing
Use the left side of the Air's main compartment to separate dirty clothes
Tortuga Air Carry On Backpack (front view)
Tortuga Air Carry On Backpack (angled view)
Tortuga Air shoulder straps, sternum strap, and back padding
Pack a laptop and tablet in the Tortuga Air's laptop pocket
Expand the Tortuga Air 2" (5 cm) when you need extra packing space
Pack 30% more by expanding the Tortuga Air (right)
Clip your keys on the keyring in the Tortuga Air's front pocket
Organize your keys, phone, passport, pens, cards, and more in the Air's front pocket
Protect your stuff by locking the zippers on the Tortuga Air's main compartment, front pocket, and laptop pocket
Carry a water bottle in the Tortuga Air's side pocket
Pack a jacket, book, or toiletry kit in the Tortuga Air's front pocket
Pack small items in the Tortuga Air's top hanging pocket
The Tortuga Air's padded shoulder straps and soft mesh
The Tortuga Air's sternum strap
Tortuga Air Carry On Backpack

Tortuga Air Carry On Backpack

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Smart, experienced travelers need the right bag for every trip.

If you pack light, you're always ready for a road trip, long weekend out of town, or short business trip.

Just grab your bag and go.

For these trips, you need a bag with just enough space that won't weigh you down.

Scroll down to find out why the Tortuga Air is the perfect carry on backpack for short trips.


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  • You’re getting ready for a long weekend trip. You want to pack carry-on-only to save money and to avoid the hassle of checking a bag. But when you’ve finished packing, you have enough stuff for two weeks abroad.

    Packing light makes your trip easier. But, packing light is hard.

    No matter how big your luggage is, you always seem to fill it up.

    Airlines don’t give you much space for your carry on bag, but the space is more than enough for short trips.

    Most travel backpacks, like the Tortuga, are made to maximize carry on space. The Tortuga lets you bring as much as possible without having to check your bag.

    We surveyed our customers about their travel habits. They told us that, for most trips, a full-sized carry on is too much bag.

    The travelers we surveyed take 2 to 3 times more domestic trips than international trips every year. Most of those trips are for less than a week.


    The Perfect Weekender Bag

    Do you ever hop on a flight for a few days in New York? Or jump in the car and hit the road on a whim?

    If so, you need a bag that's as spontaneous as you are. You need a bag that has just enough space and won’t weigh you down. You need a bag that’s simple but designed for traveling.

    A basic student or commuter backpack won't cut it.

    A good travel bag will be easy to pack and will stay organized. Packing in most backpacks leaves your stuff a disorganized mess.

    Your backpack should pack like a suitcase but carry like a backpack. You don't need the extra weight of a suitcase's handle and wheels holding you back.

    Your phone, passport, book, and laptop should all be within easy reach. Don't waste time digging through your pack or, even worse, dumping everything out looking for what you need.

    We’ve heard from many travelers who wanted a smaller, lighter travel backpack.

    • Do you go on weekend getaways?
    • Do you take a lot of short, domestic trips?
    • Do you take frequent business trips and add a few days of leisure travel for yourself?

    For you, we made the Tortuga Air.

    Casey review

    “I am an airline pilot and I loved this bag so much, that I turned it not only into an overnight and general travel bag like I had originally intended to, but also my flight bag.”

    -Casey R.


    Bring Everything You Need, Without Checking a Bag

    Checking a bag can cost $50 or more per round-trip flight. Instead, travel light and avoid airline baggage fees by packing carry-on-only.

    Kayla review

    "I’m glad I made the investment. I know it will pay for itself in saved baggage fees in the next few months."

    -Kayla M.

    Traveling light makes your trip cheaper and easier. You’ll have less to carry and less to worry about. Remember your trip for what you did, not what you brought.

    Like any good travel backpack, the Tortuga Air is carry-on-sized. The Air qualifies as a carry on even on strict, budget airlines like Ryanair.

    On some airlines, the Tortuga Air will even fit under the seat in front of you.

    Dustin review

    "Was awesome not having to rush on to the plane to get room in an overhead bin as this bag fit nicely under the seat in front of me."

    -Dustin H.

    For more details on exactly what you can bring with you, check out this sample packing list.


    Pack Quickly and Stay Organized

    Tortuga Air main compartment opened and packed

    The Tortuga Air’s clamshell opening gives you access to all of your stuff at once, just like a suitcase.

    Most backpacks load from the top. The packs most "backpackers" carry are made for hiking, not traveling. Those bags leave your stuff a disorganized mess. Packing a top-loading backpack is like packing a garbage bag.

    The Tortuga Air opens like a suitcase.

    The left half of the pack is a zippered mesh compartment. The right side is an open space with compression straps for more flexible packing. You can use the two halves to separate dirty clothes from clean clothes or shirts and pants from socks and underwear.

    Patricia review

    "It's way roomier than I thought, and the mesh pocket, clamshell opening, and inside straps are so useful to keep my things organized. Awesome quality too, and really comfy to wear. I would 100% recommend this pack to anybody!"

    -Patricia G.

    Keep your stuff neatly organized while you're on the move.


    Fit Just One More Thing

    Tortuga Air expansion panel. Pack 30% more stuff.

    Michael review

    "I have found traveling with the Tortuga Air one of the best travel bag experiences I've had to date. For it's size to holds a surprising amount of stuff."

    -Michael C.

    Have you ever come back with more stuff than you left with? Maybe a souvenir from your trip or gifts for friends and family.

    Have you ever had trouble packing for your return trip? Dirty clothes seem to take up more space than clean clothes.

    The Tortuga Air has you covered. The Air’s front compartment (the side with the mesh) expands an extra 2”. When expanded, you can pack 30% more stuff.

    Sometimes even light packers need a little extra space.

    If you don’t need the extra space, just close the expansion zipper to shrink your pack. The Air expands when you need space and stays compact when you don't.


    Keep All the Little Stuff Organized

    Ramsey's testimonial

    "This backpack is a masterpiece in design with pockets for everything you can think of, at least for the modern-day traveler."

    -Ramsey Qubein, Practical Travel Gear

    Generic, multi-purpose backpacks lack organization. They’re built to work decently for everyone, which makes them perfect for no one.

    A true travel backpack is designed with a purpose.

    The Tortuga Air will help you glide through airport security. You can quickly grab what you need, even when in transit.

    You'll find enough pockets to keep everything organized without so many that you lose track of your stuff.

    Tortuga Air laptop and tablet pocket

    Organization starts with the padded laptop and tablet pocket. Pack and unpack your computer without opening the bag’s main compartment. Quick access to your laptop is vital when passing through airport security and when in flight.

    Tortuga Air front pocket packed with books

    The Air’s front pocket is deep enough to hold a book to read on the plane along with chargers and a toiletry bag.

    Tortuga Air front pocket organizer panel

    Keep all your little stuff like pens (3), keys, a passport, a phone, and business or credit cards (9) in place with the organizer panel in the front pocket. Use this pocket for anything you need at airport security or on your flight.

    Tortuga Air top hanging pocket

    On the top of the Air is a hanging pocket. Dump everything from your pockets into this zippered pocket when going through airport security. We think this is a better option than putting your valuables through the metal detector in a TSA bowl for easy stealing. This pocket is also good for storing sunglasses, earbuds, or a Kindle Paperwhite.


    Prevent Shoulder Pain

    Even a small bag can weigh on your shoulders when fully packed. A backpack full of clothes, shoes, a laptop, and a book adds up quickly. The Tortuga Air weighs just 2.4 lbs (1.1 kg) when empty.

    Just because you’re carrying a backpack, not rolling a suitcase, doesn’t mean that you have to be uncomfortable.

    Many outdoor companies make a “travel” backpack but skimp on the straps and padding. When I went to the travel gear trade show, I was disappointed to see companies that built beautiful suitcases then threw together cheap, unconsidered backpacks.

    Backpackers aren’t second-class citizens.

    We know how heavy your bag can feel when you’re wandering around a new city looking for your hotel. You’re tired from your flight, you’re hungry, you’re lost. The last thing you need is a literal pain in the neck from your backpack.

    Tortuga Air shoulder straps and sternum strap

    To prevent neck and shoulder pain, the Tortuga Air has a padded back panel and shoulder straps. The adjustable chest strap will prevent the shoulder straps from pulling on your shoulders.

    The Air’s shoulder straps are wide enough to distribute your pack's weight. The straps are made with a soft, shock-absorbing mesh that rests against your body and the sides of your neck for maximum comfort.

    The compression straps on the exterior of the bag will keep your load condensed and close to your body for ideal ergonomics.

    Unlike the full-sized Tortuga, the Air does not have a hip belt. At the Air's size, a hip belt is unnecessary. The Air's padded back panel, shoulder straps, and sternum strap are more than enough to keep you comfortable when you're on the road.


    Protect Your Stuff from Theft

    Tortuga Air locking zippers

    Most backpacks close with a drawstring or a simple zipper making them magnets for petty theft.

    You can lock the zippers on the Tortuga Air’s main compartment, front pocket, and laptop pocket. Use simple, TSA-approved padlocks (not included) to secure your bag on planes, trains, or buses or in hotels or hostels.

    No bag is 100% theft-proof, but locks are a major theft deterrent. Most thieves are looking for a quick score. Don’t be the easiest mark. If your bag is locked up, they’ll move onto the next, more vulnerable bag.


    Is the Tortuga Air Right For You?

    We want you to find a bag that you love, even if it isn't one of ours. Buying luggage is an investment. Choose a bag that will be a trusted travel companion for years.

    The Tortuga Air is ideal for:

    • Domestic travelers who take frequent, short trips of less than a week
    • Business travelers who need a bag that works equally well in flight and at the office
    • Roadtrippers who leave town every weekend and need a bag that's ready for an adventure

    If you travel frequently, pack light, and want the organization of a suitcase -- without carrying a suitcase -- you'll love the Tortuga Air.

    For longer trips from one week to one year, check out the Tortuga Travel Backpack. The comparison page will help you decide between the two bags.

    Still have questions? Read through the other tabs above for more information about the Tortuga Air's features and specs. Then read the FAQ.

    • Carry on sized to save you money and to minimize your physical and mental burden
    • Clamshell, suitcase-style opening to make packing and staying organized easy
    • Mesh divider panel to separate clean clothes from dirty clothes
    • Expansion zipper for when you need to fit just one more thing
    • Quick access front pocket for a book, ereader, toiletries, and anything else you need at the airport or on the plane
    • Organizer panel in the front pocket for your phone, passport, keys, and cards
    • Laptop and tablet sleeve to protect your electronics while keeping them within reach
    • Padded back panel, padded shoulder straps, and chest strap for a comfortable carry
    • Locking zippers on the main compartment, front pocket, and the laptop/tablet pocket to protect your stuff from thieves
    • Top, hanging pocket for carrying small items and for dumping out your pockets at airport security
    • Side pocket for carrying a water bottle, guidebook, or map
    • Internal compression straps to keep your clothes in place
    • External compression straps to keep your pack condensed and close to your body for ideal ergonomics
  • Volume: 27L (1,662.5 cu. in.); Expanded: 35L (2,137.5 cu. in.)

    Dimensions: 19 x 12.5 x 7" (48 x 32 x 18 cm); Expanded: 19 x 12.5 x 9" (48 x 32 x 23 cm)

    Fit: One size fits all

    Weight: 2.4 lbs (1.1 kg)

    Electronics: Holds laptops up to 15" and tablets up to 10"

    Materials: Body: 840D and 1680D nylon; Lining: 70D ripstop polyester

    Zippers: YKK

    Buckles: Duraflex, ITW Nexus

    Frame: None

    Made in China

  • Tortuga Air Overview


  • US and International Shipping

    US: Free ground shipping on orders of $50 or more. Flat-rate shipping on all other orders. Allow 1 business day for processing and up to 5 business days for delivery. Expedited shipping is available at a discounted rate. Shipments to PO boxes and to APO/FPO/DPO addresses may require longer shipping times. We cannot guarantee delivery dates on orders to military addresses.

    International: Flat-rate shipping to Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and select countries in Asia. Allow 1 business day for order processing and 6-10 business days for delivery. Please note: Most international orders are delivered within 10 business days. Delays caused by carriers or customs can happen, causing delivery dates to extend past the 6-10 business day estimate. The flat rate price is the shipping cost only and does not include duties, taxes, or other import charges levied by your country of residence.

    For prices and more information, see our Shipping page.


    Common Decency Guarantee

    If something is wrong and is our fault, we will make it right. When you email us, you will be helped by someone with the authority to fix your problem.

    Read the full guarantee here.


    Hassle-Free Returns

    During the V2 Retirement Sale, all sales are final. We will not accept returns of V2 backpacks and accessories or offer exchanges for future products.

    Read the full return policy here.

Customer Reviews and Questions

Tortuga Air Carry On Backpack has a rating of 4.7 stars based on 174 reviews.