Christina exploring with her Tortuga Travel Backpack
Stephen visiting a market with his Tortuga Travel Backpack
Stephen taking the subway with his Tortuga Travel Backpack
Hailey at Venice Beach with her Tortuga Travel Backpack
Pack as much as possible without checking your bag. The Tortuga is the maximum size for carry on luggage.
Tortuga Travel Backpack (angled view)
Tortuga Travel Backpack (front view)
Rear view of the Tortuga's back padding, shoulder straps, chest strap, and hip belt
Cover the Tortuga's shoulder straps and hip belt with the strap cover to prevent damage when storing your bag on planes and at hotels
Keep your stuff in place with the Tortuga's internal compression straps
Carry your bag by the side handle when the straps are covered
Read the reviews. Many travelers are surprised by how much the Tortuga can hold.
Store your small items in the zippered mesh pockets on inside of the Tortuga's front cover
Quickly slide out your laptop at airport security
Protect your stuff by locking the zippers on the Tortuga's main compartment, front pocket, and laptop pocket
Pack toiletries, a book, or anything else you need at the airport or on the plane in the Tortuga's front pocket
Carry your passport, money, or tickets in the Tortuga's hip belt pockets
Use the side pockets for guidebooks, water bottles, or an umbrella
Christina and Hailey checking their guidebook before making their next move
Tortuga Travel Backpack

Tortuga Travel Backpack

All sales are final. More info.

Bring everything you need without checking a bag.

Suitcases aren't up to the demands of city travel. Hiking packs are disorganized and too big to be carried onto a plane.

International travelers like you need  the right luggage .

You need luggage that's carry-on-sized, organized, and convenient. Scroll down to find out why the Tortuga is the ultimate travel backpack.


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  • Suitcases aren't designed for world travel. Wheeled luggage can't stand up to the rigors of city travel. Have you ever tried dragging a suitcase with cheap plastic wheels over the cobblestone streets of Paris? Good luck!

    The cylinder-shaped packs for "backpackers" aren't much better.

    Those giant backpacks are made for hikers, not travelers. They're too big to be carried onto a plane, disorganized, and vulnerable to theft.

    You don't have to compromise. The Tortuga Travel Backpack is the ideal piece of luggage for frequent travelers.

    For a one-week vacation or three months studying abroad or a year traveling around the world, you need a bag that's made for you.


    Bring everything you need without checking a bag

    Airlines charge $50 to check a bag on a round-trip flight. Even after paying the fee, you risk having your bag lost, stolen, misrouted, or damaged by the airlines.

    Keep your money in your pocket and protect your luggage by using a carry-on-sized backpack.

    Traveling carry-on-only isn't just about saving money. Traveling light reduces your physical and mental burden. You'll have less to carry, less to worry about.

    Marlyn's review

    "There were a few times I was leaving customs and they would ask if I had all my bags. Yes! Here on my back, you just can't see it!"

    -Marlyn C.

    You'll breeze through the airport while everyone else is standing in line to check a bag or waiting at the luggage carousel with their fingers crossed.

    Which will you remember from your trip: the experiences you had or the clothes you brought?

    Carry on sized travel backpack

    Carry on limits vary, but most airlines allow bags up to 45 linear inches (length + width + height) or 22 x 14 x 9". The Tortuga maxes out at exactly these dimensions. By maximizing your carry on space, you can bring the most stuff possible without checking a bag.

    Don't worry, you can pack plenty of stuff in a carry on backpack. You don't need to be a minimalist to fit all of the clothes and gear you need for a week or even months abroad.

    The longest trip I've used the Tortuga on was a month in London. On that trip my luggage included a suit and dress shoes for a wedding on my way back to the States.

    Some of our customers have used the Tortuga on year-long, around-the-world trips.

    Jenna's review

    "As a female, I tend to get a bit of anxiety when I have to fit my life into a bag for a few weeks. After packing everything I needed, I actually had extra space."

    -Jenna M.

    For more info, see these sample packing lists.


    Find anything in your bag -- without unpacking it

    Backpacks that open from the top leave your clothes in a disorganized mess. You shouldn't have to unpack everything (and make a mess of your room) just to grab a t-shirt at the bottom of your bag.

    Packing a top-loading backpack is like packing a garbage bag.

    The Tortuga is front-loading. You can open the entire front of the bag, just like a suitcase.

    James's review

    "I prefer this system to the traditional “top loading” bags because it is much more practical for urban travel."

    -James F., The Savvy Backpacker

    With the entire front open, you can see all of your stuff and grab just what you need. The Tortuga combines the organization and accessibility of a suitcase with the portability of a backpack.


    Keep everything within reach

    World travel requires you to constantly adapt to new conditions. You never know when you might have to sprint to catch a flight, show a ticket stub you'd forgotten about, or present your liquids for yet another security inspection.

    Whether you're a neat freak or a total mess, the Tortuga's pockets can store everything you need within easy reach.

    You can use the mesh pockets on the inside cover to store your electronics, power cables, copies of your important documents, and any other small items that you don't want to get lost among your clothes.

    On the front face of the Tortuga, you'll find a large, quick-access pocket. This pocket is great for storing anything you will need at the airport or on your flight. Store your books, ereader, or carry-on-sized liquids here for easy access without opening the main compartment of your backpack.

    Quick access pocket on travel backpack

    Other "travel" backpacks neglect to include any pockets that you can reach while wearing your bag. To grab even the smallest item, you have to take those packs all the way off. That's not very convenient.

    The Tortuga has four pockets that you can reach while wearing it.

    The main body of the pack has two side pockets for storing guidebooks, maps, water bottles, umbrellas, or any similarly-sized items.

    Side water bottle pocket on travel backpack

    The hip belt (more on that in the next section) has two more pockets. These pockets are the easiest ones to reach when wearing your backpack. They are great for carrying cash, coins, tickets, and boarding passes.

    Hip belt pocket on travel backpack

    You can also use these pockets when going through airport security. I transfer everything from my pants' pockets into the Tortuga's hip belt pockets before going through the metal detector or scanner. Having my money, passport, and phone securely zipped away makes me feel safe. Storing my valuables in the Tortuga's hip belt pockets is much safer than throwing them in a bowl to go through the X-ray machine. Don't leave your money and phone lying around, just waiting to be stolen off of the conveyor belt.


    Prevent discomfort and injury

    Most backpacks feel great when you try them on empty in a store. But, when they're fully packed, you feel every pound pulling on your shoulders.

    To prevent back, neck, and shoulder pain, you need to transfer your bag's weight onto your hips. A hip belt may not look cool, but it's vital for a comfortable carry.

    Brandon's review

    "The Tortuga’s hip belt has the best padding I’ve seen in this class of backpacks."

    -Brandon Q., The Yoga Nomads

    To minimize shoulder strain, use the Tortuga's padded hip belt to distribute the bag's weight off of your shoulders and onto your hips.

    When fitted correctly, you should be carrying at least 80% of your backpack's weight on your hips. A good hip belt allows your strong leg muscles, not your weaker shoulder muscles, to carry the load.

    Paul's review

    "[T]hese hip pads transferred the weight remarkably. It lightens the load a ton off your shoulders which is an enormous help especially if you're walking around a lot."

    -Paul L.


    Protect your stuff from theft

    Tourist attractions, public transportation, and hostels are magnets for pickpockets.

    Most backpacks close at the top, with a drawstring. These bags are easy targets for even the most inexperienced thief.

    The Tortuga is made to keep your belongings safe. All of the zippers on the Tortuga's main compartment are lockable. Use a simple TSA-approved padlock (sold separately) to keep your gear locked up and out of harm's way.

    Tortuga Travel Backpack locking zippers with TSA lock

    No bag is 100% theft-proof. By using a theft deterrent, like a padlock, your bag will turn away petty criminals. Thieves are looking for a quick score. Don't be the easiest mark. If you put up some resistance, thieves will move on to the next target.


    Keep Your Straps Secure

    Backpacks can be cumbersome when boarding and exiting an airplane.

    Be careful swinging a big bag like the Tortuga off of your shoulder in a cramped airplane aisle. You're liable to knock out a fellow passenger.

    When you're navigating a narrow space like an airplane, train, or subway, carry the Tortuga by its padded top or side handle.

    Tortuga Backpack side carry handle

    When carrying the Tortuga like a briefcase, use the built-in strap cover to protect the shoulder straps, chest strap, and hip belt from damage.

    Just unroll the strap cover from its pocket on the bottom of the bag and zip it over all of the straps. Just like that, you're protected from snags and rips.

    The top and side handles are also convenient for putting your backpack in and taking it out of the overhead bin. If you put the Tortuga in the bin bottom-first, you can use the top handle to easily slide it out when you've landed.


    Protect Your Computer

    Store up to a 17" laptop in the Tortuga's padded laptop sleeve. Easily slide your computer into and out of your backpack at airport security.

    Travel backpack with laptop sleeve

    The Tortuga's laptop sleeve sits between the bag's back padding and its main compartment. By keeping your heavy laptop near your body, your pack stays balanced and doesn't pull on your shoulders.

    You can't help but pack the Tortuga correctly.


    Why Bags Break

    The most common fail point on a bag is the zipper. That's why we use YKK zippers, widely accepted as the best in the business.

    Another common fail point is the fasteners. That's why we use Duraflex buckles.

    We invest in the best components so that you can rely on your backpack for years of travel. For more information, click the Warranty tab above.


    Is the Tortuga Right For You?

    We want you to get the right bag for you, even if it's not a Tortuga. If you buy a Tortuga and don't love it, that's bad for you and bad for us.

    When choosing a backpack, think about the use case and fit.

    The Tortuga is ideal for international travelers, backpackers in Europe, corporate escapees on RTW trips, study abroad students, and digital nomads.

    The Tortuga is not for hiking, going to the gym, taking on business trips (it's too big for the office), commuting to work, carrying photography equipment, playing soldier, or overpacking.

    If you're traveling for a week or more but still want to pack light, you'll love the Tortuga.

    Manoj's review

    "This thing is awesome, it’s designed perfectly for the long term traveler."

    -Manoj M., Mango Diablo

    For shorter trips, check out the Tortuga Air. The comparison page will help you decide between the two bags.

    The next question to answer is, "Will it fit?"


    Will It Fit?

    The best way to fit a backpack is to have someone measure your torso length with a soft tape measurer.

    Tilt your head forward to find your C7 vertebra, the one that sticks out at the base of your neck. Then place your hands on the top of your hip bones, also known as your iliac crest. Place your hands flat with your fingers pointing forward and thumbs pointing backward. Your hands will mimic the "shelf" that your backpack will rest on. Have someone measure the distance from your C7 vertebra to the top of your hip bones.

    That distance is your torso length. The Tortuga is 22" tall but can comfortably fit torsos of 18" and up.

    In some cases, the Tortuga is too big for women with shorter torsos. Please measure your torso following the directions above to make sure that the Tortuga will fit you comfortably as most people who return their bags do so because of the fit.

    If the Tortuga isn't a great fit, don't despair. We made the smaller, lighter Tortuga Air specifically for you.

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

    Are you comparison shopping? See how the Tortuga Travel Backpack stacks up against the competition.

    • Carry on sized to save you money and hassle at the airport
    • Front-loading to keep your stuff organized and within reach
    • Quick-access front pocket for toiletries and anything you need during your flight
    • Laptop sleeve fits computers up to 17"
    • Padded shoulder straps, padded hip belt, and chest strap for a comfortable, ergonomic carry
    • Strap cover to protect the shoulder straps when stowed in the overhead compartment
    • Lockable zippers on the main compartment and laptop sleeve to prevent theft
    • Exterior pockets: 2 on the hip belt for your passport, money, or tickets; 2 on the sides for guidebooks, bottled water, or electronics
    • Soft, padded carry handles on the top and side of the bag for easy transport in tight quarters
    • Internal compression straps with pockets to stabilize your load and provide extra storage
    • Exterior compression straps to condense your pack
  • Volume: 44L (2,685 cu. in.)

    Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 9" (56 x 36 x 23 cm)

    Fit: 18"+ torsos; measure your torso following these instructions

    Weight: 3.65 lbs (1.66 kg)

    Electronics: Holds laptops up to 17"

    Materials: Body: 1680D ballistic nylon; Lining: 70D ripstop polyester

    Zippers: YKK

    Buckles: Duraflex

    Frame: Internal, HDPE (high-density polyethylene) framesheet

    Made in China

  • Tortuga Travel Backpack Overview


    How to Pack Your Travel Backpack


    How to Adjust Your Travel Backpack


    How to Use the Tortuga Backpack's Strap Cover


  • 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 Travel Backpack has a rating of 4.5 stars based on 809 reviews.