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.
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.
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.
"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!"
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 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.
"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."
For more info, see these sample packing lists.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
"[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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
"This thing is awesome, it’s designed perfectly for the long term traveler."
-Manoj M., Mango Diablo
The next question to answer is, "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.
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
Frame: Internal, HDPE (high-density polyethylene) framesheet
Made in China
"Real travel is about having a story to tell..."
US: Free ground shipping. Please allow 1 business day for processing and up to 5 business days for delivery. Shipments to PO Boxes, and US military addresses are subject to longer shipping times.
International: Flat-rate shipping to Canada ($30), Europe ($50), and Australia and New Zealand ($55). Please allow 1 business day for order processing and 6-10 business days for delivery. 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. The price is the same regardless of order size or quantity.
For more information, see our Shipping page.
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.
If you're dissatisfied with your backpack for any reason, you can return it unused within 30 days for a full refund. We will also pay for the return shipping on US orders.
To return your bag, contact us with your order number.
Read the full return policy here.