Front-Loading Backpacks

Packs like a suitcase; carries like a backpack

Made for travelers,
by travelers

Carry On



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No-Hassle Returns

Worldwide Warranty

Worldwide Warranty

What is a Front-Loading Backpack?

A front-loading backpack is any travel backpack that packs by opening the entire front panel of the bag suitcase-style rather than via the top. This provides easy access to the entire main compartment.

Benefits of a Front-Loading Backpack?

With a top-loading backpack like a hiking backpack or daypack, packing and retrieving items becomes difficult as you are forced to dig through the bag’s contents via a narrow opening. This makes it a challenge to pack clothing without wrinkling, and you can forget about finding items on the go.

On the other hand, with a front-loading backpack you open the whole front panel like the cover of a book, which makes it easy to pack, keep things organized, then find what you’re looking for without emptying the contents of your bag. 

With Tortuga Travel Backpacks, the main compartment opens wide like a suitcase, which makes it effortless to pack and find what you’re looking for, and provides plenty of access for large items or packing cubes.

Reviewers consistently rate Tortuga travel bags among the best travel backpacks on the market, repeatedly mentioning the benefits of its front-loading layout:

  • Neverending Voyage: “The middle main section is the largest and unzips on three sides so it’s really easy to pack...The Tortuga Outbreaker Backpack is our pick for the best carry-on backpack. It’s the maximum carry-on size with plenty of space and great organisation, and it’s comfortable to carry.”
  • Pack Hacker: “The main compartment opens with a clamshell design, which makes packing super easy and pretty similar to packing a suitcase.”
  • Travel Freak: “Double clamshell design makes packing—and access—really easy. It packs like a suitcase but carries like a backpack. One main compartment for your “stuff” and, on the other side, another clamshell for your laptop and electronics...arguably one of the best backpacks.”
  • The Savvy Backpacker: “The Tortuga backpack has a large main compartment that zips open like a suitcase. This not only maximizes packing space, but it allows you to easily access the contents of your bag without having to pull everything out of it. I prefer this system to the traditional “top loading” bags that you find on traditional hiking backpacks because it is much more practical.”

Order your Tortuga Travel Backpack today to enjoy easier packing.

Best Front-Loading Backpack by Tortuga

Tortuga Travel Backpacks offer everything you expect from a superior travel pack. Our front-loading backpacks deliver the utmost in comfort, protection, and organization.

Lighter Weight

Carry-on luggage like roller suitcases have wheels, handles, hard sides, and other metal and plastic parts that increase their weight while reducing their carrying capacity. Tortuga Travel Backpacks avoid these in order to maximize space while weighing less. That allows you to carry on more.

Focus on Comfort

Tortuga makes supremely comfortable carry-on bags thanks to their fully adjustable harnesses and well-padded shoulder straps, which make it easier to carry heavy loads. When you’re traveling through airports and wandering streets looking for your Airbnb, that comfort is essential. The adjustable harness also ensures that Tortuga backpacks fit both men and women.

Water Resistant

Tortuga front-loaders are made of tough, water-resistant, sailcloth that will protect your possessions without the need for a rain cover. That’s essential whether you’re walking through the drizzle of London or the sudden downpours of Thailand.

Anti-Theft Features

Equipped with anti-theft features like locking zippers and discrete styling that won’t make you look like a tourist, Tortuga travel bags allow you to travel with greater peace of mind knowing you won’t look like an easy mark for pickpockets or bag slashers.

Laptop and Tablet Panel

Tortuga Travel Backpacks feature a back panel and laptop compartment with a padded laptop sleeve for greater security. This makes it the perfect laptop backpack for digital nomads or business travelers.

Outstanding Organization

Organizational features like water bottle holders, side pockets, dividers, and more make it easy to keep everything from clothing to electronics to toiletries in their place. This is essential for not only finding things when you need them, but helping you fit more into your bag.

Benefits of Shopping Tortuga

Backpack reviews like those we’ve mentioned above make it clear what travelers think of our bags, but there are even more benefits to shopping Tortuga:

Frequently Asked Questions About Front-Loading Backpacks

What are the benefits of a front-loading backpack?

  • Unlike top-loaders, front-loaders open like a suitcase so the entire main compartment is revealed, making it easy to pack, unpack, and find your things. 
  • This access and organization makes them ideal for long-term travel or even as daily commuter backpacks.

Do front-loading backpacks fit under the seat of a plane?

How to pack a front-loading backpack for traveling?

  • Whether you’re packing for short weekend trips or longer multi-day trips, front-loading backpacks are more versatile than duffel bags, weekenders, or daypacks. 
  • If you’re traveling like a minimalist you can usually simply fold up your clothes then stack them in the main compartment. For longer backpacking trips, roll your clothes to fit in more while avoiding wrinkling.

Helpful Resources for Your Trip