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Large backpacks, when fully packed, can easily weigh 20 to 25 lbs; even more if you're carrying shoes, books, or a laptop.
To prevent discomfort or injury, large backpacks should include a hip belt. You've probably seen hip belts on hiking bags.
Hip belts are designed to make your pack feel lighter. When fitted correctly, they will transfer your bag's weight from your shoulders to your hips. Then you can use your big, powerful leg muscles to bear the weight of your bag, instead of using your weaker shoulder muscles.
A good hip belt can transfer 80% or more of your bag's weight to your hips. With the weight (literally) lifted from your shoulders, you'll experience much less strain on your neck, back, and shoulders.
This feature is very important to long-range hikers, but even travelers only walking a mile or so at a time can benefit from a hip belt. If you're carrying twenty pounds or more, you will quickly start to feel it pulling on your shoulders if you don't use a hip belt.
The Eagle Creek Digi Hauler's paltry "waist" belt will not transfer any weight. It only serves to keep your pack close to your body. You're left to carry the entire weight of this very large backpack on your shoulders.
The Outbreaker travel backpack features a heavily-padded hip belt with pockets. By using the Outbreaker’s hip belt, you can take the pack's weight off your shoulders and prevent potential injuries.
The Outbreaker’s hip belt features two pockets within easy reach. These pockets are great for storing your cash, coins, tickets, passport, and boarding passes.
These important items will always be within arm's reach. No more digging in your pants' pockets, or rooting around in your bag for them.
I love to use the pockets when going through airport security. Quickly empty the contents of your pants' pockets into the Tortuga's hip belt pockets before going through the metal detector. Then, when you put your bag back on, everything is still at your fingertips.
Keeping your money in zippered pockets is much safer than tossing it in a bowl and leaving it visible to everyone else in the security line.
The Eagle Creek Digi Hauler doesn't have any pockets that you can reach while wearing your bag. Every time you need something, you would have to take your bag off to find it.
The Outbreaker has four pockets that you can reach while wearing your bag. Two on the hip belt and two on each side of the pack itself. Those side pockets are great for storing larger items, like guidebooks and water bottles.
The TSA allows travelers to leave their laptops inside their bags through security, if the bag is designed with a separate, lie-flat laptop compartment. If you’re carrying an Outbreaker from Tortuga, you’ll be able to breeze through security like the pro traveler you are by leaving your laptop inside your bag.
Eagle Creek missed this detail. Their customers still have to take their laptops out of their backpacks in a security line.
If you're a frequent traveler like we are, you'll appreciate the small touches that elevate a piece of luggage from good to great.
Check out the Outbreaker travel backpack here.