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When you’re carrying a large backpack, you’re likely carrying 20 to 25 lbs. Possibly more, if you're carrying shoes, books, or a laptop.
The chances are high of feeling uncomfortable or even getting hurt from carrying so much weight on your shoulders.
That’s why hiking backpacks have hip belts. When fitted correctly, a good hip belt transfers your bag's weight from your shoulders to your hips so your pack feels lighter. Then you use your big, powerful leg muscles to hold 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. When your backpack’s weight is lifted (literally) from your shoulders, your tender neck and shoulder muscles are relieved.
The Eagle Creek Digi Hauler's thin, unpadded "waist" belt will not transfer any weight. It only serves to keep your pack close to your body. That'll help a little, but doesn't keep pain away for long. You're left to carry this very large backpack’s entire weight with your shoulders.
The Setout Backpack features a removable, foam-padded hip belt with pockets. By using the Setout’s hip belt, your pack’s weight is lifted off your shoulders and you arrive at destination with a bounce in your step.
The Setout’s hip belt features two large passport-sized pockets within easy reach. Yep, you don’t even have to take off your backpack to get into these pockets.
They’re perfect for storing your cash, coins, tickets, passport, and boarding passes. Best of all: your most important items will always be within finger’s reach. No more digging in your pants' pockets, or rooting around in your bag for them.
And when you go through airport security? They’re a lifesaver. Quickly empty the contents of your pants' pockets into the Setout's hip belt pockets before going through the metal detector. On the other side, everything you need—like your boarding pass and lip balm—is still within finger’s reach when you put your bag back on.
Keeping your passport and money in zippered pockets is much safer than tossing it in a bowl and leaving it visible to everyone else in the security line.
Which is your scenario if you pick the Eagle Creek Digi Hauler. This bag doesn't have any pockets that you can reach while wearing it. Every time you need something, you would have to take your bag off to find it.
When you’re on the road, many times its best to blend into the city rather than stand out. If you look like a tourist, your chances skyrocket of being targeted by a thief, pickpocket, or worse. Because you’re an easy mark.
City dwellers favor nondescript, dark colored bags and clothing. It helps them blend into the scenery and crowds rather than catch the eye of a potential criminal.
Eagle Creek emblazoned their Digi Hauler with eye-catching details like a colorful logo and straps on the most subdued version of this backpack.
But we deliberately created the Setout with an invisibility cloak by crafting it in a grey fabric with low-key branding. So you blend into the commuter force, making it that much easier to evade thiefs.
Shoulders are delicate. It's a bony joint that moves in all kinds of directions, but we expect it to bear weight. Your shoulders are often mistreated by being forced to carry the weight of your heavy backpack, handbag, or messenger bag.
That's not the way it should be.
That is why we made Tortuga Setout’s shoulder straps from injection molded foam. That’s the same type of foam used in the soles of your favorite running shoes. Over time, that foam breaks in—in the best way possible—and conforms to the shape of your body.
With the Setout, your shoulders are treated kindly. You don’t end up with a mass of painful knots in your shoulders or neck, exposing you to pounding headaches and sleepless nights.
How does the Eagle Creek Digi Hauler’s shoulder straps compare? Not well.
Eagle Creek says the Digi Hauler has “tuck-away backpack straps with multiple attachment points.” Judging from the pictures, these shoulder straps are flimsy little fabric slices whose only purpose in life is to tuck into the backpack’s rear.
The Setout's straps do both: keep you comfortable and tuck away for safekeeping.
If you’re interested in a travel backpack that makes your trip headache-free—and lets you blend in as a native—check out the Tortuga Setout.