Minaal Carry On 2.0 vs Tortuga Setout Divide Backpack

The Minaal wants to be the “perfect backpack” for digital nomads and carry on travelers, but it misses the mark in some key areas while the Setout Divide Backpack excels.

A Very, Very Bad Hip Belt

According to REI and Outdoor Gear Lab, a hip belt transfers up to 80-90% of your backpack’s weight from your shoulders to your hips. For a 22 lb travel backpack, that means 17.6 lbs is magically lifted from your shoulders.

Now, you’re saying that you don’t want to feel lighter on your travels, with less knots in your tender neck and shoulders?

Maybe the folks behind the Minaal think so. Because they opted to make you pay extra for a flimsy hip belt that can barely lift itself, much less your backpack’s weight off your shoulders.

The Setout Divide Backpack comes with a padded, removable, weight-transferring hip belt with reachable pockets to use in-transit. It doesn't cost extra -- it's part of the bag.

Minaal has the audacity to charge you an extra $39 if you want to add a hip belt. Meaning you’re paying a whopping total of $338 for your bag. Why does Minaal charge an extra $39 for a measly strap? Because they can.

When you've already committed to buying a $299 bag, you're more likely to agree to buying a $39 accessory. This is a basic psychological trick called the Principle of Contrast. Compared to $299, a $39 strap, however useless, seems like a bargain. This is the same technique that used car dealers use to upsell you on additional features after you've already bought a car.

Airlines already nickel and dime travelers for every little thing. Don't let your luggage company do it, too.

Excessive baggage fees were a big motivator for us to create the carry on-sized Setout Divide. Even better: we don't have any hidden fees.

No Reachable Pockets

The Setout Divide’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 your Setout Divide’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 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 Minaal. 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. What a hassle.

Small, Non-Zippered Water Bottle Pouch

You get thirsty on the road thanks to that recycled air, hot days, and sprints for the plane. Which is exactly why every good backpack should have a water bottle pouch.

Points to Minaal for including a water bottle pouch. However, that pouch is only half the pouch it could be. For example, it doesn’t zip away when it’s not in use. And you can only fit a small water bottle in there.

Extra thirsty so you bought a large 28 ounce bottle? You’ll be carrying that if you travel with Minaal.

Not so with Tortuga Setout Divide. This water bottle pouch holds that 28 ounce bottle… and zips neatly away when you’re not using it. So you don’t snag and rip the pouch walking down the plane aisle to your seat.

Not Expandable

An extra two inches makes all the difference… when you’re on the road.

It spells the difference between a weekend and a week-long trip. And it means you can bring an extra pair of pants to ward off the chills or two more t-shirts to avoid sweaty-day-stink. Or you can bring presents home for your home-bound friends.

Two inches means a lot. That’s how much more space you get with the Tortuga Setout Divide when it expands.

Not so with the Minaal. In fact, with the Minaal you’re stuck with what they’ve decided to give you. Meaning no room to kick back and expand with a big breath on a longer week-long trip.

Not Ideal for Air Travelers

The Setout Divide has a pass through sleeve for use with a rolling suitcase, so you hook it right on the top of your rolling suitcase. Suddenly, your backpack is a good-sized personal item. This small detail that makes it more ideal for air travelers.

Does the Minaal have this thoughtful detail? Nope, sorry, folks.

Go With Comfort For the Win

The decision on which backpack is best for you is your decision entirely. We designed the Setout Divide with air travel and comfort in mind. Can you honestly say the same about the Minaal team?