The Outbreaker Backpack: a User Manual

As a seasoned traveler, you know that the best backpacks can make your trip a breeze (or, conversely, the worst backpacks can turn it into a nightmare). But you also know the pain of looking for a backpack with the three features you need most: carry on sized, front-loading, and comfortable.

With the Outbreaker Backpack, we provide a best-in-class experience prioritizing carry on capacity, front-loading organization, and ergonomic design that will keep your back and shoulders happy for your whole trip. Plus, you get plenty of organization and the flexibility to pack how you want.

This guide will teach you about your Outbreaker's features, how to fit it to your body, and how to care for it so that you can make the most of your next adventure. Let’s explore the Outbreaker, including a few ideas for what to pack where.

Walkthrough Video

First, watch this simple walkthrough video of the Outbreaker Backpack to familiarize yourself with the compartments and organization.

Outbreaker Backpack main compartment

Main Compartment

The main compartment (above, right) is wide open for you to pack your clothes and shoes however you like.

Remember that the front panel of the bag (above, left) opens like a suitcase. There's nothing new to learn if you've spent time traveling with suitcases. You'll have the full depth of the Outbreaker to pack your clothes.

On the sides of the main compartment, you have two (on the 35L) or four (on the 45L pictured above) side pockets for smaller items like socks, t-shirts, bras, or underwear. If you aren’t flying, you can even pack liquids in them. These soft-sided pockets can be flattened if you aren’t using them so that they don’t waste any space.

Opposite the main compartment, on the back of the front panel (above, left), are two large, zippered mesh pockets. These pockets are good for anything that you want to separate like small items or dirty clothes. You can think of these mesh compartments like built-in packing cubes.

Lie-flat, checkpoint friendly laptop sleeve


Unzip the Outbreaker’s lie-flat electronics compartment for easy access to your gadgets and chargers. They'll be kept safe and padded here.

The back panel (above, right) folds down and holds your laptop (up to a slim 17" laptop, like a Macbook) and tablet (up to 9.7”) in padded, fleece-lined sleeves. A velcro tab secures both gadgets so they can't slide out.

Opposite the laptop compartment (above, left) are three mesh pockets for chargers, adapters, batteries, power strips, and external hard drives. Anything that you use with your computer or tablet will be safe and sound here.

Outbreaker Backpack front panel

Front Panel

The organizer panels hold all of the small stuff that you need when you’re in transit in one easily accessible location.

The front pocket’s organizer panel (above) holds your passport, keys, pens, and cards. There’s a pocket for everything, so you never need to hunt for a missing card or key. The stretch-woven pocket can hold your phone or sunglasses.

Behind the organizer is a fleece-lined sleeve for your e-reader, like a Kindle.

Above the sleeve is a zippered pocket shown here holding a notebook. Opposite the organizer panel (folded down in the picture above) is a zippered mesh pocket.

Outbreaker Backpack exterior pockets


The Outbreaker's exterior is made from ultra-durable waterproof sailcloth that won't rip or tear. For even more weather resistance, it's outfitted with coated YKK zippers that repel rain.

The contents of your Outbreaker will be safe and dry in rain or snow.


Below that pocket is a low-profile pocket with a partially hidden zipper.

Finally, you’ll find two stretch-woven side pockets for a water bottle or an umbrella. If you don’t use the side pockets, they lie flat against your bag so that they don't take up any space inside or outside of your pack.

Outbreaker Backpack suspension system

Suspension System

With the Outbreaker Backpack, we built the first-ever hiking-style suspension system into a travel backpack. Even if you carry a full 45L of clothes and gear, you'll be comfortable.

One of the ways the suspension system provides such comfort is by adjusting to your height. Two people that more than a foot different in height can both comfortably wear an Outbreaker by customizing its fit.

Please see the video below to learn how to fit the shoulder straps and suspension system to your height.

The Outbreaker's suspension system doesn't skimp out on any necessary straps. Read on below to learn about the shoulder, hip, and chest straps.

Outbreaker Backpack hip belt

The Hip Belt: A Necessity for Max-Sized Carry Ons

Most travel backpacks either don't have a hip belt or have a flimsy one without padding. One of the Outbreaker's key features is a padded hip belt with pockets. A proper hip belt will transfer your bag’s weight from your shoulders to your hips. Then you can use your stronger leg muscles, not your sensitive shoulders, to carry the bag.

Your Outbreaker's hip belt will take weight off of your shoulders.

When the Outbreaker is fitted correctly, you will feel weight move from your shoulders to your hips. The hip belt will transfer 80% of your bag's weight to your hips.

The Outbreaker’s hip belt has two side pockets for tickets, boarding passes, or your passport. They’re handy for anything that you need quick access to while traveling, rather than rummaging in your backpack.

A good tip is to move everything from your pants pockets to the hip belt pockets when you go through airport security. These zippered pockets provide more security than the bowls that the TSA uses.

If you don't want or need the hip belt, it's completely removable with simple Velcro attachments.

Ariaprene foam back padding and shoulder straps

Thick Padding with Premium Foam

The Outbreaker’s shoulder straps, hip belt, and back padding are thicker than you’ll find on almost any travel backpack. They’re much closer to what you would find on a large hiking pack.

The top of the padding and underside of the straps is made from soft-to-the-touch, sweat-wicking Ariaprene foam. Most backpacks use a cheaper option called air mesh which scratches your skin and doesn’t breathe as well as Ariaprene does.

Fits Any Height

First, watch this video to learn how to measure your torso.

Start by measuring your torso along your spine. Use a soft tape measurer and ask a friend to help.

Bend your head forward to find the vertebrae that sticks out at the top of your spine. Start your measurement from here.

Place your hands flat at the top of your hip bones with your thumbs pointing towards your spine. Use your hands to mimic the shelf that your backpack will rest on. Have your friend measure from the vertebrae to the shelf you made with your hands. This is your torso length.

Now watch this video to learn how to properly fit your shoulder straps.

Pull up on the velcro tab to unlock the suspension system. Then, pull down to slide the tab out of the webbing ladder.

Measure from the bottom of the Outbreaker backpack up to the webbing loop that is closest to your torso length. If you're between sizes, round down.

Reattach the shoulder straps starting from the loop that you measured to match your torso. Thread the tab through that webbing loop and the three loops above it. Fold the shoulder straps flat, then reattach by velcro.

Try your bag on. If the fit is off, adjust it up or down by one loop.

Adjusting Your Bag for the Perfect Fit

Watch this video to learn how to fit your hip, shoulder, and chest strap.

Use the shoulder straps, hip belt, chest straps, and load lifters to get a snug fit with the weight on your hips, not your shoulders. The load lifters are also commonly found on hiking bags but omitted or misused on travel backpacks. Use these straps, which run along the top of your shoulder straps, to keep your bag as close to your body as possible for ideal weight distribution.

After adjusting the Outbreaker’s shoulder straps to your torso length, loosen or tighten the rest of the straps for the best fit.

The right backpack will take the discomfort out of traveling. Just because you’re traveling, not hiking, doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve to be comfortable.

How to Care For Your Outbreaker Backpack

First, make sure to wipe off your backpack any time you spill something on it or otherwise dirty it. A few seconds of effort right when it gets dirty will prevent more work later.

If you need to fully wash your Outbreaker Backpack, wash it by hand. Don't put it in a washing machine. Hand washing your backpack will allow you to target problem areas with a little extra elbow grease and prevent a washing machine from damaging the zippers or tearing the straps.

First, fill a large sink or bathtub with cool to lukewarm water. By not using hot water, you’ll avoid burning yourself or damaging your pack.

Add a gentle detergent or natural soap like Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap (what we use on our own Outbreakers) to the water or a little dish soap. If you use detergent, make sure it’s free of dyes, fragrances, and chemicals that could damage your bag or irritate your skin. You'll need less soap than you think.

After you remove the dirt, rinse off any soap from the bag.

Hang dry your bag in a well-ventilated place. The top handle of your Outbreaker will fit over a sturdy clothes hanger. You can dry your backpack in a shower or bath, or in a safe area outside like a balcony.

Once your bag is dry, you can treat the zippers to keep them running smoothly. A non-greasy, non-staining silicone spray will help lubricate the zippers and keep them from rusting. The helpful users at Ask Metafilter recommend using paraffin wax, powdered graphite, or even a crayon to keep zippers running smoothly.

Wiping down your bag after a trip is always a good idea, but you shouldn’t do a full wash too often. Once or twice per year is plenty. Excessive washing can damage the bag and wear away its day-to-day water resistance.

Want to Learn More About Your Outbreaker?

Learn more about how the Outbreaker can take the hassle out of your travels.


Compare Sizes