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Thule Subterra Carry On vs Tortuga Setout Backpack

The Thule Subterra Carry On looks like a great bag in theory. But on real trips, even the least frequent traveler will find it is lacking in must-have areas.

Not Maximizing Your Packing Space

Thule Subterra Carry On measures a measly 40L. Compare that to Tortuga Setout’s 45L measurements. You’ll see there’s a 5L difference between the two with Tortuga being slightly bigger.

So what does that mean in the real world?

You’re not maxing all your available space in your carry on. So your packing time takes longer because you’re forced to make the hard decisions of what not to bring.

We’re all for packing light, but minimalism doesn’t need to equal long hours agonizing over what to pack (or not pack). Only to end up packing your small bag to its bursting seams, leaving you with no room to bring home souvenirs or other treasures from your adventures. Goodbye delicious Swiss chocolate.

Instead, we believe you should use all the carry on space available to you. That’s why we designed Tortuga Setout to be the full carry on size allowed by most airlines.

So you’ll have room to bring home that adorable carved elephant or bag of tasty Costa Rican coffee.  

What Ergonomics?

A good hip belt transfers up to 80% of your bag’s weight down to your muscular legs and hips.

Apparently, the bag designers at Thule don’t care about how many headaches you’ll get from painful knots in your shoulders. Why? Because they skipped including the most ergonomic part of a backpack: the hip belt.

On the other hand, the Setout has padded, removable, weight-bearing hip belt. So your stronger leg muscles carry the full 80% of your bag’s weight. Meaning your shoulders feel light and fancy-free.

The Setout's hip belt is made from a custom injection molded foam. That’s the same kind 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.

You’ll thank us when you’re hitting mile two on your dirt road hike to your middle-of-nowhere Airbnb for some well-deserved R ‘n’ R.

No Reachable Pockets

How many times have you whacked the person in line behind you when taking off your backpack to grab your wallet? Or passport? Or ticket? Or chapstick?

Yeah, us too. That’s why we included two large pockets on the Tortuga Setout’s hip belt. Now you can store your most valuable items within a finger’s reach while wearing your backpack.

The Thule Subterra Carry On has zero -- count ‘em, oh wait, you can’t -- reachable pockets. In eliminating the all-important, weight-bearing hip belt, they cheated you out of adding in some reachable pockets.

Which means you’ll be whacking the person in line behind you more times than you care to. Might as well start practicing your “apologies” face now.

Walking Billboard Coming Through

Feel like giving a multi-million dollar company some free advertising?

With Thule Subterra Carry On, you’ll do exactly that. They took the liberty of emblazoning their huge logo across the back of this backpack. You’re a walking billboard for their company. For free.

We don’t need to take advantage of you like that. Instead, we chose subtle branding for the Setout so you blend into the city instead of sticking out like a sore thumb.

When you want a backpack that maximizes your carry on allowance and makes your trip headache-free, check out the Setout Backpack.