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Thule Subterra vs Tortuga Setout Divide

Thule Subterra aims to be a dual purpose backpack for travelers, but it misses the mark in several areas that a traveler is sure to spot.

Packs Like a Backpack

This Thule travel backpack opens in the worst way possible: from the top. So, prepare yourself to become an archaeologist and go on lots of digs… for your stuff buried at the backpack’s bottom. And get ready for crumpled, wrinkled clothes that have regular chaotic “let’s get messy” parties in your backpack. Unless you create order by using packing cubes.

But, really, you shouldn’t have to do that. Because your travel backpack should be the best of two worlds: maneuverability of a backpack and packing ease of a suitcase.

In other words, your travel backpack should be like the Tortuga Setout Divide.

You pack it like a suitcase, unzipping in a clam-shell manner. So your stuff stays nicely organized, in one spot, and you can find clean socks, t-shirt, or warmer jacket in two seconds flat.

Not Comfortably Ergonomic

Did you know that a high-quality, padded hip belt transfers 80% of your bag’s weight to your hips, saving your shoulders from tight, headache-inducing knots?

Until you’re carrying a full backpack, you don’t realize a hip belt’s true magic.

Zero points to Thule for not adding a hip belt to their Subterra backpack. Your shoulders will feel the full weight of your pack.

On the other hand, Tortuga Setout Divide has full-weight bearing hip belt. So your hips carry the full 80% of your bag’s weight. Meaning your shoulders feel light and fancy-free.

Speaking of your shoulders, they’re fragile creatures which is why we made our shoulder straps from injection molded foam. That’s the same 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.

We also added in a molded back panel to dry off your sweaty back, so you get the best of hiking and travel backpacks. Because sometimes, when you miscalculated the distance between your train stop and Airbnb, traveling and hiking aren't that much different.

Zero Internal Organization

The Thule Subterra has one main compartment that you load from the top.

This main compartment boasts a fat zero in terms of internal organization. It’s one big open space of chaos waiting to happen.

No internal pockets to keep you organized on the road. Just one big area, like your high school backpack. Perfect breeding ground for unorganization and countless minutes wasted trying to find clean socks.

Tortuga’s Setout Divide keeps you organized with the flap split into one handy zippered mesh pouch. And a deeper compartment on the other side with a strap to tighten your shoes and pants down.  

So you can keep clean shirts in the mesh pouch. Or organize that two flaps however best suits your needs. Like casual clothes in one, and professional shirts in the other.

Meaning you can find what you’re looking for and adventure faster, with less cursed struggling with your backpack. Isn’t that your ideal travel world?

Wanted: Mesh on Back Panel

A little bit of mesh goes a long way.

Imagine: walking to your Airbnb on a hot, sunny day. You’re still catching your breath fast after a quick hustle to catch the last train into the city. Sweat is licking your spine. It doesn’t help any that your Thule Subterra backpack is like a plastic bag, keeping the sweat close to your body, heating you up.

Instead of letting your skin breath and cool you down.  

Unlike the Tortuga Setout Divide with a comfortable, breathable mesh back. So you don’t end up an awfully sweaty back. Because that’s the worst.

Attracts All The Wrong Eyes

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 of being targeted by a thief, pickpocket, or worse skyrocket. 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.

Thule slapped a huge logo on their backpack, so you’re a (free) walking billboard for their company.  But we deliberately created the Setout Divide with a locals-only-vibe by crafting it in a concrete-colored fabric with subtle branding.

So you blend into the buildings, drifting below the radar and making it that much easier to evade evil-hearted villains.

Opt for Smooth Travels

The decision on which backpack is best for you is your decision entirely. We designed the Setout Divide with you and your comfort in mind.