Review: Tortuga Travel Backpack 45

Have you ever been frustrated with your travel bag? Thought, "hey, you know what? I could do better than this"? Well that’s exactly what Jeremy Cohen and Fred Perrotta were thinking somewhere in the middle of their extended trip through Europe. At the end of the trip they decided to take matters into their own hands and founded Tortuga Backpacks, which has now launched its flagship pack — the Tortuga Travel Backpack 45.

Tortuga Backpacks were kind enough to send along a Tortuga Travel Backpack 45 pack for me to test.

The pack consists of two main pockets, two side pockets and two small stash-style pockets on each of the hip belts. There’s also a hidden pocket inside the main pocket for stashing your valuables. The Tortuga 45 also includes something I consider a must have for travel packs — a zippered cover for the shoulder straps and hip belt.

I didn’t get a chance to test it on the road, but the pack had no trouble holding everything I brought with me on a recent trip around the world. The Tortuga 45 also meets the size requirements for carry on luggage on most airlines, so you’ll never need to check it unless you want to. The padded back and hip belt make the pack comfortable even when it’s loaded down, though do bear in mind the emphasis on "urban". I wouldn’t want to walk ten miles with this pack, but for walks from the train station to the hostel you’ll be just fine.

The pack is made of ballistic nylon, which means it’s tough enough to stand up to the rigors of city travel, though you probably wouldn’t want to hit the Appalachian trail with it. The nylon also means the Tortuga 45 is water resistant (though not water proof). I stuck it in the shower for 20 seconds or so and it managed to repel most of the water. Suffice to say if you’re caught in a brief rain shower you don’t need to worry.

Overall I liked the Tortuga Travel Backpack 45. It’s a bit on the boxy side compared to some packs, but it’s definitely functional. My only real gripe is the size of the logo. It’s big. Really big. But I have a known allergy to all branding/logos/labels (even for brands I like) so that may just be me.

If the logo doesn’t bother you and you’re in the market for a new pack, well, we’re giving away our review copy of the Tortuga Travel Backpack 45 (which, as noted, has been briefly exposed to water, and few walks around my neighborhood, but is otherwise brand new). Just leave a comment below telling us where you’re headed and how long you’re going for and I’ll randomly select one lucky winner next week.

Congrats to our winner Jim Johnson

The Tortuga Travel Backpack 45 is available from the Tortuga Backpack website and costs $250.

Posted by | Comments (24)  | August 23, 2011
Category: Travel Gear


24 Responses to “Review: Tortuga Travel Backpack 45”

  1. Lucas D. Says:

    Sweet bag! I’m going to be travelling through Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia and that backpack would be the perfect companion – I am travelling light and I want to be able to carry-on.

    In short: Pick me and I promise to more than pass it forward in Indochina!

  2. TJ Says:

    I’m a touring musician and the bag looks like just the ticket for out of town gigs. Heading to Austin next month for a week of shows. Thanks!

  3. Adam Says:

    Panama, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Singapore, Turkey, Romania, England, Ireland. Going to be on the road 11 months.

  4. Davis Says:

    Traveling by yourself in a third-world country you don’t want to look like you’re worth robbing and the neat logo may make the bag itself look worth stealing. If I were a stranger in a strange land with a Tortuga backpack, I’d be more comfortable with a “Save the Rainforest” or “Take a Polar Bear to Lunch” patch sewn across the logo.

    (And I don’t need a new backpack, so, if you draw my name, give it to someone else.)

  5. Vinny D Says:

    Planning on doing some traveling through central and south america asap!

  6. Stephanie Says:

    Travelling through Vietnam in December – intial trip is a month with plans to extend my stay!

  7. Dusty Says:

    My wife and I are going to Southeast Asia at the end of October. Starting in Thailand, not sure where else we will end up. Have one way tickets, but are guessing at a few months.

  8. Parker Says:

    Looks neat. I won’t be lucky enoughto travelto any far off destinations, but I will be takinga fun winter’s jaunt up and down the oregoncost and throughout the Umpquaforestfor dayhikes. Ill be travelling by bike and foot. This pack would be a good one I’d say for the walking portions

  9. Fred @ Tortuga Backpacks Says:

    Thanks for the nice review, Scott. Good luck everyone!

  10. Bryson Says:

    I recently bought this backpack for my trip to Europe. I could not have been happier with it. It fit everything I needed for my two week trip and then some. I also found it to be very comfortable on a few of my longer walks. Look no further if you need a travel backpack.

  11. Kat Brown Says:

    I can give this pack a real workout across the greater Southwestern US where I travel for work. Currently planning a few week trip to Australia too, looks perfect for that!

  12. Jim Johnson Says:

    I’d love to be able to get this pack! Looks like it’s what I’ve been hoping to get – I’m much more of an urban hiker. I’m about to set off for the west coast for a few weeks, and then this winter I’ll get a chance to spend a couple of weeks traveling around in the midwest, and then next summer I’m off to Italy – all budget travel, living with friends, staying in a VW or doing some couchsurfing, so I could really use the help of getting this pack! In between trips, I’m switching my primary mode of travel to riding my bike, and right now I don’t have a good pack for that, either. Thanks for your consideration, Scott!

  13. Dimitri Belfiore Says:

    For my next 3 months trip to new zealand and vanuatu, I was considering getting a new, smaller backpack. Seems like Tortuga might be the one I need. Hopefully we’ll get another excellent review from the winner after/during his trip. Expect mine though.

  14. Peter Harkins Says:

    Huh, Perotta’s name caught my eye, though it took me a while to remember where I saw it:

    http://www.quora.com/What-features-are-important-in-a-backpack-for-international-travel

    He asked what features were important in a backpack. My first and last suggestions were “no logos”, but I guess they decided in favor of “branding” or tastelessness or making life easier for thieves or something.

  15. Nele Praet Says:

    India, Thailand, Malaysia. Still need a good backpack!

  16. Adam Betuel Says:

    Heading to the Yucatan, Belize, and Guatemala for for my honeymoon in Dec/Jan. My fiance is new to backpacking/travelling outside the US and is very excited (as am I). This pack looks great!

  17. Rebecca Says:

    Mid-atlantic, departing from Barbados and returning from the Azores. Two months.

  18. brian Says:

    Brazil next year, hopefully for Carnival. And no it’s not just you. That logo is humongous.

  19. Gerard Says:

    Leaving for OZ/NZ & Asia this December for 8 months. This is exactly what I’m looking for, I’m not a big fan of big logos either. But I wouldn’t mind using this if I win. 🙂

  20. The First Two Reviews of the Tortuga Travel Backpack 45 Says:

    […] can read his full review here. He’s also giving away the backpack that he tested, so leave a comment on his review to be […]

  21. Jacob B Says:

    Been wanting to try one of these packs for a while. Headed to SE Asia soon

  22. Sam Holliday Says:

    The ‘Northface’ bag that I bought in Vietnam is on it’s last legs, and I’m heading to Rio in 9 weeks – departure point for the rest of South America…the bag looks great! 🙂

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  24. Sean Says:

    Nice pack,on my budget. But I’m pron to having a smaller one when I go short travel.