Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack Review: Tortuga Logo

Our Verdict

Welcome to our Tortuga Setout Laptop review.
If you are out for a durable and comfortable pack that’s tailored for the modern traveler, the Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack might just be the bag of your dreams.
Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack Review: Tortuga Logo

Our Verdict

Welcome to our Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack review.
If you are out for a durable and comfortable pack that’s tailored for the modern traveler, the Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack might just be the bag of your dreams.
Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack Review: Tortuga Logo

Our Verdict

Welcome to our Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack review.
If you are out for a durable and comfortable pack that’s tailored for the modern traveler, the Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack might just be the bag of your dreams.


  • Minimalistic design

Modern and efficient, you can pack enough for the days and not be overwhelmed with the size.

  • Good harness system

very comfortable, the injection-molded foam in the panel and the padded straps allows for good ventilation

  • Functions as a daypack and travel bag

The Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack can function as an everyday carry and can be used on short trips.

  • Tech focused

With sleeves for your laptop, tablet, and an e-reader, as well as spaces for your charger and related items, this is the bag you take if you are always moving with your gears.

  • Water bottle pocket

In a bid to maintain a streamlined look, the bottle holder can be closed to prevent it from getting snagged and just gives the bag a cleaner look when not used.

  • Lockable zippers

There’s provision for you to lock the zippers for added protection of your items.

  • Trolley sleeve

The pack comes with a trolley sleeve that you can attach to your rolling suitcase at the airport for easy movement and less stress.


  • The bag is not heavy duty

This is more of an urban pack and not ideal for outdoor activities like camping or hiking.

  • Not ideal for long trips

The Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack isn’t spacious enough for long trips unless you are one who travels light.

Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack: All sides view

Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack Review

There’re many options of backpacks for daily carry and travel that it’s hard to know where to start.

The list is overwhelming, really.

The Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack is one of such bags. 

Advertised as the right backpack for work or travel, but is it really the best for you?

After all, we all have different travel gear requirements!

And naturally, you’d be concerned about its quality, comfort and durability.

To help, this Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack review is set to answer all these questions and more to determine if this pack can be your new best friend or not.

Ready? Let’s go!

Tortuga Backpacks in A Snapshot

Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack: Logo
Credit: Tortuga

Established in 2009, Tortuga Backpacks is an American brand that produces travel friendly backpacks for modern and digital nomads.

The founders, Fred Perrotta and Jeremy Michael Cohen are both experienced travelers themselves who have in turn used their experiences and skills to create practical and versatile backpacks for travelers.  

The Tortuga brand also runs a blog called Packsmith where they share tips to help travelers have the best trip experience and also answer questions about the brand.

Devoted to creating versatile backpacks that works for the office and for trips, they have produced three lines of pack that allows you move around without needing to check your luggage.

Although this Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack review is focused on their specialty travel backpacks, they have also produced packing cubes amongst accessories.  others.    

You can learn more about the Tortuga Backpacks and their production process at

Table of Contents

Full Review

This detailed Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack review would focus on the design, construction, how comfortable it is and the general perception about the pack.

Design & Quality

Starting with the aesthetics, this pack has a clean and minimal look that’ll work in a variety of environment whether at the office or moving around the city.

Also designed for travel, I like the heather grey color that this bag comes in. It doesn’t really stand out but blends in well and look like a normal backpack.

While it helps hide dirt and nicks well, I still think they could be more adventurous in colors and styles.

The branding is subtle, with a small shell logo on the front of the bag, on the zipper pulls, Velcro and shoulder straps. 

Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack Review: Tortuga front view

Very comfortable, even when it’s loaded, you shouldn’t have any problem with the weight.

The straps (and back) are padded, and as an extra, there’s a sternum strap to help you redistribute the weight when you are carrying the bag for a prolonged period. 

Overall, its simple design and streamlined look makes this look more like a backpack and not a travel bag (and that’s a good thing).

Materials & Construction

Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack: All sides view

The material is made with a 900D polyester with a water-resistant coating.  
The nice thing about the polyester used is that it’s a little bit lighter than the ballistic nylon used on some backpacks.

It weighs just 2.8 lbs and this is helpful especially if you want to use this on airlines with stricter weight limits.

Tortuga did well with the zipping. Not only are they YKK, but are lockable!
Yes, you can lock your zipper with a padlock for extra security of all your items.

Although not 100% waterproof (the zippers aren’t’ water resistant), its water repellent exterior can hold off water during slight raindrops.

Continuing on to the back paneling, I love the injection-molded foam used.
It has a nice amount of padding and meshing material to limit moisture.

Plus, the suspended mesh is fantastic for air flow to help prevent your back from getting sweaty.

Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack Review: Tortuga features

While we are on the back panel, there’s another nice feature- the large pass-through which allows you rest the bag on your suitcase while you’re walking around the airport.   

And if you want to give the bag a cleaner look when you’re using it as a briefcase, or you don’t want any dangling, you can just tuck the straps away.

They are attached at the bottom of the bag with durable metal clips and so they are very easy to remove.

On top of that, Duraflex has been chosen for the plastic hardware across the entirety of the pack, another great and durable choice. 

Size and Weight

Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack Review: Tortuga capacity

Measuring 18.5 x 12 x 6.75 inches in dimension and weighing 2.8 in weight, this is quite a small bag.

As a carryon, you’ll find most airport gate staff would simply wave you through and the bag can slide neatly under the seat in front of you.

Jumping into the size, it comes in at about 25 L which is an awesome size for day to day carry or for quick trips. 

It’s kind of a nice in-between size that’ll work great for a lot of different purposes and I really like that the bag maintains its slim silhouette even when its fully packed out.

This review of the Tortuga Setout Laptop backpack review has shown its not spacious enough to be classified as a ‘single travel bag.’

Even so, it works if you are going to be away for two days or a week at best.

Storage & Organization

Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack Review: Tortuga storage
Credit: Tortuga

If you are a digital nomad, you’ll fall in love because you have the space to carry all your gear with room to spare! Let’s explore the different compartments.

Quick access pocket: There’s one simple quick access compartment on the front to stash your boarding pass, wallet, phone etc. it’s a simple area to just reach in and grab some of the things you want to get quickly.

Water bottle pocket: On one side of the bag, you have a pocket to hold your water bottle or umbrella. I specially appreciate how the pocket lays flat when not in use.

Hideaway straps: On the other side is a folder where you can unclip and hide the straps. This is especially nice if you hate dangling straps.

Also, the trolley sleeve for the suitcase is located here too.

Bonus: You can stuff your sweater or any item into the space when you’re using your strap!

Front compartment: The organization system here comes with a lot of small slip pockets on the inside.
It’s a bit tricky to use, I just wish it was kinda raised to allow for easy access.

Except for the key clips, the other features which include little pockets and a zip compartment are too tight. So, at best, you can only keep small items like pens, business cards, ID, a novel and the likes.

Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack Review: Tortuga storage

Tech compartment: You have a separate sleeve for your 15” laptop.
The laptop compartment has a false bottom that protects your gear from unexpected drop.

In front of that is a separate partition for a tablet and an e-reader and then both compartments are closable via a Velcro strap.

Close to that is a mesh area for holding your cables, chargers or other tech gears that are otherwise hard to manage.

Main compartment: It has a clamshell design that opens into a wide area for you to organize your items as you choose.

For travel, you can use packing cubes to save up space. However, for everyday carry, you can just arrange your items as you like.

There’re also two mesh pockets for your toiletries or whatever you choose to stow into there.

The Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack is quite assumable large and can hold tons of equipment, clothes, snacks, toiletries, water bottles and more.

Fit & Comfort

Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack Review: Tortuga back view

Let’s kick it off with the best place to start- the harness system.
The overall harness system is just solid, comfortable and well designed.

The straps have a nice amount of padding and a meshing material that helps prevent moisture from building up. 

And I really like how the injection molded foam on the back panel conforms to the body and allows for ventilation.

Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack Review: Tortuga on models

On top of that the bag has an adjustable and removable sternum strap to help distribute weight when you are carrying the bag for a prolonged period.

There’s no place to attach a hip belt which is totally fine for a pack of this size.

You can also tuck the shoulder straps in for protection when you attach your bag to a luggage or you’re just in the mood to carry it in a hand as a briefcase.

The sleek shape and grey water-resistant fabric mean it doesn’t stand out, which is perfect if you are a city traveler who wants to blend in. 


Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack: Twitter

The Setout Laptop backpack costs $125 and thus a downside for backpackers who are on a tight budget.

While it’s not cheap, I think it’s a great price for the high quality of the bag and the ease it offers for travel.

Users Thoughts/ Reviews

Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack: Twitter

From my research and reviews from actual users, this bag is durable and will last for  many occasions with little or no damage.

But there are nitty gritty bits I must bring to your attention.

Starting out with the zippers, they are of a very good quality, but it takes getting used to. You can find yourself constantly opening the wrong pocket by mistake.

Why? The front, laptop and main compartments all have the same zips that are very close together. 

But hey, with more familiarity, you should be fine.

Also, the organization in the front pocket isn’t designed for easy access. You’ll struggle to fit in most of your items and even get them out.

It’s because of these inconveniences that I rated the bag 4.6 out of 5 in this Tortuga Setout Laptop backpack review.

But other than that, the pack is well made, multipurpose, stylish and is loved by its many users.

Alternative to consider – The Tortuga Setout Backpack 45L

Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack Review: Tortuga Setout 45L

Do you wish for more space in a Tortuga Backpack?

Perhaps, you’re hunting for a perfect single pack and you have the extra dollars to add, go for the  Tortuga Setout Backpack 45L.

It’s wider and expandable to suit.

Note: This pack isn’t particularly well suited for day-to-day use due to its large size.

Final Thoughts

If traveling as light as possible is your thing, or you are looking a good daily carry, this pack has enough space for your tech gears, some clothes, toiletry set, snacks, and other smaller items.

It also doesn’t hurt that it looks good—a very clean, timeless design without any distracting hip straps. Plus, the harness system is very comfortable!

That said, I rated this bag a 4.6 out of 5 in this Tortuga Backpack review because of the confusing zipper pulls and stiff organizational features in the front pocket.

All in all, without a doubt, I’d recommend the Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack  as an everyday carry and a great travel backpack for light travelers. 

But if you want more space, you can go for the  Tortuga Setout Backpack 45L as a viable alternative.

This article is not sponsored in any way by any company. This backpack has been independently selected by myself and my team. And the only thing I receive is a small commission from our affiliate program if you buy any of them through the links and buttons on this page. It doesn’t cost you a penny. But it really helps me out as this money goes to paying for maintaining the website, editing software, my time, team and everything else that goes into preparing this post.  

6 thoughts on “Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack Review | The Best Backpack for Work and Travel?”

  1. Thank you so much for this highly informative article, Wole! I love to travel, and I am constantly looking for a backpack that will allow me to work while I move-I love to do work on airplanes, trains, buses, and cars (when I’m not driving, of course. Haha) alike. I think that the Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack is an excellent investment. The backpack is spacious enough for me to carry my most essential items (my laptop/charger, phone/charger, my wallet, notebook, calculator, and writing utensils), it’s comfortable, it’s durable, it’s water resistant (we get plenty of rain here in Chicago. Haha), and it’s extremely versatile (it can double as both a backpack and a carry-on bag). I would definitely consider investing in this bag! Great read! God bless you!

  2. Hi Femi,
    Tortuga has some great backpacks. But they are expensive, that’s for sure. I guess quality does cost.
    What I like is the way they design their backpacks for easy access to things when traveling. I think it’s a great buy.

    • Hey Aparna,

      Tortuga has great backpacks indeed; it probably has a lot to do with them being avid backpackers themselves. And yes, they do charge a premium for those packs including the Setout.


  3. Hi Femi,

    Nice review, thanks for sharing.

    I actually use the Tortuga as one of two different laptop bags – my other one is a Targus although its an oldish one now. The Targus is more heavy duty so better when I’m carry bulky stuff but the Tortuga is great for my regular commute or short flights. Its got pretty good shoulder straps and I also like the trolley sleeve so I’d recommend it as well.

    • True say Jason – the Tortuga Setout is not that big but it’s big enough for your everyday essentials.

      It’s good to hear from someone who actually has the bag – thanks for leaving a comment.



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