Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack Review

Today we’re taking a look at the Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack. This is a smaller 25L version of the larger Setout Backpacks from Tortuga. This one focuses more on business travellers and those who don’t need as larger backpack. And also for potentially shorter trips. However if you know how to pack less you could certainly use this bag for longer trips. In my case I was able to fit my full currently packing list of gear into this bag comfortably without any trouble. Which also fit into a 30L bag, so it’s a very capable bag indeed.

The bag has a small front stash pocket. A front, quarter zip panel which inside has a generous assortment of organisational pockets and more zippered pockets inside. There’s a spacious main compartment with 2 mesh zippered pockets on the inner panel too. Moving to the laptop compartment there’s another small mesh zippered pocket and 3 sleeves. 1 for a laptop and another for a tablet and another for papers or books. On the back of the bag are the straps which tuck away and the included sternum strap.

As you can see here I fit my full clothing cube worth of clothes. My tech pouch and electronics as well as my GoPro and accessories and a full mirrorless camera. Also my macbook pro 13 and still had room to fit a few more things if I wanted. This bag is very well made and I love the small details that Tortuga have added across the bag. From the subtle yet attractive Tortuga logos on the zipper pulls to the subtle Tortuga logo embedded into the backpack straps. 

Speaking about the materials. It’s made from a strong water resistant 900D polyester. Water does run off the bag as you can see however the zippers are not water resistant. So water will seep into the seams and through the zippers if exposed to a lot of water. The fabric of the bag is very hard wearing and in my months of testing has not yet shown any signs of wear or tear. The backpack straps are very comfortable and are made from an interesting mix of mesh and foam. They also have a clip down the bottom which allows them to be tucked into the back of the bag for a more streamlined suitcase look. The back of the bag has some thick and comfortable padding too which makes it very comfortable to wear even when fully packed with a laptop inside.

The zips on the bag are also very smooth and are a joy to open and close. I only occasionally had a bit of a snag while zipping up the rear laptop pocket due to the seam sticking up a bit. But overall the zips are super smooth. The zips on the bag all have a padlock loop built in too, so if you want to secure your bag you have that option. Water Bottle fans will be pleased to know there’s a dedicated water bottle pocket on the side of the bag. I prefer to carry my Vapur rollable water bottles on the inside of my bags though personally. But I know a lot of people love a dedicated water bottle pocket.

Now onto a couple of things I didn’t like about this bag. The first is the front panel compartment only opens a quarter of the way. While the organisational pockets inside reach down deeper. It makes it a bit awkward to use the pockets while it doesn’t fully open to give full access. Another thing about this pocket is that the zips are right next to the zips for the main compartment. So just about every time I went to open the main compartment or the front compartment I’d grab the wrong zip and have to look again to make sure I was opening the right one. The other problem I have with the bag is that it weighs 2.8lbs (1.27kgs) which is quite a lot of deadweight. Especially if you’re packing  a 7kg (15lbs) carry on limit.

Aside from those small complaints though, I really like the design and materials of the bag. The grab handles are comfortable and the organisational pockets are really great. It’s super comfortable to wear for long periods of time. I will continue to use this as my day bag for out and about, especially when working with my laptop. And I’ll look forward to trying it as my main bag for any future tips.


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