Tortuga Travel Backpack 40L [Unbiased 2024 Review!]

Orlaigh Magennis
Written By:
Orlaigh Magennis
Last Updated:
January 2, 2024
Check out this honest and in-depth review of the Tortuga Travel Backpack 40L, a spacious carry-on-sized bag that is fit for week-long trips and more!
tortuga travel backpack review

The Tortuga Travel Backpack 40L is a great carry-on travel backpack with a large capacity and plenty of organization.

It’s perfect for getaways and trips of up to one week.

If you’re looking for your next travel bag, this review might help you decide if Tortuga is right for you.

Rating: 8/10

Let’s go!

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Who exactly is Tortuga?

Tortuga’s story began with two friends.

Fred and Jeremy struggled to find the perfect travel backpack when they decided just to make it.

As a company, their mission is to make travel easier by allowing people to pack light and easily.

Personally, what I admire most about them is their product-first approach, which means they take their quality seriously.

From using SHELL fabric to YKK zippers, Tortuga is known for using only the highest quality materials and hardware.

tortuga travel backpack

Where can you buy the Tortuga Travel Backpack 40L?

I’d recommend getting your Tortuga backpack straight from their website.

There are lots of discount codes available to students, active military and veterans, nurses, and more!

In terms of shipping, you can get free ground shipping for orders of $49 or more in the US.

While they don’t offer overseas shipping yet, you can use a freight forwarding service, which is a popular way of purchasing products internationally.

Tortuga’s World Warranty might also come in handy.

It guarantees against material and production defects, which does show how confident they are in the bag’s quality.

Get Your Tortuga Travel Backpack Here
tortuga travel backpack 40L

Tortuga Travel Backpack Technical Specifications

  • Price: $349
  • Weight: 4.5 lb (2.0 kg)
  • Dimensions: 21.7 x 13.8 x 7.9 in ​ (55 x 35 x 20 cm)
  • Material: SHELL200
  • Warranty: Tortuga Worldwide Warranty
  • Capacity: 40 L

Tortuga Travel Backpack 40L review

To be completely honest, when I first received this bag, I was not impressed. BUT over the last couple of months during the testing period, I’ve found it more beneficial than not. 

Overall, I probably would have preferred the 30L just because I feel like the 40L overtakes my body. I believe this backpack is the updated version of the Outbreaker

tortuga backpack 40l size

While the bag itself is a carry-on size for flights, this definitely won’t count as a personal item so keep that in mind.

Now, let’s get into more details…

How well-made is the Tortuga Travel Backpack 40L?

The main body of the bag is made up of SHELL200, which is a three-layer laminated sailcloth that’s super durable, lightweight, and waterproof.

It’s also fully recycled and contains no harmful TPU, PVC, DWR, or other coatings.

The face fabric 200D is recycled polyester, while the zippers are all Japanese YKK zippers.

At the front, you've got this small pocket that has more room in length than it does in height. It’s kind of hidden with easy access as there are no double zippers on this.

But if you tuck in the zip tag, then it makes it much harder for other people to unzip! Just a little added security…

Then on top of the bag, you have another pocket plus a key holder. 

tortuga travel backpack front

Then there’s your organiser, which is not overwhelming and enough for travel docs and accessories. It’s pretty great for valuables because you have the double zip where you can put on a lock. 

I love the fleece material here! It’s a great spot for your phone and sunglasses.

tortuga travel backpack top pocket

The materials inside the backpack itself are soft, protective, ripstop nylon. It feels very durable and sturdy.

How comfortable is the Tortuga Travel Backpack 40L?

The first thing I noticed about this bag, in comparison to other products, is how heavy it feels at 4.5lb or 2kg. But then I compared it to WAYKS Travel Backpack which is 2.4kg, so in hindsight, it’s not that bad.

I was very surprised at how comfortable this was because it’s so rugged and tough. 

I thought maybe the comfort of the bag might be compromised but I was pleasantly surprised at how proportioned everything was.

The hip straps and sternum strap also helps distribute that weight when the bag is fully packed. Another point for comfort! 

The overall structure and materials are what make it long-lasting. It’s built to last, and the strength and weight only add to the overall quality of the bag.

I also found it so useful to have the straps at the top of the bag. You can pull in on that for added support, which is great as you can adapt it to your build and height too.

What makes the 40L Tortuga bag a great travel backpack?

1. Compartments, clips, and more!

The organization of this Tortuga backpack is pretty great.

Straightforward and useful.

The two main compartments inside include one mesh opening. There are no unnecessary pockets so that you can pack what you want, how you want.

tortuga travel backpack mesh pocket

Some other fun features include a key clip on the top pocket and organizer pockets in the front compartment.

tortuga backpack front organizer

There is good suction on the water bottle compartment straps, so you can still use them easily even when fully packed.

2.  Clam opening

Simple yet effective. That’s what I always say about clamshell opening designs.

tortuga travel backpack clamshell opening

You’re free to adapt this bag to your needs and it also makes packing so much easier!

Especially if you’re packing for a week and have tons of stuff inside.

Though I would’ve loved a strap on the non-mesh side to help your clothing stay put, as sometimes things fall out when I “open the clam”.

3. Comfortable and breathable

Again, I was surprised by how comfortable the bag is!

The padded hip strap has proven very handy in terms of supporting the weight, but some people may feel that it doesn’t look the most flattering.

tortuga travel backpack hip strap

It’s removable so you can always store it inside the front hidden pocket, which is great.

The sternum strap is comfortable, though it’s not detachable. BUT you can move it up and down to fit where you need it.

tortuga travel backpack sternum strap

Finally, the back side (arguably the most important) is all made of mesh and foam.

tortuga backpack back padding

There’s an air channel down the middle which helps with airflow and breathability. So, this isn’t the kind of bag that soaks up sweat and sticks to your back.

4. Padded laptop and tablet sleeves

This backpack comes with not only padded, fleece-lined sleeves for your laptop, but also your tablet.

The laptop compartment goes down to about a quarter of the way, making it easy access to pull out without having your other things fly everywhere.

For me, the velcro of the laptop compartment could be stronger for added security, though I haven’t had any issue whatsoever with it.

I can also say that the padding is so strong that you can barely feel the laptop on your back when you have the backpack on!

5. Durable

This Tortuga backpack is incredibly durable, which is a must for travel bags.

The durable, waterproof fabric doesn’t rip or tear easily (if, at all) and you can tell just how tough it is by feeling the material.

The zippers are lockable and water-resistant, so your belongings will be kept safe, while the other hardware and buckles are best-in-class.

Tortuga travel backpack hardware

In addition to all that, Tortuga backpacks come with Worldwide Warranty.

6. Very spacious

Inside, there are three main compartments plus two additional compartments

The 40L capacity can fit up to around a week's worth of clothing.

inside tortuga backpack

If you pack smart and use packing cubes, you could probably squeeze a little more in there. 

This bag doesn’t have an extension, but I don’t feel like it needs it. There’s enough depth and room for travel, equipment, and more.

A brief thought on the overall design and aesthetics of the bag, I think it’s actually fantastic for travel because it’s not too flashy.

Cons of the Tortuga Travel Backpack 40L

The style is what kind of made me turn my nose a little when I got this bag. 

But, the longer I used it, the more I grew to love it!

tortuga backpack 40l review

It’s minimalist and clean, non-flashy, and prioritizes durability over aesthetics. In the long run, this is actually better.

While the laptop padding is thick, this makes it harder to get the laptop in when fully packed.

My advice would be, if you’re packing this backpack to full, to place your electronics first in the back. Then you also have to think about getting it out at the airport and having to repack.

On a similar note, trying to get something specific when the bag is full might be a hassle. So, anything you do need quick access to you can place in your hip strap pockets.

Finally, the harness system is adaptable via velcro, but it’s loud and a bit of an effort to adjust. Yes, it’s there to adjust to your preference, but I honestly feel that the effort outweighs the use in this aspect.

I also would love to see this bag in different colours just so we can have more options!

Who should get the Travel Backpack 40L?

With all that said, I do think that the Tortuga Travel Backpack may be the perfect choice for some people.

It’s perfect for digital nomads, as you have enough room for equipment and accessories in addition to clothes.

I’d also recommend this backpack if you’re planning for a getaway.

It’s even great for hiking, especially considering the support and comfort of the straps.

It really is a bag you can adapt for your adventures!

If you’re looking for this bag but want it to be more compact, then check out the 30L version.

Tortuga Travel Backpack, 30L VS 40L

Should you get the 30L or 40L version?

Here’s how the 30L backpack compares to its larger counterpart:

Tortuga 40L Travel Backpack: Performance Over Time

These are my thoughts after using it for the first time vs two weeks.

First use:

  • Instant thought was how great it would make for a backpacking bag
  • Heavy even before being fully packed
  • Water-resistant material is noticeable, which makes it perfect for traveling 
  • Hip belt pockets are quite unique 
  • Sleek and clean look

After 2 weeks:

  • Still heavy, although I feel more secure in knowing my belongings are protected 
  • No real expansion. For brief travels this is great, but not as a main bag for a long period of time. A week to 10 days max in terms of clothing
  • Highly comfortable. Everything supports and adjusts well, from the sternum strap to the added hip belt
  • Mesh compartment in the ‘packing’ area of the bag which allows for separation 

Overall verdict: Are tortuga bags worth buying?

You might be wondering…

Should you buy the Tortuga Travel Backpack 40L?

My answer is yes!

It’s truly a brilliant travel backpack and it does everything it needs for that.

The materials are excellent and everything was well-made, and its comfort level is amazing.

Get Your Tortuga Travel Backpack Here
tortuga travel backpack 40l review

What else does Tortuga sell?

Packing Cubes

Tortuga sells packing cubes in sets of 3, which is great if you like matching up your organizing system with the bag itself. They feature see-through mesh tops, sturdy fabric, and durable YKK zippers.

Laptop Backpack (coming soon)

If you prefer a personal item backpack instead of this 40L one, Tortuga is working on a more compact Laptop Backpack.

Tech Pouch (coming soon)

Another product that’s in the making is this Tech Pouch, which is a great organizer for cables, chargers, and other small tech accessories.

That’s it for my review of the Tortuga Travel Backpack 40L.

Hopefully, you’ll have a clearer picture of how this bag fares for travel.

Have you ever used this bag?

Comment and let me know below!

Check out some of these other reviews:

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Some images courtesy of Deposit Photos.
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