The Best Carry-On Backpack for Digital Nomads

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Everything we own fits inside a carry-on backpack each. As digital nomads travelling permanently good luggage is essential and we have some very specific requirements.

After over four and a half years on the road we recently changed our backpacks. Simon was previously using the North Face Overhaul 40 which held up well through the years, but it doesn’t have a hip belt and he was getting back pain wearing it.

I had a Vango Transit 30 litre which I loved and is no longer available, so I was sad when it got a hole. It’s a small bag for permanent travel and my overstuffing had caused the damage.

On our search for new backpacks we discovered that things have changed since we became digital nomads in 2010. Travelling with just hand luggage has become more popular as airlines increase their rates for checked baggage, and there’s now a lot more choice of carry-on sized backpacks. It was still a challenge to find our perfect backpack.

Our Requirements

  • Carry-on size – It’s essential that it meet airlines’ carry-on bag limits; we never want to bother checking in luggage again.
  • Front-loading – Unlike traditional backpacks that open from the top and make it hard to access your stuff, we need a bag that opens along the entire front, like a suitcase. It’s much easier to pack and keep things organised.
  • Simple design – Ideally black and plain so it doesn’t stand out too much.
  • Padded hip belt – To transfer the bag’s weight onto our hips and prevent back and shoulder pain.
  • Laptop sleeve – Although my last backpack didn’t have one it’s a good idea for added protection.
  • Lockable zippers – We use padlocks on the zippers to lock the main compartments and prevent opportunistic theft.
  • Durable – We don’t want it falling apart on us when we’re in the middle of nowhere. A good backpack should last years and is worth paying for.

After a lot of research we found two backpacks that met our requirements.

Tortuga & Osprey Farpoint 40 backpack review
Us with our new backpacks at Disneyland!

Simon: The Tortuga

Update October 2016: V3 of the Tortuga, called the Outbreaker Travel Backpack, is now available and is even better than Simon’s V2 (which we review below). Read our Tortuga Outbreaker review for details and a comparison with V2. 

Update February 2018: Simon has now switched to using the latest Tortuga backpack, the Setout, which he thinks is the best one yet. Read our Tortuga Setout review for everything you need to know. 

Dimensions (cm): 56 x 36 x 23 cm
Dimensions (inches): 22 x 14 x 9 inches
Volume: 44 litres
Weight: 1.66 kg (3.65 lbs)
Colour: Black
Price: US $199 (and free US shipping) 


The Tortuga is designed by travellers for travellers, and it shows. Fred and Jeremy created it after being disappointed with traditional backpacks while travelling around Europe. They set out to create their perfect backpack and they really thought of everything—it easily meets all of our requirements.

Tortuga travel carry-on backpack review for digital nomads
Simon with the Tortuga backpack

Simon has been travelling with the Tortuga for a few months now and loves it. It feels sturdy and durable. There’s lots of padding on the back and hip belt, so it’s much more comfortable and supportive than his last backpack; he’s had no back or shoulder pain so far.

Tortuga backpack review: the back angle
The padded back and hip belt of the Tortuga

For a carry-on it’s very spacious and easily fits all of Simon’s stuff. The rectangular design maximises the amount you can take on a plane and makes it easy to pack, especially if you use packing cubes like us (“everything fits like Tetris,” Simon says).

There are various pockets to organise your things, including four pockets inside the main compartment, a large front pocket, two side pockets, and two in the hip belt which you can reach while wearing the bag (useful for items like cash and phone when going through airport security).

Tortuga travel backpack review
Inside the main compartment of the Tortuga

The padded laptop sleeve holds up to 17-inch laptops and is at the back of the bag, close to your body for the best weight distribution. There’s a separate zip here to easily access the laptop (useful at airport security) without opening up the rest of the bag. This does mean you need two padlocks for the bag, though.


There’s a strap cover to hide away the shoulder and hip straps and you can then carry it by the padded top or side handle.

Tortuga offers free US shipping and if it doesn’t work out for you after a test pack, return it unused within 30 days for a full refund. They also pay for the return shipping on US orders.

The Tortuga website is really helpful with lots of photos and information about the backpack and even packing tips on their blog.


The Tortuga sounded so perfect that I wanted it too, but it’s just too big for me. My previous bag was only 30 litres, so 44 litres is quite a jump, and it felt too bulky. I wish Tortuga would create a smaller version.

Update 2016: There are now 35-litre and 45-litre versions, both with hip belts, and the new adjustable suspension system means they will fit most people. 

The Tortuga meets most airline hand luggage restrictions, but Ryanair is one of the strictest airlines and the Tortuga is slightly over its 55cm x 40cm x 20cm limit. It’s only a few centimetres over, though, so I think we’ll be able to get away with it. Update: We have travelled on Ryanair multiple times and had no problems taking the Tortuga on the plane, and there were people with much bigger hand luggage than us. 

If you put anything that’s not slim in the front pocket it bulks out and makes the bag look really big, so Simon doesn’t use it much. Update: This is no longer an issue with the new Outbreaker backpack

The backpack is only available from the Tortuga website. If you live in Canada, Europe, Australia or New Zealand shipping costs $30-55. As we discovered getting it delivered to the UK, you’ll also probably have to pay customs—we paid £35.95.

Tortuga is the best-designed carry-on backpack for digital nomads that we found. It’s ideal if you have a lot of stuff but still want to travel with a carry-on.

Buy the Tortuga Travel Backpack at Tortuga Backpacks

Erin and Simon of Never Ending Voyage with their carry-on backpacks
Simon and Erin with their backpacks

Outbreaker Travel Backpack (Tortuga V3) Review 

In October 2016 Tortuga released V3 of the Tortuga Backpack, now called the Outbreaker Travel Backpack. You can read our detailed Outbreaker backpack review and here are the differences from V2 (which we reviewed above).


  • The Outbreaker comes in two versions—45 litres, which is similar to V2, and 35 litres, which replaces the Tortuga Air. Both now have hip belts, which was my main complaint with the previous Air. The 35-litre is a great option for minimalists, while the 45-litre still offers the maximum size you can take on a plane. 
  • The new adjustable hiking-style suspension system makes it even more comfortable to carry and means it should fit more people than the previous backpack did. 
  • The side pockets have been removed giving it a sleeker look. 
  • The fabric is waterproof and very durable. 
  • It opens fully on three sides like a book making it even easier to access everything inside. 
  • There is an improved fleece-lined laptop and tablet sleeve that unfolds to lie flat on the X-ray belt, so you don’t need to take your laptop out when going through security. 
  • There are two discreet water bottle pockets on the side that lie flat when not being used. 
  • The front pocket has changed and doesn’t bulge anymore. 


  • The 45-litre backpack is now heavier—5.1 lbs (2.3 kg), which is 1.45 lbs (0.64 kg) heavier than V2. 
  • It now costs $249. 

Erin: Osprey Farpoint 40

Details (S/M model)
Dimensions (cm): 51 x 33 x 23 cm
Dimensions (inches): 20 x 13 x 9 inches
Volume: 38 litres
Weight: 1.3 kg (2.87 lbs)
Colour: Charcoal Grey (which I got), Mud Red, or Lagoon Blue
Price: US $112 -160 (there are sometimes deals on Amazon). From £70 on Amazon UK.


It was a challenge to find a backpack smaller than the Tortuga that still met all of our requirements, but the Osprey Farpoint 40 works well. Osprey is a well-respected company and you know their backpacks are going to be good quality. They even offer a lifetime guarantee saying they “will repair for any reason, free of charge, any damage or defect – whether it was purchased in 1974 or yesterday.”

The Farpoint 40 comes in two sizes, S/M and M\L, making it easier to find the perfect fit. You should try both sizes as it depends on the length of your torso. The S/M fits me comfortably.

Osprey Farpoint 40 review: best carry-on backpack for digital nomads
Erin with the Osprey Farpoint 40

The backpack has two compartments: the spacious main one and the front one with a padded laptop sleeve for laptops up to 15 inches. You need to be careful not to overstuff the main compartment otherwise the laptop compartment will be curved. Handily you can lock both compartments with one padlock.

I’ve gone from 30 to 38 litres and it does feel quite a lot bigger than my last backpack. There’s plenty of room for my stuff and it’s easier to pack now.

There are two pockets inside the bag (one in each compartment) and a small zippered pocket on the front for easy access to non-valuable items (it doesn’t lock). There are also two mesh water bottle holders on the front.

Osprey Farpoint 40 carry on backpack review
The front compartment with laptop sleeve, the main compartment, and the back of the Farpoint 40

Unlike my last backpack, the Farpoint 40 has an internal alloy frame which makes it a little heavier but does provide excellent back support. You can adjust the back to get the perfect fit. Combined with the hip belt it’s very comfortable and my load feels lighter.

There’s the option to hide away the shoulder and hip straps and use it with the provided shoulder strap as a shoulder bag. I never used this feature on my last backpack so I got rid of the strap.


I don’t love the look of the Farpoint 40. I’d prefer black to grey and I think the plastic zipper pulls look messy. It’s still much more neutral than many backpacks.

The laptop sleeve is at the front, but for better weight distribution it’s preferable to have it at the back, close to your body, like the Tortuga.

Some people might want more internal pockets, but as I use packing cubes and a compression bag to organise my things it’s not an issue for me. The two internal pockets are quite large so not ideal for small items.

If you are looking for a carry-on backpack smaller than the Tortuga, the Osprey Farpoint 40 is an excellent option.

Buy the Osprey Farpoint 40 on Amazon US, Amazon UK, or REI

Best carry-on backpack for digital nomads;: The Osprey Farpoint 40 and the Tortuga backpack review
The Osprey Farpoint 40 and the Tortuga

Other Carry-on Backpack Options

The Tortuga and the Osprey Farpoint 40 were the only two backpacks we found that completely met our requirements. There are many carry-on sized backpacks on the market, but many don’t include padded hip belts which we find essential to take the weight off our back and shoulders.

You might have different requirements from us, so here are more carry-on backpacks for digital nomads:

The best way to find the right backpack for you is to try it on. You can always buy it, have a test pack, and if it doesn’t work for you then return it.

If you are a digital nomad or long term traveller looking for a carry-on sized backpack, I don’t think you can go wrong with either the Tortuga or the Osprey Farpoint 40. They are both popular backpacks with other travellers: The Yoga Nomads and Till The Money Runs Out are couples with the same Tortuga/Farpoint combination as us, and Jeff from Lengthy Travel and Mirje from Anywhereism travel with the Farpoint 40.

Update April 2016: We have been travelling with these backpacks for nearly two years now and we couldn’t be happier with our choices. Both are comfortable to carry, have been carried on multiple planes (including Ryanair) and fit under bus seats without problems, and are still going strong. We even used them for a snowboarding trip to Finland—read our carry-on packing list for cold weather

Update October 2016: After over two years we still love our backpacks and they look as good as new. Read our updated review of the best carry-on backpack.

The Carry-On Traveller Book

If you’d like to learn more about how to travel carry-on only, see my book, The Carry-On Traveller: The Ultimate Guide to Packing Light, which is available for the Kindle or paperback on Amazon.

You can also read our complete packing list.

If you enjoyed this post, pin it!

The best carry-on backpacks. Travelling carry-on only makes travel easier and cheaper. Read this post for detailed reviews of the best backpacks for carry-on travel.

Thanks to Tortuga who provided Simon with a complimentary backpack. He was under no obligation to keep using it if he didn’t like it, but we haven’t found a better bag. We receive a small affiliate commission if you buy these backpacks through the links on this page—we really appreciate your support.

Photo credit: Tom from Till The Money Runs Out took the photos of us together. 



    • I don’t think so easily. None of them are designed for water bladders. We have used the Osprey Farpoint as a day bag with a water bladder and put it in the main compartment (with the hose coming through a gap in the zips), so you could technically have a laptop in the front pocket as well.

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  1. Hi, are you guys still using the same backpacks? With Simon’s does he have any issues with Ryanair taking it as carry-on? I know they recently changed there on board baggage policy. Thanks Anna

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    • I am still using the Osprey. Simon has just switched to the latest Tortuga (the Setout, see our review: but it’s the same size as the original Tortuga.

      We have flown on Ryanair loads of times and have never had a problem taking it on board. We haven’t travelled with them since they changed their policy, but it just means that you now have to pay for Priority boarding to be able to take a large bag on board. We always try to do this anyway as it’s easier getting on the plane first.

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  2. To me, the Osprey Farpoint 40 is by far the best backpack for traveling as its perfect for getting just enough stuff while keeping the minimalist approach.

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    • I agree! Simon prefers the Tortuga but he’s not a minimalist when it comes to his electronics (15 inch laptop and 12 inch iPad!).

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  3. Hi Rich – Did you find it a pain to pack the Overhaul without the “suitcase” style opening? I notice the new Overhaul addresses your hip belt concern – so I’m wondering if that would now be a better option?

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  4. Really enjoy your blog. Though I am not on the road all year, I am at least half of it, and my favorite little backpack is the EBags brand Motherlode JUNIOR weekender. I had the pre-curser of the original Motherlode, that didn’t have quite as many features, used it for years, still have it just in case, and it’s still going strong. I wanted something smaller and this fit the bill. I also use their brand packing cubes, which are great. I have everything I need in there, from electronics and clothes,well everything. It’s also pretty darn affordable, and they are always running sales.

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    • Thanks for the recommendation Barbara. It looks like a well organised and compact bag. My only concern is the lack of padded waist belt, which we find we really need as all the electronics we carry are heavy!

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  5. I’ve owned an Osprey Porter 46ltr since 2011 and it offers plenty of room for carry on but its a bit big for an everyday bag. I prefer the Osprey momentum 30 for an everyday digital nomad / gym bag as its much more manageable on the MRT, buses & scooters.

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  6. I was looking for a backpack for my next trip. I have never thought, I would find a blog post about it. Just like digital camera reviews. Great tips guys. Thank you very much.

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  7. My husband and I purchased a Tortuga and an Osprey as mentioned in your post. We love them! Our longest trip so far was 18 days in Europe. What a pleasure to travel with backpacks! Your suggestions on packing and supplies are fantastic! Our backpacks are headed to Italy next month with my sister and her husband. I’m sure they will be converts! Thank you for sharing your experiences.

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  8. I am excited bought your book on Amazon downloaded it to my I pad mini in kindle app. Cannot wait to read it. I ordered osprey 40. Will see if can carry just one bag on plane. Hope with balancing on hip will be able to travel like you. Your loyal follower.

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  9. I ordered the Tortuga Air today. This was after days of research. I just found you. I’m 72, in decent shape, but want to travel light. Taking first big trip to Mongolia. Also bought their day Pack. The osprey may be too heavy. I’m 5’5 and 120 lbs. if bring cameras, will have to cut back even more with clothes. Maybe with belt which mine doesn’t have will be a problem. Also can’t but straps away if decide to but in baggage.
    Do you think maybe with trade off will be okay or maybe should have gotten back pack with more support?

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    • I’d recommend packing the bag when it arrives and walking around with it for a while to see how it feels. If you feel like you need more support, Tortuga has a good returns policy, and you could try the Osprey Farpoint 40 instead. We need the hip belt as we have a lot of electronics that make our bags heavy, but if you keep your weight down you could manage without it. Good luck!

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      • Thank you. I tried it out and seems okay nice size. I bought a Tenba Switch 8 for my Panasonic FZ1000 and Panasonic LX100. It’s a shoulder bag with an magnetic flap closure and it has a zipper on top to pull out the camera. It may be good in Ulaanbatar because I can get at it rather quickly when needed. I also bought a Cross Shot Strap by BlackRapid for my camera which sling which seems okay, but was wondering about theft because it camera hangs outside on your hip. I also bought a ScotteVest with 14 packets light weight. I really should try the Osprey Farpoint 40. Hope to buy your book. Spending so much time on researching, no time to practice with camera. So much for computers :) Hope to buy your book!!

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        • My trip is June 28 thru July 14. Will let you know how it all worked out. Sounds like maybe I should check out the Osprey Farpoint 40, but like idea of having separate bag for camera. What do you think? Thank you so much!

        • I have a separate camera bag too that I pack inside my backpack on travel days, just so I only have one bag to worry about. It’s really about personal preference. It sounds like you have a good set up now, so I’m sure you’ll be fine. If it doesn’t work out you can adapt for the next trip. Have an amazing time!

    • Simon wears size 11s and he could manage with the Osprey is he didn’t have so much tech gear. He always wears his shoes on travel days and packs his sandals, which take up less space.

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  10. Love, love, love this backpack – Tortuga Travel Backpack.
    First let me say that for those of you stuck on the wheeled carry on, their nice IF you don’t fly stand-by and are okay with the airlines forcing you to check your bag when the flight is full. I, however, can’t risk getting separated from my bag, and since it’s BACKPACK the gate agents don’t look at me twice, and I always have my bags no wait, no lost luggage. Also, where I fly out of I have to ramp check my bag, so I just zip up the backpack straps and the nice sturdy handles hold up just fine for the luggage handlers.
    Second, I have gotten everything in it that a reasonable girl needs for 2 weeks in the islands or 1 week of business meetings, all toiletries and beauty items included. Which is awesome, AND I have the access I need in the Tortuga, like side pockets, top zipper, etc. While it can get a bit heavy with this much gear the padded back and the dual straps are wonderful for weight distribution.
    Finally, the only thing better than the bag is the company. Responsive, human, and definitely focused on doing right by their customers and their products. LOVE TORTUGA- BUY ONE- you won’t regret it!!!
    Roxanne P.

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    • Glad you’ve had a great experience too! I agree backpacks are less likely to be weighed or noticed by airline staff. We’ve travelled on a few airlines in SE Asia recently who are supposed to be strict but no one weighed our backpacks.

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  11. Thank you so much for your review. I’ve been worried about which backpack to purchase. First I considered Aeronaut, then Minaal, then Tortuga( how I found you) but now the Osprey Farpoint. I don’t want the bag to be too heave or awkward or bulky on my back. I know the size is a bit different, but would you say both backpacks fit roughly the same amount? Also, would you mind taking a picture with his Tortuga on your back. The more I read the more I hear people complaining it’s too big or bulky, but a picture would really give me the best idea. I also think I’m going to check the website of the yoga nomad since you say that’s what gave you the idea on the Opsrey Farpoint. Thanks for taking the time to write blog posts and reviews. It really means so much to newbies like me.

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    • The Tortuga definitely fits more than the Osprey as it’s bigger. The only way to know for sure if it’ll work for you is to try it for yourself – Tortuga offers free returns if it doesn’t work out.

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  12. Hi! Do you have a backpack recommendation for traveling children, or smaller teenagers? I’ve enjoyed your reviews. Thank you!

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    • We recently travelled with our two kids (8 and 10) carry-on only to Malta and they carried the Deuter Fox 40 and Fox 30. The had lots of room and were able to carry them through the airport, on connections between busses, ferries, etc. and to our accommodations no problem. Plus they are fully adjustable, so will last the kids for many years.

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  13. Hey guys, we are still busy saving for our travels, year two of saving and 9 months to go until we reach target!! So, with this in mind we are now able to finally starting getting excited and look into travel gear. I’m a tall female with long torso who has suffered on going back pain for years, which bag would you recommend?
    Many thanks

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    • I think the Osprey has better back support so I’d try that. You could get the larger size. Fill it up with stuff and see if it feels comfortable and you can always send it back if it doesn’t work for you.

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  14. Hi, thanks for the great review :) unfortunately I am bit short so most likely I will go for fairpoint.

    Two questions: What do you use the front pockets for? Do you just put two water bottles there?

    Is the position of the sleeve problem in real life? Do you feel any discomfort because of it?

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    • They are supposed to be for water bottles but I only occasionally put one in there. I mostly don’t use them for anything, although sometimes I’ll stuff rubbish in there until I find a bin.

      I haven’t found the position of the sleeve a problem. My Mac Air is so light I don’t think it makes much difference.

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  15. Hi, thanks for the detailed review! I’m currently deciding between the Tortuga and the Deuter transit 50 or traveller 55. I love the attached day packs on the Deuter and the better suspension system. I’m also thinking that the Deuter would also be better for hiking/camping trips. The Tortuga looks more roomy and I love the hop pockets though. I’m torn haha.

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    • The Deuter is a bit too big for a carry-on bag. If you won’t be flying then it’s not an issue though. You can always order both backpacks and try them out at home and return one of them. Tortuga offers free returns in the US and even pays for return shipping.

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  16. Hi!

    Did the Phillipines during 3,5 week´s this fall and tried to cut down the luggage but still ended up using a 42 liter backpack (checked) and a Sea to Summit UltraSil dry daypack (22 liter) as carry on.
    Next time I´ll try to go “One Bag”!
    I have also searched the internet but found the Osprey Transporter 40L duffel which can be carried as a backpack. Any thoughts on that bag?
    Your website is a goldmine of knowledge and shared experiences! Keep up the good work!

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    • It sounds like you are really close to going carry-on only. It’s a gradual process and our packing list has been refined over the last 15 years we’ve spent backpacking. I haven’t come across that bag before but it wouldn’t work for us as we like backpacks with good hip belts to take the weight off our shoulders/back. It could work though if your bag wasn’t too heavy and you like the duffel style.

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    • We didn’t come across that one but it looks pretty good. The only problem is that it’s 1.5 inches wider than the usual carry-on limit of 9 inches, but you might be able to get away with it, especially if you don’t stuff it too full.

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  17. Hi guys! I want buy the Tortuga Air. I read that you can expand it to 35l. Did you see this information? Do you see any problem with that system?

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    • That should work fine. The only issue is to make sure that with the expandable section open the bag is still within the dimensions allowed on airlines. On their website they say it’s 19 x 12.5 x 9″ when expanded so that should be fine with most airlines. My issue with the Air is that there is no hip belt to take the weight off your shoulders, but if your bag isn’t very heavy it won’t be a problem.

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  18. Great comparison! I currently have the Farpoint 40L and was wondering what packing cubes you used for yours. I generally travel light enough where I haven’t really needed cubes, but I’m definitely looking to see if I can save even more space. Thanks lots!

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    • I have a small Eagle Creek packing cube for underwear and I use a Packmate compression bag for the rest of my clothes.

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  19. Thank you so much for the fantastic review! I am backpacking Europe in a month and I am trying to decide which backpack to get. I have a flight booked with Ryanair and I was just wondering if they ended up letting you take the Tortuga as a carry-on.

    Thanks a million :)

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    • We haven’t travelled with Ryanair yet but we will in May. I’ve heard someone else travelled on Ryanair with a Tortuga with no problems. Just don’t overfill it and it should be fine.

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  20. Hi guys,

    Great reviews. I’m in the same boat with trying to find a new carry on size backpack. I have the same issue with the tortuga being too small for me. I have had a look at the Farpoint 40 and loved all its features, except the material on the side panels. I thought the material felt too flimsy and that it could rip or be cut far too easily. Do you find this Erin or anything similar regarding the material?

    The other bag I am considering is the Marmot Apollo 35. However as I live in Australia, I have not been able to find it in any stores to be able to try it on for size. So it will be a gamble if I buy it online.

    If you could please let me know what you think in regards to this I would be forever grateful. Cheers :)

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    • The Farpoint 40 doesn’t feel flimsy at all to me. Plus Osprey have a lifetime warranty so they’ll repair or replace it if it breaks.

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  21. The additional 4 liters, hip pockets and reachable side pockets, all while remaining carry-on, tip the scale in favor of the Tortuga for me. It’s truly about function because it is the most hideous bag I’ve ever seen. I know Ospreys have good suspensions. The Tortuga looks saggy and not very fortified. Does it have a decent suspension system? Thanks for all the useful info!

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    • I think the Osprey has a better suspension system but Simon finds the Tortuga supportive and the hip belt takes the weight off his shoulders. I’d recommend trying both out to see which one you prefer.

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  22. I found your review very helpful. I bought the Tortuga since it is what I prefer as far as all the pocket placement and padding. However, like with you, it did not fit me right. I’m 5’8″ and found it did not fit my torso. I really loved the bag but am going to sell it and get the Osprey, using your link! ;) Nice site. I have to dig through it deeper as I’m going on my first ATW trip in May. Thanks!

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    • That’s a shame the Tortuga didn’t work out – I really wish they’d do a women’s version. The Osprey is great though – I’ve had no complaints so far. Thanks for using our link :) Good luck on your trip!

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  23. Just wondering, is the osprey 40l still small enough to fit under a bus seat? I’m traveling soon to central/South america. I don’t have a lot of stuff so could possibly get away with a 30l. Looking for something that is also comfortable for the odd hike or two. This is a great post btw, wish I’d stumbled across your blog earlier :).

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    • Yes it does fit under most seats. Obviously it depends how much you stuff in it but if you don’t have too much then you’ll be fine.

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  24. I started out with the Farpoint 40 at the start of last year. Although it’s a great bag I (stupidly) chose the blue version and, like you Erin, thought it wasn’t the most elegant looking bag. I stuck out like a sore travelling thumb more more than I wanted, so moved over to a Tom Bihn Aeronaut when visiting their Seattle factory in the summer.

    My other gripe with the Farpoint was the slight tapering towards the top. Do you find it’s not the easiest to pack neatly? Unlike some of the other bags geared towards long-travellers, it feels more like a Backpack (capital B) than a world-on-your-back bag. That being said, for 40l I felt like you could really get alot of room for your buck and fit almost perfectly (it’s much more comfy for long travel days than the Aeronaut). Great post guys!

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    • The Aeronaut is a nice looking bag but it just doesn’t have the support we were looking for. Glad it’s working out for you though.

      The tapering hasn’t really bothered me on the Farpoint. I have quite a big more room than in my last backpack so I find packing a lot easier. Simon loves the rectangular shape of the Tortuga though as he finds it easier to pack.

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  25. Enjoy your blog. Keep up the good work. I have been considering both bags for sometime. I am curious what SImon saw as the major advantages of the Tortuga over the Farpoint 40. Essentially, why did he choose the Tortuga over the Farpoint and do you either of you have any regrets with your purchases?

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    • Simon likes the space and squareness of the Tortuga and that the laptop sleeve is at the back. Neither us have any regrets. We did a lot of research and these were definitely the best options for us.

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  26. Great to see this post. I’ve been considering swapping my wheely suitcase for a good backpack. It looks like I’ve found it!

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  27. I bought a Farpoint 40 a few months ago and have used it on two trips so far. It’s a very comfortable bag to carry around. I quite like the zipper pulls. You can hide them under the cross straps, which looks neater and, I assume, makes life more difficult for pickpockets if you haven’t used padlocks.

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    • Glad it’s working out for you David. It does look better when you hide the zipper pulls, but I can’t do that when I have a padlock in them. Not a big deal though.

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  28. We both have the Osprey Farpoint 55 and really love it. We were also interested in the Tortuga, but the shipping costs to the UK put us off, unfortunately!

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  29. Our last trip saw the probably last run for both of our backpacks, so before our next jaunt we will definitely be in the market for some new ones. Thanks for outlining both the pros and cons!

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  30. Great choice the Farpoint 40! And thanks for linking to my review :) I’ve been using my pack for over a year of non-stop travel now, and I’m still very happy with it. I even took it for the Camino de Santiago walk in May, walking 10-25km with it for 20 days. Of course it’s not built for long treks, there are better packs for that, but it worked out fine.
    And thanks for the Tortuga review also. Antti (that’s my husband) is getting jealous of my pack, because his is a bit too big, not front-loading and there’s no laptop sleeve. So Tortuga might be a good option.

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    • That’s great to hear it worked for trekking too. It definitely feels more supportive than my last bag so I can see how it would be comfortable carrying it for longer distances. The Tortuga/Farpoint 40 combo is getting popular with couples so Antti should go for it!

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  31. I’d been looking at the Farpoint 40 for a while, but sadly they don’t seem to sell it in NZ (and I didn’t want to order one before trying it on). The position of the laptop sleeve is strange – why would Osprey put it at the front? Would be good to hear how you get on with it in a few months – see if it’s still comfortable.

    I recently purchased the Osprey Nova, which is a 33L pack – kind of like a school bag but with a padded laptop sleeve that zips completely open so you can lie it flat when going through airport security. It’s a bit small, and the waist belt isn’t padded, but it’s comfortable so I hope it’ll be alright. I’ve reviewed it here if anyone is interested: /

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  32. Hey! Brilliant review guys!

    Myself and my simon also have the Tortuga and when it arrived I was freaked out thinking how small it was lol. We both did a pre pack and it was plenty and I breathed a huge sigh of relief!!

    We are both in our 40s, given up our jobs, house and commitments and travelling from Jan 18th 2015. We have a budget and will carry on until the dosh runs dry lol. Bring it on!

    Lots of love Jo xx

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    • That’s funny as we freaked out it was too big when it arrived! It just goes to show that you get used to travelling light so I’m sure you guys will be fine. Have an amazing trip!

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  33. Thanks for the kind words about Tortuga Backpacks and for spreading the word on light travel. We’re glad to hear that Simon likes his Tortuga. Let us know if you ever think any carry on packing products are missing or just need improved.

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      • I’ll second that request! I bought the Tortuga for my trip to New Zealand and Thailand this winter but had to return it because it was too large for my torso.

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        • I’ll third that request. I bought the Tortuga for me, but ended up giving it to my husband, as it was just too long for me. A “girl size” would be great…that and a way to make shipping to Canada less…

        • interesting that you thought it too large, how tall are you

      • I ordered the Tortuga Air today. This was after days of research. I just found you. I’m 72, in decent shape, but want to travel light. Taking first big trip to Mongolia. Also bought their day Pack. The osprey may be too heavy. I’m 5’5 and 120 lbs. if bring cameras, will have to cut back even more with clothes. Maybe with belt which mine doesn’t have will be a problem. Also can’t but straps away if decide to but in baggage.
        Do you think maybe with trade off will be okay or maybe should have gotten back pack with more support?

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        • I also just bought a camera bag looks like purse, shoulder bag as personal item tenba switch 8 as a personal item. Your idea of one bag sounds better, but this way the air will be lighter with just clothes

          Thank you so much!

      • I and woman and have 1,78 cm of height. I am not very slim…do you think it would be a problem to my torso the Tortuga one? You look like tall, so I am concerned about it…. The Osprey I am giving up because of the backpack position which is not close to my back like I wanted…. and is not so easy to remove it fast during screen at airport ….The tortuga is easier right? Pity no beautiful colours and not fashionable model.

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        • The Tortuga does work for some women. I’m only 5ft4.

          I’ve also heard that the new version of the Tortuga that should be out by the end of the year might fit women better.

  34. I use the Osprey 55, because I think I carry a little bit more than both of you:) I love it and usually it can pass for a carry-on (as long as it doesn’t weigh too much!) What I love about the backpack is that it’s actually two packs that zip onto each other. However, the small back doesn’t have a padded laptop sleeve, which is a big negative.

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    • I did read that the Osprey 55 was basically the Osprey 40 with an added day pack, so you should be able to carry it on with the smaller backpack as your personal item. We like to stick with just one bag but I can see how it would be useful for some people.

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      • I have done a bit of reading about the Farpoint and even though the 40 and 55l versions both have a 40l main pack the one for the 55l version is slightly taller than the 40l version which makes it a little too big to bring as a carry on. That’s a shame because otherwise I think it would be the ultimate combo with a daypack. Also, the 55 has clips on the shoulder straps so you can attach the daypack there instead but sadly the 40 doesn’t have that and there is no way of attaching the Daylite pack on the back of the 40.

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        • We actually recommend not having a daypack if you want to travel carry-on only as not all airlines allow a second bag. We have a shoulder bag that packs into our main pack, or there are a number of packable daypacks that don’t take up much space.

  35. I’m really impressed you’re able to carry all of your stuff in a single pack apiece! I would love to be able to do that, but I don’t like the idea of mixing my electronics with my clothes, and to be perfectly honest, our we carry so much gear (2 laptops, 3 cameras, underwater housing, bunch of lenses, ipad, + all the cords and chargers that go with them) that unless we pared down our clothing substantially, I don’t think we could get them to fit. So we each have a daypack filled with electronics, and a larger pack that we generally have to check that has our clothing, shoes, etc.,

    We are both using relatively small main packs as it is—technically mine could probably be carried on with larger airlines—but we found our problem often came down to weight. Our day packs are small enough that the airlines never ask to weigh them (which is good because they are both generally over the weight limit for small budget airlines!), but they always want to weigh our larger packs. Airlines like Ryanair, generally only allow 7kg, whereas my main pack is 9kg, and Tony’s was generally 11. Maybe if we tried to sneak them on as carry on they wouldn’t bother weighing them, but I find that if airlines think your bag looks big (even if you show it fits into their bins), they generally make you weigh them. That’s where we would get in trouble!

    I know you guys travel with a fair bit of electronic gear. Do you ever worry about weight, or has that never been an issue for you?

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    • We definitely have a lot of electronics as well, although probably less camera gear than you guys. Our backpacks weigh a similar amount to your main packs so we are over some airline limits. It’s always a bit of a concern but luckily we are never asked to weigh them or put them inside the bins (so far!).

      I think it’s because we only have one bag each (plus sometimes a fabric shoulder bag for snacks) and they don’t look too big. It’s one of the reasons we don’t want our bags to look too bulky and are careful of how we pack them.

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  36. Great review! You guys and Til The Money Runs Out have great taste ;)

    We’ve been traveling with the Tortuga/Farpoint 40 combo for the past 10 months and can not be happier. Both well designed, surprisingly fit a ton of stuff, and are comfortable. Not recommended for trekking but perfect for digital nomads!

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