Best Laptop Backpack For Travel -Tortuga Setout Review

Do you struggle to find a laptop backpack that suits a traveler and frequent flyer?

Finding the best laptop bag for travel with enough space, comfort, and one that can fit under the seat in front of you AND is well made is more difficult than you would think.

I’ve tried many different types of laptop bags and were yet to find one that didn’t break after a few months.

I carry a lot of stuff inside of it) or send me to the chiropractor for readjustments or force me to use the overhead bins on the plane.

And I hate putting my daypack in the overhead bins.

I like to access all my stuff right when I want to access it. I don’t want to climb over people or wait until the seat belt sign is turned off to get out my laptop and start working.

I get a a lot of work done on a plane by the way.

Last year, I wrote a Tortuga Setout Backpack review for you.

A bag
Photo: Tortuga Backpack

It’s a FANTASTIC carry on backpack option for your luggage.

I use it whenever I go on short trips where I don’t need to carry a lot of luggage.

Attending conferences is NOT one of those times as I usually require a few outfit changes (women and all), especially if I am speaking and require more of a professional look.

I recently took the Tortuga laptop backpack with me to a conference in New York City.

I took my rolling check in suitcase with me, and I loved traveling with both of these items.

They were the only bags I had, all of my luggage was beautifully organized and I could easily and comfortable maneuver around the airports and New York City streets.

Tortuga sent me a Setout Laptop Backpack to test drive and review (if I wanted) as it’s the kind of travel luggage that suits me better – someone who mostly travels with a checked in suitcase, but requires something exactly like this laptop backpack as a secondary bag.

I am a travel blogger and business traveler, so need the best laptop backpack for travel to carry my important things with me on a plane.

Who are Tortuga Backpacks?

I was more than happy to write this Setout Laptop Backpack review for you as I LOVE the Tortuga brand and their products.

Their backpacks are stylish, durable, spacious and comfortable.

Tortuga Backpacks was created by Fred Perrotta and Jeremy Michael Cohen in 2011. They want to help you live on your own terms by creating modern, innovative backpacks that support your needs.

As travelers themselves they get it!

The Tortuga Setout Backpack was released in November 2019. It’s the latest backpack from this innovative and affordable luggage company.

Other travel packs they make include the Tortuga Outbreaker, travel duffel bags and travel accessories.

Introducing the Setout Laptop Backpack

a computer bag
Photo: Tortuga Backpack

The Setout Laptop Backpack is now my favorite piece of luggage.

I use it All. The. Time.

When I’m flying, when I’m headed to a local café to work, to conferences, when we’re driving from one location to another as I can carry all I need to work in the car in one bag with no overwhelm and mess.

I’ve been using the laptop bag for several months now to get a great feel for it before recommending it as one of the best laptop backpacks.

Let’s outline the feature of the Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack that makes it a worthy travel companion (even just a work/study companion) See more here.

Perfect for Air Travel

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The Setout Laptop Backpack is a versatile secondary bag that has been designed with air travelers in mind.

You can slide it under the seat of most airplanes and carry all your electronics, chargers, a change of clothes, and your in-flight essentials.

You won’t have to fight for luggage space and everything you want for the flight is in front of you.

Technically then, you shouldn’t have to pay for overhead luggage, which airlines are doing more of. I say technically because I don’t trust airlines.

The Tortuga laptop bag is also easy to manage when you have multiple suitcases (which is typically how I travel)

It can sit it on top of my checked baggage as I roll it along, or it sits comfortably on my back for hands free movement.

The laptop compartment in the back makes it quick and easy to get your laptop in and out of your laptop pocket for airport security.

Spacious and Organized

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Having all your possessions in one place minimizes hassle and potential loss when traveling.

I no longer have to take several bags on the plane with me to cater to my travel possessions. I can now fit everything I need for plane travel into this one travel laptop bag.

I don’t even have to carry an extra purse anymore.

The different pockets and compartments is one of the features that helps make this one of the best laptop backpacks for travel.

The Setout Laptop Backpack has three compartments

1. The Protective Laptop and Tablet Compartment

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The padded laptop compartment at the back which holds a 15” laptop, 9.7” tablet.

There is a laptop sleeve, and a separate tablet sleeve.

There is a Velcro strap which closes over the kaotio pocket and tablet pockets, keeping them safe from slipping out.

You can store charges in the mesh zippered  pockets, which makes them easy to grab, especially in a hurry!! Got to charge up those devices.

I love how the laptop compartment is sealed nicely away at the padded back. It’s very indiscreet, which is handy when roaming around.

2. The Clothing Compartment

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The Clothing is spacious enough for you to use as an overnight bag or carry on only for a quick summer getaway.

For minimalist packers, you could pack enough for 1-2 days of travel. The mesh pockets reduce the need for packing cells as you can use them to separate your personal effects and toiletries.

3. The Front Compartment

best laptop backpack Tortuga (1)

The thinner front compartment is great for storing your small stuff.

There is nothing I hate more than rummaging around in backpacks and daypacks to find pens, keys or small notebooks.

This laptop backpack from Tortuga gives you a space for your phones, battery chargers, hard drives, pens, notebooks, business cards/credit cards, a reading book and even a place to hang your keys!

The zippered section where I put my important documents like passports and tickets is super handy.

I’d love for the zippers to go a bit further down to make it easier to access your things inside the organized sections. Although it does protect your phone from accidentally slipping out!

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There is a small zipper section on the front of the backpack as well for anything you want to quickly access like last minute boarding passes and phones.

I love to separate my gear as it makes it easier to find things.

I’m a lady who really needs help with organization. The Tortuga backpacks is perfect for keeping me tidy and sane.

I can sometimes get confused as to which zipper is the front compartment zipper and which one is the luggage compartment as they are close together.

Just a minor detail which can be solved with me paying closer attention.


  • 25L
  • 2.8 lbs.
  • 900D polyester with water resistant DWR coating

Sturdy and Stylish

I love the color and design of Tortuga backpacks.

The Setout laptop backpack keeps with the traditional grey and sleek design.

No flashy logos or color schemes suits any kind of traveler AND outfit and helps you blend in. You don’t look like a traveler more like an urban dweller.

No matter how often I use Tortuga Backpacks they still look brand new.

The color and fabric does not show up any scratches or dirt and the fabric is soft and gentle. I didn’t even realize how important this was for a backpack until I got a Tortuga. It does make a difference!

I can’t stand those scratchy backpack materials. The material is soft but it is also really tough and so well made.

It’s also weather resistant.

The zippers are solid and lockable making it an anti theft backpack. I never lock my luggage. Do you?

Side Water Bottle Pocket

Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack Review
Photo: Tortuga Backpack

I love the zippered side water bottle. I love carrying my water bottles in side pockets so they can be easily accessed.

It’s also fantastic for parents, as your kids can run up and slip the water bottle out and take care of their own thirst rather than demanding you do it every 5 seconds.


I’ve never seen one with a zipper before which is a cool way to keep the bag compact when you don’t need to use it, which for me is generally never.

Weight Dispersed and Comfortable

Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack Review (2)
Photo: Tortuga Backpack

Before this pack I had a one shoulder strap laptop bag. I could fit a lot in it, but it was killer for my posture and back.

I love that I can’t fit everything I need for a conference in this laptop backpack – sweater, make up, laptop, planner, notebook, water, snacks, and it doesn’t send me to the chiropractor for a month of rehabilitating.

The air mesh padded back panel adds adds an extra layer of comfort and snugness. And I love how it helps my body breathe better when carrying the pack for long periods of time.

Foam padded shoulder straps makes for comfortable carrying.

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Easy to access from the backseat of my car.

The top and side padded handle can help with lifting and carrying and lets you easily take it out from underneath the seat and throw it on your back.

The top handle definitely helps me grab the bag from the backseat in the car to the front when I need it or am getting out of the car.

You can tuck the shoulder straps in for protection when carrying your bag down the aisle of the plane or when stowing it in an overhead bin.

The sternum strap brings extra stability and comfort and is easy to adjust.


I have one issue with the travel backpack that I can’t seem to solve. I don’t know if it’s just my posture, but the left shoulder strap keeps slipping off.

I’ve adjusted the strap in multiple different ways but can’t get it to sit straight. I’ve researched to see if this is a common issue.

If I use the chest straps then it stays on and all is good and comfortable.

There is no hip belt on this bag, which given the size of it and purpose is reasonable. It’s one feature I would love, especially the extra pocket in the hip strap to stash my phone for access on the go.

Affordable Price for Quality

man with a backpack
Photo: Tortuga Backpack

I’ve had my Tortuga Setout Backpack now for 12 months and it looks and feels brand new.

The Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack is made of the same high quality. I’ve been using a couple times a week now for four months and it’s still looking brand new.

It’s $125 price tag is well worth it for the comfort, quality, and diversity of this travel laptop backpack.

You can get some laptop daypacks for a cheaper price, but will definitely lose on quality and a daypack that could last you years.

Most daypacks I’ve used have a short lifespan, especially when loading it with laptops, clothes, and books.

This is why the Tortuga Setout is one of the best laptop backpacks.

If you are looking for a daypack that balances your tech savvy requirements with frequent travel, especially air, then this is the backpack for you.

As mentioned I used it outside of travel for conferences, mobile work offices, and road trips.

This is not a backpack for long term world travelers who need to pack a lot of stuff, but will certainly complement suitcase travelers as a secondary bag.

It’s also not a hiking backpack.

I would LOVE to see the kind of backpack Tortuga could create for that purpose.

Get your Setout Laptop Backpack from Tortuga by clicking here.

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