Ever since I picked up my Away The Carry-On suitcase, I’ve been a die-hard devotee. I’ve used it for countless trips abroad, stuffed it silly for weekend weddings and employed it as my workhorse for camping weekends (weird, I know). I couldn’t understand why you would choose a backpack over a rolling suitcase for the plane — it’s easier, your back doesn’t sweat and it fits a ton of stuff. The roller bag makes less sense when I’m traveling for just a weekend and it’s left half-empty. For this reason, Tortuga’s Setout Divide Backpack is an expandable carry-on that I can get behind.
The Divide is small enough that it doesn’t look like I’m lugging a full-size duffle on my back, but also large enough to fit sneakers, clothing and work gear for the weekend. When I used it for a recent weekend upstate, it was a breeze to stuff all my shorts, tanks and tees on one side and then unzip another compartment to slide my laptop in without issue. The central space pocket unzips like a clamshell, so I could fit all my clean clothes on one side and then stuff the mesh pockets with dirty ones. I was astounded by the sheer number of pockets inside. I kept all my cables and cords in one, headphones and fitness tracker in another, and still had room to spare.
The 900-denier heathered polyester looks nice, and already has a bit of a weathered feel to it, so I don’t worry about dirt, dust and airplane gunk ruining it. The bag expands from 26 liters to 34, but I found that for a summer weekend trip the smaller size handled everything just fine. I’m a big fan of the water bottle pocket on the outside too — easy access to that is imperative.
Tortuga has been advertising the Setout Divide Backpack for some time now, but you can finally pick one up today for $179.
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