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Aer Travel Pack vs Tortuga Setout

Aer wanted to make a travel backpack that was useful and carry on friendly. They succeeded in some areas, but wildly missed the mark in others.

No Hip Belt

The Aer Travel Pack is missing one vital feature: a hip belt.

Without a padded, weight-bearing hip belt, you carry your pack’s entire load on your shoulders. No matter the distance you’re walking -- airport to train or wandering miles to your hotel -- you’ll feel the painful burn.

A hip belt’s entire purpose is to distribute weight from your shoulders and onto your hips. In fact, a good hip belt can shift up to 80% of your bag’s weight off your shoulders.

When we’re carrying a large backpack -- like the Aer Travel Pack -- this shift of weight is huge. It means you minimize the strain on your shoulders and back. We’re talking the difference between tense knots and weeping blisters on your shoulders, and a weightless feeling of awe as you’re free to explore en route to your accommodations.

The Aer Travel Pack is a relatively small 33L, but you’ll feel its full weight. On your first half mile, it’ll feel like a bigger, heavier bag.

That’s why the Setout Backpack has a padded, removable hip belt, crafted from injection molded foam. It's the same type of foam that cushions your feet in your favorite running shoes. Over time, this foam forms to your body for a custom fit.

Missing Reachable Pockets for Passport or Phone

Aer Travel Pack has a zippered pocket on the top of their backpack, pointing out this pocket is a “dedicated quick access pocket for your small items and travel documents.”

Only this pocket is not quick access. You have to take off the backpack and swivel it around to access the pocket. Wasting valuable minutes and whacking everyone in the face behind you.

Wouldn’t it be easier to have the pocket on a hip belt? Say, this pocket is accessible in a single movement from your hands?

Your phone and passport are the last two things in your hands at the airport whether you’re in security or at your gate. These two items are your most valuable and, if lost, have the most disastrous consequences.

We want them close. Always.

The Setout’s hip belt has two zippered pockets for your most valuable items. So if one hand is holding a steaming cup of coffee, your free hand still grabs your phone or passport in a pocket right on your hip.

How about that for reachable?  

Not Maxing Carry On Space

Aer Travel Pack is 21.5” x 13.5” x 8.5”. They claim this is “optimized to meet international and domestic carry-on luggage size limits.”

Hate to break it to you, but that’s not true.

The maximum size for a carry on is 22” x 14” x 9”. See all that extra space you’re not taking advantage of when you use the Aer Travel Pack? 

With that space, you could bring an extra pair of jeans so laundry day doesn’t equal “lounging in underwear” day. Or even a couple extra pairs of clean shirts, socks, and your favorite jacket that makes you feel invincible. Or, leave some extra room for souvenirs you acquire on the road.

A small size is great if you’re an minimalist super-packer.

But for the rest of us, having a little extra space in your backpack means extra mental space. Meaning you’re free to pick up souvenirs, pack extra pairs of clean underwear or tees, or bring a book to read on long layovers.


At the perfect carry on limits, 22” x 14” x 9”, the Tortuga Setout has room for all that.

Ergonomic and Crafted For Smooth Travels

Interested in journeying with a travel backpack that’s engineered with your comfort in mind? A travel backpack that makes your travels easier and more enjoyable? Check out the Tortuga Setout.

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