Eagle Creek Load Hauler vs Tortuga Outbreaker
Eagle Creek wanted to make a durable backpack for all seasons. They did with the Load Hauler, but they missed a myriad of vital details that travelers are going to quickly notice.
Waffling Between Two Personalities
The Load Hauler tries to be both a backpack and duffel bag. Shoulder straps zip away into an inner compartment when it’s in duffel bag mode.
When we designed the Outbreaker, we had to choose between being really good at one thing, or being mediocre at a few things. We chose the former: at Tortuga, we always try to do one thing at a time and do it really well.
By being a duffel bag and a backpack, Eagle Creek’s Load Hauler has no idea which bag it should excel at. In the end, it falls short of both.
No Weight Distribution
Since the Load Hauler is also a duffel bag, it doesn’t include a hip belt. You’re forced to carry 49L of heavy weight (or 57L in expandable form) on your poor shoulders.
The Outbreaker includes a heavily padded, weight-bearing hip belt. By using the hip belt, shoulder straps, and chest strap, you keep the backpack stabilized and feeling light. Tighten the hip belt correctly and feel your pack’s weight lifting off your shoulder.
Not a magic trick, people, but on a long day of travel, it sure feels like one.
(Not So) Tough Fabric
At first, nylon fabric with a weatherproof coating, like the fabric on the Load Hauler, is water-resistant. But that coating quickly wears off with repeated use and under tough situations commonly found on the road. The last thing you want is your water-resistance to flake off when you’re on the other side of the world.
Even worse: Load Hauler’s nylon fabric is prone to unraveling.
We wanted Outbreaker to be as tough as you. That’s why we chose waterproof sailcloth for the Outbreaker. It has four layers instead of nylon’s single layer. It’s engineered to stand up to the worst storms on the sea and emerge looking beautiful against a setting sun.
The Outbreaker will do just that. Only in backpack form.
No Shoulder Strap Padding
Oh padding, padding, wherefore art thou, shoulder strap padding?
That will be your refrain as you trudge through airports, catching taxis and trains, wandering picturesque cobblestone streets with the Eagle Creek Load Hauler on your back. The two shoulder straps digging into your shoulders, rubbing blisters across tender skin.
Eagle Creek made the Load Hauler a big bag. It starts at 49L and can expand to an astonishingly enormous 57L. That is a lot of weight hanging on your shoulders.
Eagle Creek could have added in a little extra something into their shoulder straps instead of the measly “perforated foam that help keep it lightweight and comfortable.”
The bag is called a Load Hauler. That’s exactly what you’ll be doing... and cursing every minute of it.
Not so with the Outbreaker. Its thick shoulder straps have sweat-wicking Ariaprene foam padding. Hefty -- in the best way possible -- straps redistribute the backpack’s weight evenly over your shoulders. It makes the Outbreaker feel like a hiking pack designed for hauling heavy loads over long distances. Because of that, your max-sized carry on will never feel as heavy as it is.
In other words, you won’t feel like a Load Hauler. You’ll feel like a light-footed, fancy-free world traveler.
What Reachable Pockets?
Imagine you’re wearing Load Hauler like a backpack, striding through the airport, hunting for a great cup of coffee or a new paperback to enjoy on your flight.
Suddenly you can’t remember what gate your flight departs. Your paper boarding pass is in your backpack, safely tucked into a pocket. (Yes, that’s how off-the-grid your travels are: your flight issued a charmingly old-fashioned paper boarding pass.)
To find this elusive boarding pass, you need to stop, swing off your travel backpack, and hunt through several front pockets.
Wouldn’t it be easier to have pockets on a ergonomic hip belt? Think of keeping your boarding pass, phone, and passport tucked into a zippered pocket within finger’s reach. And we mean right at finger’s reach.
Just move your hand, and oh, hello, boarding pass, you rouge.
That’s why we designed the Outbreaker exactly like that: a zippered pocket for each hip on a functional hip belt.
Unzip Eagle Creek Load Hauler’s main compartment to find one giant gaping nothingness. Not even a compression strap in sight to wrangle organization into this large compartment.
The flap only has a small zippered mesh pocket, barely large enough to store your underwear. Oh, and that pocket doesn’t even span the entire length of the flap, wasting valuable bag real estate.
Cue the exasperated eye roll.
An open space for your clothing, gadgets, and electronics in your travel bag is a nightmare come true. You’ll never find what you’re looking for in the inevitable jumbled mess. And your afternoon is wasted in reorganizing your bag when you were just looking for one little thing.
When you unpack the Outbreaker, your wardrobe is exactly how you left it – even if you left your packing cubes at home.
Four, small zippered pockets line the inner edges of the Outbreaker’s inner compartment. When you have a place to store the small things, like your socks, underwear, and tees, your bag is an organizer’s dream come true. Bonus: you get to actually see the destination you’ve traveled so far to see, rather than wasting gorgeous afternoons.
Unzip Outbreaker’s main compartment to see two mesh zippered pockets lining the flap. Perfect for clothing that needs to stay put like collared shirts, slippery workout wear, jersey dresses, or dressy shirts for a night out on the town.
Rugged and Comfortable: The Whole Package
Discover what travel looks like with a well-organized, ergonomic backpack and find out if the Outbreaker is right for you.