eBags Mother Lode vs Tortuga Outbreaker
eBags did a nice job with the bag, considering that making bags isn't their expertise, but left out a few crucial details that make the TLS Weekender less comfortable and less convenient than the Outbreaker.
Note: This page does not include any images of eBags' products because the company has asked us to take them down. You can see photos of their bag on their website.
Ergonomic Hip Belt
The TLS Weekender's waist belt is woefully inadequate. The belt is only webbing to keep the pack closer to your body. While this is important, it omits the biggest benefit of a well-designed hip belt.
A hip belt should be padded so that it transfers your pack's weight from your shoulders to your hips. Using a padded hip belt will make your bag feel lighter and reduce the strain on your neck, shoulders, and back.
Without a proper hip belt, you would have to carry the entire weight of the TLS Weekender on your shoulders.
Here's what Steve H. had to say about the TLS Weekender which he tested (and returned) before buying a travel backpack from Tortuga instead:
Uncomfortable with a heavy load. Straps dug into my shoulders and waist belt was too wimpy to be of any use in transferring the load to my hips.
The Outbreaker features a padded hip belt (below) to reduce the strain on your shoulders by allowing you to transfer your pack's weight to your hips. The belt also includes pockets for your travel documents, money, and tickets.
The TLS Weekender also lacks pockets that you can reach while wearing your bag. There are no pockets on the sides of the bag, or on the waist belt.
When you carry an Outbreaker, you have four pockets within arm's reach: two on the waist belt and two more on the bag (one on each side).
You can use the side pockets to store a map, guidebook, water bottle, or umbrella. The hip belt pockets are great for holding your passport, tickets, spare change, and boarding passes.
When going through airport security, I move everything from my pants' pockets into the Outbreaker’s waist belt pockets. Then, after I've cleared security, I transfer everything back into my pants' pockets.
When you're on-the-move, you need your ID, money, and travel documents within reach. Here, the Outbreaker excels while the TLS Weekender disappoints.
The TSA allows travelers to leave their laptops inside their bags through security, if the bag is designed with a separate, lie-flat laptop compartment. If you’re carrying an Outbreaker from Tortuga, you’ll be able to breeze through security like the pro traveler you are by leaving your laptop inside your bag.
eBags missed this detail. Their customers still have to take their laptops out of their backpacks in a security line.
Who Makes Your Backpack?
eBags has asked us to remove our description of "how eBags works and where [its] expertise does, or does not, lie." Instead, we'll tell you a bit about ourselves...
Tortuga is a small company 100% focused on making travel backpacks. That's all we make. We make everything that we sell. Tortuga was founded by Fred Perrotta and Jeremy Michael Cohen, two childhood friends. We couldn't find the perfect travel backpack, so we made it ourselves.
Our flagship product is the Outbreaker travel backpack, a carry-on-sized backpack that is both comfortable and convenient. Learn more about the Outbreaker here.