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Incase Icon Diamond Wire Versus the Tortuga Outbreaker Travel Backpack

At first glance, the Outbreaker and the Incase Icon Diamond Wire appear to have a lot in common. The biggest similarity appears to be the distinctive black fabric with diamonds, for which the Incase bag is named. Unfortunately, the similarity is only in appearance, not performance.

Lookalike materials doesn’t mean equal quality.

Incase’s Diamond Wire fabric is “inspired” by sailcloth. The ripstop nylon is “weather resistant” with fancy-looking details designed to mimic the fabric we use.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but you want the performance of the real deal, not just the look of it.

Our material is the real thing - waterproof sailcloth technology originally engineered for the America’s Cup’s racing sails. It’s durable, rip-proof, and waterproof. Not weather-resistant -- truly waterproof.

Why does Incase use Diamond Wire ripstop nylon that only mimics sailcloth technology? Because ripstop nylon is cheaper. We’re willing to spend more on materials to make a better bag - and still offer it at a lower price than Incase.

Speaking of price…

Incase’s Diamond Wire edition of the Icon backpack is $299 -- 20% more expensive than the largest Outbreaker, for a product made from lesser materials. The math doesn’t add up. 

The Incase Icon is not a travel backpack.

The Incase Icon Diamond Wire and the Outbreaker might look similar, but they have different ideal uses.

If you’re looking for a large commuter backpack, the Icon might be a good choice. If, however, you’re shopping for a travel backpack, you’ll find several shortcomings with Incase’s product.

Size & Ergonomics

The Icon isn’t big enough to serve as a carry-on travel backpack. You might be able to cram clothes into it for a weekend trip, but only the lightest packers could make it work for a longer trip.

If you do manage to cram enough into the Icon pack, you will feel the weight of your heavy load. Without a hip belt, you won’t be able to transfer any of the weight away from your achy shoulders.

Not Checkpoint-Friendly

Did you know that the TSA allows travelers to leave their laptops inside their bags when going through security? But only if you have a bag like the Outbreaker with a separate, lie-flat compartment for your laptop.

Incase’s Icon bag doesn’t take advantage of TSA’s rule, and is therefore unideal in a hurried security line.

Frustrating to Pack & Unpack

Travel backpacks should open like a book and pack like a suitcase for maximum organization and easy unpacking.

Since the Incase ICON is not a travel backpack, it packs from the top, forcing you to dump everything out to find something packed at the bottom of your backpack.

Which is the Right Bag for You?

The Incase Icon Diamond Wire is a nice-looking product that will be perfect for commuters and tech lovers.

We designed the Outbreaker for people who want to travel far without checking a bag. Travel doesn't have to be expensive. You can save money on your trip by using airline miles and staying at Airbnb apartments. You should also have an affordable luggage option. Travel isn't just for the wealthy.

As broke 24-year-olds, we took a trip to Eastern Europe that ended in our founding Tortuga. Jeremy was a grad student, and I (Fred) was an underpaid ad man. In the early stages of the recession, we found roundtrip tickets between California and Frankfurt for $520. From Frankfurt to Prague to Budapest to Hvar, we traveled by train, stayed in hostels, and ate way too many doner kebabs.

The trip was far from lavish, but we had an amazing experience. That is what travel is all about.

If you like our approach, you can learn more about the Outbreaker here.

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