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Minaal Carry on 2.0 vs Tortuga Homebase Travel Backpack

Minaal and Tortuga are two of the most popular brands for digital nomad backpacks. Minaal's Carry On 2.0 gets some things right, but its design and materials make it an unideal choice.
homebase vs minaal

What Weather Resistance?

The Minaal Carry On 2.0 is made from 600D nylon, a typical (and inexpensive) choice for bag manufacturers.

600D nylon might be inexpensive and readily available, but that doesn't make it the ideal choice for a premium travel backpack. Quite the opposite, in fact. The fabric has a major flaw: no weather resistance. If you get caught in the rain, your precious laptop (and everything else in your bag) suddenly becomes susceptible to the elements.

Sure, you could carry around a rain cover for weather resistance. Do you really want to pack an extra item just to make your bag functional? That just seems like a hassle, not to mention a waste of precious packing space.

A better choice is waterproof sailcloth.

The Homebase backpack uses LiteSkin, which is a new innovation in sailcloth technology. In fact, we placed the second-ever order of LiteSkin. The fabric is known for being lightweight and abrasion resistant as well as waterproof for maximum durability. 

Plus, you don't have to carry around an extra accessory just in case you get caught in the rain. Your bag is already weather resistant.  

Harder to Pack

This one is going to take some visualization, so stick with me, because this is important. When you pack a travel backpack, you open it like a suitcase. That means you're loading it from the front, not the side. 

There are two places to put the main compartment's zipper: at the front, or at the back. Minaal places their zipper at the back. That means thee entire packing compartment opens up, as shown here. As you might suspect, you need to open the Minaal very carefully to prevent your stuff from spilling out.

Think about ergonomics, as well. You want to pack heavier items closest to your back so that you don't tip backwards due to an incorrectly weighted bag. When you're packing, it's most intuitive to pack heavy items first (at the bottom) and place lightweight items on top. You're in trouble if you pack intuitively with the Minaal due to aforementioned tipping over issues. See also: back pain.

Overall, a zipper at the back of the bag shows a clear lack of considered design. It doesn't take the traveler into account, and isn't optimized for ease of use.

We should know: we prototyped a bag with the zipper at the back, and immediately dismissed the idea as nonviable due to packing frustrations. In fact, we've extensively tested both the size and location of our bags' primary openings. Time and time again, we’ve come back to the same solution: a widemouth, clamshell opening with the zipper located on the front of the bag, away from your back. 

The Homebase has a zipper at the front, so you're pulling down a flap when you unzip the bag instead of spilling contents everywhere. It's easy and intuitive to pack, because luggage shouldn't add stress to your travels.

Doesn't Hold As Much Stuff

Again, this is better shown visually, so I'll let Carryology's Chase Reeves demonstrate the difference here:

Minaal's curves mean that you have to cram your stuff inside the main compartment. You'll be able to pack the bare minimum, but nothing else. The Tortuga Homebase gives you a little more wiggle room for an extra pair of shoes, chargers, a toiletry bag, or whatever else you need.

Heavier and More Expensive

When you're traveling indefinitely, every ounce of weight makes a difference. You've probably spent months culling your packing list to travel as light as possible. If that's your reality, it makes sense to compare the weight of two backpack contenders. 

We'll save you some time: the Minaal's Carry On 2.0 is nearly a pound heavier than the Tortuga Homebase backpack

And the Minaal is $50 more expensive.

Why would you pay more for a less functional bag? That's just bad math.

The Best Travel Backpack for Digital Nomads

The Tortuga Homebase is the clear winner. It's easy to pack, weather resistant, lightweight, and more affordable than the Minaal.

Read more about the Homebase travel backpack and how we designed it to be ideal for the way digital nomads travel.

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