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Osprey Porter vs Tortuga Outbreaker

The Osprey Porter 46 is one of the most popular carry on backpack options for travelers. While the Porter is a decent bag, it has a few weaknesses that make it an imperfect choice for travelers, especially when compared to the Outbreaker 45, Tortuga’s maximum-sized carry on backpack.


The Porter has the thinnest shoulder straps of any comparable bag on the market. This minimal padding doesn't provide a buffer between your shoulders and the weight of your pack. The full weight of your bag will be felt on your shoulders.

The hip belt of the Porter also lacks padding. The fabric belt is only webbing with no padding. A hip belt is meant to help distribute your pack's weight away from your shoulders and onto your hips to lighten your load and prevent back, neck, and shoulder strain. Without any padding to bear the brunt of the load, the hip belt is only useful for keeping your pack close to your body.

Osprey skimped on the Porter's waist belt padding so that the belt would be easier to tuck away when not in use. The lack of padding has rendered the belt useless when it isn't hidden away.

The Outbreaker travel backpack has thick padding in its shoulder straps and even more in the hip belt. This beefy padding allows you to transfer approximately 80% of the Outbreaker’s weight to your hips. Padded shoulder straps cushion the remaining weight from your body to ensure a light, comfortable carry.


Lina and Dave of tested the Osprey Porter 65 (a larger version of the 46) when shopping for backpacks for their round-the-world trip. Here was their conclusion about the Porter:

"His biggest complaint was the hip belt and lack of support for his back. Although we were able to adjust the balance load so it ‘looked’ okay, it was killing his back and the chinsey hip strap did nothing to support his shoulders once weight was added to the bag." -Divergent Travelers

They labeled the Osprey Porter 65 a "backpack fail."

Laptop Sleeve 

A modern travel backpack needs a protective sleeve for laptops and tablets. The Osprey Porter's sleeve situated on the outermost part of the pack, resulting in poor ergonomics. A laptop is heavy and rigid. A comfortable carry requires your computer to be flush against your back, like in the Outbreaker. Team Tortuga often travels with our offices on our backs and we therefore paid close attention to the laptop sleeve's placement.

Packing your laptop close to the outside of your bag leaves it more vulnerable to the elements (especially since the Porter's fabric isn't waterproof). Without a safe place to store your electronics and a comfortable way to carry them, the Porter is insufficient for tech-loving travelers.

The Outbreaker has a dedicated, padded sleeve to protect your laptop, and it’s even checkpoint friendly. The lie-flat design lets you leave your laptop inside the backpack when you’re going through a TSA checkpoint.

Focused on Travel

The main menu on Osprey's site is divided into three categories: Outdoor, Travel, and Biking. Travel backpacks are only 1/3 of their focus. Osprey has to appease many different types of customers and design bags for multiple purposes.

Jack of all trades, master of none.

At Tortuga, we only have one focus: travel. Travel is our only consideration. Travelers are the only customers for whom we design. Our maniacal single focus allows us to make the Outbreaker better, and better, at its only job: being the ultimate travel backpack.

Buy Direct From the Source

If you want an Osprey backpack, you can't buy it from Osprey. You have to shop at one of their outdoor (not travel) shop partners. A middleman.

If you want a Tortuga backpack, you can buy it directly from us.

When you email us with a question, or problem, you will get a prompt reply from from the same people who make the product. Tortuga is your one-stop travel shop. We want to know what travelers are thinking about and what they need. Handling our own customer service inquiries helps us stay abreast of travelers' concerns.

The Outbreaker travel backpack was designed for travelers, by travelers. If you like our approach, you can learn more about the Outbreaker here.

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