Do you like to bring a lot of stuff when you travel? Do you like to have it insanely organized? Does your luggage need to travel by yacht or by yak with equal aplomb? Well then, your backpack has arrived. The Tortuga Outbreaker packs an unbelievable amount of organizational options into its meticulously constructed pack to appeal to even the most OCD among us.
The Outbreaker comes in two sizes, 35L and 45L. We tested the smaller one, and after spending some quality time with this modern-day bag of holding we can't imagine needing the larger one, but let your obsessions be your guide. Let's talk features, construction and comfort.
The Outbreaker zips fully open into two large full height and width main compartments, one on the front and one on the back. The external zippers are even lockable with those tiny TSA compliant locks. The back compartment hinges on the bottom and includes two sleeves for electronics, secured by a single Velcro tab, that easily swallow a 15" laptop and a 13" tablet simultaneously in separate fleece-lined pockets (but not the largest iPad Pro, at least not on the 35L). Also in the back compartment are three mesh zipped pockets.
The front compartment hinges on the side and includes two large mesh zipped pockets and two long and skinny pockets (four on the larger version shown bottom right in picture above). The front flap has two slim external zip pockets and one larger half-height pocket with a plethora of organization options (bottom left in picture above). Finally there are two small pint-size water bottle pockets, one on each side, and two small zipped pockets, one on each side of the waistbelt. How many pockets total? We tried taking off our socks to help us count that high, but we became disoriented after ten and just stopped. We're not even sure we found them all, let's call it many-many.
The construction displays the same level of attention to detail. The Outbreaker is not quite waterproof but is extremely water resistant thanks to its sailcloth material; we felt smarter just reading about it. Despite cramming some serious weight into the pack, it refused to stretch or distort in any way, and the top-mounted grab handle didn't so much as squeak as we threw it around. Speaking of weight, while you can pack the Outbreaker to the gills you're still going to have to carry that weight on your body, and even here you can see the thought put into the design: shoulder straps are overpadded, there are two seriously thick vertical pads where it rests against your back - which as a bonus allow quite a bit of airflow - and everything is adjustable from torso height to compression to load lifters. The end result is that the Outbreaker carries very well for short to medium jaunts, even when fully loaded.
It was hard to find fault with this pack. Maybe bigger side pockets and a whistle on the sternum strap? Overall we were just plain seriously impressed with the Outbreaker. It's a rare combination of premium materials and top-notch construction expressing a very clear purpose: to put all the things in their place. If you love organization, if you're traveling far and if you want one bag to rule them all, definitely take a look at the Outbreaker.