Weighing In: The Carry On

There is nothing worse than being asked to turn around and check your bag in at the airport. There is also nothing worse than suffering through a trip with an unstructured, delicate backpack. Last time I travelled long-term, I used a backpack I got from Ryanair that was guaranteed to fit on all the airlines. This is key, because Ryanair is known for having strict baggage rules, and I was able to successfully pack all necessary items and fit them on a variety of European Airlines. However, this backpack was flimsy and lasted less than two months without ripping. It also was not waterproof. For this reason, I splurged on a different bag: The Tortuga Backpack. Marketed as a thrifty “urban,” backpack, it seemed like the best way to go.

I was not disappointed. The Tortuga bag has several pockets for organizing clothing, credit cards, jewelry, socks and even shoes. Although there is an option that holds 45 liters, I bought the 35-liter option, because it is slightly smaller and is guaranteed to fit on every airline as a carry-on. The pockets and the cushioning that this backpack features make it a totally viable option for urban backpacking. However, there is one specific drawback to this bag.

Although the Tortuga Backpack is great for organizational purposes, and contains space for all necessary valuables and travel documents, it is heavy. Norwegian Airlines weighed the carry-on and it clocked in at 9.4 kilos: and this is with my laptop, chargers, cell phone, and toiletries moved to my personal item. The backpack alone weighs 4.6 pounds. This is significant when you are trying to pack a bag that weighs less than 22 pounds (or ten kilos). Without anything in it, the backpack alone takes up almost 20% of the allotted weight. That being said, I’m sure the heavier material will last longer, and keep most of my items safer.

That being said, the backpack’s organizational features, rugged material, and comfort make it completely viable to use for long trips. The straps are adjustable, and the back is cushioned, providing optimal levels of comfort while carrying belongings. In spite of the weight, I would say that it was $189.00 well-spent (make sure to use google to find a coupon codes before paying full-price), and I have a feeling it will last far longer than the Ryanair bag I purchased for my first backpacking excursion. I have successfully managed to fit everything necessary for the trip in the bag, and the amount of flexible pockets, pouches, cardholders, and sections make it easy for me to find everything. So far I would give this bag a 4.5 out of 5; however, I will have a more accurate rating at the end of my trip, when I see how well it’s held up.

Pro-Travel Tip: Norwegian Airlines weighs both the carry on and the personal item, and together, the items must not exceed 15 kilos. To see a list of rules about hand baggage and carry on for Norwegian, click here.




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