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Best Travel Backpack for Women. Tortuga Women’s Carry On Backpack Review

What’s the best travel backpack for women? In this article, we take a look at why you should consider traveling carry on only and review the made for women Setout Backpack by Tortuga 

Did you know that more women are traveling, both solo, with friends, or with a tour group, than men? Go ladies!

In fact, 72% of American women are traveling alone. They are also 67% more likely to organize tours and activities for group trips. It’s fantastic that there are more women around the world who like to explore new terrains and experience new things in destinations than ever before. 

This is exactly why more and more companies are creating travel-related products that are specifically designed for women. In this article, you’ll learn about a travel essential that you should definitely have— a women’s carry-on backpack. More specifically, a travel backpack for women from Tortuga that’s designed especially with women’s bodies and comfort in mind.

But first, let’s discuss why you should get a women’s travel backpack instead of a men’s backpack.

Tortuga womens carry on backpack - best carry on bag for a woman

Tortuga womens carry on backpack – best carry on bag for a woman

Women’s vs. Men’s Backpacks

Some will say that the only difference between women’s and men’s backpacks is marketing. Those people are wrong. Most backpacks in the market are designed with men’s needs and sizes in mind. So a 6ft guy and a 5ft girl get the exact same product… It just doesn’t work. So let’s take a closer look at the differences between women’s and men’s backpacks and why you should choose the right travel backpack for you.

Firstly women’s backpacks are designed with a smaller torso length than men’s backpacks so this means they won’t be too big sitting on your back.

Shorter women. especially, will know how difficult it can be getting a backpack to fit correctly… This is because backpack designs are usually all focused on the male torso. For women, hip belts need to be designed to sit higher to fit the smaller torso size of women. Because men usually have broader shoulders than women, women’s backpacks are designed with a narrower shoulder base and extra padding, too.

With a proper women’s backpack, straps are shorter and more contoured as well so that you can adjust them to give you the perfect fit, which takes the strain off your shoulders and back. You’ll also find that the chest strap will either be set higher or is adjustable in women’s backpacks so that they don’t just sit straight across your chest and crush your boobs. We’ve all been there right ladies?

These ergonomic adjustments make a women’s carry on backpack more comfortable to wear, especially if you need to be carrying your bag for long periods of time during your trip. They also ensure that your center of gravity is well-balanced so you don’t need to adjust your stance to take the pressure off your back.

Ever had to hunch forward to give your back a rest? That’s probably because you’re not wearing the right backpack for you, or you don’t have the straps adjusted correctly to fit your size. 


⇒ Looking for more female travel tips? Listen to the Girls Talk Travel Podcast. A weekly travel podcast that explores what it’s really like to travel as a girl. 


Traveling with Carry-on

More and more people are traveling with carry-on backpacks today, but if you have never even considered this way of traveling, here are a few pros to traveling carry-on only to help you reconsider dragging around your big suitcase from place to place….

  • You won’t need to pay for checked baggage. (more shopping money!!!)
  • You won’t worry about lost or damaged luggage.
  • You won’t need to get in line to check-in, especially if online check-in is available through the airline’s website.
  • You won’t have to wait to claim your baggage after landing. Which takes for-ev-er…… 
  • Traveling with just your carry on forces you to travel light so you only pack what you need for the trip. (No honey, you don’t need 3 cocktail dresses just in case) 
  • During the trip, you’re not dragging a big, heavy suitcase around. So, transferring into a cab, bus, or other forms of transportation is more convenient. Just picture dragging that suitcase over cobblestones or along a sandy track – pass!  With a women’s carry on backpack you just throw it on your shoulders and away you go! 
  • You have everything you own with you at all times. You can easily access whatever it is you need, even if you’re on a plane. (where did I pack my headphones again….?)

Although carry on backpacks for women are more convenient than checked luggage, you still need to find the right one for you. Airlines have different size restrictions for carry-ons. Therefore, you want your bag to be the right size so you won’t need to check it in if ever you need to travel on a different airline during your trip. 

Tortuga womens carry on backpack - best carry on bag for a woman Tortuga womens carry on backpack - best carry on bag for a woman Tortuga womens carry on backpack - best carry on bag for a woman

Tortuga Women’s Backpack Review

Now that you know the difference between women’s and men’s backpacks and why traveling with carry-on is more convenient, let’s look at one of the best travel backpacks for women currently on the market.

One thing I absolutely love about this backpack is the fact that the Tortuga Women’s Setout Backpack looks like a backpack but packs like a suitcase. But let’s look at it more closely.

This backpack comes in two sizes: 35 and 45 liter capacities. For those that love to learn all about the specs its specifications are:

  • Volume: 35 or 45 liters
  • Dimensions 21.5 x 13.5 x 7.5 or 22 x 14 x 9 inches (you need to know this for specific airline restrictions)
  • Weight 3.6 pounds
  • Laptop pocket fits a 17-inch MacBook
  • Tablet pocket fits a 9.7-inch tablet
  • Torso fit 15.5 to 18 inches 
  • Outer material 900D polyester (made from recycled plastic bottles – how cool is that!)
  • Padding closed-cell ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) and open-cell polyurethane (PU) foam
  • Zippers YKK zippers
  • Buckles Duraflex buckles (made to last)

Meanwhile, its features include:

  • Front-loading backpack,
  • Padded and removable hip belt (this is great if a hip belt isn’t your thing, or if you need to remove it to avoid it being damaged during travel)
  • Hideaway shoulder straps (also good to avoid damage)
  • Weather-resistant (no need to buy an additional waterproof cover) 
  • Lockable zippers for extra security (great for when you have to put it in the hold of a bus, and an all round theft deterrent)
  • Lie-flat water bottle pocket.

Let’s take a closer look at the Tortuga Women’s Setout Backpack’s build. Because this backpack is front-loading, you can pack it like a suitcase—no need to dig through your belongings to find something that you stashed at the bottom of the backpack. If you are a packing cube user (and you should be) it’s also the perfect design and shape to perfectly fit your packing cubes.

Quite often in other backpacks the straps get scratched, tangled, or damaged because they’re exposed all the time, but Tortuga’s hideaway shoulder straps ensure that they don’t get damaged when traveling on a bus or if ever you need to check in the bag at the airport. This is also useful when sending it through the scanner at security – I’ve had a few buckles get caught and broken this way with other backpacks.

The chest strap is adjustable so you can move it depending on the size and height of your torso. You can always adjust it to maximize comfort and improve fit.

In addition, the Tortuga Women’s Setout Backpack has a safe pocket for your laptop, tablet, chargers, and other gadgets that sits against your back, keeping them flat and safer from pickpockets. You’ll also find pockets on the waist straps where you can keep and easily access your passport and important travel documents, wallet, and phone. The lockable zippers add another layer of security, which is important while you’re traveling or if you’re staying at a hostel. 

womens carry on backpack - best travel backpack for women

womens carry on backpack – best travel backpack for women

Things I don’t like about the backpack: 

  • It’s another black on black backpack so it can easily get confused with other people’s bags – make sure you have an easy to recognize luggage tag on it. 
  • I find the 35L a touch too small for my travel needs but I think it’s a great backpack for a weekend getaway or up to a week of travel. (Of course, the 45 L is available now for you to check out instead)
  • I feel the chest strap doesn’t tighten enough if you’re just in a t-shirt. I probably need to play around with the positioning of the strap but where I usually like to wear it – it’s still too loose for my personal liking.

Overall, the Tortuga Women’s Setout Backpack has an ergonomic design that’s perfectly made to suit women travelers. It was also designed with convenience in mind; with its front-loading main compartment and versatile straps. It’s incredibly lightweight and with a multitude of special pockets to keep your stuff in and easily accessible at short notice, it’s definitely a top pick for my best carry on backpack for women.

If you are looking for a new womens carry on backpack for your travels, you should definitely check out the Tortuga Women’s Setout Backpack. With its durable materials and smart design, this carry on backpack might just change the way you travel.

Learn More & See Prices For Tortuga Backpacks 

(Disclaimer: This backpack was supplied complimentary to me in return for an honest review. All opinions remain my own. This article contains affiliate links which generate a commission for me if you make a purchase. Most backpack companies have affiliate programs, so bloggers can make commissions no matter which product they recommend, but I choose to recommend Tortuga as they make a superior product. I was not compensated financially for this decision)