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Meet Chelsea Weaver and Her Tortuga V2 Backpack

Chelsea and her Tortuga Backpack at the airport.

This post is part of a series in which ladies on the road offer a review of their backpacks. Today’s review comes from Chelsea.

I’m Chelsea of I began my 4 month round the world trip on March 1st and am currently traveling in India. Before this trip, my travel experience includes living in Ireland for one year (and I am moving back again later this year!) and traveling to a few European countries.

What’s your backpack brand and model? How much does this backpack typically cost?

Tortuga – V2 (Version 2) by Tortuga Backpacks. It retails for $200 USD.

>> Check out all Tortuga backpack options on their website. Yes, this is an affiliate link.

How long have you had your backpack and where have you traveled with it?

I bought my Tortuga in December 2013 and so far, I have only traveled with it to India – but it will travel with me to at least 5 other countries in the next three months. It will also come with me to Ireland later this year.

The Tortuga V2 Backpack review

What factors were most important to you in choosing a backpack? How did you come to choose this one?

Before this trip, I had never been on a proper backpacking trip. A few years ago, I had a home base in Ireland and traveled a bit around Europe with a massive suitcase (I have always been a major overpacker!!). I knew I wanted a backpack on this trip since I will be traveling off the beaten path. I also knew I wanted it to be carry-on sized and front/panel-loading. I definitely did not want a hiking/top loading pack because I wanted to be able to access everything in my pack quickly without taking everything out. I also wanted a padded hip belt. I researched for about 3 months before choosing my pack and once I found the Tortuga, it fit the bill perfectly and I knew it was the pack for me.

What do you like most about your backpack? Any down sides?

I love that it is carry-on sized, the padded hip belt, the pockets on the hip belt, the fact that you can cover the straps and convert it into a piece of luggage, all of the convenient pockets, the (strong) locking zippers, the extremely durable material and the style/look of it. There are absolutely no down sides. The only thing is that it does not come with a rain cover, but I don’t think that’s a big deal.

The Tortuga V2 Backpack Insides

Tell us about the fit and comfort level of your backpack.

The Tortuga comes in one size and is designed to fit just about anyone. Since it has a very padded hip belt, it is comfortable and easy to adjust the weight onto your hips so you are not hurting your shoulders or your back. The mesh padding helps a lot for comfort.

If you want to take your backpack as carry-on luggage, can you?

Yes, absolutely! I had no problems taking the Tortuga on any of my 3 flights as a carry-on. This is one of the biggest reasons I chose the Tortuga.

Have you found the size to be too small, just right, or too large?

Just right – it fits a lot more than what you might think (and this is coming from a major overpacker)!

Overall, would you recommend your backpack?

Yes, 100%. Fred and Jeremy designed the Tortuga specifically for travelers – not hikers. They created an incredible product and a great bonus is the fact that they provide fantastic customer service.

Tortuga V2 Backpack

Post-Travel Update!

Chelsea just finished her 4 months of travel (July 2014) and wanted to leave this additional feedback:

“The zippers are SO strong. They are truly unbeatable. I can honestly say almost every time I closed the bag, I struggled to close it because I had it filled to maximum capacity and the zippers held up for the whole trip and are still going strong.”

* * * * *

Big thanks to Chelsea for providing us with this Tortuga V2 backpack review! You can learn more about Chelsea’s adventures on her blog, Twitter and Instagram.

>>Check out other women’s travel backpacks we love on Her Packing List.

Written by Brooke

I run the show at Her Packing List and love packing ultralight. In fact, I once traveled for 3 entire weeks with just the contents of a well-packed 12L handbag. When I'm not obsessing over luggage weight, I'm planning adventures or just snuggling with my pet rabbit, Sherlock Bunz.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Gabby says

    Thank you for this feature!! I’ve had my eyes on the Tortuga since it first came out and the biggest factor (besides price) keeping me away from it was not knowing how it would work on a girl’s frame. Since its a backpack designed by two tallish men and I am a very short woman I didn’t want to be swallowed alive by a backpack. This looks great on Chelsea’s small frame. I would love to see more pics! 🙂

  2. Crista says

    I’ve seen this backpack too, but I’ve heard (don’t remember where) that it may not be ideal for shorter people. I’m 5’3″, but not built like a string bean.

    Does anyone have experience with this issue for the Tortuga Travel Backpack?

    I would love to buy this backpack, but not if it would cause back pain or something because my torso is too short for it or something.

  3. Christa says

    Aw man! I’m 5’3″ and while I’ve heard that this backpack might be a little on the bigger side for me, I probably could have made do with it. It looks awesome, and the hip belts look sweet too. It’s always sold out though. I actually missed the newest shipment by a couple hours! 🙁 I hope I can snag it the next time it gets restocked.

  4. Viv says

    Hi! SO I really, really, reaally want to buy this backpack. I have some questions first, tho.
    1. Is this one or the Air better for a 5.1 woman?
    2. How much does the backpack weight empty?
    3 Just how water reppellent is it?

    • Brooke says

      Hi Viv- I would say that the Air is better for smaller women because you’ll want to carry less weight as well anyway, but it really comes down to your torso length. Read more about that here. This one weighs 3.65 lbs (1.66 kg), but the Air is just 2.4 lbs. As for water repellant, they say brief rain showers aren’t a problem, but you might want to invest in a rain cover for your pack.

  5. Melissa says

    Love my tortuga!! I am 5’3 and it fits great. Even though it is not really a hiking pack, I did the Annapurna circuit (just under 200 miles of hiking) with this bag, and didn’t regret it for a minute.

    • Karen says

      Thanks for this comment! I love the look and specs of this pack but am planning to do a few hiking treks in South America while I am traveling there. Good to know this worked for you, I would be using the same pack everywhere, too.

  6. Julie says

    May I ask your torso length? Mine is just over 16in but I wear a backpack that’s 20in long all the time and it’s fine. Wondering if the 2 in will make it uncomfortable (website says pack is 22in and will fit torsos of 18in or longer). Normally I’d buy and return if it doesn’t fit, but with current sale tortuga says no returns.

    Thanks for the help!

  7. marion huener says

    hi there,

    we-ll be in Miami soon for a stopover and would love to buy it there – (couldn´t get it in Germany through Amazon – they let me order it, but then said, it´s out of stock and not being ordered any more 🙁
    is there a store in Miami where I can get it?
    thank you!

    • Brooke says

      Hi Marion – I believe they just launched their new line of backpacks meaning the V2 is not available anymore. They are also only sold online as far as I know.

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