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Tortuga Daypack Pro Review

The Tortuga Daypack Pro is surprisingly packable for such a large and roomy everyday backpack, though its soft structure also causes it to cave in at the top.

Our Verdict

7.7 /10
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  • The Tortuga Daypack Pro is surprisingly packable for such a large and roomy everyday backpack, though its soft structure also causes it to cave in at the top.
  • The roomy main compartment can hold a lot of daily gear
  • We like the padding and sizable false bottom of the laptop compartment


  • Flexible material doesn’t hold its shape when the bag isn’t completely full
  • Zippers are often hard to undo with one hand
  • Smaller water bottles aren’t secure in the mesh pockets unless the bag is stuffed

Technical Details

90 %

Carry-on Compliance

View 131/145 Airlines

73 %

Like the Look

Polled on Instagram

  • Capacity


  • Weight (lb)

    1 lb (0.5 kg)

  • Dimensions

    17.3 in x 11.6 in x 6.5 in (43.9 x 29.5 x 16.5 cm)

  • Notable Materials

    Sailcloth, Ripstop, YKK Zippers, Woojin Hardware

  • Manufacturing Country


  • Warranty Information

    Tortuga Common Decency Guarantee

Full Review

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The Tortuga Daypack Pro has an interesting conundrum regarding its SHELL70RS fabric. On the one hand, it’s a light and thin fabric that saves on weight, making this relatively sizable 21-liter backpack quite packable if you want to stuff it inside your bigger luggage. On the other hand, it gives the Daypack Pro an overall soft structure that can make opening its zippers tricky.

Tortuga Daypack Pro Back
Tortuga Daypack Pro | Our review centers around this bag’s fabric.

The solution? Pack it full to prevent any areas from caving in. In other words, this daypack is ideal for those who need to carry a lot of gear on a daily basis—read on if that sounds like you.

External Components

The main material on the Tortuga Daypack Pro is SHELL70RS fabric, which aligns with the brand’s ethos of going lightweight with their gear. Both Tortuga Travel Backpacks were designed with weight reduction in mind, so we’re not surprised they’re sticking with it for their daypack options. Touch the fabric and push it around, and you’ll get a sense of how soft and unstructured it is despite the pack’s black and monolithic look. It is a bit wrinkly, but not enough to make it seem unkempt; it’s still a sleek-looking daypack.

Tortuga Daypack Pro Logo
Tortuga Daypack Pro | Soft as it may be, it’s still durable enough if you’re only using it within city limits.

The outer fabric has a familiar X-Pac-like design, minus the cross-ply pattern that gives that fabric its unique look. However, upon closer inspection, you’ll notice a grid-like pattern. That’s because the outer layer of the SHELL70RS is a 70-denier recycled polyester ripstop. For those unfamiliar with ripstop fabric, it’s usually very thin, with a grid texture that serves as its reinforcement. So, instead of a uniformly thick fabric, only that grid is thick for an overall lighter weight.

However, the Daypack Pro’s SHELL70RS isn’t durable enough to be our first pick for an outdoor adventure. It’s not competing at the same level as ballistic nylon fabrics with heavy deniers. However, the fabric is holding up well in day-to-day usage, with no scuffs or markups to show for it after two weeks of testing. It’s also worth noting that the zippers are from YKK, and the hardware (adjusters, buckles, etc.) is from Woojin. Both are reputable brands, and using the Daypack Pro proves as much. Adjusting the buckles and zipping is relatively smooth, with no leftover plastic bits sticking out like you’d find on cheaper alternatives.

Tortuga Daypack Pro Full
Tortuga Daypack Pro | Fortunately, we don’t mind the sagginess on a black colorway like this.

Interestingly, the SHELL70RS is the same material Tortuga uses for their Compression Cube. What does this mean for the Daypack Pro? Though it’s not strictly a packable backpack like the Matador ReFraction Packable Backpack or even Tortuga’s own Packable Backpack, the Daypack Pro is very easy to flatten and roll. In fact, if you’re traveling with a sizable carry on luggage, you can compress this enough to fit inside comfortably.

Since the Daypack Pro is more for everyday use, the harness system isn’t as comprehensive as those found in the Tortuga Travel Backpacks, but it has the basics we’re looking for. There’s a pair of shoulder straps, a sternum strap, a well-padded back panel, and a top grab handle. If anything is missing, it’s a luggage pass-through; you’ll have to make do with the shoulder straps if you’re looking for that functionality.

Tortuga Daypack Pro Harness
Tortuga Daypack Pro | The harness system is very breathable, thanks to all the mesh and holes.

The padding on this harness system is noteworthy. Underneath the mesh, it is also aerated with holes to further aid in breathability. That said, we suspect Tortuga also went with this design as a weight-saving measure. Regardless, though you technically get less padding with all these holes, it’s still quite cushy-feeling and breathable.

Fit Notes

GORUCK M23 21L Side By Side
Left: Eric Hergenreder, Height: 6’0″ (183 cm), Torso: 18.5” (47 cm) | Right: Lauren Maternowski, Height: 5’6” (168 cm), Torso: 16.5” (42 cm)

You may have already thought of the biggest downside of the Daypack Pro’s SHELL70RS material: its lack of structure. Indeed, unless you have it packed full, it’s likely to cave in at the front, showing how much empty space there is inside. This usually translates to a saggy carrying feeling, especially with the Daypack Pro’s big and boxy shape. Surprisingly, however, none of that bagginess translates into sagginess.

Tortuga Daypack Pro Strap
Tortuga Daypack Pro | None of the bagginess is translating into a saggy carrying feel.

Firstly, the sternum strap pulls any extra weight slacking to the rear. Meanwhile, the aerated padding, though handicapped by all those holes, still has enough cushion to dampen the weight even when we have it fully packed. The back panel also does a good job of disguising the saggy feeling of the otherwise soft-structured Daypack Pro.

Inside The Backpack

What daypack would be complete without external water bottle pockets? Okay, plenty of them don’t have one, but we really like it when they do, just like the Daypack Pro. Tortuga keeps things simple by having stretchy mesh pockets off to the sides where you can put your travel water bottle of choice. We use insulated bottles in the 18-24 oz range, but these pockets are large enough for a 30 oz Nalgene.

Tortuga Daypack Pro Water Bottle
Tortuga Daypack Pro | We like how large they are—big enough for large Nalgene bottles.

How well your bottle stays inside—if the bag tips over—largely depends on how big it is or how fully packed the main compartment is. If it’s not packed full, there’s not enough outward pressure to squeeze the bottle in place. The mesh’s reinforced elastic does its best, but it’s simply not that grippy, especially if your bottle’s still full and heavy.

Apart from those water bottle pockets, the top pocket is the only secondary pocket for storing everyday carry items. It’s quite roomy inside, so you shouldn’t have much trouble tossing everything you need. We certainly didn’t find it tricky, as we chucked in a full sunglasses case, a wallet, a smartphone, a pair of wireless earphones, and a set of house keys. The lattermost can be attached to the built-in key leash. It’s a bit short, but with the Daypack Pro’s large size, we can make it reach doorknobs—just.

Tortuga Daypack Pro Pocket
Tortuga Daypack Pro | It’s a good thing this pocket’s roomy because it’s your only option for your accessories.

However, accessibility can be tricky because of the Daypack Pro’s relatively soft structure. As we mentioned, if you don’t have it fully packed, part of the top caves in. As you can imagine, that warps the Aqua-Guard-style zipper tracks, which are already resistive. Now, you have to do a bit of maneuvering, which requires both hands. This doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it can start to feel like it when it happens daily.

The main compartment opens in a horseshoe-shaped fashion that’s big enough for when you want to pack large items. The biggest gear we typically carry are packing cubes and large toiletry bags, which fit in the opening just fine. There’s no separate laptop compartment that would otherwise make the main compartment’s opening smaller. Instead, there’s a laptop sleeve within the main compartment itself. You would think that this makes direct access to your laptop tricky—and it kind of does—the sleeve is not that far back.

Tortuga Daypack Pro Laptop
Tortuga Daypack Pro | The holes are quite thematic in this backpack.

The laptop sleeve features a similar porous design as the shoulder straps and back panel. More importantly, it’s also a soft and cushioned material that feels very protective for a laptop. It’s big enough for a 16-inch MacBook Pro, but even the 13-inch MacBook we use feels quite secure in this sleeve. A sizable false bottom underneath dampens shocks from below whenever you set the bag down on hard surfaces.

Tortuga Daypack Pro Packing Cubes
Tortuga Daypack Pro | The bag’s soft structure may emphasize how roomy its main compartment is.

The main compartment itself doesn’t feature any extra organization apart from the laptop sleeve, but it does make up for it in sheer roominess. Packing cubes and other large gear can sit side by side comfortably, and it takes some filling before you need to start stacking items on top of each other. On the other hand, leaving the top area empty leads to that caving-in issue we pointed out before. Overall, this makes the Daypack Pro best for travelers who need to carry a lot daily, and those who will fully pack it, minimizing issues caused by its soft structure.

Usage Timeline

Initial Usage

Condition: Excellent

  • Structured material but still pretty thin; interested to see how it manages heavy loads
  • Harness system seems pretty comfortable for a bag of this size
  • Minimal organization, though the top pocket is sizeable for small gear
2 Weeks of Use

Condition: Excellent

  • Extremely comfortable to wear even when it’s heavy
  • Looks a bit too saggy for our taste when the bag isn’t completely full
  • Lack of organization isn’t a huge deal, but we did miss having one or two smaller pockets to separate tiny gear
By Lauren Maternowski
Created June 25, 2024 • Updated June 26, 2024
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