In over 25 countries and over more than a year of travel, we've thrown our Osprey Farpoint 55 and our Tortuga Travel Backpack into taxis, shoved them in overhead compartments and laid them down on dusty side roads. We've sat with them on bullet trains and hiked over 14,000 feet in the Peruvian Andes. Tortuga has now released its newest iteration of their travel backpack: the Outbreaker. So how does it stack up to the Osprey Farpoint 55?
The Osprey Farpoint 55 (as the name suggests) has a capacity of 55L compared to the Tortuga Outbreaker’s 45L. But there’s a catch, because when the Farpoint calculates its total capacity it’s including the space in the detachable daypack.
When you consider the capacity of bag you need you will have to ask yourself: “How often am I going to have the Farpoint daypack attached to the main pack?”
In our year of travel to over 25 countries the answer was: “Almost never.”
This was the case for two reasons: the first characteristic of the kind of travel we primarily did, the second having to do with how weight distribution and accessibility function in packing the Osprey Farpoint 55.
We are primarily urban travelers, not wilderness backpackers. We seldom carry our bags for more than and hour or two of walking. Usually its shorter periods before dropping our bags in a room or storing/checking them. When this happens, there usually remains a core set of valuables and essentials that we want to keep with us. When boarding a flight, if I do have to check a bag, I still want to keep my primary electronics and their chargers as well as my passport and other non-replaceables with me. That way if my bag gets lost en route or stolen from under the bus, I at least haven’t lost the essentials I need to replace everything I just lost (not to mention actually get back home). So basically every travel day we are already planning to separate out these items in a separate bag. So why even attach the daypack in the first place?
The second reason we almost never attach the Osprey Farpoint 55's daypack is the way it attaches to the main bag. It zips and is then clipped onto the far side of the bag from your back. This means that putting anything really heavy in the pack creates a kind of leverage on your shoulders and lower back that gets uncomfortable over time. You want heavy stuff closer to your back in the center of the main bag so the weight is pulled down onto the support belt and your hips. Unfortunately, the main things you want accessible on a travel day – laptops, books, food and water – are all pretty heavy. If you’re attaching the Osprey Farpoint 55’s daypack you have one of two crappy choices: heavy stuff in the attached daypack making the pack uncomfortable or heavy stuff in the main pack making it inaccessible.
If you are never going to attach the daypack, then it seems unfair to compare the Osprey Farpoint’s 55L capacity to the Tortuga Outbreaker’s 45L capacity because not all 55L of the Farpoint’s capacity is actually available in the main pack. I used the Tortuga and always travelled with a separate daypack which meant that my total carrying capacity was closer to 60L (45L in the Outbreaker and 15L in my daypack). So for me, the Farpoint 55 advertises 55L but in daily use was actually able to carry less than the Tortuga Outbreaker.
CAPACITY WINNER: Tortuga Outbreaker
The Tortuga Outbreaker’s appearance is pretty divisive. It’s high tech sheen and extremely boxy shape look like a special forces rolling carry on with back pack straps glued to it. The reasoning is simple: to maximize the packable space that those boxy carry-ons are permitted by airline baggage policies.
And as Henry Ford stated regarding the Model-T: “You can have it any color you want, as long as that color is black.”
The Osprey Farpoint 55 has a shape much more reminiscent of a traditional hiking bag, though with the daypack attached it does take on a slightly pregnant shape. The Farpoint has several color options: blue, red or black.
In the end, it’s really going to come down to personal preference. It’s worth noting that over several years of travel I have seen more Osprey Farpoint 55’s than any other type of bag. The Tortuga Outbreaker will definitely make you stand out if that’s your thing.
APPEARANCE WINNER: TIE
Both the Tortuga Outbreaker and the Osprey Farpoint 55 have fully adjustable waist belts’ curved and padded shoulder straps and clippable chest straps. We’ve worn both carrying 10-15kgs (22-34 pounds) for extended periods on everything from the uneven steps of the Inca Trail to the clean smooth streets of Tokyo.
The padding on the Tortuga Outbreaker is a bit stiffer and thicker and its cut out on the back is more aggressive offering superior airflow. It also offers more adjustment on its waist belt with velcro that can extend the straps further out from the bag or remove them all together.
The Osprey Farpoint 55’s padding feels less full, but I think the level of foam in strap and back padding is a matter of personal preference. An overly padded backpack can be just as irritating as an under padded one. The additional foam on the Tortuga Outbreaker also adds to its weight and bulk. Both bags are comfortable to wear fully loaded.
The Osprey Farpoint 55 does offer a minimal and thin wire metal frame that keeps the bag stiffer through the back. This has several advantages: it keeps the bag off your back when being worn, improving airflow and – most importantly – it ensures that the weight of the bag is shifted down onto the hips and the waist belt. This means that for long term wear at heavy weights, the Osprey Farpoint 55 does a better job keeping the weight comfortable.
In place of a metal frame, the Tortuga Outbreaker seems to have a stiff plastic sheet between the back foam and the laptop sleeve. The rigidity of the bag is assisted by the stiffness of the fabric and the internal compartments. With a laptop and a couple of full packing cubes, the Tortuga Outbreaker gets close to the rigidity that the Osprey Farpoint 55, but it simply doesn’t transfer weight to the hip belt as well as the metal frame.
However, as I noted in my discussion of the daypack above, if you are going to load and attach the daypack, you will be moving the center of weight for the Farpoint away from your back which is going to pull the weight off the hip belt and onto your shoulders anyway.
Making a long story short, I think both bags have mild comfort issues in comparison to a full size, tower shaped, trail backpack, but that doesn’t mean either one is difficult or uncomfortable to carry for extended periods of time.
COMFORT WINNER: TIE
The Tortuga Outbreaker offers a solid looking velcro system that allows you to adjust the distance between the waist belt and shoulder pads.
Moving the strap system up and down can vary the distance of the bag’s torso length. It also has a pretty extensive amount of adjustable strapping on the waist belt, including the ability to remove it completely.
The Osprey Farpoint 55 straps are all permanently stitched in place and offer the standard adjustments you would find on any decent trail backpack.
The Farpoint does come in two sizes however. S/M for torsos 15’’/38cm to 19’’/48cm and M/L for 18’’/46cm to 20’’/51cm (there is overlap on their size chart). If you don’t know your back size check out Osprey’s helpful guide at https://www.ospreypacks.com/us/en/fitting-learning/size-fit
It would seem that with option to truly customize the torso length on the bag and a removable waist belt the Tortuga Outbreaker is a clear winner in this category but I encountered a problem when trying to fit the Outbreaker to my back.
When wearing a backpack (especially a heavy one) I have a few key aspects of fit that determine my comfort. Going from the bottom up, I like a snug waist belt that doesn’t pinch at the buckle. The waist belt is the primary way I support the weight of the bag. So the bag has to be long enough that the space between the shoulder straps and the waist belt allow the shoulder straps to be loose enough to be comfortable but taut enough to keep the top of the bag close to the top of my back so the weight stays centered on the belt. If the distance is too short, then the shoulder straps have to be extended which also increases the distance the bag can travel from my upper back while I’m moving.
The Tortuga Outbreaker is extremely customizable but in fact cannot expand large enough to fit my back. I'm not a huge guy at 6’1’’ but even at the highest setting unless I lengthen the shoulder straps, the waist belt floats above my hips.
The Osprey Farpoint 55 is not adjustable but the large is at least large enough to solidly sit on my waist belt without having overly loose shoulder straps. The Tortuga Outbreaker cannot accommodate my height/back length. That said, the majority of people purchasing these bags will not be over 6' tall like I am. Given the better customization available on the Tortuga Outbreaker, but its failure to fit me, I will have to call a draw on this one too.
FIT WINNER: Tie
PACKABILITY AND ACCESSIBILITY
The Osprey Farpoint 55’s main pack has minimal extras for organization and accessibility.
It’s essentially a single large pocket though there are a pair of mesh pockets on the interior of the main flap and a few retension straps inside the compartment (a feature missing from the Tortuga Outbreaker). Really if you want to talk about what organization the Osprey Farpoint 55 offers you have to talk about the daypack whose design – unfortunately – I do not like.
The primary thing you will find if you examine the Osprey Farpoint 55’s daypack is the number of design features subjugated to the need to attach it to the main pack. Attachment comes from a zipper along the rear of the daypack and the front of the main pack. That zipping in is reinforced by a pair of clickable straps that pass through slots on the front of the daypack.
This means basically nothing organizational can fall below the top 1/3 of the daypack on the exterior because it would interrupt the straps. The design this informs – a single small pouch pocket at the top front of the daypack – creates various problems for accessibility while failing to provide any real organization.
The small pocket doesn’t have much capacity and is worryingly accessible to pick pockets given it location and inability to lock the zipper. It hangs across the main interior pocket which means that when retrieving anything larger than a cell phone, you have to push it aside to see or access the main pocket on the daypack. This is a problem most often when you are waking around and want to retrieve something – sunglasses, a guide book, a water bottle – without putting the bag down.
The main pocket of the daypack does have a dedicated clippable laptop sleeve and a few zippered mesh pockets that are useful. There are also two exterior mesh pockets that are presumably for waterbottles or sun glasses. Unfortunately they are made from a non-stretchable mesh which means they can only incredibly narrow items and most often ended up being stuffed with trash because they are to small for anything else. (This is a bizarre parallel to the Tortuga Outbreaker’s mesh pockets which are similarly difficult to use. Presumably these manufacturers know the size of an average water bottle, why they keep designing spaces so much smaller makes no sense to me.)
There is another reason that we seldomly attached the Osprey Farpoint 55’s daypack to the main pack which is that the support straps and attachment mechanisms also make it really difficult to access anything in the daypack once its attached. To pull out your laptop or a water bottle at the bottom of the daypack while it is attached to the main pack requires loosening the support straps and generally going halfway to disconnecting the thing from the main pack entirely.
The Osprey Farpoint 55 does possess exterior straps on its base that could be used for a camping mattress or other rolled object. Straps like these are not present on the Tortuga Outbreaker.
The Farpoint also contains a velcroed bottom pocket the contains a flap you can zip over the backpack straps and a side mounted handle. Using both turns the bag into an almost duffle shape that we used frequently when checking the bag or shoving it under a bus.
So what about the Tortuga Outbreaker?
Comparing these sparse and not particularly easy to use organizational features with the Tortuga Outbreaker’s organizational scheme is truly night and day. In fact the entire Outbreaker’s design seems built around the use experience of packing and accessing the bag. It’s design and convenience are exceptional. It’s the best bag for organization I’ve ever used.
The Tortuga Outbreaker's front exterior has two flat shallow pockets good for maps or books then a half-zip pocket that folds down to provide complete visibility. In there you will find a dedicated cell phone pocket, a fleece lined pocket for Kindle or tablet, pen holders, another zippered flat pocket for documents and a couple of smaller pockets seemingly well sized for business cards or somesuch. There is also a clip for keys.
There is also a zippered mesh pocket on the interior of the fold down flap. It’s orientation is bad when the flap is hanging open, but great for top accessibility when you don’t want to open the entire pocket.
My only complaint with the Tortuga Outbreaker is the cell phone pocket (the black pocket) has elastic on it but is still almost two small for my Nexus 5X. I’m guessing people with a iPhone plus or a Pixel XL will not be able to use this pocket for their phone. There’s a larger pocket behind it that could be used instead.
Other exterior storage includes the zippered pockets on the waist belt which are incredibly useful for travel day stuff like passports or tickets. It keeps things right at hand but also easily visible and almost impossible to pickpocket.
There are compression straps that run diagonally along the body of the bag. These allow you to synch the bag flatter if its not totally full while also making the side mesh pockets more useful by letting you secure long and slender items to the bag while supporting them from the bottom by putting things in the pocket. We used this consistently for our Go Pro stick. The mesh pockets themselves – while not as useless as the ones on the Osprey Farpoint 55’s daypack – are still frustratingly designed. They are made from high-quality stretchable mesh but are still so tightly sewn across the bag that only the narrowest bullet thermos or water bottle will fit when the bag is full.
In addition, because the mesh pockets are so tall and tight accessing them while wearing the bag is impossible and shorter items like sunblock bottles and glasses cases (when you can fit them) have to be dug out when its time to retrieve them. Overall, it looks to me like they knew they needed some exterior storage but didn’t want to sacrifice the clean boxy lines of the bag and chose appearance over design.
The Tortuga Outbreaker’s main compartment opens in along the right hand side in a manner similar to most rolling suitcases.
It has two large meshed pockets on the interior flap and 4 quick access pockets sewn to the side of the main compartments. These are great for frequently needed items and limit you needing to pull out your packing cubes if all you want is a hat or a pair of socks.
The compartment holds two full size packing cubes even with the quick access pockets filled. I was surprised to find there were no retension straps across the main space but their absence isn’t a big deal as long as you are using packing cubes – which you absolutely should be. (You can see what we are using to organize the interior of our bags here).
The final compartment of the Tortuga Outbreaker is really its most innovative and useful one. It's a combination laptop and tech space that opens vertically to a completely flat orientation.
This means that in a security line you no longer have to remove your laptop, tablet or any battery packs. You just unzip around the bag, lay it flat on the belt and pass the whole thing through. The laptop and tablet sleeves are again fleece lined and large enough to fit a 15’’ laptop and 9’’ tablet. On the opposite side are three mesh zippered pockets good for chargers, external hard drives and any other peripherals you use on a regular basis.
Of course all this organization and separated pockets is only useful if you can actually fill them and still close the bag. While you can’t stuff every pocket to bursting and expect all three main pockets to close, they easily held my standard packout including all my chargers, peripherals, clothes, docs and camera stuff without me having to sit on it to get the zipper closed.
Overall, the organization and quick accessibility of the Tortuga Outbreaker puts it in a class of its own. My complaints are minor and few. First (and one that applies to the Osprey Farpoint 55 as well) is the lack of any quick access space for bulkier items like a Bluetooth speaker (one of our 5 Essential Gear items) or a decently sized waterbottle like the 1L Vapour I carry on a daily basis.
You also will need three luggage locks if you want to secure all the main pockets and that can add a decent amount of weight to the bag. Secondly, I wish the Tortuga Outbreaker had a way to cover or restrain the straps like the Osprey Farpoint 55s hidden zip-up flap. The Tortuga Outbreaker is designed to be a bag you never need to check, but inevitably, you do. The standard carry on for Delta or United is larger than on discount airlines like Ryan Air or Air Asia and on long travel days, you don’t necessarily want to be carrying your main pack the entire time. The stiffness of the exposed straps makes them stick out and complicates storing or checking the bag. These are minor problems that minimally detract from the incredible packing and usage experience the Tortuga Outbreaker offers.
Overall, the Tortuga Outbreaker truly earns its reputation as a better designed bag and puts the Osprey Farpoint 55’s organizational scheme to shame.
PACKABILITY AND ACCESSIBILITY WINNER: Tortuga Outbreaker
Materials wise both bags are solidly constructed and stitched. The Tortuga Outbreaker’s exterior is made of a stiff waterproof sail-cloth material that gives it a premium look and feel and eliminates the need to purchase a separate rain fly.
Over several months of heavy use now, we have had no issues with either bag. Not with straps, zippers or clips. Both have been bullet-proof despite rough treatment inside and out. However, I do have judgments about how the design of each bag may be affecting their long term durability.
The Osprey Farpoint 55 is built like any well-made trail backpack. It’s got solid double stitiching, thick YKK zippers and reinforced seams and joints. I have no doubt this bag will be around long after we stop wanting to use it.
The Tortuga Outbreaker I am less sure about. The price of the incredible innovation in the bag’s organization is a series of construction and material choices that provide me with some worry for the bag’s long term durability.
One of my first concerns is the zippers, their construction and their number. Having made the Outbreaker and it’s zippers waterproof was a great idea but putting it next to the beefier zippers on Osprey Farpoint 55, I can’t say I’m confident they will last as long.
Zippers on bags like this need to be able to take pressure and constant abuse. It looks to me like the primary thing the Tortuga zippers are designed for is being waterproof. This is doubly concerning because of how many zippers they are and how essential they are to the bag being at all useful. This problem is particularly pointed when looking at the laptop compartment and also constitutes my primary - and serious -concern about the Tortuga Outbreaker’s construction and durability.
In order for the bag to be able to open vertically and lie flat no straps have been run from the front of the bag all the way to the back. What this means is that the bags entire weight is attached to the straps and back of the bag by a single zipper that runs almost all the way around the bag.
If this zipper were to fail or get off track the Tortuga Outbreaker would literally become a giant open mouth with its tongue hanging out and would immediately cease to be in any way useful. Like, time to throw it away useless.
Adding to this concern is the manner in which the straps themselves are attached to the top of the bag. Compare the straps on the Osprey Farpoint 55 to those on the Tortuga Outbreaker. The adjustable buckle on the Farpoint has almost a full inch of double stitched webbing attached directly to the main body of the bag.
The Tortuga Outbreaker – on the other hand – has a this single seam sewn just behind the laptop compartment’s zipper. When the bag is under load you can clearly see the five stitches that are keeping the straps attached.
Worse than that, under load you can also see that the attachment method is putting serious weight and stress on the zipper – which to remind you: is the ONLY thing keeping the entire bag together.
This feature is even more frustrating because its also so simple to fix. Add a pair of clips from the rear of the bag to the main body that bridges the laptop zipper. You would not only reduce zipper stress and extend the life of the bag, you would make it possible for the bag to remain useful in the event of a zipper problem.
I can understand the Tortuga team wanting nothing to get in the way of the bag’s seamless ease of use but this fundamental weakness of the design seems seriously worrying.
I mostly assume that it’s not an issue of “If” this will become an issue, but “When.”
Complexity and durability are usually opposite sides of the design spectrum. The Tortuga Outbreaker and Osprey Farpoint 55 are no exception. The Tortuga Outbreaker offers truly thoughtful and detailed organization that may have led to a fundamental design flaw. Even though we have thus far had no problem with either bag, I have to say the Osprey Farpoint 55 seems a far safer bet for long term durability.
DURABILITY WINNER: Osprey Farpoint 55
It’s worth asking if your bag is the place you want to nickel and dime when planning a long term trip. Your pack may be the most consistent aspect of your daily existence on the road and its small frustrations or conveniences will amplify in impact over hours and hours of repeated use.
That said, especially if you don’t already own a daypack, the Tortuga Outbreaker will cost significantly more.
Depending on size and color you can get the Osprey Farpoint 55 for as low as $150 while the Tortuga Outbreaker is significantly pricier at $250 and it does not include a daypack which can easily add another $40- $100.
PRICE WINNER: Osprey Farpoint 55
CAPACITY WINNER: Tortuga Outbreaker
APPEARANCE WINNER: Tie
COMFORT WINNER: Tie
FIT WINNER: Tie
PACKABILITY AND ACCESSIBILITY WINNER: Tortuga Outbreaker
DURABILITY WINNER: Osprey Farpoint 55
PRICE WINNER: Osprey Farpoint 55
The Tortuga Outbreaker is advertised as the bag for a modern urban traveler. For those who need to carry a laptop and plan to stay mostly on the beaten path, I think it's the superior bag. That said, it does have some fit issues for taller humans (over 6') and a potentially serious design problem that could effectively make the bag unusable. It also is significantly more expensive. Still, it’s the bag I prefer to use, even with its durability worries.
Overall, if you need to travel with a lot of tech, plan to do it by flying and will primarily be traveling in urban areas, I think the Tortuga Outbreaker is the best choice. The zipper issue is a serious one though that you should consider carefully before purchasing.
The Osprey Farpoint 55 is significantly less convenient to pack and use and its main selling point – an attachable daypack – is actually something that makes the bag less useful in numerous situations. That said, it does include a daypack and it does it for seriously less than the Tortuga Outbreaker which doesn’t include anything of the kind. The bag is comfortable, durable and for the essential things you really need a bag to do, it won’t let you down. It will also probably last longer (and be more easily repairable) than the Tortuga Outbreaker.
If you have a limited budget, won’t have a laptop with you or plan to do a lot of seriously off the beaten track stuff, I think the Osprey Farpoint 55 is probably a better choice given its better support, durability and price.
HAVE YOU HAD A CHANCE TO TRY EITHER OF THESE PACKS? WHAT DO YOU THINK?