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For starters, if you don’t own a Tortuga Daypack, you are missing out, my friend. The product is, truly, the brainchild of a traveler for travelers.  The black bag doesn’t take up much weight or room. It’s perfect to stash in your suitcase and pull out for roaming a new city instead of dragging along your full pack.

If you don’t have one, I could pretty much hear you say, “I need that,” from here.

Here’s the thing, I don’t travel full-time (yet). So, what am I to do with that handy little dude when bumming around home base? I’ve got a couple of ideas.


gift wrap

So, you have a couple of treats to gift at a graduation party or someone’s send off? How about tossing them in a daypack? The wrapping is environmentally friendly- it saves paper. Not to mention, it’s the receiver can use it, unlike a decorated bag that ends up in the trash. Fill it with a guidebook, a journal, or just a bottle of wine. Just top the whole bag with a bow!

Travel Pillow

The daypack is already in your bag, it’s squishy, and the perfect size for your face.  Get where I’m going here? Fold it into the nifty pouch and it becomes a pillow for resting against the window of an airplane or bus; much more convenient than lugging around a u-shaped travel pillow. Need a little cushion on your lower back on a 12-hour flight? I usually roll up a sweater, but next time I’ll keep my daypack within reach.

Laundry Bag

I’m a bit of a germaphobe and I lose precious vacation sleep when dirty clothes touch my clean clothes, or souvenirs. When heading home I’ll toss all the grungy stuff into the little backpack and then stuff the daypack into my larger bag, a la the Russian nesting doll technique. It keeps all the stinky, dirty or slightly damp things from contaminating anything else. Same goes for shoes. The daypack is easy to wipe clean at home, or throw it right into the washer with your dirty clothes.

Brief Case

This rucksack is light, comfortable and has a laptop sleeve. The same features that make it perfect for using at your destination also translate to day-to-day wear.  As long as you aren’t carrying a heavy load back and forth, the pack will fit a typical work commute. It’s also excellent for taking your lifting shoes and protein shaker to the gym.


cooler bag While the bag isn’t insulated, it’s the ideal size for a twelve pack. Unlike a plastic grocery bag, the dark backpack looks like you’re carrying books instead of drinks if you need to be stealthy. Keep your, er, beverages in the cardboard case to make it more comfortable on your back and keep them cool a little longer. Share them before they get truly warm.


Load up the little backpack with food and have one less bag digging into your single shoulder as you walk up three flights of steps. The small design is easy to leave in the back of your car, or bottom of your desk at work, for easy access.

Car bag

The pack is made to be stored in your backpack until you get where you’re going. How about using on the journey too? If you’re on a road trip, it’s a great size for car necessities: some snacks, a water bottle, a book, wallet and a sweatshirt or jacket. If you have kids in the back of your car on a trip, you know they each need a bag for entertainment. Let them pick out their favorite books and (quietest) toys.

Emergency Kit

When you’re at home for a few months keep your some spare supplies in the bag and let it rattle around in the back of your car. Pack it with your jumper cables, a flare, a flash light, a couple tools and first aid supplies.  It’s handy to have it all in one place, why not in a convenient backpack?

Beach Bag

beach bag

The mesh pocket on the front conveniently fits flip flops.  Toss in sunscreen, a towel, a book and some snacks and take it to the shore. The smaller pocket on top will keep your wallet and phone dry too.

Moving box

Did I say box? Err… bag. I can’t be the only person who fills every bag I own with stuff (mostly clothes) when I move. Bags, especially backpacks, are easier to pick up and handle in small trips as opposed to a back-breaking box.  Stuff the daypack with all your socks or underwear to move to the new digs.

Not only does that collapsable little bag come in handy when you’re working from a coffee shop abroad, it’s practical in everyday life too.  Take a picture of how you use your day pack and share it with us on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.


You need a daypack, because there’s nothing it can’t handle. Use it at home and abroad to make your life a little easier. From laundry, to snoozing, a grocery bag to an emergency kit, the Tortuga Daypack is the ultimate in versatility.  It makes a great gift too!

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We interrupt your regularly scheduled blog posts for this important Tortuga Backpacks announcement.

While Packsmith is part of Tortuga Backpacks, we try to keep product mentions useful and timely. This blog should be useful enough to travelers that it justifies its own existence. Packsmith shouldn’t be ads masquerading as content like some companies’ blogs.

Because you’re a light packer, you’re probably interested in travel gear that lets you carry less stuff. Today, we wanted to share two new products and one that’s back in stock.

If you’re all set for gear or prefer another brand, no problem. Close this post, and we’ll see you back here next week for more packing advice.

If you’re interested in hearing about what we’re building for carry-on-only travelers, keep reading.

Tortuga Daypack in China

Tortuga Daypack

Bring Everything You Need for a Day of Sightseeing

You’ve landed in a new city, dropped your bag off at the hotel, and are ready to explore. You need to carry a few things, like a light jacket and a water bottle, but your luggage is too big to carry around all day. What do you do?

I first ran into this problem while trying to carry my laptop to a cafe while on the road. I needed something smaller than my Tortuga Backpack but didn’t want to carry an extra laptop bag all over the world. The ideal solution was a small, lightweight bag that I could use during the day then pack away when I didn’t need it.

The existing options were disappointing. Most packable daypacks are overpriced glorified drawstring bags. They’re made of a cheap piece of fabric with no pockets, no padding, and no features.

We made the Tortuga Daypack to fit in the middle ground between a lightweight daypack and a small, structured backpack. The Tortuga Daypack is comfortable enough to tote around whatever you need for the day (yes, even a laptop). Yet, it’s light enough to pack away in your luggage when you are in transit. You can hear more about the design process on the podcast.

The Daypack has been available for pre-order since the Spring. If you pre-ordered a Daypack, it’s on its way. You should receive a tracking number with more information in the next few days.

Everyone else can learn more about the Daypack here.

Large Tortuga Packing Cube

Tortuga Packing Cubes

Keep Your Backpack Organized

For most of my travel life, I never used packing cubes. Then other travelers started suggesting them to me. Tortuga Backpacks customers started asking for them. So we dove in to learn more.

I started carrying a single cube in my Tortuga Backpack to hold and separate my dirty socks and underwear.

I began to see the benefit of using packing cubes. They’re great for organizing or separating clothes. Instead of having t-shirts jammed into random gaps in my bag, they were neatly organized in one place.

Being new to packing cubes, I turned the question around on you to ask if and how you use packing cubes. We used the results from that survey to design a set of three packing cubes for the Tortuga Travel Backpack. If you already own a Tortuga, the cubes will help you organize your bag and become a certified packing ninja.

If you’re on the fence about packing cubes, listen to our discussion on why they’re useful and for whom.

If you already love packing cubes, check out the Set of 3 Tortuga Packing Cubes.

Tortuga Air in Venice

Tortuga Air

Bring Everything You Need for a Weekend Getaway

The Tortuga Air isn’t new, but it is back in stock after the first batch sold out a few months ago. The Air is the smaller, lighter sibling of the full-sized Tortuga. We designed it for the trips that you take most often: long weekends, domestic trips of under a week, and business trips. The Air also works well for minimalist packers on longer trips. I’ve used it for several one to two weeks trips.

Travelers love the Tortuga, but the Air is our highest-rated product with a 4.8/5 rating on 60 reviews.

Watch the just-released walkthrough video below then visit the Tortuga Air page on our site for more info.


The Tortuga Daypack, Packing Cubes, and Air are all back in stock.

If you have any questions about the products that aren’t answered on their respective pages or in the FAQ, contact us.

Despite my best intentions, my bag degrades into chaos during a trip.

That’s why when I heard about packing cubes they sounded perfect for me. A way to keep my bag organized and find the shirt I need now. No more wandering underwear and socks. Also, I’m a bag lover and the chance to buy more bags (to put inside my bag) was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.

You don’t have to use packing cubes just for clothes. Packing cubes are designed to help you organize your bag. There are tons of unusual ways to use packing cubes to organize your bag.

On General Trips

1. Organize Cords

Have you ever torn your bag apart hunting for your cell phone charger? Or the power strip you know you packed? Me too. This is where a packing cube helps.

You can designate one cube to hold all your electronics chargers. Then, when you’re looking for your laptop charger, it’s as simple as finding the lumpy packing cube with all your chargers. Problem solved.

2. Traveling First Aid Kit

Make a packing cube into a traveling first aid kit to fix minor on-the-road injuries. Be sure to include items in here that are TSA-friendly, so you won’t have to unpack it to travel through airport security.

Some ideas of what to include:

  • Tweezers
  • Benadryl: minor allergies and to reduce itching/swelling (good for bug bites)
  • Ibuprofen: muscle aches and to reduce muscle swelling
  • Tylenol: headaches, fevers
  • Band-aids
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • TUMS or chewable pepto-bismol tabs for upset stomachs
  • Small roll of duct tape (use it to close larger wounds, keep your shoes together, use on anything really)

3. Separate Clothes by Destination

When you’re traveling to destinations with different climates, you’re going to use sections of your clothes at different times in your trip. One clever way to keep your bag organized and the clothes you need accessible is to split your clothes by climate zone. Then put those clothes into separate packing cubes.

Think about how you dress at home. Usually it’s dependent upon the weather. How much different is that from when you’re traveling? Keep it simple.

When you’re at the beach, you’ll be wearing clothes from the summer packing cube. And in the cool mountains, you’ll be using clothes from your winter packing cube.

4. Snack Cube

Ok, I admit it, this is my packing cube. Before leaving the house, my husband makes sure I have snacks on hand so I don’t get “hangry” (so hungry you’re angry). If you’re traveling with a significant other, friends, or kids who get hangry, designate a small cube to whip out and ease the hungry-monster.

Here are some ideas of what to include:

  • Pistachios or almonds (avoid peanuts due to aggressive air-borne peanut allergies)
  • Cliff bars
  • Luna bars
  • Hard-boiled eggs (don’t let these sit too long, but they’ll last through a 4-hour flight safely)
  • Fresh fruit where available and when not traveling across international borders

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