Articles by Fred Perrotta

Fred Perrotta is the Co-Founder of Tortuga Backpacks. He's an avid traveler and has visited, lived in, and worked in over a dozen countries. When not on the road, he can be found exploring the restaurants and concert venues of San Francisco.

You can follow Fred on Twitter or Google+.


When I got the email, I took a deep breath then opened the attachment. I braced myself to read the Outbreaker’s bill of materials, the document listing each component of the bag and, most importantly, the final price that we would pay our supplier to make it. I quickly scrolled to the bottom to get to the number.

Pop quiz, Hotshot:
How much more do you think the upgraded Outbreaker costs to make than the Tortuga V2? Take a guess before you scroll down.
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The Outbreaker Backpack costs 113% more to manufacture than the Tortuga did. Our costs have more than doubled. The Outbreaker Daypack also costs twice as much to make. The Outbreaker Packing Cubes cost 50% more to make.

Yet, we haven’t been forced to increase the prices that you pay by the same multiples. The Outbreaker’s price only increased 25% over the Tortuga Travel Backpack.

How is that possible?

Because we’re a v-commerce company.

In today’s post, I’ll discuss what that is and what it means for you, the discerning customer.

E-Commerce to V-Commerce

If you’re reading this, you probably do a lot of shopping online. Maybe you’re an Amazon Prime member. Maybe you have a favorite brand that you can only get online. Maybe you just hate malls.

Online shopping seems ubiquitous, but only 8.4% of retail sales were made online in Q3 2016.

Amazon may seem like a shopping behemoth, but we’ll still look back on today as the early days of e-commerce. While e-commerce is in its infancy, the market has grown enough for it to evolve and to specialize. Hence, the recent growth of _v_-commerce brands in the last five to ten years.

That one letter change makes a big difference. The jargon is new, but you likely already know a few v-commerce companies other than Tortuga. Have you heard of Bonobos, Warby Parker, Everlane, or Casper? They’re all v-commerce companies too.

V-commerce companies make and sell their own products. The store is the brand. Think The Gap, not Macy’s, but online.


That all sounds great but what’s in it for you? Click to continue…

Note: our store will be shoppable on Friday, November 25th, but our team members will be taking the day off. If you have questions or need help with your order, we’ll get back to you on Monday, November 28th.

Black Friday is a few days away. Cyber Monday is three days later. We will not be having a sale on either day. Not this year. Not next year.

Shopping online can save you from getting trampled at Wal-Mart, but you’re still part of the orgy of consumerism that is Black Friday.

Despite the flood of emails that you’ll get on Friday, 99% of the “deals” are bullshit.

So, no, we won’t be creating the illusion of savings to trick you into buying on a specific day of the year.

According to the National Retail Federation, “the holiday season can represent as much as 30 percent of annual sales” for some companies. Why? Because those brands have trained people to only buy when they have sales, and Black Friday is their biggest sale.

At Tortuga, we would rather build a sustainable business that makes money year round so that we can keep building great luggage for you.
Click to continue…

This article concludes our three-part series on packing carry on only. We recommend starting with the first two articles in the series to learn the rules for carry on luggage and the principles for packing carry-on-only.

As I stood next to the luggage carousel waiting for my bag, I realized the absurdity of the situation.

I was in Frankfurt, the first stop of a two-week backpacking trip through Europe. Traveling light. Traveling fast. Staying flexible. We hadn’t booked any train tickets or hostels past Germany’s financial capital.

Why was I waiting (with fingers crossed) for my backpack?

I shouldn’t be at the mercy of the airline. I should control my own destiny.

This was my “see the light” moment.

Checking luggage made no sense. Now, years later, baggage fees have become common, and checking luggage makes even less sense.

If you’re reading this article, you’ve seen the light too.

Whether you’ve always packed light or are a recent convert to the carry on club, you’re in the right place.

The most important decision you’ll make is the bag you carry. The Outbreaker travel backpacks are the best backpacks for urban travel. The 45 liter Outbreaker maximizes the allowable carry on space of most major airlines. The 35 liter is a better choice for smaller framed people or those who travel ultra-light. The packing cubes will keep your bag perfectly organized, the 45 L Outbreaker holds two full sets! Throw in a packable duffle as overflow space, and a daypack for carrying your computer and daily necessities once you hit the ground.

In the first two articles in this series, we discussed the rules for carry on packing and the principles to help you maximize your packing space. In this article, you will find a complete carry on packing list with links to some of our favorite products to get you started.

Click to continue…

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