Articles by Taylor Coil

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Welcome to The Lab, your inside look at Tortuga’s product development. Every two weeks, we’ll give you a behind-the-scenes look at what we’re working on and provide updates on new products. If you want to stay updated, sign up here.

My closet is full of hangers and nothing else. My dresser drawers are empty caverns.

No, I’m not moving house. I’m packing as much as I can into the new Homebase carry on bags so that I can write an accurate “what fits inside?” page as a resource for customers. I do this for each new product we release and it’s a crucial exercise for me to understand and communicate the ins and outs of our luggage.

This time, every item of clothing in my bedroom fits inside the Homebase duffle and backpack. Everything. And I’m not even a “minimalist.” Since it’s summer, my bulky coats and sweaters are in storage and not included, but it’s an impressive moment nonetheless.

I guess I shouldn’t bury the lede any further. We’re launching two bags with the Homebase collection later this summer: a backpack and a duffle.

Note: the images above are of almost-final product samples. A few small details will change. The backpack is on the left and the duffle is on the right.

The Homebase collection seeks to help digital nomads live healthier, happier, more successful lives with travel at the forefront. With that in mind, this collection focuses on the following benefits:

  • Carry on sized
  • Lightweight
  • Weather resistant
  • Electronics-friendly

We plan to release additional luggage accessories sometime in 2018, but for now I’ll tell you about the carry ons. Click to continue…

Welcome to The Lab, your inside look at Tortuga’s product development. Every two weeks, we’ll give you a behind-the-scenes look at what we’re working on and provide updates on new products. If you want to stay updated, sign up here.

We’ve been known to criticize bags that try to be too many things at once, because they end up doing nothing particularly well.

A duffle that converts to a backpack is heavier than it needs to be when you’re carrying it as a duffle, and is hardly comfortable on your back. A hiking backpack adapted for city travel misses key features like electronics pockets and weather resistance. An everyday lifestyle backpack marketed to travelers isn’t easy to pack, ergonomic, or particularly lightweight.

Our strategy is the opposite. We want to make highly focused products that are ideal for a certain kind of traveler and a specific type of trip.

Because, here’s the thing: You can’t make an excellent bag that’s both ultralight and ultra padded for comfort. Padding makes a bag heavier, so you have to pick one. We chose “comfort” and “organization” as top priorities for Outbreaker, because that’s what our audience of leisure travelers values most. Because we prioritized comfort and organization, the Outbreaker travel backpack is heavier than other bags.

We didn’t ignore those who asked us for something lighter and simpler. We’ll address those concerns with a completely different set of bags in our next collection: Homebase. The Homebase collection will specifically cater to the digital nomad. Click to continue…

Welcome to The Lab, your inside look at Tortuga’s product development. Every two weeks, we’ll give you a behind-the-scenes look at what we’re working on and provide updates on new products. If you want to stay updated, sign up here.

“This is my favorite thing you’ve ever made, Pat.”

It’s December. I’m messaging our product designer, Patrick, because I’ve just received product samples for the Outbreaker accessories. Once again, I’m blown away by his brilliance. He chuckles and messages back, expressing gratitude. The gratitude is genuine, but the chuckle happens because I’m constantly telling him that the new thing in front of me is my favorite thing he’s ever made. Favorites, by nature, require a person to be choosy. Not everything can be my favorite. I have to pick one favorite. Yeah, yeah.

Since we’re a remote team and don’t have an office full of samples for me to review, every precious storage section of my tiny NYC apartment is peppered with something Tortuga. The Outbreaker travel backpacks are precariously perched at the top of my coat closet. They fall out every time I reach for my grocery bags. Six different packing cubes are unceremoniously shoved under my dresser. I had to give away my V2 Tortuga backpacks, because I simply ran out of room.

What’s most exciting, though? The basket on my desk is filled with the soon-to-be-released Outbreaker Duffle, Daypack, and Wet/Dry Bag. I suppose I should remove the new packing cubes from under the dresser and put them in the basket so that all of the coming-soon accessories can exist together on my desk as one happy accessory family.

Here’s a preview of the daypack and duffle:

I’ve used the new Outbreaker accessories almost daily for the past several months. They aren’t designed for everyday life – they’re designed for travel – but that doesn’t stop me from carrying the duffle to dance class and the daypack to my favorite coworking space. I love carrying them around NYC, but I didn’t appreciate their full potential until I traveled with the accessories.

The Outbreaker Collection is Growing

Very soon, we’ll add the following to the Outbreaker collection:

  • A daypack that can hold a 15″ computer and all the stuff you need for a day of adventure
  • A personal-item-sized duffle
  • Updated and upgraded packing cubes that fit perfectly in the Outbreaker travel backpack
  • A wet/dry bag to separate damp or soiled clothes from the rest of your stuff and keep clean clothes clean

To prepare for our launch, and in order to write our product pages, I’ve been traveling with the accessories since December. I’m hooked. My new ideal packing setup is as follows, for trips up to a week:

  • Outbreaker Duffle, for clothes
  • Outbreaker Daypack, for computer and in-flight essentials
  • Outbreaker Packing Cubes, to give the duffle a bit of organization

I’ll bring the travel backpack for a longer trip, like the one I’m taking to Europe this summer, since I’ll want a bit more room.

This is progress. I’m the girl who packed a V2 Tortuga backpack and a large checked bag for an 8-month RTW trip in 2016. I was new to long-term travel, okay? I know better now. Carrying only a small duffle and daypack makes me feel like part of a special club of people who have Global Entry (I do!) and are always somehow in Zone 2 on flights regardless of seat choice (how??) and never, ever pack too much stuff. Click to continue…

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