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The Homebase Collection: A Sneak Peek at the Duffle and Travel Backpack

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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.

Materials

The Homebase collection features a custom lightweight waterproof sailcloth – a different version than we used for the Outbreaker collection. In addition to keeping your stuff dry in a downpour, the Homebase’s fabric is abrasion resistant and 20% more lightweight than the Outbreaker’s fabric.

Waterproof sailcloth is stiff, which gives the bags more rigidity and makes them easier to pack (since they won’t collapse in on themselves). Because the fabric is a laminate, it doesn’t need to be lined. That allows us to cut out superfluous weight (i.e. not include extra lining) and make the bags as light as possible without sacrificing durability. You can hear the magic of sailcloth’s weather resistance and durability in the telltale crinkle.

The Homebase collection also features lockable, weather-resistant YKK zippers for added protection in the rain and Duraflex buckles for maximum durability. Quick-dry foam padding keeps your shoulders comfortable and protects you from chafing.

The Travel Backpack

This backpack can be your one-and-only piece of luggage. For a minimalist, it’s more than enough room for clothes, electronics, and toiletries for an indefinite amount of time on the road. The backpack can be your primary carry on for short trips from a home base. Or perhaps it’s the bag in which you carry the essentials, like your electronics and a few days’ worth of clothes, while packing more in your second bag (the duffle).

Features of the Travel Backpack:

The travel backpack features all of the following:

  • Carry on sized
  • Roomy internal compartment for the most packing space
  • Clamshell opening for easy packing and unpacking
  • Included packing accessory for optional internal organization
  • Lightweight waterproof sailcloth with abrasion resistance
  • Weather resistant zippers to keep the elements out
  • 15″ laptop sleeve and tablet sleeve
  • Front organization pocket
  • Lie-flat water bottle pocket
  • Hideaway shoulder straps and top / side grab handles
  • Removable and adjustable chest strap

The Duffle

Most of the time, you need to carry a little. That’s what the travel backpack is for.

Sometimes, you need to carry more, which is where the duffle enters the equation. This bag is where you store the extra contents of your life: The down jacket that you pulled out of storage for a ski trip, the grooming tools that aren’t strictly necessary but make you feel a little more like you, or the pair of dress shoes for the inevitable (if occasional) formal event.

Features of the Duffle:

The Homebase duffle features the following:

  • Carry on sized
  • Shaped like a suitcase for ample packing space, but without the added weight and nuisance of wheels
  • Clamshell opening for easy packing and unpacking
  • Internal mesh organization pockets
  • Hideaway top straps and removable, padded shoulder strap
  • Top and side grab handles

This bag is roomier than it appears from the outside, and makes me wonder if Patrick (our designer) installed magic inside. He says that he didn’t, but I’m not convinced.

Packing Styles

I want to explain the packing styles that shaped our approach to this collection for those who are curious. Through our interviews with full-time travelers, we identified a few distinct perspectives they have in regards to packing. These are, of course, generalizations. Many nomads are hybrids of the below.

One extreme, a true minimalist packer, travels with a single carry on backpack. Often, the backpack’s contents are their sole possessions. If they own more, it’s stashed somewhere else in the world, perhaps in a storage unit or a family member’s closet. They only travel with more than a backpack’s worth of gear if absolutely necessary. The travel backpack will serve as their only piece of luggage.

The traveler at the other end of the spectrum has read every packing list on the internet. They’ve heard about the minimalist packing style, but don’t believe they can be happy traveling with so little. They feel weighed down by their possessions – literally and perhaps figuratively – and actively trim down their packing list as they go. They will travel with both the duffle and travel backpack, even for a short trip.

Some full time travelers have 1-4 home bases around the world and return to those locations with relative frequency. Their home bases serve as jumping-off-points for shorter trips (for instance, they might be “based” in Bali and take a two-week trip to Singapore). Usually they travel with one carry on, like the aforementioned minimalist, but occasionally they’ll move a larger amount of gear to their next home base. The travel backpack will be their primary carry on and the duffle will serve as a “trunk” for the rest of their gear. They’ll pack the duffle when migrating to a different home base, but won’t carry it on an average trip.

I know I’m completely biased, but this truly is the luggage I wish I had before traveling full-time.

PS: Enjoying the behind-the-scenes look at Tortuga product development? We plan to continue writing about what we’re working on and products that are coming soon(ish) to Tortuga. If you want to stay updated on our collection for digital nomads, sign up here.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

David June 13, 2017 at 6:28 am

Exciting! Can I ask two questions about the duffle? 1) Whats the capacity? 2) Does it have a laptop sleeve? Thanks!!

Reply

Taylor Coil June 13, 2017 at 6:48 am

Hi David! The duffle is 45L — a maximum-sized carry on. It does not have a laptop sleeve, as it’s not designed to be the bag that houses your electronics. The duffle is the place for all of your “extra” possessions rather than the one bag that contains your everyday essentials. That’s what the travel backpack is for. The duffle is for those who want to carry more than one carry on’s worth of stuff.

If you’re traveling with the duffle as a digital nomad, we imagine that you’ll also be carrying the Homebase travel backpack or a small laptop backpack to function as your daily “work” bag.

Reply

David June 13, 2017 at 6:53 am

Thanks Taylor! I’d love to see a smaller shoulder bag at some point – something roughly equivalent to the Red Oxx Mini Boss, for a 2-3 day trip. Much as I love my v2 backpack, I prefer smaller bags to be shoulder carries.

Reply

Tiffany Garden June 13, 2017 at 10:49 am

I keep getting more and more excited with each little preview. I am absolutely dying to see the insides! 😀 We’re gearing up to do some digital nomading next year so this is pretty perfect timing. Although I do super love my current Tortuga backpack so I’m curious to see whether these will entice me to switch to a new one. 🙂

Reply

Taylor Coil June 14, 2017 at 6:43 am

Exciting! Can’t wait to show you the insides, either.

Reply

Cole Crawford June 13, 2017 at 8:36 pm

Will the “lie flat water bottle pockets” on the backpack be any larger or stretchier than the v2? They were a weakness for me, pretty hard to fit basically any bottle in. Also, size of the pack?

Reply

Taylor Coil June 14, 2017 at 6:42 am

Hi Cole – the water bottle pocket is very similar to the ones on the Outbreaker backpack: https://www.tortugabackpacks.com/products/outbreaker-travel-backpack

They differ quite a bit from V2 and are stretchy. I’ve tested the Homebase backpack’s pocket with a few of my own water bottles (Grayl, Camelbak, Blender Bottle) and they all fit.

The Homebase travel backpack is approximately 32L.

Reply

Zach Light June 15, 2017 at 5:15 pm

These may the bags I’ve been waiting for! I travel full time starting next year, but can’t wait to get my hands on these. Will the backpack meet most airlines’ personal item requirements (18x14x8) or have the dimensions not been finalized yet?

Reply

Taylor Coil June 16, 2017 at 7:22 am

Hi Zach! The backpack is a bit too tall to be technically considered a personal item (~2 inches too tall, to be precise), but I’d bet you could get away with carrying it as such on the major airlines. Especially since backpacks can squish 🙂

Reply

Matt June 17, 2017 at 8:27 am

Really interested in that travel pack! I’ve come so close to purchasing the Outbreaker 35L but really want something just a little less boxy/bulky. Wish it was ready now since I’m heading off to Europe in a week. For now I’ll have to use my trusty 28L backpack and wait.

Reply

Linn June 20, 2017 at 9:21 am

Thank you for this. What is the capacity of the backpack?

Reply

Taylor Coil June 20, 2017 at 1:45 pm

Approximately 32L!

Reply

Andy June 22, 2017 at 10:56 am

How crinkly is it? Like a VX-21 or VX-07 or as bad as VX-03? That has been the #1 show stopper for me. VX-21 is acceptable. VX-03 looks and sounds like cheap plastic bag material. Lite Skin should not be as shiny as VX-03, but how noisy is it? Honestly.

I really liked your Daypack(!), but the shine and noise of the external material forced me to send back. It was hard to send it back, but I was honest with myself and knew I would cringe with the constant crinkle crinkle sound all the time. I was looking at the product as something I would use often and not just if I needed to on an occasional trip. I travel a lot for work (plus family vacations).

Thank you.

Regards,

Andy

Reply

Taylor Coil June 22, 2017 at 1:03 pm

Hi Andy – Lite Skin is significantly less crinkly than VX21. I haven’t personally seen the production material yet, which is custom and slightly different than the samples pictured in this post, so I can’t accurately speak to the shine factor. Stay tuned there.

Reply

James Tomlinson June 24, 2017 at 2:50 am

Will the final product be black or the grey/blue seen in the pictures?

Reply

Taylor Coil June 24, 2017 at 6:56 am

It’ll be grey, but the production material is darker than pictured here.

Reply

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