Our Next Project: Luggage for Digital Nomads

The Lab,  
Taylor Coil

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.

Trying on a product sample for the Homebase backpack during our team retreat

Not One Home, Instead Several Home Bases

Digital nomads define a leading edge of the “On Your Terms” movement. Technology enables a new era of mobility where people may live and work when, where, and how they choose. Travel is the cornerstone around which they structure their lives. Nomads cherish the freedom to decide where they live and the freedom to change location at will. They travel constantly and set up semi-permanent home bases as they go, rather than considering one location to be “home.”

We’re creating a collection of tools to help digital nomads live healthier, happier, more successful lives with travel at the forefront. 

#NotAllNomads

There is not one type of digital nomad. Of course there isn’t. Just as there isn’t one type of leisure traveler.

There are those who take a sabbatical to launch a side project while traveling, with every intention of returning “home.” There are those who quit their jobs and sell all of their belongings in search of a great perhaps (I was one of them). Some nomads travel for eight months, like I did, and return to a permanent home base. Others travel for years with no intention of signing a lease. Sometimes nomads are remote employees and work more “typical” hours. Other times, they are starting businesses and are sprinting to turn a profit. Some are freelancers, happy to live with less money in exchange for freedom and fewer hours of work. While some despise the term “digital nomad,” others embrace the label.

There are so many varieties in travel preference, career, and personality. When I speak generally about nomads it’s not to lump everyone into one category, but to speak of the unifying motivation: Travel at the forefront of life.

Nomads are Agile

Unencumbered travel is at the crux of digital nomadism. Freedom and agility are crucial. A nomad’s travel schedule, packing list, pace, and itinerary are quite different than those of a vacationer. A nomad might visit the same cafe in Berlin as someone who is visiting Europe for a week, but that cafe serves a very different purpose in that person’s day.

Constant movement calls for a vastly different set of luggage than a two-week vacation. We need to produce bags that allow nomads to work remotely, travel joyously, live minimally, and explore amazing cultures and cuisines anywhere in the world.

What That Means for Luggage

A backpack isn’t just a carry on, it’s your work bag. Your luggage for short trips, and the bag that houses your most valuable possessions: The computer that is the source of your livelihood, a day’s worth of essentials if something happens to the rest of your luggage, and the phone that connects you to the world.

A duffle isn’t just a piece of luggage. This bag is where you store the contents of your life, and it’s a constant in a sea of change. This bag becomes your home.

We’ve spent the past year researching, designing, testing, and iterating a carry on backpack and duffle. We’re almost ready to share the details on those two bags, as well as a sneak peek at the rest of the collection. For now, here are some of the primary benefits we’ll focus on for this collection:

So, when is this collection hitting the site? We’ll release the carry on sized bags (a backpack and a duffle) in late summer or early fall of 2017. In the next several weeks, we’ll continue to give you more details and images of the new bags.

 

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.