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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.
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…

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Last year, 457.2 million domestic business trips were taken in the United States. Over the three years, that number is predicted to rise to 471.1 million trips.

That’s a lot of jetting around on business. Also, a lot of practice in efficient packing.

When you’re traveling for business, time is of the essence. Eventually, you’ll hone your travel routine down to an exact science. This fine-tuning happens for all parts of your business travel, including what business travel gear to pack.

Light & Fleet = Smooth & Efficient Business Trip

Bringing just what you need and cutting out the extra stuff is a fine balance to achieve. Extra baggage weighs you down when you’re catching a late-night Uber to your hotel, running for a tight flight connection, or unpacking a large bag at your hotel.

Wondering what business travel gear is best for your next business trip? We asked business travel veterans for their picks:

Table of Contents


Frequent business travelers know the time-savings in carrying on versus checking a bag. It means the difference between catching an Uber downtown to lead a meeting, versus waiting endlessly at the baggage claim for your suitcase — the last one to emerge from the airplane’s depths.

The Outbreaker 45 or 35 ($224-249)

My favorite business trip carry on is the Outbreaker 45.

This bag has a lie-flat laptop compartment that means you won’t have to take your computer out for the TSA. The clamshell-opening means my clothes stay organized and nicely folded. Because it’s a backpack maneuvering through an airport is a breeze.

With this bag, skip waiting in line for a slow-moving escalator or noisily jumping wheels over stairs. Click to continue…

Outside, it looked like dawn would never come. We dressed and ate in the early morning’s dark, packed our bags, and left our Airbnb apartment that had been home for the past four days. Our taxi idled at the curb.

Right before we pulled into the train station, our taxi driver said with a sleepy glance in the rearview mirror, “It’s been hell getting around this area lately. Roads have been blocked off. This actor, Ryan Reynolds, has been shooting a movie here. Right down there…” he pointed out the window.

I looked but was too late to see what he was pointing at other than a dark, deserted alley that looked nothing like a movie set.

“Did you say Ryan Reynolds?” I said.

(Aka the actor who delivers lines in a perfectly snarky and sarcastic manner. Who has an astounding depth of acting potential. Who is incredibly, incredibly good-looking. But I digress. Back to my story.)

“Yeah, they’ve been shooting in the early morning hours. Surprised they aren’t right now. Oh, here we are. Need help with your bags?”

We paid, grabbed our backpacks, scooted out of the slick leather backseat, and walked into the enormous empty train station to catch the Amtrak south to Seattle.

Our last day in Vancouver, a romantic, if sometimes damp, city with a charming personality that popped out at unexpected times like a shy bookworm emerging with a witty remark or laughing glance. I was tempted to skip the early morning train ride down British Columbia’s oceanic coast to hunt down a celebrity and do tiptoed walk-bys to see how tall he really was. (Come on, celebrity stats are like footballers’ stats: 95% padded.)

But, our train was leaving in under three minutes and my persuasion skills are rusty before 8am and coffee, so I followed my husband to the train tracks, carrying our Chinese leftovers in a Tortuga daypack, already wishing I could return to Vancouver.

Things You Should Always Pack

Vancouver is like Seattle’s foreign cousin. The two cities feel alike in their devil-may-care, cool-kid attitude. But Vancouver has a grown-up edge in its Olympic Village, French influence, and large Chinatown. This city deftly combines metropolitan flair and love of nature.

Vancouver is also Canada’s wettest and foggiest city. A feature that only adds to its mystique.

For your trip to Vancouver, make sure you pack the following items into your pack in addition to your basic packing list or what you’ve packed for the cruise you may be boarding:

Waterproof, Windproof Layer

For Vancouver, pack a jacket that is waterproof and windproof. Rain is a regular occurrence  here, and Vancouver is right next to the ocean so the breeze whipping inland can bite. I wore FlyLow Gear Vixen jacket with an extra-large hood; it was perfect.

A Daypack

You’ll want a good, sturdy daypack to hold your treasures as you wander Vancouver.

Comfortable Shoes

Vancouver is very walkable city. Pack comfortable shoes with well-padded soles to explore Olympic Village, or wander down to charming Gastown neighborhood with one of the world’s last steam powered clocks. Opt for a more athletic pair if you’re planning to hit day hikes outside the city, like Dog Mountain or St. Mark’s Summit.


A moist cold burrows deep into your skin on damp days in this city. Wear layers to combat against Vancouver’s quickly changing weather and wet cold. When I visited in April, one day was driving rain, but the next day was sunny and 60. Wear layers to shed and put back on as the weather changes.

Vancouver is a casual-cool city. My go-to outfit was a pair of dark wash jeans, a long sleeve shirt, waterproof jacket, and leather shoes. I never felt out of place or underdressed anywhere I went.

Quick-Dry Clothes

Since Vancouver is Canada’s wettest city, opt for quick-drying clothes — not dense denim or sweaters that soak up water — to stay warm and comfortable. If you go on a whale watching boat ride, your quick-drying clothes will be welcome as waves splash over the boat’s sides.


Whether you’re out on the water or wandering the Olympic Village, you’ll want some sunscreen. Click to continue…