The Details on Setout: the $199 Travel Backpack Launching in November

The Lab,  
Taylor Coil


Setout, the $199 travel backpack launching in November, will:

  • Be 45L
  • Use a matte grey outer fabric
  • Feature just enough organization and padding, but less of both than the Outbreaker

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I’m writing this from the LaGuardia Airport, 35L Outbreaker in tow. I’ll be traveling for five days and 35L is more than I need. 

I initially packed in the 45L Setout (don’t worry, I’m getting to that), but decided it was too much packing space for such a short trip. That’s certainly a change from the compulsive overpacker that I used to be.

Before I had months of travel and several continents under my belt I packed way too much and could never have carried only 35L. For that matter, I’m not sure Outbreaker’s feature set would have resonated with me back then.

Outbreaker is a pro-level traveler’s bag, through and through. It’s fantastic for a highly organized person who has spent a lot of time honing their packing style, but it can be too feature rich for a beginner. A few years ago I would have taken the suspension system for granted and wondered why anyone possibly needed that many pockets. Today, I use (almost) every compartment and am grateful that the bag feels light on my back despite how full it is.

But I remember what it was like to harbor skepticism towards a carry on backpack, to wonder if it would actually have enough space, or actually be comfortable, or actually stay organized.

And, above all, wonder if it was worth an investment.

If you’re new to the backpacking world like I was, Outbreaker can be too much bag at too high a price. It’s a pro-level bag, ideal for experienced travelers, and can be out of reach for a more casual traveler, or someone on their first-ever backpacking trip.

Setout, our next project, is the bag I needed back then. It’s for someone who is intrigued by Outbreaker, but isn’t sure they need all the bells and whistles.

And at $199, Setout is a more accessible price point than Outbreaker.


  • 45L
  • Maximum sized carry on
  • 3.3 lbs
  • Fits laptops up to 15”
  • Fits tablets up to 9.7”


The Materials

Instead of waterproof sailcloth, which is an expensive material and a primary factor in Outbreaker’s price point, we chose a dark heathered grey polyester for the outside fabric. It feels wonderful in the hand and looks sleek and sophisticated up close. It doesn’t scream “tourist” like colorful hiking bags. The polyester has about the same amount of weather resistance as V2: enough, but it won’t be stormproof like Outbreaker.

The Setout features YKK zippers and Duraflex buckles throughout – widely considered the best components on the market.

In the shoulder straps and hip belt we used a foam that’s commonly found in the soles of running shoes. It’s the same foam that’s in the Homebase’s straps. Over time, the foam will conform to your body for the most comfortable fit, just like breaking in your favorite pair of shoes.

The Design & Features

We used our signature three-pocket layout for Setout which makes packing intuitive and organization easy.

Your computer and tablet go in the pocket closest to your back for the most ergonomic carry.

The middle compartment opens like a book and is for large items, clothes, and the primary contents of your packing list. The middle compartment has two mesh organization panels for small stuff like socks. In the front pocket, you’ll find an organization panel, a sleeve for an e-reader, and enough depth for a jacket or other things you might want to access quickly.

There’s also a small zippered compartment on the front. I keep bandaids in there, though it’d also work well for headphones.

In terms of feature set, the Setout has:

  • A padded, removable hip belt with pockets for your phone and boarding pass
  • Clamshell opening for easy packing
  • Two mesh pockets in the main compartment
  • An organization panel in the front compartment with a sleeve for your e-reader
  • A small zippered pocket in the front for small items, like headphones or important papers
  • A separate compartment for your laptop and tablet, set flush against your back for ergonomics
  • Hideaway shoulder straps (the most commonly requested feature, so we brought it back!)
  • Lockable zippers
  • A lie-flat water bottle pocket
  • Top and side grab handles

All for $199, which we think makes it the best value on the market.

Fred, our CEO, wrote that Setout is personal for him.

The truth is, it’s personal for our whole team. It’s for the Fred of 2009 who embarked on his first-ever trip to Europe. It’s for me, two years ago, who had no idea how to pack a carry on backpack for a week, much less the 8-month trip I was about to take. It’s for our whole team—for our past selves during the time we first decided to make travel a priority in our lives.

And, above all, it’s for you. Setout is your bag for setting out on a big trip, perhaps your first. Your first investment in a durable, quality, functional piece of luggage. Or perhaps your first travel backpack, if you’re switching over from wheeled bags like I did.

We’ll share more design insights, details, and images in the coming weeks. Setout will available to purchase sometime in November 2017. We’ll be shipping in time for the holidays.