How to Pack in Two Bags and Stay Carry On Compliant

Stacey Ebert

My first backpacking experience was in Western Europe in 1996. Amidst planes, trains, buses, and ferries, I schlepped a giant duffle bag that was way too big for me. It had one zippered compartment and backpack straps with limited back support; so, in order to stop myself from falling over I popped the daypack on my front. If I stopped suddenly there was no telling which way I’d land.

Thankfully, I’ve learned. Now I use better structured bags that keep me organized, happy, and upright. Today, my travel style varies. I’m definitely a two-bag traveler. You know, the type who does her best to maximize every last ounce of that treasured (and often free) carry on allowance. I like to use the bag under the seat in front of me as my footrest – at 4’11, dangling feet for hours on end leads to a very unhappy back. Space and comfort are equally crucial. 

For some travelers, a two-bag solution is the ideal way to pack.

The Setout Duo Bundle maximizes the carry on allowance as well as providing a well organized space for everything you need. Pack your in-flight essentials, laptop, chargers, and a change of clothes in the Laptop Backpack. Pack everything else you need for your trip in the Duffle Bag.

When used together, they’re a luggage system ideal for trips less than a week.

What is Two-Bag Travel?

Two-bag travel is how most of us travel: Still not checking a bag but maxing available space with both a carry on and personal item.  The Setout Duffle and Laptop Backpack were specifically designed to be the perfect combination.

Although many people are die hard one-baggers, it’s not for everyone, and not for every trip. Frequent travelers need options, in how and what they pack.  That’s why we created a two-bag system that doesn’t force to you to compromise convenience, organization, or your carry-on-only ethos. This new addition to the Tortuga family is perfect for the traveler who prefers two bags to one.

Packing in two bags allows for easier access to in flight essentials- the Laptop Backpack stays at your feet while the Duffle Bag gets stashed in the overhead compartment.

Benefits of Two-Bag Travel

If you’ve traveled with one carry on bag forever, it might be hard to consider adding a second one. But, with all of the changes in air-travel, with the increase in combined bleisure trips, and the constant desire to have a bit more flexibility in travel, the two-bagging mindset is on the rise. 

The benefits of two-bag travel include:

  • Maximizing carry on and personal item allowance
  • Increased organization with bag flexibility
  • In-flight essentials at your finger tips, non-essentials safely stowed above
  • A backpack and a duffle are easier to carry than two backpacks
  • Keep your laptop and work gear separate from your clothes and stuff
  • Ease of hands-free travel
  • Separating your items without sacrificing overall space
  • No more shuffling in-flight essentials out of your bag before shoving it in the overhead bin
  • No checked bag fees, and more options

Why the Setout Duo Bundle?

Our favourite new two-bag travel combination took thought, trial and error, and conscious design to incorporate what travelers tell us they want and need, including the flexibility that travel demands. Our travelers are cultural explorers and urban travelers who travel often and frequently combine work and pleasure. They value comfort, durability, organization and flexibility. This luggage combo ticks all of the boxes allowing carry on travelers to pack in two bags and have the freedom of never checking a bag. Organize the essentials into one bag, while the other can be stuffed in the overhead bin, or left at the hotel. We think it’s the perfect combo for light travel with two bags.

And for those who may have checked a bag previously, perhaps it’s time to take a look at a new way to travel or even add new, flexible elements to your arsenal of luggage options.

Why the Setout Laptop Backpack?

If you’ve ever tried to jam your laptop, tablet, and digital work life into that old backpack that’s been in your closet for decades, you understand my frustration. Frequent travelers need something specifically designed for air travel, not school trips, camping weekends, or hiking excursions. We prioritized the unique challenges of air travel when designing this bag.

The Setout Laptop Backpack is a versatile secondary bag with considered details for air travelers. Slide it under the seat of most airplanes and carry all your electronics, chargers, a change of clothes, and your in-flight essentials.

It’s the perfect companion to a duffle bag or rolling suitcase.

There’s space for your laptop and tablets (up to 15” and 9.7” tablets). And enough space for that emergency change of clothes and a jacket to keep you warm when that circulated air freezes you out. The internal pockets are designed to keep those charging cords, and any other small items you might need in flight, organized. 

We know allowing frequent travelers to secure their digital workspace along with adding space for those other in-flight essentials is necessary. In the Setout Laptop Backpack, you get all that and more. Once you arrive, it’s the perfect daypack and office bag, whether you’re sightseeing or commuting to meetings.

Check out the walkthrough:

Specs & Features

  • 18.5” x 12” x 6.75”
  • 25L
  • 2.8 lbs
  • Made of durable water repellent fabric
  • Custom injected molded fold shoulder straps
  • Hideaway shoulder straps
  • Top and side padded handles
  • Luggage handle pass through sleeve
  • Water bottle pocket (that zips flat when not in use)
  • Padded e-reader sleeve
  • Key clip

Why the Setout Duffle Bag?

What image comes to mind when you think “duffle bag?” Is it your old school gym bag? Those bulky things that people shove in overhead compartments pretending that it just might fit, or those giant rolling bags that have heaps of space but no organization at all? The Setout Duffle Bag is completely different.

Designed specifically for travel, not the gym, and well organized, the Setout Duffle Bag is made for frequent travelers who want the duffle bag benefits without the mess. With this duffle, you gain space without sacrificing organization. This is a next level duffle bag.

Holding 35 litres, this carry on compliant (even with those budget airlines) bag provides enough space for all your travel needs. There’s even room for your laptop (up to 13″) if you don’t want to carry a second bag

Traveling with a duffle bag shouldn’t mean sacrificing organization. The Setout Duffle Bag has three compartments for your gear: one for a laptop and chargers, one for your clothes and toiletries, and one to organize small items like your passport, keys, and sunglasses.

At 35L, it’s the perfect size for short trips. Paired with the Laptop Backpack, you’ll have more than enough space for longer journeys.

Check out the walkthrough:

Specs & Features

  • 22” x 12” x 9”
  • 35L
  • 3.8 lbs
  • Removable crossbody strap
  • Made of durable water repellent fabric
  • Lockable zippers to store your stuff
  • Padded spots for laptop and tablet
  • Hidden stash pocket
  • Luggage handle pass through sleeve
  • Dedicated shoe compartment
  • Key clips

Already Own a Full Sized Carry On Travel Backpack?

Already have a full sized travel backpack but like the idea adding a personal item to your repertoire, there are options besides investing in a whole new luggage combo. Perhaps it won’t be as seamless as the Setout Duo Bundle, but we totally understand your need to upgrade slowly and pay attention to your budget.

Do you travel with a carry on sized rolling suitcase? You can still take advantage of two-bag travel! Both the Laptop Backpack and Setout Duffle Bag have pass through sleeves for luggage handles. This means you can smoothly roll that bag from rideshare to the gate, easily pop the roller bag in the overhead compartment, and slip the backpack under the seat in front of you, with all of your essentials at your finger tips. No shuffling your gear as you board. If you’re checking a bag, then the duffle makes the perfect carry on sized accompaniment, the pass through sleeve makes it easy to carry with your roller bag, and after you check it the duffle slides neatly into the overhead compartment. 


Two-bag travel is in! Maximize your carry on and personal bag allowance with this new addition of the Setout Laptop and Duffle Duo. Let your travel needs guide you, embrace the ease provided by the flexibility of a second bag, and get your wander on. Catch you on the next flight!

  • Two bags provide ease, access, extra space, and flexibility
  • Two bags designed to work together maximize organization, compartmentalized space and stress free travel
  • Already have a larger item in your travel arsenal? Add one of our smaller ones to expand your options and make the travel experience easier and more enjoyable


Want more like this?

Get weekly gear reviews, travel hacks, and packing tips sent straight to your inbox. As an added bonus, we’ll send you a carry on packing list right away.