I lucked up and got a great deal on a backpack I’d been eyeing for a couple of months: The Tortuga Homebase Backpack. I had held off on it because I was hesitant to buy a backpack without waist straps. (My bags are small but heavy.)

The first trip that I took was a 4-day beach vacation which required clothes for casual outings, the beach, and dressy events. I really challenged the stitching on that one because I really didn’t want to wear the same clothes over and over. My personal item was a small Tom Bihn Cafe Bag (which held my water bottle, iPad, wallet, etc). I used the included packing cube with the intent of using it as a personal item to carry any new items I acquired during my return trip.

The most recent trip with this bag was for a stay with family for an indeterminate amount of time. All I needed was casual clothes and maybe something I could make look a little more polished (as polished as I can get in running shoes or Converse). I left the packing cube at home because I felt as though it was an unnecessary space hogger. My Tom Bihn Shop Bag provided adequate space for extras that I wanted to bring home on the return flight.

Tortuga Homebase
View of interior of bag with the included packing cube. Note how much space it takes up.

In this bag I packed:


Although the bag does not have a waist strap, it is very comfortable to carry because it sits higher on the back than most other backpacks. The padding for the straps and the back make it a very comfortable bag to carry around the airport.

On one of my flights, I flew in a small regional plane with “valet service” meaning that most bags had to be checked at the gate. My Homebase easily fit into the teeny overhead bins (and would have also fit under the seat in front of me).

I originally felt guilty about buying this bag (and kind of hoped that I would be outbidded) because I already have similar bags of this capacity. I’m so glad I bought it because none of the others have both the functionality and the sleek style of this bag.