The Osprey Farpoint 40 has been labeled the Best Overall Travel Backpack for 2020 by US News & World Report and we can’t argue. It is a backpack you will see countless travelers wearing and one both of us own.
The Farpoint 40 is pretty much indestructible and has saved us an enormous amount of money. We’re going to explain why you should consider this backpack when choosing your next travel backpack.
Whether you’re going to your parents’ place for the weekend, on a 2 week holiday in the sun or traveling the world for a year – this pack will be heavily used.
For a backpack, the questions to ask:
- Do you find yourself being frustrated by something?
- A lack of space?
- Poor quality or falls apart easily?
- Do the shoulder straps dig in?
- What about the design – is there a separate compartment for your laptop?!
Well, your frustrations are over. We have the answer, in the form of the Osprey Farpoint 40.
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Backpack or Suitcase?
Before we get stuck into the Osprey, we have to quickly touch on whether a backpack or suitcase is best for the trip at hand and why we ended up with our Ospreys!
We were about to set off on an 18 month adventure around the world. We would encounter various climates, terrains, modes of transportation and weather systems.
It is important to consider the type of trip you are going on. Do you need a backpack or a suitcase?
Years ago on a trip to Bali, we traveled the island extensively and both had suitcases. The polite way to put it is – “rather aggravating.”
We were like juicy steaks to the locals as we lugged around huge heavy suitcases, prime targets for being ripped off. They made stairs impossible and we dreaded moving from place to place with these massive immovable anchors.
Should we forgo the impractical suitcases in favor of backpacks for a journey around the entire world? Needless to say, it took just a short conversation to conclude that we would not even consider a suitcase.
Let’s not forget that suitcases do have their benefits in other types of travel situations – like family holidays or long stay business trips – and there will be many types of traveler who should choose a suitcase over this or any backpack depending on the type of trip.
Will The Osprey Farpoint 40 Suit Your Travel Needs?
There are many different types of backpack, so it’s vital to work out exactly what your travel goals are. For example, a great travel backpack will be different to a great mountain climbing backpack.
The Farpoint 40 is an incredibly versatile backpack, suitable for the vast majority of travelers but it won’t be the perfect fit for everyone. If you prefer to travel with tons of clothing options or specialist gear, this backpack might not be big enough.
Let’s take a brief look into the most suitable groups:
- Weekend getaway or short term break – Stacks of room for clothes/shoes and electronics in their own separate compartments. You’ll be surprised by how much can fit inside.
- Regular domestic business trips – The Osprey Farpoint 40 is the perfect backpack. Compact, stores easily on trains/planes, has extra padding around the laptop sleeve and plenty of room for binders/documents.
- Hiking – Although the Farpoint 40 is not a specialized hiking backpack, we have taken it on many hikes and it performs brilliantly. Comfortable and sweat wicking.
- Long term travel – Looking for a new easily portable backpack that can be taken on flights as hand luggage (saving a ton of money in the process)? There really is no comparison.
Whether you like the sound of this or not – you will become intimately close with your backpack when traveling long term. Choosing the right backpack for you is critical!
Let us explain why we think the Osprey Farpoint 40 is your best bet for a long term travel backpack. Using our own process and experiences as reference, we believe we’ll have you convinced by the end of this article!
Our Primary Considerations
When researching backpacks before setting off, we read blog posts and reviews for every backpack out on the market. However, our research didn’t last long. The same backpack came up on top of almost every blog post or backpack review we read.
No prizes for guessing! The backpack was of course the Osprey Farpoint 40L. But how did we decide that was the best fit for us? We considered the following:
- Size – How much gear did we intend to carry around? Would it fit easily as hand luggage?
- Comfort – The backpack has to be comfortable for a longer trip.
- Materials – Quality materials only, we didn’t want to be forced into buying another on the road.
- Weight – The lighter the better (without compromising quality).
- Design – Not as important aesthetically, but interior design important for practicality.
- Price – Somewhere in the mid-range, not too cheap but not too expensive.
Why is the Osprey Farpoint 40 so Popular?
Let’s dig into our primary considerations listed above and discover why the Farpoint 40 is such a popular backpack for travelers all around the world. We will explain our reasoning and what the Osprey offers in each section. Hopefully our thinking will align with your own!
Firstly, how much space did we really need? Did we need 40L, 60L, 80L? What would we be doing on our trip?
We wanted to travel light. You know, make things easier for ourselves. Our trip to Bali was a rude awakening and we didn’t want to repeat it! We wanted to live a minimalist lifestyle as we set off on our adventure around the world.
When researching, we learned that a 40L size would allow us to take our backpacks onto flights as hand luggage and we were instantly sold. You know those annoying metal frames they make you stuff your bag into?
Yep, we tried it and it fits! If there’s one thing we love when traveling – it is saving hundreds of dollars and hours of time at airports.
But Is 40L Enough?
It depends on how you prefer to travel. For a short term getaway, 40L is easily enough for the average person. For long term travel, you have to be disciplined and extremely careful what you pack.
You’ll be shocked at how much you can fit in this backpack, but be aware that you will probably need to unpack and repack a few times, taking out non-essentials until it all fits.
Personally, we were excited to be traveling light as we left our possessions at home and embraced this new lifestyle.
We bought these backpacks a few months before we left for long term travel to give them a run out by using them to visit each other back and forth from the UK and US. We never had any problems with the size; in fact, we were delighted at how convenient they made the trips.
After 7 months traveling around Europe and Asia by plane, train and bus, the compact size of the Osprey Farpoint 40 saved us so much inconvenience. We can’t recommend this backpack enough for long term travel convenience due to it’s carry-on size.
When other people’s larger backpacks or suitcases couldn’t be stored on a busy train, leaving them to be stuck out in aisles or vestibules, ours fit nicely into overhead storage. We paid no money for hold baggage and lost no time at airports.
We saw many backpackers with hefty 70L backpacks struggling and to tell the truth, we were relieved carrying our lightweight 40L packs.
Need more space? Osprey have a superb selection of bigger backpacks and many of the factors we will discuss here will still apply.
What About The Space Inside?
Size is more than just the overall dimensions of the bag, so let’s look at the space inside the backpack. Osprey have done a fantastic job of maximizing the internal spaces within the Farpoint 40. Each compartment has been designed perfectly for efficiency.
The main compartment is deep and seems to inhale clothes – we were shocked by how much we could fit. The laptop sleeve is padded but doesn’t compromise space for the main compartment. Then there’s the front compartment which surprisingly still fits things in even with a packed out main compartment.
When packing this backpack, we recommend putting your laptop in first and then packing around it.
We found ourselves wondering if we weren’t taking enough gear as there was still room left once we’d finished packing. There hasn’t come a time where we’ve needed more space inside.
Pro-tip: We always organize our clothes with packing cubes. Such a time saver!
Comfort speaks for itself. We didn’t want to cart around a backpack that ripped our shoulders to pieces or use waist straps that had no padding. Allowing your hips to take the weight of your backpack comfortably is important.
We’d be carrying this backpack A LOT so comfort was crucial.
The Osprey has padding at the back with a rigid frame to allow the backpack to breath as well as give support to the users’ back. The well made padded shoulder and waist straps were vital to us as they take the load of the weight without causing any discomfort – even on long hikes.
The Osprey Farpoint 40 is truly an exceptionally comfortable backpack to carry around. This was as apparent to us as soon as we tried it!
Shoulder and waist straps are made from die-cut spacer mesh, making them soft but rigid and allowing weight to be distributed without causing any friction or rubbing. The mesh also encourages ventilation, and ventilation in turn leads to less sweat, which is always a wonderful thing!
Weight is barely felt on the shoulders, back and waist – even when the backpack is fully loaded. With the correct adjustments, the backpack will stick to your back like it’s a tight jacket!
Neither of us have ever complained about a lack of comfort from the Farpoint 40.
We’re not backpack specialists or designers but we knew that we’d need strong and water resistant materials for the places we planned to visit.
There’s also a bit of a crossover with the comfort aspect in that the materials used would need to provide support for the body. Excellent zipper quality was another aspect we were looking for because the last thing you need is the zipper seam breaking on you!
This criteria was easily met by the Osprey. Our zippers are still as strong as ever, there are no tears along the seams or difficulty zipping at any point.
The Farpoint 40 is made from nylon ripstop fabric (aka Schwarzenegger strength). It uses a reinforcing technique that makes the fabric resistant to tearing or ripping.
Interesting fact: Ripstop fabric was developed in WWII as a replacement for silk in the production of parachutes.
Now, we weren’t expecting to jump out of a plane with the backpacks but we can attest to the durability of this fabric. We haven’t had even as much as a slight tear after 2 years of intense use.
You’d need to throw it in a lion’s den with a steak inside to see a tear appear!
Please be aware that backpack is not completely waterproof. Not to worry though because it is water resistant. Having been caught in some heavy downpours, we are yet to open our backpacks to damp clothes.
Fellow travelers we met on the road have said similar things about its resistance to rain. We would not recommend throwing it in a river to test it though!
If you’re concerned about the water factor, Osprey sells its own waterproof covers for their backpacks.
Our research suggested that most budget airlines cap weight of hand luggage bags at 7kg. Considering what we would each be packing in the backpack – essentially clothes and a laptop, we set ourselves a target of a maximum of 2kg for the weight of backpack itself; any less would be a bonus.
The Opsrey Farpoint 40 backpack weighs in at 1.44kg which was over half a kilo less than we’d planned for.
It is actually heavier than some of it’s competitors but that’s because of the extra weight in the padding. We’re more than happy to take on the extra weight in support form.
We never experienced a scenario where the pack was too heavy, even when we had to lift them above our heads on trains. Just don’t fill it with lead bricks and there’ll be no issue!
Note: Be careful what you pack, the weight quickly adds up, especially with electronic items. Airlines (in particular budget airlines) will not hesitate to charge a spiked fee for overweight hand luggage bags.
This is the compromise with a smaller backpack. If you’re buying a smaller backpack because of the carry-on factor, make sure you don’t pack over the airlines weight limits!!
For a backpack, we are more interested in function over fashion. Remember that bright colors may glisten in the eyes of potential thieves so pick your color carefully! Ours backpacks are charcoal and blue.
One of our most significant preferences was for a front loading backpack as opposed to top loading.
We wanted to save on rummaging through everything to get to what we needed every time we went in the backpack.
Inside our packs, we wanted compartments for separating electronics and clothes if possible. We also wanted to make sure we could secure our belongings with locks if necessary.
The design of the Farpoint 40 surpassed our expectations, both inside and out. It is sleek and stylish while retaining a subdued inconspicuous image.
Our Favorite Part?
In our opinion, the best aspect of this pack is the clam shell design.
This means the entirety of the pack opens in a horse shoe shape action (pictured above in size section).
This backpack is a God send when on the road because we don’t have to take out every piece of clothing to get to that one thicker pair of hiking socks at the bottom. Repeat, God send. We’d never go back!
The laptop sleeve is padded and there are a few zipped sections for storing any loose paperwork or valuables. Just remember that if you over pack the main compartment, it will be more difficult to pack a laptop in the laptop sleeve.
The backpack is simplistic in design, they haven’t thrown in an uncontrollable amount of zips and compartments. It’s very functional.
The small top compartment is ideal for passport, keys or sunglasses – including a soft lined material with anti scratch properties.
The front (medium) compartment is a decent size, we only use it to separate anything from the main section like a raincoat or dirty washing. It also contains the padded laptop sleeve, which fits up to 15.4 inch laptops.
As we mentioned, the main compartment fits more in than it would appear. Zippers opening ¾ of the way around in the clam shell design make access nice and simple.
In addition, the back portion can be zipped up and the entire backpack can be carried as a duffel bag. A shoulder strap inside the backpack can be used if carrying on the back becomes tiresome or boring!
Backpacks are one of the most important items you can buy for traveling. Personally, we didn’t want to compromise on quality but we obviously wanted the best value for money.
So how much should you spend?
When we bought our Osprey Farpoint 40L backpacks, we paid US$ 110 each at the time (2018). We know they have been on sale for cheaper than that price, so keep an eye out for deals.
We were happy to pay US$ 110 for a high quality backpack.
When we were traveling in Europe, roughly 3 in 10 backpackers had the Osprey Farpoint 40 on their backs. Seriously. We started to make a game out of it!
Every person we spoke to about the backpack had nothing but praise. It almost felt like we were part of a club, a universal language where you nod your approval to your fellow Osprey Farpoint 40 carrier.
Osprey is a household name and they have been selling backpacks for years.
Did you know the the Farpoint 40 comes with a lifetime warranty (known as the all-mighty guarantee)?
We didn’t either! Double bonus?! Any problems with the backpack, no matter how major or minor just mail it in to them and they’ll resolve it.
Anything to pay for that service? Nope. Free of charge! This says a lot about their confidence in both the product and the company.
Important: The backpack comes in 2 sizes: either S/M or M/L. To get the correct size for your body type, simply follow the sizing guide on Ospreys website.
We also found this useful guide for airlines and their corresponding criteria for hand luggage acceptance.
If there is one piece of advice we could give to anyone in search of a new backpack, it’s that the Osprey Farpoint 40 is definitely worth your consideration!
Are You Sold on the Osprey Farpoint 40?
We hope this guide has helped you decide if this is the correct backpack for you! Ours have traveled extensively through Europe, Asia, South America and North America.
Interested to know where the images of us are from?
Mark getting onto a Bullet train in Japan, Kristen in line at Bangkok airport and Kristen hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu with a cheap backpack cover over the Osprey! This is one seriously versatile backpack.
Please let us know if you need any more information regarding the Farpoint 40.
-Happy Backpack Hunting-
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