The Osprey Farpoint 40 has been labeled the Best Overall Travel Backpack for 2020 by US News & World Report and we won’t argue with the outcome!
This is a backpack you will see countless travelers wearing and one both of us have owned for over 2 years.
Our Farpoint 40’s have been pretty much indestructible and they’ve saved us an enormous amount of money throughout our world trip.
In this backpack review / guide we will explain why you should seriously consider this fantastic backpack as your latest and perhaps greatest travel companion.
This bias free review will cover what makes this backpack awesome but also some (not many!) limitations of the Farpoint 40.
Let’s dig in!
*Please note this post may contain affiliate links. If you click on one of them, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you! We recommend only products we use and as always, all ideas or opinions expressed in this post are entirely ours. Thank you for the support and happy travels!*
Why Do You Need A New Backpack?
Before we jump into the thick of the action, let us ask you first…
You’re on the hunt for a new backpack. But why do you need a new one?
If you’re shopping for your first backpack or need to replace a beaten up and battered old backpack, that’s completely understandable.
But if you do own a perfectly acceptable working order backpack and you’re still considering changing, is it due to concerns with any of the following aspects:
This review will provide you with solutions to these problems and more, then you can decide if the Farpoint 40 is the best fit for you.
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. A smaller backpack will work for those who prefer minimalistic travel – but that might not be your style.
Osprey’s 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 a closet full of clothing options or specialist gear, this backpack might not be big enough for you.
Let’s take a quick look into the most suitable travel styles for owning this backpack:
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!
What You Should Consider When Buying Your Next Backpack
Researching is the key to figuring out exactly which backpack you need for the types of trip you will be taking.
Personally, we read blog posts and reviews for every backpack on the market.
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 this backpack was the best fit for us?
Here’s what you should consider (and how we made our decision):
Although our considerations were primarily targeted towards long term travel, each aspects remain true for short term travel. You just won’t have to wear it as much as we did!
Why is the Osprey Farpoint 40 so Popular?
Let’s dig into technicalities and discover why the Farpoint 40 is such a popular choice of backpack.
Each section of this review begins with what we were looking for from each of the considerations listed above. We then detail how the Farpoint 40 has performed in each area.
This should help you determine if it is the best fit for your travel style.
Note: Our travel plans consisted of 18 months in 35 countries across 4 continents. We realize not everyone is going to be in the same boat but it does mean we have a lot of useful information for you!
Firstly – and possibly most important of all – how big should we go?
Did we need 40L, 60L, 80L? What would we be doing on our trip? What would the climate be like?
Here’s the thing. An 18 month world trip covers various climates and a multitude of activities. It also means we would be flying … a lot!
When researching backpacks, we quickly 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’ve had our Farpoint 40’s in too many to count. Were we ever charged for checked baggage? Nope!
If there’s one thing we love when flying anywhere, it is saving hundreds of dollars on checked baggage and hours of time waiting at airport baggage carousels.
But Is 40L Enough?
Saving money and time is great but is it worth it for the small amount you can carry in this backpack?
Well, it depends on how you prefer to travel and what type of trip you’re taking.
For a short term getaway, 40L is easily enough for the average person.
For long term travel, you do have to be disciplined and extremely careful what you pack. When packing for the first time, you may need to unpack and repack a few times, taking out non-essentials until you’re happy with the compromise.
If you’re planning a cold weather destination itinerary, or you’re on a multi week trekking and camping vacation – no, 40L will probably not be enough.
That being said, we were shocked at how much we could fit into the Osprey Farpoint 40. Personally, we were excited to be traveling light as we left our possessions at home and embraced this new lifestyle.
We bought our Farpoint 40’s a few months before leaving for long term travel to give them a test run. We flew back and forth between the UK and US to visit family and never had any problems with the size; in fact, we were delighted at how convenient they made the trips.
Although we own other backpacks, whenever we leave the house with any gear, our first thoughts are – can we use our Osprey Farpoint 40’s for this trip?
Example Travel Scenarios And Size Concerns
After 7 months traveling around Europe in (Summer) and Asia (in Fall) by plane, train and bus, the compact size of the Osprey Farpoint 40 saved us from a world inconvenience.
We can’t recommend this backpack highly enough for long term travel convenience, thanks to it’s carry-on size.
When other people’s larger backpacks or suitcases couldn’t be stored on a busy train or bus, 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 in truth, we were just plain relieved carrying our lightweight 40L packs.
However!! For our trip to South America – where we would be tackling the amazing W Trek in volatile Patagonia and hiking Machu Picchu among others – we needed more space for serious hiking gear and layers.
Our 40L backpacks wouldn’t cut it for this trip … and we sorely missed them.
What About The Space Inside?
Size is much more than just the overall dimensions of the bag, so let’s look at the space inside the backpack.
This is where Osprey have done a fantastic job, maximizing the internal spaces within the Farpoint 40. Each compartment has been designed perfectly for efficiency.
When packing this backpack, we recommend putting your laptop in first and then packing around it.
We often find ourselves wondering if we’re forgetting things to take because there is so much room. There hasn’t come a time where we’ve needed more space inside.
Pro-tip: Use packing cubes to organize your belongings neatly before packing the Farpoint 40. This is an amazing time and space saver.
Size score: 10/10 for those who want to travel hand luggage BUT 0/10 for those who need bigger bags!
Comfort speaks for itself and we won’t ask if you consider this to be an important part of your decision, of course it is.
None of us wants to cart around a backpack that rips our shoulders to pieces or use waist straps that have no padding. Allowing the hips to take the weight from your backpack comfortably is important.
Personally, we knew we would be carrying this backpack A LOT, so comfort was crucial.
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 and remains true to this day.
Neither of us have ever complained about a lack of comfort from the Farpoint 40.
Comfort score: 9/10
We’re certainly not backpack specialists or expert designers but we know enough to expect the following attributes where materials are concerned:
Our zippers are still as strong as ever, there are no tears along the seams or difficulty zipping at any point.
The backpack 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!
It is important to note this 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.
Other 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.
Materials score: 9/10
Our research showed 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.
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 otherwise you’ll be better off buying a bigger backpack!!
Weight score: 8/10
With backpacks, we’re personally more interested in function over fashion but not everyone agrees.
Remember that bright colors may glisten in the eyes of potential thieves so pick your color carefully! Our 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 About The Osprey Farpoint 40
Except for the fact it fits as hand luggage, the best aspect of this backpack is the clam shell design.
This means the entirety of the pack opens in a horse shoe shape action (pictured above in size section).
Front opening 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, Osprey haven’t thrown in an uncontrollable amount of zips and compartments. It’s very functional.
Design score: 8/10 but 9/10 for the newer updated models (slightly sleeker finish)
Backpacks are one of the most important items you can buy for any trip of travel where you won’t be using a suitcase.
We didn’t want to compromise on quality but we had a budget and obviously wanted the best value for money.
So how much should you spend?
When we bought our Osprey Farpoint 40L backpacks, we paid US$ 120 each at the time (2018) on sale at Amazon.
We were happy to pay US$ 120 for an extremely high quality backpack worth far more.
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.
Price score: Depends on your budget but 10/10 value for money
Are You Sold on the Osprey Farpoint 40?
The Osprey Farpoint 40 backpack is one of our highest travel essential recommendations. But only if you know you can survive with just 40L of space.
For all types of travel except long term or specialist gear, we can guarantee this backpack will surpass your expectations. The only real cause for concern is for those who need more space for long term travel.
But we are examples of how you can travel long term with these backpacks!
Our Farpoint 40’s have been all over the world with us and we still use them as our primary backpacks today. They are strong, durable, compact and carry-on friendly.
We highly recommend you shop around online but Amazon usually have a sale on this backpack. Be sure to select different colors and sizes to see if there’s a particular backpack on sale.
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!
Buy Your Osprey Farpoint 40
If you’re convinced this is the correct backpack for you, we’re delighted. You won’t be disappointed! As we mentioned, be sure to shop around for the best deals, they often change week to week.
Amazon have big savings as of August 2020 – priced under US$ 120!
We hope this guide has helped you decide if this is the best backpack for you!
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 and we’ll be happy to help.
-Happy Backpack Hunting-
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