Backpack Review: Osprey Farpoint 40 versus 55

Two very different backpacks: which one should you get?

Osprey Farpoint 40 vs 55 side by side comparison

Are you having difficulty deciding between the Osprey Farpoint 40 versus the 55? I have used both backpacks and so I can offer some hands-on impressions and advice.

The key feature of the Osprey Farpoint 40 is that it is carry-on size.

The key feature of the Osprey Farpoint 55 is that it combines a 40L backpack with a detachable 15L daypack. It’s well over the carry-on size limit, though many travellers try to take it as carry-on anyway. (I’ve had some success with this, but it’s not guaranteed.)

An important thing to understand is that the main backpack part of the Farpoint 55 is not the same as the Farpoint 40. Both these packs have different dimensions and a different design. The Farpoint 55 is taller and a bit narrower, while the Farpoint 40 is a bit shorter and puffier. You can see the difference pretty well in the image below.

Osprey Farpoint 55 with detached daypack next to a Farpoint 40

The Farpoint 40 also has integrated mesh compartments, laptop/tablet sleeve, and documents sleeve. On the 55, these features can be found only in the detachable daypack.

Farpoint 40 vs 55 – pros and cons

Both models

  • Padded hip belt
  • Harness can be zipped away
  • Come in two sizes: S/M and M/L (I’m 194cm / 6″5 and have the M/L, which fits like a glove)
  • Multiple gear attachment points
  • Sideways panel access (this is great for travelling instead of hiking, i.e. no awkward top panel access)
  • Lockable zippers
  • Top and side padded carry handles

Farpoint 40

  • Can always be used as hand luggage
  • In my opinion, it’s a perfect size for traveling light.
Price: $160.00 $120.00   -25% view at amazon

Farpoint 55

  • Can only be used as hand luggage sometimes, if you’re cheeky and/or airline staff doesn’t notice
  • Has a detachable daypack
  • Taller by about 4 inches (10 cm) than the Farpoint 40
  • Weighs half a kilo more
Price: $180.00 $134.49   -25% view at amazon

 

Which one should you get?

Both offer a lot of comfort and convenience. You can’t go truly wrong with either choice.

But if you’re able to pack light, get the Farpoint 40. It will force you to bring only the stuff you truly need. It’s a perfect size for summer backpacking in Europe, or travelling in tropical destinations like Southeast Asia or Central America. When you’re not going to super cold places (or through multiple climates), you don’t have much bulky clothing to pack. Believe me, you can fit a full set of travel gear in a 40L bag – no problem!

If you get the Farpoint 40, I do recommend getting a simple foldable daypack as well, for use when you’re sightseeing. The Farpoint 40 will be accepted as carry-on luggage guaranteed, so if you’re going to fly with a budget airline at least a few times, you’ll be saving money on not having to pay extra for check-in luggage. It’s a backpack that essentially pays itself back over time.

If you need a bit of extra space, get the Farpoint 55. I sometimes like having the extra space because I probably bring more gadgets than the average traveller. I have an SLR with multiple lenses, a GoPro, a laptop, an extra hard drive, batteries, etc. — all these things add up quickly. So if you’re a bit of a techie, a blogger, a digital nomad, or you bring extra gear for activities or sports you do while travelling, then the Farpoint 55 is an awesome option.

The extra space will also be useful if you expect to be buying many souvenirs. Personally, I never buy souvenirs except for very small mementos, but if you expect to buy larger items the Farpoint 55 might be just the bag for you.

The daypack of the Farpoint 55 can be carried separately or attached to the front straps of the main backpack, forming a ‘turtle shell’ style configuration for wearing two backpacks simultaneously. I like that it’s an integrated system! That said, I’ve never really seen the need to zip the two packs together. They’re much more versatile when they’re separate, and since I’m never wearing them more than half an hour or so at a time, I just never bother to zip them together.

For most people, I’d say the Farpoint 40 is the default option to consider. Combine it with a foldable daypack, a purse, tote bag, or anything else for casual use during the day.  I love the simplicity of the Farpoint 40 and its guaranteed carry-on size.

Consider also getting a set of eBags packing cubes – they fit the main compartment of the Farpoint 40 or 55 perfectly, and will help you keep your stuff more organized.

Get ready to travel!

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