Best Travel Backpacks (2018)

Size guide & recommended light and versatile travel backpacks

A few of the backpacks I reviewed. (Not reviewed: my shoes.)

If you are trying to find the best backpack for travel, it can be challenging to find one that ticks all the boxes. Many retailers and websites just won’t give you the right advice! They will often try to sell you the biggest and most expensive backpack, not the lightest or most convenient.

If you travel frequently or if you’re planning a big trip, then it’s often better to go for something light and versatile (and possibly carry-on size), as you’ll want a bag that is always comfortable to carry. In this guide, I will share with you what I believe are some of the top travel backpacks for traveling anywhere.

Note: this buyer’s guide is fully independent, so no sponsored content. Oh, aaaand! I actually physically test and review the backpacks

What I know about this: I’m a frequent traveler and a former full-time nomad. I’ve owned many different backpacks and now regularly review backpacks here and on my YouTube channel.


Key features to look for

  • Front-loading (you will love this!). Many backpacks are top-loading, with a drawstring to close it at the top. This sucks. It means having to dig around awkwardly to get something from the bottom. Bags with a clamshell design are much nicer: you just zip them open face down, with everything within instant reach. Super convenient.
  • Waist strap. Using a waist strap distributes the load around your whole body instead of just your shoulders. It’s essential for frequent travel as it helps avoid sore shoulders and bad backs.
  • Laptop compartment. A separate padded compartment keeps your electronics secure. Of course, you can also use these zipped compartments for books, your travel journal, or many other things.
  • Rain resistant. You don’t want water to leak into your bag! Make sure it’s weather sealed or includes a rain cover.
  • Carry-on sized (if possible). It might not a deal breaker for everyone, but carry-on size lets you save time and avoid additional luggage fees on some airlines.

Other nice-to-haves: lockable zippers (rings that let you attach a padlock or wire lock to prevent opportunistic theft), good carry handles (for when you’re not wearing it on your back) and internal or external compression straps (helps you pack more and organize better). 

Quick Overview: The Best Travel Backpacks

Image Product Details
it-table__imageTOP CHOICEOsprey Farpoint 40
  • Front-loading
  • Detachable shoulder strap included
  • Lockable zippers
View at Amazon
it-table__imageTortuga Setout
  • Front-loading
  • Laptop & organizer compartments
  • Adjustable waist strap and chest strap
it-table__imageOsprey Porter 46 (US only)
  • Many side-pockets and a travel organizer
  • Stow-away harness
  • Carry handles
View at Amazon
it-table__imageeBags Mother Lode Convertible
  • Front-loading
  • 2 carry handles
  • Inner compression straps
View at Amazon
it-table__imagePacsafe Venturesafe X40
  • Inner compression straps
  • Waist strap and adjustable chest strap
  • Enhanced security features
View at Amazon
it-table__imageOsprey Farpoint 55
  • Front-loading
  • Detachable shoulder strap included
  • Lockable zippers
View at Amazon
it-table__imageDeuter Transit 50
  • Waist strap and chest strap
  • Carry handles
  • Detachable daypack
View at Amazon


Travel backpack size guide

Many sports and outdoors retailers will just try to sell you the biggest or most expensive packs, but these aren’t always the most suitable for every job. Novice travelers also often hugely overestimate how much space they will need (I know because I’ve been there myself!).

Left: a trekking backpack. Right: a travel size backpack.

When you’re staying in hotels or hostels, you won’t be needing lots of space to store things like a tent, camping gear, or a sleeping bag. That means you can forget about all the trekking and mountaineering backpacks and go with something more modestly sized. You’ll end up with less weight on your back, more freedom to move, and much less hassle.

For an example of how much can fit in a smaller-size bag, have a look at the video below. It happens to be focused on packing for Southeast Asia, but you can pack in a roughly similar way for traveling anywhere.

Backpack sizes are typically expressed in liters (i.e., the volume they can contain). You’ll notice that backpacks sometimes have this number in their product name. Thinking in liters might not be totally intuitive, so here are my 2 cents on some of the common sizes:

15-30 L Too small unless you’re going on a weekend trip, or you’re super minimalist.
40-45 L Woohoo! The happy sweet spot. Good for shorter trips but equally fine for trips lasting many weeks or months (that is, if you know how to pack light). Ideal if you’re traveling within one climate and don’t need lots of bulky winter clothing. This size is usually accepted as carry-on luggage, saving you time and money.
45-60 L Perfect if you need just a bit of extra space. Consider this size if you will travel through various climates, if you’re bringing additional equipment (sports gear, etc.), or maybe if you can’t resist buying many souvenirs. Otherwise, a 40 or 45L is probably fine.
65-120 L NOPE. This size is for trekking, camping, and mountaineering only. If you use these for travel, you’re likely to overpack and curse your backpack repeatedly. The internal support frames often already weigh several kilos. For most travelers this is overkill.

Admittedly, I’m a bit of a light packer. For example, I typically pack no more than around 7 to 10 days worth of clothes, even if I’m traveling for much longer. I believe it’s much better to wash your clothes from time to time than to carry a huge travel wardrobe around everywhere. Read my guide to packing light for more on this!


Best carry-on travel backpacks

Tortuga Setout TOP CHOICE

Update: this bag currently only ships to the US.

The Tortuga Setout is a new product launched in 2018, and I’ve been super impressed with it. It’s my new top pick for best carry-on size travel backpack. Tortuga has been making clever travel bags for many years now, but I think with the Setout they’ve truly hit a home run!

The Setout is clearly designed to be a versatile bag, making it easy to recommend for any type of trip. If you’re using it mainly for urban or air travel, then that’s great! But if you want to take this on a more adventurous trip, then it’s very suited for that as well.

This big 45-liter backpack gives you the maximum carry-on capacity of most airlines. Its clamshell design meanwhile gives you easy suitcase-style access to all your stuff. The harness with its wide straps is also very comfortable, while the back panel comes with proper padding and ventilation space.

The hip belt is nicely cushioned and has two zipped pockets, which is a handy feature normally reserved for trekking bags. For a traveler, that just means having two quick-access pockets whenever you’re on the move.

Don’t need that hip belt? Then you can detach the whole thing! The entire harness is stowable as well, essentially letting you turn the Setout into a duffel bag if needed. This is one of those rare backpacks that you could easily take backpacking around Europe or Asia but just as easily on a weekend or business trip.

I’m a big fan of the Setout’s well-padded belt with handy storage pockets

The Setout has plenty of handy pockets and sleeves inside. Your laptop or tablet go in the back, which is ideal for load balancing as well as security. I like the bag’s restrained and stylish design, with a brushed grey (weather resistant) polyester on the outside and an off-white interior. This is a lot classier than the garish neon colors that some other manufacturers use.

The Tortuga Setout currently retails for $199 (via Tortuga’s online shop) and is my top recommended carry-on backpack. You can also read my in-depth review here.

The Setout has tons of neat organizational features inside

Price: $199 view at tortuga

✔ Maximum carry-on size
✔ Front-loading (woohoo!)
✔ Laptop & organizer compartments
✔ Adjustable waist strap and chest strap
✔ Stow-away harness
✔ 2 carry handles
✔ Lockable zippers


Osprey Farpoint 40

Osprey Farpoint 40, one of the best all-purpose travel backpacks

The Farpoint 40 is a great choice for world travelers looking for a light and budget-friendly bag. It’s hugely popular in the backpacking scene and I see them all the time in hostels around the world. I myself took one on a 2-year round-the-world backpacking trip.

Many travel backpacks come with just a flimsy little harness, but not so with the Farpoint 40! It’s super comfortable to wear thanks to a padded back panel, well-padded shoulder straps, and a full-size hip belt. Six different adjustment straps make it easy to distribute the weight fully along your entire back. All this makes it a great pack to carry for longer stretches of time if needed.

It may not be exactly a trekking backpack, but it’s comfortable enough to take on an occasional hike. I even took it trekking in the Himalayas for a week and had no issues. (Mind you, I was staying in guesthouses, so I didn’t carry a tent or sleeping bag. For that it’s simply too small.)

The Farpoint 40 is a smidge cheaper than the Setout, but I think it’s not as good in a few areas:

  • The laptop sleeve would also be better placed at the back.
  • There are also not quite as many handy pockets, dividers, or sleeves as in the Tortuga Setout or the Osprey Porter 46.
  • The internal colors are kinda over-the-top (usually neon green). This is apparently to find lost items more easily, but ehhhh I’m not so sure about it. Clearly a matter of taste though

Maybe this bag won’t be quite ideal for the techie traveler or minimalist / one-bag enthusiast, but I think the Farpoint 40 is perfect for budget travel and backpacking. If you buy the Farpoint, I recommend buying some packing cubes to go with it (these packing cubes are nice and fit exactly). That way you won’t mind having somewhat fewer internal pockets to work with.

As of 2017, there’s also the Osprey Fairview 40, which is the exact same bag but with a women’s specific fit and a different color.

✔ Front-loading (woo!)
✔ Laptop & organizer compartment
✔ Waist strap and chest strap
✔ Detachable shoulder strap included
✔ Stow-away harness
✔ Carry handles
✔ Lockable zippers
✔ Budget priced

What I don’t like:
✗ Not quite as many clever storage spaces
✗ Ugly lime green interior (on some models)

Price: Check on Amazon view at amazon



Osprey Porter 46 (US only)

Osprey Porter 46 in teal colorThe Porter 46 is an interesting alternative to the Farpoint 40 that’s available only in North America.

It seems designed from a different starting point. The Farpoint 40 feels almost like a down-sized trekking bag made suitable for general travel, while the Porter 46 feels like a duffel bag that got upgraded to a backpack.

It has padded walls that stand up, whereas the walls of the Farpoint 40 will fold in when not packed. It has more side-pockets and a better built-in travel organizer. But also its harness is thinner and not as well-padded, making it less ideal for heavier loads or walking long distances.

I think the Porter 46 is somewhat more suited for urban/airport/general travel, while the Farpoint is somewhat better for adventure travel. The Porter 46’s frame is slightly clunky and wide and it isn’t quite as comfortable on your back, but it’s a lot easier to store your stuff inside and is a good deal more versatile. It also does a better job of carrying a laptop (or other electronics) than the Farpoint 40.

Osprey Europe has discontinued this product line but in the US they released a new version in 2017, which I recommend over the older one. You can tell by the logo: if it’s a monochrome outline, it’s the new version. If there’s an oval badge around it, it’s the old version. You can read my full review here.

What I like about it:
✔ Front-loading
✔ Many side-pockets and a travel organizer
✔ Laptop compartment at the back (better balance!)
✔ Waist strap and chest strap
✔ Stow-away harness
✔ Carry handles
✔ Lockable zippers

What I don’t like:
✗ Harness not as good as Farpoint or Setout

Price: Check on Amazon view at amazon



eBags Mother Lode Convertible

eBags Mother Lode backpack

Many of you asked me to review this bag, so I got it and tested if for several weeks. While marketed as a weekend bag, I think the eBags Mother Lode can work pretty well for various types of trips. You can read my full review here.

The key strength of this carry-on backpack is the number of pockets and zipped compartments. It just has loads of spaces for you to store travel documents, toiletries, or your smartphone or laptop. The main compartment has a clever optional divider wall that can split this space into two halves.

One potential downside is the harness which is quite thin and basic, making it more geared towards city- and weekend travel. The back also isn’t padded, making this a backpack you’ll probably want to carry for shorter distances only. The boxy design is also a little uninspired.

Still, it’s a pretty decent bag for a low price. What it lacks in sexiness, it might just make up for in utility. But if you’re a very frequent traveler, I think there may be better choices at just a slightly higher price point.

✔ Front-loading
✔ 2 carry handles
✔ Inner compression straps
✔ Lockable zippers
✔ Low price

 Basic harness, no padded waist strap or padded back
✗ Design and materials look dated

Price: $200.00 $129.99   -35% view at amazon



Pacsafe Venturesafe X40

Pacsafe has long made a name for itself with travel security products such as money belts, passport wallets, and portable locks. They also make backpacks with a focus on anti-theft features.

The X40 is a lightweight carry-on bag with a comfortable harness that’s comparable to the Farpoint 40. I like that it has a back panel mesh as well as wide waist straps that also have zipped pockets in them, which is a handy feature typically only seen on trekking backpacks. Safety features include slash-proof webbing, lockable D-rings, a smart zipper lock for the main compartment, and an included padlock.

The built-in rain cover is a nice plus, as is the removable internal divider (can be used to separate clean and dirty gear, among other uses). The only slight downside is the price, which is above that of other backpacks in this list.

✔ Front-loading (yayy!)
✔ Inner compression straps
✔ Waist strap and adjustable chest strap
✔ Waist strap has pockets
✔ Rain cover included
✔ Enhanced security features

✗ Only one thin carry handle (though this is not a big issue)
 A little pricey

Price: $249.95 view at amazon



Best larger travel backpacks

Osprey Farpoint 55 TOP CHOICE

Osprey Farpoint 55 backpack (blue)I love the versatility of the Farpoint 55. It’s essentially two travel packs combined into one integrated system. You can leave the detachable daypack on or off, you can clip the daypack onto the main bag for a ‘turtle shell’ carry mode, and you even can zip away all the straps and carry it as a regular bag. 

I recommend this backpack if you don’t want to go for full minimalism and need just that extra bit of space for additional gear, souvenirs, your shoe collection, etc. Multiple pockets and pouches on the daypack provide easy access to smaller items, though as with the other Osprey packs I do also recommend getting some packing cubes to help you organize the main compartment.

I’ve traveled with this backpack extensively. You can read my full review of the Farpoint 55

Left: the Farpoint 55 main backpack plus daypack (zipped off). Right: the Farpoint 40.

✔ All the same features as the Farpoint 40
✔ Plus a removable 15L Daypack
 Too big for carry-on
(officially, the main bag is just slightly over the carry-on limit)

Price: $160.00 view at amazon




Deuter Transit 50

Deuter 55 BackpackThe Transit 50 is another fine travel backpack sold by German manufacturer Deuter. (Fun fact: they were the ones to originally invent the modern suspension backpack in the 80ies!) The Transit 50 is in many ways similar to the Farpoint 55, though doesn’t have a laptop compartment. Still, it easily holds any other travel gear and is an excellent choice for any active traveler.

✔ Front-loading (actually not entirely, but it also has a separate bottom compartment giving easy access)
✔ Waist strap and chest strap
✔ Carry handles
✔ Inner compression straps
✔ Lockable zippers
✔ Detachable daypack

✗ No laptop compartment

Price: $179.00 view at amazon




What about other backpacks?

There are a lot of backpacks out there, but many I just chose not to list for various reasons.

For example, North Face has the Terra 50 rucksack, but it’s annoyingly top-loading. All the Berghaus, Vango, Lifeventure, and JanSport bags are as well, and they also lack many useful features.

I chose to list the backpacks above as they all have neat features and would be ideally suited for frequent travelers rather than only for outdoors enthusiasts.

Why it’s worth the investment

A good backpack is an investment that pays off over time. Spend somewhere in the range of $150 / €120 / £100, and you can likely enjoy using this bag for a long time to come.

You get what you pay for, which is something I had to learn. I once bought a cheaper backpack by Mountain Warehouse (a UK store), and it fell apart just two months into my trip. I had to replace it when I was in Vietnam and still had several months left to travel. I got a (possibly fake) North Face backpack in Hanoi, and it too died on me soon, with the shoulder straps quickly tearing apart. In hindsight, I should have gotten something proper from the start…

Comparison table of the best travel backpacks in 2018

Finally, a quick comparison of all the backpacks mentioned in this post. The prices are approximate as color choices and sizes can affect this. (Click the links to see the most up-to-date prices.)

Backpack Type Size Price My rating
Tortuga Setout Carry-on 45L $199 5.0
Osprey Farpoint 40 Carry-on 40L $160 4.5
Osprey Fairview 40 Carry-on/women 40L $160 4.5
Osprey Porter 46 Carry-on/duffel 46L $140 4.5
eBags Mother Lode Carry-on/weekender 40L $130 3.5
Pacsafe Venturesafe X40 Carry-on 40L $249 4.0
Osprey Farpoint 55 Carry-on + daypack 40L + 15L $180 5.0
Deuter Transit 50 Main + daypack 50L + 10L $189 4.0

P.S. Links to Amazon and other online stores give me some commission (at no extra cost to you). This is explained more here. This page contains no sponsored or paid-for content.


  1. Paul Reply June 5, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    Thanks, good article.

    Just wanted to add that I traveled many many times with the Osprey 55 as carry-on without any issues, and fully loaded by the way. Which was truly heavy.

    It’s a great pack, but nowadays Im looking to travel lighter and downgrade to the osprey 40.

  2. Nate Reply May 18, 2018 at 5:40 pm

    Excellent and thorough breakdown and comparison, Marek! I’m curious if you have checked out the Cotopaxi Allpa 35L travel pack? It seems extremely comparable to your Tortuga Setout, both in features and price. The Allpa has all the critical features for the minimalist nomadic lifestyle: carry-on size, padded hip belt w pocket, stowable straps, lockable YKK zippers, suitcase-style opening, comfy & breatheable mesh back support, 15″ laptop compartment, water resistant (+rain cover), as well as modular add-ons like a mesh water bottle sleeve. Although I personally prefer the look of the Setout, the Allpa is aesthetically pleasing, too. Also, worth mentioning that Cotopaxi is a fantastic company, donating 2% of revenue to alleviate poverty, sourcing recycled materials, and organizing an annual nation-wide 24hr “Questival” adventure race. If you haven’t experienced Cotopaxi’s product yet, I highly encourage you do.

    • Marek Reply May 18, 2018 at 6:15 pm

      Hey Nate. I just discovered Cotopaxi a few weeks ago, so I haven’t had a chance to look at their stuff yet. But now that you mention it here too, I think it’s time for me to check it out! I like that they’re doing something very different with their color schemes.

  3. Nick Reply May 14, 2018 at 12:51 am

    Great list and write up! It’s nice to read a pack review from an actual user. The Setout is currently at the top of my list but I was wondering if you have ever tried the Tortuga Outbreaker or the Aer Travel Pack. The Aer is a little smaller and doesn’t have a waist belt but I rarely use them so I’m not really concerned. Thanks!

    • Marek Reply May 19, 2018 at 12:43 pm

      Hi Nick. I have the Outbreaker and am doing a review of it soon. I like the fully adjustable suspension system – this is especially great if you’re a lot taller or shorter than average. If you have a medium torso height, then I think this is less important. I slightly prefer the materials and design of the Setout, and it’s a bit lighter too. Haven’t looked at the Aer Travel Pack yet!

  4. Howie Reply April 30, 2018 at 9:16 pm


    Curious, what kind of shoes are they in the pic with the backpacks? The brown boots, they look dope.

    • Marek Reply May 3, 2018 at 8:03 am

      Hey Howie. They’re walking shoes by Merell. I can’t quite seem to find the exact model on their site though, sorry!

      • Howie Reply May 4, 2018 at 12:41 am

        Thanks Marek! I can’t seem to find them anywhere. You must’ve bought a while ago. Enjoy your travels!

        • Marek Reply May 4, 2018 at 9:58 am

          I got them at a Merell store in Lisbon just a few months ago. They were on sale though so maybe they were the last ones!

  5. Ellen Reply March 13, 2018 at 1:19 am

    What is your recommendation if you also want to carry camera gear? My son and I are going on a trip to Costa Rica in May and plan to stay at hostels. We are taking backpacks to make it easier to go from place to place, but also want to go hiking to take a lot of photos. Your packing video gave me a lot of great ideas. Thank you for all the information. My son backpacks all over the world, and this is my first time going with him.

    • Marek Reply March 14, 2018 at 1:01 am

      Hey Ellen. Great question. Right now I travel with the Tortuga Setout as a main bag, and a small CaseLogic camera bag as a daypack. It’s quite inconspicuous but still fits my micro four-thirds camera + 3 small lenses (it has a special compartment for these). I used to have a Peak Design Everyday Backpack which is incredible as a camera bag and daypack, but it sadly got stolen. For something a bit budget friendly the CaseLogic bags are quite nice to use for during the day.

  6. Caitlin Reply January 10, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    Hi Marek

    Have you tried the One Planet packs at all? They are made from heavy duty canvas and all the travel packs have attachments for a daypack. They tend to be a bit more pricey, but are made for the most part in their factory in Melbourne, Australia. I’d love to hear any feedback you may have about them!


    • Marek Reply January 16, 2018 at 7:13 pm

      Hadn’t heard of these yet – will check them out!

      • Michelle Reply June 16, 2018 at 12:44 pm

        I have a One Planet 65 pack (I believe they don’t make my model anymore)-got it in 2003 and still going strong. Has been all around the world and very durable. Now looking at smaller backpacks but will definitely drag my One Planet out if going on extended camping/hiking trips. Would recommend for sure. Very durable and holds up well in heavy rain without a rain cover even. Great front loader style and can fit pretty much everything in it. No rips/no problems with zips-very sturdy.

  7. Jenifer Moore Reply November 5, 2017 at 10:16 am

    Detailed analysis. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Andy Reply November 2, 2017 at 2:09 am

    Great overview of backpacks, and good timing. I am currently looking to buy a new backpack. Thanks for the tips!

  9. Rick Reply September 26, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    Wow, pretty indepth analysis of all these packs. You really did your homework.

  10. Teruyo Reply July 30, 2017 at 9:56 pm

    Thank you brother Marek for your size guide and recommendations for backpacks! I will go to the Malaga of Spain from Finland by Air international Norwegian at Autumn in this year without anyone but with my Adonai Messiah Yahuah.
    My trip plan is from Torremolinos 2 nights→Fuengilola 1 night → Ronda 3 nights → El Chorro 3 nights → Alora 3 nights → Malaga 2 nights
    God bless you!

  11. Anne Betts Reply July 7, 2017 at 10:05 am

    For my last trip, I looked for a travel pack and packable daypack to meet the 7-kg carry-on allowance of regional carriers within Australia, New Zealand and SE Asia. After reading hundreds of reviews, I chose the Osprey Farpoint 40 and Osprey’s Ultralight Stuff Pack. The Farpoint in the S/M torso size is 38 litres and the surprisingly comfortable stuff pack is 18 litres. The best I could do was a packed weight of 8 kg and the size of the Farpoint is such that it didn’t attract undue attention and passed for carry on for all 9 flights. The Farpoint has a great harness and hip belt, making it very comfortable for walking and jumping on and off public transportation.

  12. Sheila Reply March 11, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    I notice that everyone casually accepts the words ‘carry on size’ as if that was a universal given.
    I am perhaps more aware of the sometimes huge variation because AirNZ has a 7kg (118cm 46″ LWH total) carry on limit which means checked in unless you are super good at this lightweight thing

    • Kin Reply March 20, 2017 at 10:09 am

      I did 2 weeks Sydney & NZ South Island in spring with a 35l North Face Terra, weighed 10kg (had to check in at CHC). Looking to upgrade to a panel loader because top loading makes hell of noise when packing in a hostel at 7am!!! Aer, Slicks & Minaal looking real good. Anyone thoughts on these brands?

      • Robert Reply March 31, 2017 at 8:57 am

        I used to travel with the MEI Voyageur, and then the Tortuga, both are great bags, and max size for carry-on. I easily traveled for four months on two south east Asia trips. Once with my MEI Voyageur, and a second trip with my Tortuga. Now I recently bought the even smaller 35 litre Minaal, with the waist belt attachment, and can’t be happier. Being 65 now, I simply don’t want to shoulder a heavy loaded bag anymore. Travelling lite, with a bag I don’t have to check, even makes me feel freer. I can live out of my Minaal for months and months. Even years if I wish. Have safe travels.

  13. Lisa Schofield Reply January 8, 2017 at 9:27 am

    To me, best backpack for traveling is Osprey Farpoint 55 because of its features. I always love backpacks with high capacity. It is extremely useful for long day traveling. I don’t really like the color but the cost if fine. Recommended for any new backpacker.

  14. Richard Remick Reply November 16, 2016 at 3:32 am

    The Osprey Farpoint 55 was the perfect backpack for my 3 week trip to Prague and Munich for Ocktoberfest. Thanks for the advice Marek.

  15. John Reply October 28, 2016 at 3:35 am

    Anyone have any thoughts on the Eagle Creek Systems Go Duffel Pack 60L? Need a new pack and am not sure between this and something like the Osprey Farpoint, but not sure how I feel about the detachable day pack.

  16. Rachel Reply September 27, 2016 at 11:39 am

    I’m looking at getting the Osprey Farpoint 55 but am concerned in case I try to get it through as hand luggage and fail! Would I get charged in countries around South East Asia or be sent to check in my bag and miss my flight etc? I was thinking that if the large part counted as my hand luggage then the small rucksack as the carry-on?

    • Marek Reply September 27, 2016 at 1:41 pm

      The main bag is a little bigger than the usual maximum carry-on size. That said, I’ve not had problems using it as carry-on. Of course there are no guarantees and different airlines have different allowances, but I’d say you should be able to get away with it at least most of the time.

      If it’s a big source of worries, the Farpoint 40 will definitely work as carry-on as it’s within the size limits.

  17. Anne Betts Reply September 16, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    Great post, Marek. I especially like the size chart, and your easy-to-scan list of positives and negatives on the various travel bags. Have you tracked down a Tortuga yet? if so, I’d be interested in your comments. I’m keen to see the specifications on the V3 updated model coming out soon. I travel with the eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible at 54 litres (expandable to 60). I’d like to go a little smaller, and get a bag with a decent hip belt. The Tortuga might be it.

    • Marek Reply September 12, 2017 at 12:07 pm

      Tortuga will be updating their backpacks at the end of 2017 and so I’ve got an order in to review them when the newest model comes out… so stay tuned 🙂

  18. Alok Reply August 29, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    Hi Guys, I am planning for a trip to south east Asia for one and a half months. Obviously I need to carry lots of stuff for such a long time. I am not able to understand which kind of backpack will be suitable for such a long trip. Any suggestion folks?

    • Marek Reply August 30, 2016 at 12:34 pm

      Get a good travel backpack of 40L or so. The climate in Southeast Asia is quite consistently tropical so it’s easy to pack light. You don’t need a bigger bag because you’re travelling longer, this is actually a misconception! 🙂 Just take what you need for 7 to 10 days and do laundry when needed (it’s cheap and easy to do this in SEA).

      You might benefit from reading my post on how to pack or my book which deals a lot with how to pack for a longer trip.

    • Robert Reply March 31, 2017 at 9:09 am

      No, you do not need to carry lots of stuff. I pack the same whether I go for two weeks in northern Ontario, Canada, or for four months in south east Asia. My present bag for travel is only a 35 litre Minaal. My previous bags were both carry on size. About 45 litre, and I’ve learned how to go even smaller and lighter.
      Why would you need more??? Every item you take, you should ask yourself, “Am I really going to use this enough to justify having it take up room and weight, carrying it around on my back everywhere I go for a month or longer?”

  19. Brad Reply July 31, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    I have tried many bags to travel with and nothing has come close to the Pacsafe bags, strong, safe and stylish, my laptop, phone all very safe, incredible features you don’t find on other bags.

  20. Jayson Reply July 27, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    I am heading to Guatemala for a 2-week backpacking trip this August. More often than not I will be staying in hostels, but there is a good chance I will be hiking and camping (max 3 nights). Not too much extra gear: hammock w/ mosquito net and rain cover, hiking shoes, water proof jacket, maybe a few other various items. Would you still recommend a travel pack vs. a trekking pack?

    • Marek Reply August 13, 2016 at 12:10 pm

      I would probably buy your gear for the situations you need it in most. You could go either way, but it sounds like you’ll be camping pretty light so a travel backpack could work just fine.

  21. Anne @ TheYogaNomads Reply April 30, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    HUGE fan of the Osprey Farpoint 40 – been traveling full time with it for the last 2+ years. Fair price and of course the All Mighty Guarantee can’t be beat!

  22. Josie Reply April 3, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    Hi Marek,
    I just wanted to say I was inspired by your more minimalist approach to backpacking, and have taken your advice & purchased an Farpoint 40 pack for my upcoming RTW trip. Having tried it out, I’m so impressed by how much you can fit in it & yet it still feels super light. Happy travels indeed 🙂

  23. Dan Reply January 5, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    Hi Marek,

    Recently picked up the Osprey Ozone 46, how do you think it compares to the Farpoint 40?

    • Marek Reply January 8, 2016 at 4:13 pm

      The Osprey Ozone line is mainly wheeled luggage (not backpacks). I believe there’s also an Ozone branded backpack that’s only sold in the US which is possibly the one you have (I haven’t seen this bag as I’m Europe based). I believe it was originally intended for attaching to wheeled luggage. I imagine the Ozone 46 is just as capable as the Farpoint 40, just designed from a different starting point.

  24. Maria Reply January 1, 2016 at 1:26 am

    I’m no ultra minimalist but my Stratos 34 litre backpack works like a magic while I travel the world. All my toiletries are Lush solids so packs to a small space (probably even smaller than most men have it). All excess baggage is just putting a strain on the journey and anything more than mid-30 litres would not allow me to see the world as I best could. Then again, I don’t carry a laptop or too many clothes and my fujix100 is smaller than a dslr. This just as a comment to those who wonder whether a 30 something backpack is enough. It surely is!

    • Marek Reply January 2, 2016 at 11:09 am

      Thanks for sharing Maria!

  25. Lawrence Reply November 22, 2015 at 11:22 am

    For a slim body built person, is a 30L enough to pack everything?

    • Marek Reply December 19, 2015 at 1:55 pm

      I would like to say yes, and I actually have a friend who backpacked all over Europe with a 30L. I think it takes a very minimalistic approach to packing though (for instance no electronics, or only 1 pair of footwear, etc.). Personally I’d go one step bigger, but if you can pull it off I’d say go for it! 🙂

  26. Lewis Reply October 12, 2015 at 11:37 am

    I went with the Farpoint 40 initially but ended up returning it for the 55, which was my original choice. I really dislike the front laptop compartment on the 40. It seems badly designed and takes away valuable space from the main compartment.

    I need a permanent daypack (rather than a packable one) and don’t mind checking the main bag, so the Farpoint 55 suits me fine.

  27. Che Reply October 5, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    Hi Marek,

    The Tortuga backpack might also meet what you are looking for; basically these two guys hated their backpacks and they built their own. It gets pretty good reviews, I was planning on getting one for my RTW trip, have you heard anything good or bad about it?

    • Marek Reply October 5, 2015 at 2:26 pm

      I saw some of the reviews of the Tortuga backpack. They seem to squeeze every last inch out of the carry-on baggage allowance which is cool. The other ones listed here I’ve been able to actually try and see in real life, but not the tortuga one yet. Trying to track one down, so I can maybe add it here later!

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