I’ve been using the Osprey Farpoint 55 for about a year now, and it hasn’t failed me yet. In fact, even though it does have a few pros and cons, overall it’s my favorite backpack that I’ve used.
To find out if this might also be the right backpack for you, check out my quick video below or read on for a detailed review. Even though it’s a great backpack, it does have some pros and cons.
I’ve only owned a couple of different backpacks, but I’d say that if you’re looking for a light and versatile backpack designed for travel, then the Farpoint 55 by Osprey is definitely worth considering (or the smaller Farpoint 40). It’s now clear to me why these backpacks are so popular—they’re nicely priced, well-designed, and suitable for both short and long trips.
What I like
I love how the Farpoint 55 distributes the packing weight along your back. With the chest and waist straps properly closed, I often hardly notice it’s there. I’m 1.94m / 6″4 and so I got the M/L version of the Farpoint 55, but there is also a S/M one.
The Farpoint 55 replaced my aging Lifeventure 45L liter backpack, which was deeper but less tall. It would often give me sore shoulders after a while, which is not a problem I’ve had with the Farpoint 55.
The Farpoint 55 is actually a 15L daypack and a 40L main backpack combined, which you can zip together or use separately. I should say that I’ve been using this differently in practice from how I initially imagined. I use them separately most of the time, either carrying the daypack by the handle or strapping it to my chest (turtle shell style).
I like the versatility of using the bags separately; I keep my most valuable things close to me in the daypack, while the main pack with my clothes is chilling out somewhere in a cargo hold or on a luggage rack. When I’m carrying both of them around and need to have both hands available, it takes just a few seconds to clip the daypack to the main shoulder straps.
When arriving at a hostel or hotel, all I have to do is put the bag down flat and zip it open all the way, and everything can be accessed instantly. This means no awkward digging around for stuff at the bottom! Having used top-loading backpacks before, this is truly a revelation.
Doesn’t weigh too much
The Farpoint series is perhaps not as rigid as other packs (when there’s nothing in it, the walls don’t stand up), but for general travel purposes it doesn’t need to be. It’s not as bulky and that makes this a great all-rounder.
The daypack has a padded laptop compartment which I use to store my 13.3″ Macbook Air. It also has two outer mesh compartments and 4 other compartments of various sizes. The zippers have rings on them allowing you to lock them with a padlock or loop a wire lock through them (note that older versions didn’t have this). The main bag has a mesh compartment for storing loose items, and internal compression straps let you bunch up and tighten anything inside.Price: $180.00 view on amazon »
What could be better
It’s actually hard to find faults with this backpack, but at a push I would mention these two things:
No pockets in the main backpack
It would have been nice to have at least one tiny pocket or sleeve in the 40L. It’s really just one big main compartment, plus one large mesh pocket. If it had just one small regular pocket as well, it would make the 40L easier to use without the 15L (such as on a weekend trip). I know that would not be using it quite as intended, but it would have been nice to have.
Zipper rings just a wee bit small
They didn’t fit my admittedly chunky padlock and wire lock, so I had to get a smaller one. I know, this is a bit of a nitpick. Farpoint, if you’re reading this, please make the rings just 1 millimeter bigger!
Using Farpoint 55 as carry-on
Can you use the Farpoint 55 as carry-on luggage? Yes you can!
Well, kind of…
The main 40L backpack slightly exceeds the common airline carry-on size limits. The S/M version is about 2 inches (5cm) too big, while the M/L version is about 3 inches too big.
The exact dimensions are:
M/L 25 x 13 x 12 inches / 64 x 34 x 30 cm
S/M 24 x 13 x 12 inches / 60 x 34 x 30 cm
Fortunately, most airlines care more about weight than size. Since this is also not a hard-shell suitcase, you can probably mold your backpack to fit within the size limits. Budget airlines like EasyJet sometimes have a basket near check-in that your luggage has to fit into, and I’ve successfully wedged the 40L into one of these.
Do make sure that the airline allows two carry-on items. The 40L can then go in the overhead bin, and the 15L under your seat. Presented as one 55L bag, it is likely to be denied.
In the end, taking this as carry-on is possible but not guaranteed. I’ve done it a bunch of times now and it was fine, though I’ve also heard that ultra-budget airlines like RyanAir do make a problem of this. If the thought of having your Farpoint 55 denied as carry-on gives you nightmares (that’s kinda weird but ok), then the Farpoint 40 is your only sure bet.
Farpoint 55 versus Farpoint 40
The Farpoint 55 was an attractive option for me as I needed both a new main bag and daypack. I like that they’re an integrated system and 55 liters gives me plenty of space for my stuff.
That said, I could easily recommend the Farpoint 40 if you pack light (and if you don’t carry loads of electronics for your travel blogging, as I often do). If I had to choose again, I would probably still be torn between getting the Farpoint 55 or getting the Farpoint 40 as my main bag and then find another separate daypack that could double as a camera bag. I’m happy with the Farpoint 55 but I know other solutions are also possible.
Keep in mind that the Farpoint 40 is not the same as the main part of the Farpoint 55!
The Farpoint 40 has a laptop sleeve and many different pockets. Think of the Farpoint 40 as essentially the two parts of the Farpoint 55 merged together into a smaller form. It’s a great choice if you need less space, or already have a daypack or purse you can use alongside it.
- Best Travel Backpacks
My overview of travel backpacks with key features to look for.
- Packing Like a Pro and Traveling Light—My Ultimate Guide
Filled with clever packing tips, and using the Farpoint 55 as an example.
Note: Amazon links give me a small commission. This stuff is explained here.