Osprey Farpoint 55 Backpack Review – After 1 Year

October 26, 2016

osprey_farpoint_55

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

Very comfortable

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.

Two-in-one system

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.

Front-loading

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.

Handy features

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: Check on Amazon 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:

farpoint_55_opened

The main bag has one large space and one large mesh compartment; it’s a good idea to use packing cubes to sub-divide the space.

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.

I recommend getting some packing cubes or a travel organiser to make the main backpack a bit more versatile and tidy.

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_with_sleeping_mat

There are straps for a mat or sleeping bag; great for festivals or hikes. Though for hardcore trekking or camping, you might find other backpacks more suitable.

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.

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14 comments

  1. Richin Reply May 26, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    Hi nice review…Does the Osprey 40 can be taken for hikes with one overnight camping ? One more thing does those backpacks have side pockets for water bottles to take on hikes…

    • Marek Reply May 26, 2018 at 2:48 pm

      Hey Richin. It’s not really designed as a hiking bag but if your tent and sleeping bag are small enough you can probably make it work with the 55. The daypack part has two mesh pockets on the outside where you can keep a small water bottle.

  2. Edward Reply April 26, 2018 at 5:51 pm

    Kudos for pointing out that the Farpoint 40 is not the same as the main part of the Farpoint 55. Many reviewers wrongly claim that it is, which kind of reduces my confidence in anything else they say.

    You are right that the 40 takes all the good points of the 55 main pack + the 55 day pack. May I add a couple of observations for those who may be considering the Farpoint 40? Which BTW is a huge favourite of mine.

    1. Osprey’s quoted dimensions of the Farpoint 40 are carry-on, just. They also calculate out to 40 litres, exactly. But that’s external dimensions of an object that is not perfectly rectangular. Conclusion: if you don’t stuff it, it’s carry-on but not a full 40l. If you stuff it, it’s 40l but not legally carry-on. However I have never had a problem with it.

    2. A minor but useful feature: you can lock both zips with a single padlock.

    • Marek Reply April 26, 2018 at 6:24 pm

      Some great points Edward. Thanks for sharing them as I’m sure others reading this will find it useful! 🙂

  3. Lisa Reply April 5, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    I bought this bag based on multiple recommendations for “being one of the best” for long term travel (and your review was definitely a big part of my decision to purchase).

    Only used twice so far, 2 weeks in Morocco and 3 in Scotland, but this is going to be the bag I take on my year long adventure next year. I keep them together, however, and have another small backpack for my carry-on that holds my electronics and various stuff I want on the plane.

    My only con for this is not the size of the zipper rings but that the pulls on the zipper are somewhat awkwardly placed, and if the bag is completely open, it can be hard to get the zipper started to close it back up. You really can’t pull on the rings that are used to lock. Other than that, I love this bag and my small and medium packing cubes work great in it. I gave my large packing cubes to a friend when I got rid of the bigger suitcase.

    • Marek Reply April 5, 2018 at 4:47 pm

      Glad you’re happy with the bag and thanks for sharing your experiences. Yeah I do remember the zipper being just slightly stuck when opened totally. It can be a bit annoying. Good luck on your year-long trip! 🙂

  4. shivam Reply March 24, 2018 at 10:39 am

    thanks for the blog it helps a lot love from India

    • Marek Reply March 24, 2018 at 6:39 pm

      Thanks Shivam!

  5. Wibi Reply April 14, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    Do you think the Osprey 55 would be enough for a 27 day Europe trip? Considering I love buying souveniers, I dont know if I shud get the 55 or 70 farpoint. Help!

    • Marek Reply April 14, 2017 at 3:10 pm

      Personally I would avoid the 70. It’s HUGE. I don’t know what kind of souvenirs you buy but if they’re reasonably sized (trinkets, tshirts, etc.) I’ll guess you’ll be fine with the 55. 🙂 I’ve taken the 55 on trips lasting many months without wishing I had more space.

  6. Andrew Scott Reply November 28, 2016 at 11:51 pm

    Thanks for the write up, Marek! I’m heading to Cuba in January for a few weeks and wanted to get a new travel backpack. After trying out a few, I decided upon the Farpoint 55; it’s nice to know that you’re so happy with it!

  7. Gage Reply November 24, 2016 at 11:26 am

    Thanks, I’ve been looking for something good for weekend trips. The daypack is a great feature. I don’t always want to carry a full bag around but there are some things I don’t like leaving in hostels

  8. Stephanie Craig Reply November 7, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    This is a cool post. You don’t see too many people coming back and updating as they go. Love to see how you feel a year from now!

  9. Pete Reply October 28, 2016 at 3:02 am

    Hey Marek, I love Osprey packs.
    I use a Kestrel 38 which is a great size for carry-on but still rugged and comfortable enough for serious trekking. I do miss the front loading systems of my previous packs but I had zip fail on me with a front loader, been top-load draw string ever since.
    Fully loaded my Osprey is around 10KG which is over the baggage weight limits on most budget carriers. I find that if I keep a low profile no-body bothers me.
    Happy travels man. Love the blog!
    Pete

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