Are you having difficulty deciding between the different versions of the Osprey Farpoint backpack?
Then I can offer some help, because I’ve used and reviewed nearly all versions of the Farpoint line-up.
The Farpoint 40 was my main backpack when travelling around the world for two years, but since then I have also owned and used many of the other sizes and editions.
Let’s take a look at which backpack might be the right one for you!
In a hurry?
Here’s my main advice: if you need a bag that’s carry-on size get the Farpoint 40, or the Fairview for a women’s specific fit. Skip the Farpoint 55; its hybrid design is a little awkward and it’s not carry-on size. Get the Farpoint 55 Trek if you need extra space and more comfort on a longer backpacking or round-the-world trip.
Ignore the 70-liter versions; they’re way too big for general travel and there are better backpacks for more specific uses. For example, for camping or trekking trips, check out the Atmos 65.
Osprey Farpoint 40
- Fully carry-on compliant size
- Padded hip belt and a harness
- Sideways panel access
- Not big enough for certain trips
- Could have more pockets/subdivisions inside
The Farpoint 40 is an enduring classic travel backpack that’s long been recommended by many travelers for its value price and high quality.
You can count me among its fans, too!
I did an in-depth review of the Farpoint 40 after using it for several years. But the gist of it is this: it’s a great carry-on size backpack that is very durable and comfortable.
It’s perfect for trips where you can pack light.
And it’s my favorite backpack to recommend for things like summer backpacking in Europe or backpacking around Southeast Asia (where you don’t have to pack too many bulky winter clothes).
One drawback of the Farpoint 40 is that it’s lacking a bit when it comes to internal organization, though you can fix this by getting some packing cubes. The positioning of the laptop compartment is also a bit poor, making this bag less suited as a digital nomad backpack. But for general travel where you want to be light on your feet, it’s simply great.
The Farpoint 40 comes in two sizes: S/M and M/L (I’m 194cm or 6″5 and have the M/L).
Osprey Farpoint 55
- Combines a 40L backpack with a detachable 15L daypack
- Padded hip belt and a harness that can be tucked away
- Sideways panel access
- Weighs half a kilo more than the 40L
- Not quite carry-on size (but you can try)
The most important things to know about the Osprey Farpoint 55 are this:
- Unlike the Farpoint 40, it’s not carry-on size.
- The Farpoint 55 is not the same design. It isn’t just an upsized Farpoint 40, but a whole different model.
The key feature of the Osprey Farpoint 55 is that it combines a 40L backpack with a detachable 15L daypack.
The 40L body is unfortunately well over the carry-on size limit, though many travelers try to take it as carry-on anyway after zipping off the daypack. I’ve had some success with this, but it’s not guaranteed. When I flew with some particularly stringent budget carriers (like EasyJet in Europe), I twice got asked to check it in and had to pay added fees.
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 wider.
You can see the difference pretty well in the image below:
One cool thing about the Farpoint 55 is that you can use the daypack separately, zip it onto the main pack, or clip it to the main bag’s shoulder straps (in order to carry both backpacks at the same time, front and back, in a turtle-shell-like fashion).
I used to like the Osprey Farpoint 55 a lot and took it some trips to far-away places like Nepal. It did its job well. But, over time, I began to like it less.
The thing about the daypack is that I never really zipped it onto the main pack. Because the daypack includes the electronics compartment, having it zipped on with a few heavier items in it made the whole backpack just swing from side to side a lot. Carrying it turtle-shell-style was just a bit awkward.
The daypack also has a very flat back, which isn’t very comfortable and can get very sweaty.
This is why, honestly, I think the Farpoint 55 is the weakest among the line-up. Once I was able to compare the Farpoint 55 with other backpacks, I realized its design is not ideal.
Instead of the Farpoint 55, I think it’s better to either:
- Get the Farpoint 40, which is carry-on size. Then separately add any daypack you like. It will likely be better than the bare-bones daypack of the Farpoint 55. (Consider an Osprey Daylite.)
- Get the Farpoint 55 Trek. It isn’t carry-on size and there’s no detachable daypack, but it has many cool features the normal Farpoint 55 doesn’t have. It’s also a lot more comfortable to wear.
Osprey Farpoint 55 Trek
- Adjustable suspension system (4 heights)
- Super comfortable trampoline-style back
- Included raincover, straps for tent/sleeping bag
- No padded laptop compartment
- No integrated travel organizer
The Farpoint Trek is the newest edition to this product line, introduced in 2019. I’ve had the chance to use it both as a general travel bag on a few trips and on a five-day trek.
The most important things to know are:
- The Farpoint 55 Trek is not only for trekking, but it’s definitely a lot more suitable for it than the other Farpoint editions. It’s much more comfortable, has better padding, and has an integrated rain cover.
- However, it isn’t carry-on size and doesn’t have a laptop compartment.
The Farpoint 55 Trek is ideal if you’re looking for a bag that you can use for travel and for trekking.
It’s also the bag I would have loved to use during my round-the-world travels or my backpacking trips in Central- and South America. Even though it’s not carry-on compliant, it’s simply great for extended overland travel.
The extra 15 liters make it easier to pack for multiple climates for one trip, like packing for the tropical forests of Costa Rica as well as the cold mountains of the Andes. The harness is also much sturdier than the other Farpoints, making it much nicer to wear for longer periods of time. On my 5-day trek, I never had sore shoulders or a tired back.
The Farpoint Trek is the only edition that has a fully adjustable suspension system. You can easily change it between 4 different settings, depending on your torso length. This is also why there is only one version, and not two different S/M and M/L sizes. Since I’m very tall (1.94m or 6’5) \, it’s amazing to set the Trek 55 to its highest setting where it fits me perfectly.
Osprey Fairview 40
The Farpoint series is unisex and it was actually long the only version available, but there is now also the Osprey Fairview 40. This is a women’s specific edition with some tweaks for extra comfort.
I am a dude and so I can’t speak from personal experience here, but many women travelers I’ve met on the trail have told me they love this edition.
What are the differences? Well, the Fairview 40 has two other sizes, the XS/S and S/M. The XS/S is not quite 40 liters but more like 38, so it has a tiny bit less space. However, it will be more comfortable on a smaller female body.
Also, the shoulder straps curve along the body, creating a better fit-for-women design.
So which one should you get?
I hope I’ve helped you understand the differences between each of these backpacks. If you still have questions, let me know in the comments.
If you’re unsure, the default bag to get is really the Farpoint 40 or its Fairview sister. I love the simplicity and size of this backpack, and it’s nearly guaranteed you’ll be able to take it on flights without added check-in charges. The Trek edition is great if you’re going to travel overland or want to use it for trekking as well.
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