Osprey backpacks are renowned across the travel and backpacking world. They’re known for their comfort, reliability, overall quality and vast range. Osprey produce bags and rucksacks for every climate, trip and terrain, so choosing the best for you can be a daunting prospect.
Choose wrong and you won’t get the most out of the bag but choose right and you’ll have a well-made, comfortable backpack that will see you through multiple years of travel!
Rather than leaving you to spend hours trawling through the specs and features on Osprey’s website, we put together this list of the best Osprey backpacks for travel!
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- Carry-on compatible
- Can store a lot of gear
- Hybrid backpack for hiking and travel
- Excellent suspension system
- U-zip opening makes it easy to pack and arrange your gear
Related: (links open in a new tab)
- The Ultimate Travel Gear Guides
- The Ultimate Guide to Sustainable Backpacks
- Top Travel Backpacks for Women
- Farpoint vs Fairview – Osprey create two models of this backpack. The Farpoint is built for men, while the Fairview is made for women. The difference is in the size and shape of the shoulder straps and back panel.
- Adjustable – The newest versions of the famous Farpoint/Fairview bags are fully adjustable. The torso length and straps can all be fully customised to fit you exactly. This makes for a super comfortable carry experience, although it can take a few goes to get it all set up right!
- Carry-On Compatible – The Farpoint/Fairview 40 bags fit just within carry-on limits for most airlines. But they’re not small bags. The huge main compartment can store a whole bunch of gear and most travellers won’t need any more space. There are a bunch of organisational pockets dotted about the bag, as well as a padded laptop sleeve that can be accessed from the side of the bag without having to empty out any gear.
- Other Sizes – Although the Farpoint/Fairview 40 is arguably the best travel backpack available today, the bags do come in other sizes. Both are available in 55-litre and 70-litre models. The 55-litre model is actually a 40-litre backpack – with the same dimensions as the Farpoint/Fairview 40 – plus a detachable 15-litre Osprey daypack. It can also be used as a carry-on because the daypack counts as your personal item. The 70-litre setup is a 55-litre main pack and a 15-litre daypack. The main pack cannot be taken as carry-on.
- Carry-on size
- Can store a huge amount
- Good laptop sleeve
- No real bottle pockets
- Hybrid Backpack – The Osprey Farpoint Trek 55 is an innovative blend of hiking backpack and travel bag. It includes features suited to both use cases meaning this bag has you covered, no matter what your trip entails. The U-Zip opening is excellent for organising your gear in the massive main compartment but it’s not as useful for grabbing items quickly while on the trail. The comfortable Airspeed suspension system, well-padded shoulder straps and excellent load-bearing hip strap, mean the bag remains comfortable even after a day of putting in big miles!
- Adjustable – The Farpoint Trek is fully adjustable. The suspension system can be moved to accommodate a range of torso sizes and the straps can be fine-tuned to ensure maximum comfort for all users.
- Fairview Trek 50 – The women’s version of this bag is the Fairview Trek 50. It’s five litres smaller but includes all the same features. The cut of the straps and shape of the back panel are built to fit a female frame.
- 70-Litre Models – Both the Farpoint and Fairview Trek are available in larger models. The bigger Fairview Trek is 70 litres while the Farpoint Trek also comes in a 75-litre version. These larger bags offer significantly more space (20 litres to be precise 🤓) and are still super comfortable to carry. Just be aware of overpacking if using the bigger bags – they feel heavy when full!
- Super comfy
- Packed full of features for hiking and travel
- Loads of storage space
- Too big for hand luggage
- U-zip opening is more useful for travel than hiking
- Hip belt pockets are too small
- Backpack With Wheels – Whether you like a backpack or a rolling suitcase, the Farpoint Wheels offers the best of both worlds. When you’re on smooth terrain, pulling the backpack behind you is the easiest option, but when the going gets tough, you can easily convert the bag into a backpack. It’s ideal for trips to harder-to-reach locations!
- Sizes – The Farpoint Wheels backpack is available in 36-litre and 65-litre models. The 36-litre model is ideal for shorter trips as it’s carry-on compliant and can store a huge amount of gear for a bag of this size. The 65-litre model is huge. It needs to be checked on planes but for longer trips across multiple climates, it can be a good choice.
- Comfort – Considering it’s a backpack with wheels, the Farpoint Wheels offers a comfortable carry experience. When needed, you can convert the bag from rolling mode to backpack mode. It takes around sixty seconds to do but can be fiddly on the first couple of attempts. When in backpack mode, the Airspeed suspension system and padded straps offer a surprising level of comfort.
- Weight – The biggest downside of this bag is the weight. The 36-litre model clocks in at 2.4kg while the 65-litre bag is 2.8kg! This takes up a sizeable amount of your overall baggage allowance. By comparison, the Osprey Farpoint 40 weighs 1.6kg, making it 800g lighter than the 36-litre Farpoint wheels and 1.2kg lighter than the 65-litre model!
- Loads of storage space
- Don't need to carry your backpack everywhere
- Comfortable to carry or pull along behind you
- Water bottle pockets aren't very useful
- Single stem handle can make the bag hard to manoeuvre
- Main Compartment – Within the Osprey Porter 46, the main compartment is gigantic! Most travellers will easily get their gear inside it. It’s easy to pack because of its large rectangular shape but unless you’re a Tetris master, you’ll likely need packing cubes to truly make the most of the space.
- Carry-On Compliant – The Porter 46 is the largest carry-on backpack we’ve ever seen. How Osprey managed to create a bag with so much storage while fitting into carry-on dimensions is some sort of black magic. That said, if you’re flying on smaller regional airlines like AirAsia, you may be required to check the bag – especially on a sold-out flight.
- Stowable Straps – If you are required to check the bag, you can stow the shoulder straps and hip belt to protect them from heavy-handed baggage handlers. The process is easy but can be slow if the bag is fully packed.
- Organisation – As well as the giant main compartment, the Porter features a bunch of pockets and compartments for storing smaller gear. These can be accessed through external zips, allowing you to get at important items in a hurry.
- Versatility – The Osprey Transporter is essentially a duffel bag with backpack straps. The straps are easy to get out or stow when needed. It’s made from TPU-coated recycled polyester, so it’s weatherproof, keeping your gear safe from the elements. You can take this bag almost anywhere!
- Packing – Packing the Osprey Transporter is easy to learn but hard to master. The giant opening allows you to cram your gear inside with ease but if you plan to use it in backpack mode, you need to pack softer items on the top, as these will press against your back while you’re wearing the bag.
- No Frame – Having no frame has some advantages, namely size and weight. Clocking in at just over one kilogram for the 40-litre model, the Transporter is a light bag considering its size! However, the lack of a frame affects the carry comfort when it’s worn as a backpack. You need to pack the bag correctly to ensure it’s comfortable on your back! The fact the bag is lacking a full suspension system and hip belt also affects the comfort level.
- Organisation – While the transporter does feature some pockets for organising smaller gear, it’s missing water bottle holders and a laptop sleeve. This is by no means a dealbreaker for many travellers but can be a problem if these are features you like in a backpack.
- Hard wearing
- Easy to get at your stuff inside
- No water bottle pocket
- No laptop sleeve
- No frame
- Lightweight – The Osprey Daylite Carry On 44 is a lightweight carry-on backpack. It weighs just 1.1kg, making it around 500g lighter than the Farpoint 40! To achieve this weight saving, the bag has less structure and fewer features than other Osprey backpacks – but don’t let this put you off, it’s still a very capable travel backpack.
- Comfort – Osprey’s Daylite Carry On 44 features an AirScape back panel. This foam sheet is ridged for increased comfort and airflow. It prevents bulky gear poking you in the back and reduces the build-up of sweat – a requirement if you’re backpacking somewhere hot and sticky like Southeast Asia! However, there is no hip belt on this bag and the structure is a little floppy… Carrying heavy loads can get uncomfortable, even with the padded shoulder straps.
- Pockets – The Daylite Carry On features a huge main compartment for the majority of your gear. It houses internal compression straps but very few organisational compartments. The front of the bag is home to two exterior pockets which can be used for items you may need in a hurry. There’s also a padded laptop sleeve in the back.
- Suitcase Style Opening – Like most of the best Osprey travel backpacks, the Daylite 44 fully opens up like a suitcase, this makes packing and unpacking your gear easier – especially if you use packing cubes!
- Carry-on size
- No hip belt
- Shoulder strap clips could be more secure
- Only available in one size
- Sizes – The Osprey Sojourn is available in 60 and 80-litre models. Both are massive and unless you truly need a shed load of stuff, the 80-litre model will be way too big for 99% of travellers. The 60-litre model is more suitable, especially if your trip takes you to a range of climates and weather conditions – there’s plenty of room inside for cold weather gear as well as your beach stuff!
- Backpack With Wheels – Osprey’s Sojourn backpack is the second backpack with wheels on our list and while it’s not for everyone, the bag is a good choice if you want to avoid carrying a heavy backpack everywhere you go. It features chunky wheels and has good ground clearance, so can get across cobbles or uneven streets better than most wheeled luggage! The twin stem handle offers good manoeuvrability and control of the bag, even when it’s full!
- Suspension System – Chances are, you won’t need to use the Sojourn in backpack mode very often but when you do, you’ll appreciate the trampoline-suspended mesh suspension system. It’s comfortable across your back and reduces the pressure on your shoulders. Considering the size and weight of the bag, the comfort level is impressive. However, if you’re carrying it for long distances, you’ll be glad to take it off when you get to your destination!
- Compression Wings – The Sojourn has epic compression wings. These external flaps are well-padded and wrap around your bag. They protect the gear inside as well as streamline the backpack – a must for bags of this size!
- No need to carry all your stuff on your back
- Robust and weatherproof
- Comfortable suspension system
- Very heavy
- Way too big for carry-on
- Can be uncomfortable to carry for a long time
- Aether vs Ariel – As with most Osprey backpacks, the Aether range is available in male and female-specific designs. The Aether is built for men, while the Ariel has slightly different straps and back panel to account for the differences between men and women. You don’t need to stick religiously to the bag designed for you though, if you find one more comfortable than the other, opt for that!
- Hiking Pack – Osprey’s Aether backpack is built for hiking. It’s crammed full of features to make life on the trail a little simpler. The AirScape back panel is comfortable and allows air to flow to your back. The straps and chunky waist belt help distribute the load across your body and hips. As for attachment points, the Aether/Ariel has them in spades. You can attach almost anything to the outside of these packs using the lash points all over the bags. Plus, the packs include a rain cover as standard – something missing in a lot of Osprey travel bags!
- Models – There are more than just the standard Ariel and Aether packs in this range. The ‘Plus’ models have extra storage space and include a removable lid which doubles as a collapsible daypack. The ‘Extended Fit’ models include more adjustability to include a range of body types and sizes. This range is helping to make travel and the outdoors more accessible to everyone! Across all the different models of this bag, volumes range from 55 litres up to 100!
- It's a pack built for hiking
- Packed full of features to make trail life easier
- Not the most practical pack for travel
- You need to measure your torso to get the right size
How to Choose the Right Osprey Bag for Travel
Choosing the right osprey backpack for your trip is a personal affair. Backpacks are not one size fits all. At least, not in a metaphorical sense – after all, Osprey sell plenty of adjustable one size fits all backpacks!
Picking the best bag for you depends on what you need from your travel backpack.
Consider these factors before buying an Osprey backpack for your trip!
Having the wrong size backpack can be a stressful waste of time and money. Too small and you won’t get all your stuff in. Too big and you’re stuck dragging a giant sagging bag around with you or struggling to lift something you’ve packed to the brim!
Choosing the right size backpack can be confusing but most travellers can get away with a 40-litre bag for an extended backpacking trip. Opting for a 40-litre bag means you’ll have to leave a few home comforts behind but you’ll generally be able to use it as a carry-on backpack and not be weighed down when travelling between destinations.
Minimalist travellers can likely get away with a smaller bag, 30 litres is a good size if you know you don’t need much on the road.
However, backpackers wanting a few more luxury items in their bags, or who are visiting a lot of different climates on a single trip, may want to opt for a larger bag – around 55-60 litres. Just bear in mind that larger bags are naturally heavier to carry and will need to be checked when flying.
Backpack materials are super important in some cases – think ultralight hiking or venturing into extreme terrain – but for most backpackers, choosing a backpack from a known and trusted brand is more important than what the bag is made from.
Luckily, you’ve already chosen Osprey, so you’re well set on that front! Osprey travel backpacks are usually made from nylon or polyester. They may feature other materials but the majority of the time, it’s one of those two.
If you’re concerned about the climate, which lets face it we all should be, then you’ll be pleased to hear Osprey are including more and more recycled material in their bags. Some of their backpacks are now completely made from recycled plastics! ?
Price is always a big consideration when choosing a backpack. You don’t want to dig too deep into your travel fund but you don’t want to skimp out either. Cheap crappy bags that need replacing on the road end up costing you more in the long run!
Thankfully, Osprey bags are very cost-effective. For the quality, you’re unlikely to find many bags cheaper than an Osprey!
Expect a great Osprey travel backpack to set you back $100-$300USD.
The difference between 1.2kg and 2.2kg doesn’t feel like a lot in your hands but that extra kilogram takes up a lot of your baggage allowance. If you’re happy with a bit less stuff, you’ll get away with a heavier bag but a kilogram is the equivalent to between five and ten t-shirts or two pairs of jeans!
Ease of Packing ???
This is the most personal choice of all. How easy your bag is to pack comes down to your own preferences. Do you like a top-loading pack or a bag that opens like a suitcase? Would you prefer a bag with plenty of pockets or are you more interested in having a large open compartment you can cram your stuff into? Ask yourself these questions to pick the best Osprey bag for you!
A Round-Up of the Best Osprey Backpacks for Travel
Osprey are so well respected in the travel and outdoor scene that any of their backpacks is likely to be a good investment. However, each of their bags are made for a specific purpose and caters to a specific kind of traveller.
Our overall favourite Osprey travel backpack is the Farpoint/Fairview 40 but the Porter 46 comes close. For a lightweight option, we recommend the Daylite Carry On 44 and if you’re looking for a backpack with wheels, the Farpoint Wheels bags are excellent options.
For hiking, you can’t go wrong with the Aether/Ariel backpacks but if hiking is a secondary activity on your travels, consider the hybrid Farpoint/Fairview Trek, both offer an excellent mix of features!