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With so many travel backpacks available on the market today claiming to be the ‘ultimate backpack!’, many of us feel overwhelmed with choice! How much should I spend on a bag? What size do I need? And, are some brands better than others?
In conversations with well-heeled travellers, there’s always one particular bag that is mentioned more than any other and consistently makes the number one spot in our readers polls!
So, if like me, you enjoy learning all there is to know about the gear you are buying, keep reading as we unpack the Osprey Farpoint 40-litre and its sister backpack, the Osprey Fairview 40-litre, in this dedicated review.
While the Farpoint 40 has been one of the most popular bags among backpackers for years, there is a new kid on the block. The Osprey Farpoint Trek is a hybrid pack designed to be used as an everyday travel bag as well as a hiking and adventure pack! Check out our full review of the Farpoint Trek 75!
Of course, some of you who don’t have the time or inclination to read a full review and that’s fair enough. If that’s the case, take just two minutes to see what other travellers within the South East Asia Backpacker Community think about the Farpoint/Fairview 40….
“The Osprey Farpoint 40-litre, a pack away daypack and a bumbag (fanny pack for Americans!), is all that’s needed for Southeast Asia in my opinion. Travel light travel far.” – George
“The Osprey Fairview 40 is perfect… It opens up fully, which is super important as you will need to repack constantly when travelling.” – Lisa
“I travel with a Farpoint 40. Going to keep it until I kill it, which will probably be a lot longer.” – Jaimee
“Both the Osprey Farpoint and Fairview 40 are fantastic. They come in multiple sizes – try them on and make sure you get the right one for you.” – Gemma
Osprey Farpoint vs Osprey Fairview
Despite popular opinion, the Farpoint is not a pack specifically designed for men. It has always been a unisex backpack and until the arrival of the Fairview in 2017, was advertised as so.
When the Fairview burst onto the scene, it did so as a female specific backpack. All this means is that Osprey changed the cut of the straps to fit shorter, more petite frames. The Farpoint has a broader fit, so it makes sense why they market the bags to each sex.
However, if you are a smaller framed guy or a bigger framed girl, go against the grain and buy the bag aimed at the opposite sex. It will fit better and the only noticeable difference between the two is the colour options. Your best bet is to find a shop selling both and see which one fits better.
Osprey Farpoint 40/Fairview 40: At a Glance!
- Dimensions (cm): 54 x 35 x 23 – Carry on size for almost all airlines.
- Weight: 1.44kg – The lightest travel pack Osprey make!
- Straps: Padded shoulder straps and hip belt. The chest strap is webbing.
- Guarantee: Osprey offer their All Mighty Guarantee with this pack.
- Pockets: Three main pockets with some small mesh compartments inside.
An In-Depth Review Of The Osprey Farpoint 40/Fairview 40
With the quick information out of the way, let’s take a deep dive into what it’s like to travel with an Osprey Farpoint 40 or Fairview 40. I have been travelling for over a year with my Osprey Farpoint 40, whilst my girlfriend has been using her Fairview 40. During this time we have come to know every nook and cranny of these packs as well as how they perform across different situations and environments.
The Good Bits of the Osprey Farpoint 40 and Fairview 40
Even after over a year of travel, my Osprey Farpoint 40 is only showing the faintest signs of scuff marks. There were no tears in the 210D ripstop fabric and all the straps, zips and buckles are still working as well as the day I purchased the bag.
Both the Farpoint and the Fairview utilise a clamshell opening style, aka, They open like a suitcase. This makes them super easy to pack and unpack quickly, which is a godsend when you consider the on the go nature of backpacking!
It also makes things easy to find. By sticking with a clamshell opening style, never again will you have to root around, shoulder deep in your bag searching for that last pair of socks!
As already mentioned earlier in this article, at 54cm x 35cm x 23cm the Osprey Farpoint 40 and Fairview 40 fit within the carry on luggage specifications for most airlines. This is great if you don’t trust airlines with your stuff, or if you just don’t want to mess about at the luggage carousel after every flight.
The only problem is, the bags are so well sized, it is easy to overfill them. Many smaller airlines only allow a max of 7kg as carry on and from experience, I can tell you it is easy to get 12-13kg of gear inside these packs.
Both the shoulder straps and hip belt are well padded. They offer a great level of adjustability so providing you pick the right torso size when buying the pack, it will be comfortable no matter what you are carrying.
The sternum strap keeps the shoulder straps in place and the load lifters help keep the top of the bag nicely in line with your body.
They all utilise high quality plastic buckles and adjusters that are sturdy enough to deal with the rigours of travel. Just don’t stand on the buckles by mistake!
Inevitably, there comes a time where you have to check a bag or leave it in a luggage storage room. On these occasions, it is possible to hide the shoulder, hip and sternum straps behind their own nylon panel.
The panel is tucked away near the base of the bag. Once you have found the small hidden pocket, unfurl the panel, place the straps flat against the back of the pack and zip the panel over the top. The straps are now protected and will not get tangled or damaged.
It is also an ideal way to keep the straps safe when storing the bag between trips. I tend to leave mind under the bed but there has been more than one occasion where I have found a cat tangled up in it!
Traveller Tip! – Although it is not designed for this, the small pocket at the base of the bag is big enough to store a pack cover or small packable raincoat.
Once the straps are tucked away, you obviously still need to move the bag over short distances. This is where it top and side handles come into their own. Not only can you use them to drag the pack out of overhead lockers but they also make it easy to carry the bag to the check-in desk or luggage room.
They are thick and durable and even after a year on the road, mine show little sign of wear and tear.
Detachable shoulder strap
This is an odd one. When you purchase either an Osprey Farpoint 40 or Fairview 40, you will notice an extra webbing strap in the package. By attaching this to the specific anchor points, you can turn your backpack into a duffel bag.
Some bloggers rave about this feature but I have never used it, nor seen anyone else using it. To do so would mean having a bulky bag bashing into my legs or hips and the thin strap would not be comfortable on the shoulders over long distances.
I can’t bring myself to say this is a bad point because it is completely optional and there seem to be a few people out there who actually like it.
There are internal and external compression straps on the Farpoint and Fairview. The internal straps are for squashing your luggage down and holding it in place. I have to be honest and say, I never actually use these. I tied mine up the first time I used the bag and haven’t touched them since. My girlfriend, however, used hers all the time and would not stop raving about them.
The external compression straps help shrink the whole bag down once you’ve filled it. Or, they can be used to collapse any unfilled space you do not use. They are especially useful when you are close to the carry on weight and don’t want your bag to look as heavy as it feels!
The downside of these straps, as we have already discussed, is that they actually overlap the mesh bottle pockets on the front of the bag.
Both the main compartment and front pocket have lockable zips. All you need is a small padlock to ensure your pack remains secure. The external compression straps even cover up the zips for extra protection. Once you’ve buckled the straps up, the zippers cannot be seen at all.
The All Mighty Guarantee
If you’ve read any of our backpack or daypack guides, you will already know how much we here at South East Asia Backpacker love Osprey’s All Mighty Guarantee. Osprey are committed to delivering the most reliable products to their customers. So much so that if you feel your bag has a manufacturing fault or has worn out far quicker than it should, Osprey will repair the bag free of charge.
The Bad Bits of the Osprey Farpoint 40 and Fairview 40
The bottle pockets suck
There are no two ways about it, the bottle pockets on this Osprey model are a pain. They are on the very front of the pack so when you are wearing it, they are about as far away from your hands as possible.
Unless all your joints bend backwards, it can be a challenge to get to your water and even if you do, putting it back is even harder!
The compression straps, which are super useful for synching the pack down, run straight across the middle of the mesh bottle pocket. Once you have managed to pull the bottle out, the compression strap makes it really challenging to put back. I usually ask someone else to do this for me, so I don’t have to mess around taking the bag off every time I need a drink.
The front pocket is hard to use when the pack is full
Once you’ve rolled your clothes down, stuffed them into packing cubes, placed them in the main compartment of your bag and jammed everything else in around them, it’s tough to use the other pockets. Specifically, the small top pocket.
This gets squashed down so small that it’s difficult to put anything inside. I often put small items in the top pocket before filling the main compartment, so I can guarantee I can fit everything in where I want it. Another thing to be aware of is that things can also be hard to remove from this pocket if the main compartment is packed full!
The padded laptop sleeve
Whilst I am super grateful Osprey included a padded laptop sleeve in this bag, I cannot help but feel it could be in a better place. Rather than being inside the main compartment, as close to your back as possible, it is in the front pocket. This means, if you have quite a heavy machine, you really notice the weight dragging your bag down.
The placement is also a bit awkward. Once your laptop is in the sleeve, it prevents the bag from bulging as much as usual. This causes you to lose a small amount of valuable space.
If you have a small, lightweight laptop neither of these problems are as pronounced but I travel with my old 2011 MacBook Pro, which is neither small nor light! My girlfriend travels with her much newer MacBook Air and she doesn’t struggle half as much.
It is also worth noting that some travellers have actually broken their iPads or tablets by trying to use the laptop sleeve. These thinner devices to do not stand up well to a full pack bulging against them. I have spoken to a few people who didn’t consider this and as a result, ended up bending or even cracking their devices by overfilling the backpack.
No hip belt or shoulder pocket
I am a big proponent of having either a hip belt or shoulder strap pocket on backpacks. There are always times when you just want to grab your headphones, painkillers, or a couple of coins without having to dig through your pack.
Both the Farpoint 40 and the Fairview 40 lack these extra pockets. I guess that might not be a big deal to most travellers but I really miss them for storing small items.
Osprey Farpoint 40 and Fairview 40 FAQ’s
Can I use the Osprey Farpoint as a hiking backpack?
Whilst it is not recommended, using your Osprey Farpoint 40 as a hiking pack is not impossible. You wouldn’t want to use the bag for really long hikes due to its shape and weight distribution. The back padding is not designed for hiking so after a while it can rub uncomfortably.
That said, I used my Farpoint 40 when I hiked the 154km West Highland Way trail in Scotland. It certainly did not perform as well as a proper hiking pack would have but held up much better than I expected it to.
Is the Osprey Farpoint waterproof?
No, neither the Farpoint nor the Fairview are waterproof. However, they have a decent level of water resistance to them. If you get stuck out in the odd shower, don’t panic too much. As long as you don’t get caught in a proper deluge, your stuff will remain dry.
If you are expecting to encounter heavy rainfall often, it would be worth picking up a pack cover. Sadly these do cost extra because Osprey doesn’t often include them in their travel backpack range.
Farpoint 40-litre vs Farpoint 55-litre?
The Farpoint and Fairview both come in 40-litre, 55-litre and 70-litre variations. There is also an 80-litre version of the Farpoint available but the 40 and 55-litre variants are easily the most popular.
The 55-litre option is actually two bags. One 42-litre main pack with a detachable 13-litre daypack. This can be super useful for travellers who don’t mind checking luggage and would rather have some extra space.
For those of us who like travelling with carry on only, the dimensions of the 55-litre Farpoint/Fairview are just too large. Even when you remove the daypack, the main pack is fractionally overall hand luggage specifications. Some travellers have got these bags onto flights as hand luggage but I wouldn’t count on it.
Will the Osprey Farpoint fit under a plane seat?
To an extent yes but it seriously encroaches on your foot space. I would just throw it in the overhead locker if possible.
Final Thoughts on the Osprey Farpoint 40 & Fairview 40
I’ll admit, before purchasing my Osprey Farpoint 40 I was sceptical that spending over $100 on a backpack was really worth it. It couldn’t be that much better than a $30 amazon special, could it?
After using it for over a year and really putting it through its paces I can say it’s worth spending the money. It’s easy to see why our readers voted the Osprey Farpoint 40 the number one backpack for travel.
Sure, there are a few annoying niggles such as the water bottle pockets and the lack of a hip belt pocket but these negatives don’t come anywhere near outweighing the positives.
The size, durability and usability of both the Farpoint 40 and the Fairview 40 make them a pleasure to travel with and when you throw in The Almighty Guarantee you have a bag that will keep on travelling as long as you do!