Thursday, January 26, 2012

My RTW Backpack, Round Two: Osprey Farpoint 55

Oh, hello there. Remember when I agonized between two travel backpacks, carefully weighing the pros and cons of each before finally choosing the Deuter ACT Lite 45+10 SL?

A funny thing happened. Last week, at 2 a.m., I bought a different pack online — sight unseen. It turned out to be friggin' awesome, and it's officially my new round-the-world backpack.

(I returned the Deuter pack to Second Ascent and bought a few different travel items with the store credit instead.)

Meet my best friend for the next year or so: the Osprey Farpoint 55.


After I first posted about choosing my backpack, a friend wrote on my Facebook wall recommending the Osprey Farpoint 55, which she used while traveling through Europe. I asked her for a link, checked it out and then promptly forgot about it for several weeks.

As I bought more and more travel gear, I realized how much I'd like to have a front-loading pack so I could easily organize and find all my stuff on the road. I also didn't feel great about the security of the top-loading Deuter pack, which featured a drawstring entry rather than lockable zippers.

I read several positive reviews of the Farpoint 55 (like this one) and decided to just place an order and see how I liked it. I'm so glad I took the plunge — it may very well be the perfect pack!

Here is a little photo tour of my favorite features.


The harness is very comfortable, with a padded back, hip belt and adjustable sternum strap. The hip belt does not have pockets, though, which was a feature I liked about the Deuter pack.


The Farpoint 55 more than makes up for that missing detail with this panel that can either be rolled and stowed under the pack or zipped up to conceal the harness and hip belt.


This is ideal if you want to check it at the airport, although I plan to go carry-on only throughout my trip. It's also convenient if you'd like to simply carry the bag (see the handle on the side?) and give your back a rest.



This little red zipper is one of the main reasons I bought this pack. It unzips...


...to release the detachable daypack! That makes one fewer item I have to worry about buying.



The daypack isn't some flimsy little thing, either. With its 15L capacity, it easily fits my 15" MacBook Pro and has great pockets for storage.

I'll be able to stow the main pack on planes and buses while keeping my new Kindle Keyboard 3G (yay!) and other important items nearby thanks to this daypack. And since it also has a padded harness, plus a sternum strap and hip belt, it'll comfortably accompany me on adventures that call for a lighter load.



Back on the main pack, lockable zippers meet to protect its single point of entry. (The daypack's zippers do not lock like this.)



And the whole pack opens wide to welcome a whole mess of travel gear. Mesh pockets on the inside front panel and compression straps on the back panel complete the simple interior.

The Osprey Farpoint 55 comes in two sizes: S/M and M/L. I went with the S/M, as I believe the size difference is in the height of the main pack. Both sizes come with the same 15L daypack.

Here are the stats (including the daypack) for both sizes:

S/M
  • 52L
  • 3 lb. 12 oz.

M/L
  • 55L
  • 3 lb. 15 oz.

And for the daypack alone:
  • 15L
  • 1 lb. 10 oz.

So my pack is actually 37L with a 15L daypack. 37L sounds small, but it looks like it'll hold everything just fine. Not that I've done a test pack yet, but that's coming up on my to-do list!

Forgive this explosion of information, but I was quite confused about the main pack capacity vs. daypack capacity as I researched this backpack, and good photos of the pack's features seem to be nonexistent on the Web. I hope this post will be helpful to others who are considering the Osprey Farpoint 55 for their travels.

I'm really excited to get this bag packed and see how it performs on the road. And I won't have long to wait — there are only 10 days to go until my departure!!

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29 comments:

  1. WHOA. I am totally drooling over that pack. Hello, pack envy! It looks PERFECT for your trip! Osprey makes some quality stuff! :)

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    1. I'm so glad I made the switch! Maybe it'll be your next pack? : )

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    2. I very well might be.... :)

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  2. Wow, I can't believe it's only 10 days away! I'm sorry I haven't been in touch recently! If you have some time I'd love to grab some coffee with you before you go. Though shoot, I'm in SF next week. I can break away from work tomorrow if you're available. Let me know!

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  3. It is amazing how fast your backpack becomes like another limb... it carries almost everything you own!

    We went with twin 32L Deuters and love them, but you make great points about the Osprey's locking ability. Your bag will look tiny next to some of the monsters you'll see in the hostels!

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    1. 32L sounds nice and light — good job! I can't imagine going any bigger than 52L or 55L. Not only do I not need that much stuff, but it'd be a pain in the butt to lug around!

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  4. Just saw this post, so maybe you've already discovered it...but if you have a camelback sleeve it actually fits in the daypack and there's a little hole in the back (marked with a headphone sign because you can also use it for music) where the drinking straw can come through. So if you go on hikes it's really convenient not to have to carry a separate water bottle!

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    1. Hi Ying! I did notice that feature. but I don't have a Camelbak. I would've loved to have one when I hiked the Tongariro Crossing the other day, but my water bottles fit easily inside the daypack and didn't pose an issue.

      I'm LOVING this pack so far and can't thank you enough for recommending it!!

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  5. I'm so happy i found this review! I've been searching all over for photos of the daypack removed from the main pack. I'm pretty sure i'll be getting the Osprey Farpoint 55 now! Thanks :)

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    1. That's exactly why I posted all these photos, and I'm so glad it helped you! It's an awesome pack and I couldn't be happier. Cheers!

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  6. I'll be following your journey since I aim to start mine January 2013.

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    1. Awesome. Have fun planning your adventure!!

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  7. Thanks so much for this review - by far the most information on this bag on the internet and I'm officially sold on this being my new travel companion. Thank you!

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    1. Wow, that's great to hear! You'll love it.

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    2. This is great info. I'm going to buy a Farpoint 70L, as I like to able to fit in souvenirs if I can. Came home from Nepal with a carpet in a bag as handluggage! This is a very helpful review, better than the Osprey website. Have a great trip. It will change how you look at life in astonishing ways. I went overland in the 70's for 3 years. The best education I ever got!!

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    3. Is it waterproof? I went overland too in the 70s, I loved my iceblock at the Khyber pass.

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  8. Hello! I stumbled across your site while searching for reviews of the Fairpoint 55. I just bought one and love it, but I'm concerned about not being able to carry it on. Have you had success carrying it on planes even though it technically doesn't fit the specs of carry on luggage? Great site, btw, I can definitely relate to a lot of your posts!!

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    1. I've flown with it 3 times as a carry on. Once, the plane was at capacity and they made me fit it into the metal preliminary "fitting" compartment before you board. had to squeeze it in there but I was able to board. Just separate the packs and use the daypack as your second carry on

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  9. Hi Devon,
    I have really enjoyed reading your blog and especially your review on the Farpoint! I bought one today for my RTW adventure but sadly, i'm going to have to upgrade to the 70L (which i didn't want to do!) but I have to take a sleeping bag with me and will be visiting many climates and winter! i was wondering if you had any feedback on other travellers with the 70L Farpoint??
    Belle
    www.travellingbelle.com

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    Replies
    1. I have not heard any opinions about the 70L pack. Hope it works out well for you!

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  10. Hey Devon,

    Your review of this bag was one of the motivating factors in me buying it. I'm just curious though, did you like traveling with it as much as you thought you would? Because I don't like it at all! We're two months into our trip and I'm seriously scanning the Thai markets for a different bag combination :( Just curious what you thought of it after traveling for so long. I found it was so great on paper, but not at all great for me (and my gear) on the road! I'm writing an open letter/review of some sort on my blog at the moment. (www.thiskentuckygirl.com) hahaha~ not that you have to read it at all, but I would love to know what you thought of it after using it for awhile!

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    1. Hi Lizzie! I'm sorry to hear that you don't like the pack. I feel partially responsible for your misery... : (

      I read your review and definitely think a huge factor in your dislike is that you aren't using compression sacks/packing cubes to organize your stuff within the pack. I used two compression sacks for my clothes, two packing cubes for toiletries/electronic accessories, and another small bag for medicine/first aid. I really only had five major items to pack in the bag every day.

      I agree with you that it sucks to have to carry the daypack and main pack separately when they're both full. I packed much lighter on my recent trip to Italy and was always able to zip on the daypack... such a relief. It's tough to do that on a RTW trip, though.

      I had never even thought about a backpack having a built-in rain cover, but that is genius and I wish all packs had that! I only had to use my rain cover once or twice, so this wasn't a big deal for me.

      I also traveled with a laptop (15" MacBook Pro) and full-sized DSLR, and had no trouble fitting the laptop in the daypack — just shoved it in, I guess. I almost always carried the DSLR in a separate camera bag.

      I agree with you about the outside mesh pockets and inner pocket of the daypack!

      I hope you find something else that'll work well for your current trip. It sounds like you were comfortable using a more unconventional set of bags in the past and wish you had just stuck with that... just goes to show that what other travelers prefer isn't necessarily right for everyone!

      Again, I'm sorry you're not having a good experience with the pack. I hope you're having a great time on your trip, though! : )

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  11. Thanks for this review! Super useful as I'm researching which bag to get for a long trip! :)

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  12. Hi Devon, I'm looking for a pack with the max carry-on size. Osprey Porter 46 is good but the hip belt is rather useless. Is this bag meets the carry-on size if it's not fully packed and w/o the daypack?

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    1. I really would like to know also how you fared taking the bag as carry-on on flights? Did any particular airlines make you check-it?

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  13. Hi Devon, thanks so much for making this post! I have been looking at this pack for my two month trip and been getting very frustrated at the lack of photos to explain the features! Hallelujah, I found your post! Now I am definitely sold on this. I'm pleased also because it's at least £40 cheaper than others I've been looking at. It saves me buying a separate day pack too :)

    Thanks!

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  14. Hi Devon, I'm a backpacking biginner, and I'm going to working holiday in Austraila next year. After the one-year working holiday in Australia, I will go on a long travel for about a year. I'm looking for a suitable travel backpack,I am considering the Eagle creek 90L(70L+20L) or Osprey Farpoint 70L(55L+15L). Is 55L large enough for my trip? btw, I am male

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