I am a devotee of traveling light and efficiently. I have been packing carry on only bags for years, but only recently got hooked on carry on backpacks. For our recent trip to Italy and Germany, we had a crazy travel schedule of changing planes, trains, airports, and cities, and we knew that we didn’t want to deal with the hassle of checking our larger backpacks.
I did a good amount of research and the general consensus online was that the Osprey Farpoint 40 was the way to go. It is worth noting that Osprey also makes the Fairview 40, which is the female version of the Farpoint. Since the Fairview was more expensive (the price has since gone down and it is now the same price as the Farpoint) and didn’t seem all that different based on the reviews, I opted for the unisex Farpoint.
My regular backpacking bag is also an Osprey (the Aura 50… review to come!), so I knew some basic ins and outs of the Osprey brand already. While I absolutely loved the Farpoint, it is worth touching on some pros and cons…
The Farpoint 40 is the maximum allowable carry on size for both domestic and international flights. While some airlines may be cool about allowing larger bags as carry ons, it was really nice knowing that our bags were never going to be an issue throughout our travels. The Farpoint was easy to lift and fit in the overhead, throw in the trunk of a cab, or carry on public transit.
The main con that we both noticed with our packs is that it really isn’t possible to adjust the pack tight to your shoulders and upper back. Messing with the load lifters and chest strap got it close, but not flush enough to be 100% comfortable. The wasn’t an issue for the type of walking we did, but this is definitely a city/country bag rather than a hardcore backpacking bag.
The Farpoint comes with an amazing amount of built in storage and organization. The pack is divided in to three sections: one large, one medium, one small. The middle, medium sized section has built in padding and pockets that would be great for a laptop, iPad, or anything of the like. I found that between the built in storage and my packing cubes, I had no trouble staying organized and tidy in the Farpoint.
The mesh part of the pack that sits against your back is not very breathable. This is a far cry from my Aura 50, which has an amazing mesh webbing that keeps the pack tight to your back without having padding right against your clothes. Since it was unbearably hot in Italy, our packs were soaked by the time we took them off. This is another reason why I wouldn’t necessarily opt for this pack for a more intense backpacking trip.
The Farpoint opens from the front rather than the top, making it super easy to access anything inside your pack. Every time we changed locations I simply unzipped the main pouch, pulled out my packing cubes, and I was good to go. It is really nice having a visual on everything inside your pack and not having the pull everything out to access items at the bottom.
The sizing of the Farpoint 40 isn’t great. Your options are a S/M or a M/L. My other Osprey backpacking back is an XS, so while the S/M fit, it certainly wasn’t as tailored to my body as my other pack is. Adam had the same issue with the M/L. We are both at the smaller end of our size ranges, and it was unfortunate that we couldn’t get a straight small or straight medium. We made do with what we had, but a more specified size would have been better.
Overall, I was impressed with the Farpoint 40. For the type of trip we were on, it was the perfect pack for our needs. I should note that, while I was impressed with the pack, Adam didn’t love it as much. It started to grow on him by the end of the trip, but he never found it to be a truly comfortable pack. I don’t know if that has to do with the way it fit his body vs mine or the way the backpack was constructed, but he wasn’t overly impressed with the comfort of it. He did say that he would definitely use it again for a city trip, but not for anything that requires more endurance.