Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Structured for increased comfort, tall, slim design, detachable day pack
Cons: Frame makes it too big for a carry-on
Best Uses: Adventure travel, light backcountry trips
A 55-liter travel pack with a detachable day pack, the Osprey Farpoint has our testers excited to book a flight to somewhere far, far away. The Editor's Choice winner, the Farpoint has a taller, slimmer design that is easier to carry than the shorter, wider packs we tested. While you should always consider personal fit first and foremost, our testers agreed that the taller pack provided greater balance and mobility than packs like Eagle Creek Rincon 65, making it our favorite travel-pack-that-can-also-be-used-for-backcountry-adventures. Unlike the frameless Osprey Porter, the Farpoint's peripheral frame successfully transfers the weight to the padded hip belt, making it comfortable to carry, even when packed to the gills. However, if you are considering purchasing this pack because it transfers well into outdoor activities, remember that you can always use a backpacking pack and one of our compressible day pack as your travel pack set-up. For more information on these types of packs, be sure to check out our Backpacking backpack Review. On the other hand, this pack has numerous convenient features that can help streamline packing and just make traveling a little simpler.
Although this pack doesn't have any external pockets, it does feature a detachable day pack, which conveniently zips onto the back or clips to the front shoulder straps. We loved that we could ditch the main pack and head out to explore with the day pack, or leave the day pack at home and head out on an overnight backpacking trip with the main pack. We tested the medium/large size and found it to be a little too big for our 5'6'' female testers, but fine for our male testers over 6'. After a quick trip to the gear store, we determined that the S/M size was a perfect fit for our main 5’6’’ tester. On the down side, this pack does not meet the legal carry-on requirements and would have to be checked when flying, but when considering its comfort, versatility, and ease of packing, our testers agreed that the Osprey Farpoint should take home the Editor's Choice Award for this review. If having a travel backpack that you can carry on is a priority for you, be sure to read our review of the Eagle Creek Rincon. Or if you already have a backpack you love, but need a travel day pack, check out our Top Pick, the REI Stuff Travel Daypack 22.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
One of the most comfortable packs in this review, the Osprey Farpoint features a Lightwire alloy frame that provides structure around the edge of the pack. With its wide, padded hip belt (which is ½ wider but not as padded as the Rincon‘s hip belt), its load stabilizing straps, and semi-breathable back mesh panel, this pack carries better than any other travel pack we reviewed. More of a tall, slim pack, the Osprey Farpoint mimics the shape of the back rather than creating the uncomfortable and unbalanced turtle shell effect we experienced when testing the Eagle Creek Rincon. The Farpoint is even more comfortable with its day pack zipped off and we would happily carry it on three-day backpacking trips. If getting into the backcountry is important to you, also consider a Backpacking backpack, since these packs are often designed to carry increased weight while providing maximum comfort.
Unlike the Rincon and the Kelty Redwing 50, the Farpoint's slim design allows for full range of motion of the arms; we even took the Farpoint backcountry skiing and didn't experience any limitation in arm movement. On the other hand, the pack's taller frame did occasionally affect head mobility (mostly when trying to look up and especially when wearing a helmet). While the pack was even more comfortable with the day pack zipped off, it still carried ergonomically with the day pack attached, thanks in part to Osprey's strait jacket compression straps. We also found the day pack to be quite comfortable and liked its sternum and hip straps (which don't come on the Rincon's detachable day pack).
Functionality and Features
The 55-liter Osprey Farpoint that we reviewed only missed a 10 out of 10 in functionality because its taller frame technically makes it larger than the legal carry-on size (however, we suspect that it would probably be possible to carry this bag onto a plane without too much trouble… worst case, you might have to check it at the gate). As outdoor gear reviewers, the thing we most appreciated about this pack was its ability to perform on backcountry adventures. While this pack doesn’t compare to the comfort, durability, and weight capacity of backpacks designed specifically for multi-night hiking trips, it does a great job of combining the features of a travel pack with the comfort and performance of a backpacking pack. We talked a lot in the “Comfort” section about why this pack makes for a great backpacking pack; here are some of its awesome travel features.
This pack has a convenient zip-up flap that encloses the shoulder and hip straps to protect them from damage when checked. It also has lockable zippers (requires a slim lock) and padded side handles for easy grabbing. Additionally, its hip belt is designed with an "Ergo-pull" buckle, which allows you to cinch the belt down by pulling the straps in toward the belly button instead of outwards. Surprisingly, we found that this made a big different in how easy it was to adjust the hip belt, especially in comparison to the Rincon's more difficult traditional pulls. Furthermore, the Farpoint’s tall design allowed us to be more “pack-aware,” i.e. when wearing this pack on a crowded bus, you wouldn’t have to worry about taking out your neighbor when turning around. When fully packed out with the day packs on, the Eagle Creek Rincon stuck out 16 inches from our back, while the Farpoint measured out at 14 inches at its widest point. Check out the composite photo in our Best in Class review to see what a difference those two inches make. We also measured the Rincon and Farpoint without the day packs on: The Rincon stuck out 12 inches and the Farpoint 9 inches.
Our testers found the Farpoint's day pack easy to zip on and off, but noted that when the main pack was at capacity and we tried to zip on the day pack, the day pack would try to zip itself off before we strapped it down. Then once we strapped it down, that restricted access to the main pack. We found this same issue with the Rincon. The other way to carry the day pack and main pack simultaneously is to rock the front backpack look. Generally speaking, this is super convenient for accessing important items in your day pack, but has a tendency to look pretty nerdy, plus it can be awkward to keep the smaller backpack in place. However, Osprey has helped make this maneuver much easier to pull off by adding buckles which allow you to clip the day pack to the shoulder straps of the main pack. Thanks to this feature, you can proudly wear your convenient front backpack without it awkwardly and uncomfortably slipping off (no guarantees you’ll look cool, though…sorry).
Ease of Packing and Unpacking
A front loading pack, the Farpoint features a panel that unzips almost all the way down the length of the pack, making it surprisingly easy to access gear throughout the whole bag. We all have those moments where it starts raining and we realize that we put the rain jacket in the.very.bottom.of.the.pack. With the Farpoint, we could easily get that long-lost raincoat without unpacking the rest of our stuff. Huge bonus. This pack also has internal compression straps to keep your stuff in place and external cinch straps on the bottom for sleeping mats, etc. On the down side, the Farpoint has lightweight walls without any structure, which were the complete opposite of the convenient foam-lined walls of the Osprey Porter. So when we unpacked the Farpoint, the walls collapsed on the floor, and our stuff started sprawling instead of staying kind of contained within the pack. OK, maybe it's partially our own messiness, but we just thought we'd mention it.
Credit: Amanda Fenn
While the main pack does not feature any external pockets, it does have two internal mesh pockets and the day pack has several convenient pouches, including two fully mesh water bottle pockets. Additionally, when used by itself, the day pack can be hydration compatible. While not specifically designed for this feature, the pack has an internal drop-in pocket along the back, a loop that can be used to hang a bladder and a hole designed for head phones that a bladder nozzle will easily fit through. Finally, the day pack unzips to expose about 3/4 of the pack, making it also simple to pack and unpack.
Made of 210D x 330D Nylon Shadow Box and 420D HD nylon packcloth, the Osprey Farpoint has lighter materials than the other full sized packs we reviewed. However, it gained durability points for its zipper, which is heavier duty than those on other packs. We did not experience any significant wear and tear on this pack even after using it multiple days rock climbing. For a pack with a heavy duty zipper and similar fabrics, but without the extra weight and higher price tag, check out our Best Buy Award-winner, the Kelty Redwing.
Lighter than the Rincon, but heavier than the Kelty Redwing and Osprey Porter 46, the Osprey Farpoint weighs in at 3 lbs, 14 ounces. In comparison to the Rincon, the Farpoint saves weight by using lighter fabrics and a lighter weight frame system. Yet the Farpoint's full peripheral frame is heavier in comparison to the frameless Porter and the single-beam frame featured on the Redwing. However, our testers agreed that the frame on the Farpoint was more comfortable than the support offered by the Redwing and Porter.
At $180, the Osprey Farpoint isn’t a screamin’ deal, but it’s such a great travel pack that we definitely think it’s worth the money. However, compare it to the $260 Eagle Creek Rincon, and you’ve got a bargain. For another pack that will go in the backcountry, but won’t put as big a dent in your budget, consider the Best Buy-winning Kelty Redwing.
— Amanda Fenn
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Most recent review: April 20, 2013
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