< Go to Travel Backpacks
Hands-on Gear Review
Osprey Farpoint 55 Review
Cons: Frame makes it too big for a carry-on, not the best for extended travel
Once again, the Osprey Farpoint 55 walks away as our Editors' Choice winner. This pack has the travel-specific features that you want and the space that you need to maximize your experience. It is one of the best travel packs we've put our hands on and it scored near the top in the areas of comfort, features, ease of packing, and durability. Its sleek design is easy to carry through crowded streets and is much more ergonomic than some of the other packs that were short and wide. The main body of the pack provides 40 liters of packable volume. The 15 liter companion daypack is super useful and fastens to the outside of the pack more securely than any other detachable pack in the review. Further, this little pack is quite comfortable when used alone and had a range of pockets.
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, durability, and ease of packing, our testers agreed that the Osprey Farpoint 55 deserved to take home the Editors' Choice Award for this review. If you're looking for a pack that can carry significantly more, check out our Top Pick for Extended Travel, the Deuter Quantum 70 + 10, which is quite comfortable and even worked well for backcountry backpacking.
RELATED: Our complete review of travel backpacks
Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings
The Osprey Farpoint 55 was one of our favorite packs for trips less than two weeks in length. It was super easy to pack the main compartment that holds 40 liters, but you'll have to utilize the 15 liter daypack to hold 55 liters of your stuff.
One of the most comfortable packs in this review, the Osprey Farpoint 55 features a Lightwire alloy frame that provides structure around the edge of the pack. Unlike 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. However, we did experience a limitation in head movement especially when trying to look up with a helmet on. The pack is nearly identical in size to the Eagle Creek Deviate 60 (the Deviate is 45 liters without its detachable daypack), which was more comfortable to wear when skiing and felt more mobile.
While the Deviate was more comfortable in terms of mobility, we think that the Farpoint was more comfortable it terms of carrying a heavy load as it has a more robust hip belt and back panel. Overall, both packs earned an 8/10 in the comfort metric.
While the Farpoint was even more comfortable with the daypack zipped off, it still carried ergonomically with the daypack attached, thanks in part to Osprey's straightjacket compression straps. We also found the daypack to be quite comfortable and liked its sternum and hip straps (which don't come on the Deviate's detachable daypack).
The 55-liter Osprey Farpoint 55 that we reviewed only missed a 9 out of 10 in functionality because it's 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).
This pack has a convenient zip-up flap that encloses the shoulder and hip straps to protect them from damage when checked. Transitioning this pack to "checked bag" mode from wearing on our backs was about 10 seconds faster than it was with the REI Vagabond Tour 40 or the Pacsafe VentureSafe 65.
Lockable zippers (requires a slim lock) and padded side handles for easy grabbing are a couple other travel worthy features. 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 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.
Our testers found the Farpoint's daypack easy to zip on and off, but noted that when the main pack was at capacity and we tried to zip on the daypack, the daypack would try to zip itself off before we strapped it down. Then once we strapped it down, that restricted access to the main pack. The other way to carry the daypack and main pack simultaneously is to rock the front backpack look. Generally speaking, this is super convenient for accessing important items in your daypack, 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 daypack 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). Wearing the pack in this manner keeps your stuff accessible and secure.
Ease of Packing
The main body of the pack holds 40 liters while the removable daypack holds an additional 15 liters. 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. We were able to fit two stacks of clothes in this pack and keep them pressed flat against the back panel thanks to the internal compression straps.
While the main pack does not feature any external pockets, but it does have compression straps so that you can lash stuff to the outside. Also, it has two internal mesh pockets perfect for items like socks and the daypack has several convenient pouches, including two mesh water bottle pockets. Additionally, when used by itself, the daypack 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 headphones that a bladder nozzle will easily fit through. Finally, the daypack unzips to expose about 3/4 of the pack, making it also simple to pack and unpack. The picture below depicts a day's worth of items that we could fit into the little pack. We weren't able to fit everything pictured into the daypack of the Deviate.
As seen in the photo below, we were nearly able to fit everything into the daypack and main pack of the Farpoint. However, it looks like we'd be thirsty on this trip as we couldn't fit our trusty Nalgene. The Quantum and PacSafe both fit all of the items pictured. The Quantum had ample room left over for hiking boots and a bottle of wine without even utilizing the top lid or detachable daypack.
Made of with a mix of 210D x 330D Nylon Shadow Box and 420D HD nylon packcloth, the Osprey Farpoint 55 proved quite durability. Further, 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. When we intentionally abused this pack, it presented virtually no wear compared with many of the other packs in the review that had noticeable abrasions. We expect this pack to withstand years of use and have no questions about it's ability to withstand the rigors of travel.
Lighter than the PacSafe VentureSafe, but heavier than the Kelty Redwing and Eagle Creek Deviate 60, the Osprey Farpoint 55 weighs in at 3 lbs, 15 ounces. When comparing to the weight to volume ratios of all the packs in this review, the Farpoint earns a score of 4/10. This is about average for most of the packs in the review. the Deviate 60 scored higher, while packs with extra features like the VentureSafe scored lower. Overall, we think the Farpoint is relatively light especially considering how comfortable it is.
While the Farpoint can be used for short backcountry backpacking trips, it's best use is for actual traveling. If you're touring across Europe for two week and constantly moving between hostels, this pack will likely be perfect. Live out of the main pack at the hostel and use the daypack to carry your essentials around while touring the city. Because it's easy to pack and loaded with super handy travel features, we think this is the best travel backpack for those on trips two weeks or less. If you're planning a longer adventure, be sure to check out our Top Pick for Extended Travel, the Deuter Quantum 70 + 10 .
At $180, the 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 $235 Eagle Creek Deviate, and you've got a real bargain. For another pack that will go in the backcountry, but won't put as big a dent in your budget, consider the Kelty Redwing.
The Osprey Farpoint 55 coincidentally wins our Editors' Choice again because we truly believe that it is the best all around travel pack on the market. Other packs blend features that are nice for outdoor ventures, but if you're looking for the best pack to take on your next trip to Europe or South America, this one is pretty much impossible to beat. It is super packable, comfortable, durable, and has excellent features.
— Jeremy Bauman
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: June 8, 2015
Where's the Best Price?
*You help support OutdoorGearLab's product testing and reviews by purchasing from our retail partners.
Table of Contents
Helpful Buying Tips
Other Gear by Osprey