Osprey Porter 46 Review
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Osprey Porter 46
|Price||$185.00 at REI|
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|Pros||Protective and durable shell design, affordable, good harness system, useful clips and straps||Airplane-friendly shape, comfortable harness system, thoughtful pocket placement, lightweight, versatile design||Lightweight, very spacious, backpack straps, waterproof, super durable||Distributes weight nicely, highly organized structure, comfortable & removable straps, sturdy handles||Removable straps, compact, waterproof, attachment loops, handles on each side|
|Cons||Protrudes from back, may not fit under airplane seat||Does not sit upright, laptop sleeve unpadded, may not fit under an airplane seat||One open compartment, limited organizational pockets, can feel slouchy when not full||Too many pockets for minimalist travelers, does not fit under an airplane seat, not the best for loose/large items||Limited organizational pockets, lacks comfort when fully packed|
|Bottom Line||This travel backpack is easy to pack, organized, and very durable, though a little bulky for quick trips||With a spacious and thoughtful design, this is a versatile bag meant for airplane travel and outdoor adventures alike at an affordable price||A duffel-style backpack with an unmatched weight to volume ratio and excellent durability that is well suited for multi-day vacations or expeditions||A stylish and slim 40-liter three-way travel backpack with stellar organization and a comfortable harness system, perfect for a weekend warrior||A compact duffel style bag perfect for the minimalist weekend traveler who doesn't need the added organization of backpack straps|
|Rating Categories||Osprey Porter 46||REI Co-op Ruckpack 40||Patagonia Black Hol...||Topo Designs Global...||The North Face Base...|
|Packing and Accessibility (25%)|
|Volume to Weight Ratio (15%)|
|Specs||Osprey Porter 46||REI Co-op Ruckpack 40||Patagonia Black Hol...||Topo Designs Global...||The North Face Base...|
|Volume of Main Compartment||46L||40L||55L||40L||42L|
|Measured Weight||3.23 lbs||2.10 lbs||2.57 lbs||3.65 lbs||2.6 lbs|
|Volume to Weight Ratio (bigger is better)||14.24||19.05||21.4||10.96||16.15|
|Dimensions||21" x 14" x 12"||24" x 13" x 10"||26.7" x 15.7" x 11.8"||22.5" x 14" x 7.5"||23" x 14.67" x 10.2"|
|Carry-on Size Compatible? (22" x 14" x 9")||Must be cinched down||No||Yes, if squished||Yes||Yes, if squished|
|Measured Stuffed Dimensions||22" x 14" x 12"||22" x 9" x 14"||27" x 16" x 12.5"||22.5" x 14" x 7.9"||22" x 13 " x 9"|
|Fabrics||420D nylon hex diamond ripstop, 420HD nylon packcloth||Recycled nylon ripstop and recycled polyester lining (bluesign approved)||900D recycled polyester, 200D recycled polyester||1000D recycled nylon, 400D recycled nylon, 210D recycled nylon, 1680D recycled ballistic nylon||300D recycled polyester tarpaulin, 840D recycled ballistic nylon|
|Frame Type||Stiff foam||Ventilated mesh||None||Foam with nylon padded backpanel||None|
|Access Type||Panel loading, zips all the way open||Top loading||Clamshell||U-Zip||Clamshell|
|Number of Pockets||7 zip, 8 no zip||6 zip, 7 no zip, 2 water bottle||Internal/external zippered side pocket, interior mesh lid,||External: 2 large zippered security, 2 water bottle
Internal: 1 laptop, mesh organization
|4 zip, main compartment divider option|
|Waist Belt Type||Padded||Padded||None||Removable||N/A|
|Sternum Strap||Yes, whistle||Yes||None||Yes||N/A|
|Different Sizes Available?||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Volume Options||30L, 46L, 65L||18L, 28L, 40L, 65L||40L, 55L, 70L, 100L||30L, 40L||32L, 42L, 62L|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Backpack? Duffel? Carry-on? You choose! The Osprey Porter is versatile and easy to use for a variety of travel styles.
The Osprey Porter 46 is a comfortable yet burly backpack. It feels more like putting a small stiff duffel with excellent suspension on your back. It carries impressively well for its boxy shape, considering how much it protrudes from the back, but due to its shape, it is not as versatile as other bags in this lineup.
In the most recent update, Osprey made the very smart decision to move the laptop sleeve from the outermost pocket to the back panel. This move not only protects your fragile electronics but it helps keep the weight of the pack centered more closely to your back and helps increase comfort. In our tests, the Porter 46 was comfortable up to 35 pounds, which is a lot of weight for what you are most likely carrying around in a travel backpack of this size. We absolutely love that you can deploy the shoulder straps without the hip belt. With lighter loads, we prefer to carry our travel backpacks with just the shoulder straps and avoid the flap and hassle of the hip belt.
We are quite pleased that Osprey switched the laptop sleeve to the back panel for this updated version of the Porter 46instead of having it in the outer zippered pouch, which was awkward, imbalanced, and felt less well protected for our fragile electronics. We also like the simplistic and bucket-like main compartment. It is easy to open (especially when you get dinged by TSA and an agent has to open it up to search it), easy to pack (or re-pack after said search) and has a handy zippered pocket inside for smaller items (like socks or underwear) or those things you don't want flying out when the TSA agent opens the bag.
The padding on either side of the pack is called the "Straight Jacket." This provides protection for your belongings if you decide to check the bag and serves as some pretty hefty compression straps in the event that you need to lose a few inches to use this pack as a carry-on. That said, this padding added quite a bit of bulk and was rarely necessary for what we were packing in a carry-on. Realistically, we could provide all the padding we needed with the clothing we were already packing. This bulk also proved more problematic on some smaller commercial airplanes, so be extra sure of the dimensions of your particular airline's checked bag allowance. Ultimately, we were able to cram the pack under the seat, but it was a close call.
The modular carrying design is an excellent feature of the Porter 46. Osprey calls it a "deluxe duffel," which is spot-on. This bag can be carried by hand with a nice padded handle, or you can purchase an extra shoulder strap and clip it to the D ring buckles to carry it like a duffel over your shoulder.
The pocket design was changed slightly from the previous model, and we found it to be useful, though not a significant change from before (other than swapping the laptop sleeve to the back). We especially like the top pocket for toiletries; this instills confidence that any exploded shampoo bottles will have an extra pocket separating them from clothing inside. And the internal zippered pockets are also great for putting your dirty or smelly shoes in quarantine and keeping socks and underwear secure.
Packing and Accessibility
The Porter 46 is well designed to pack in a hurry and allow access to important items. Access to the main compartment is through the front panel, which opens wide and makes packing easy. When we got stopped by the TSA X-Ray technician when running late for our flight, we were pleased with how easy it was for a stranger to open and search the contents and then put everything right back in place and zip it up for us to grab and run to the gate.
The well-padded and placed laptop sleeve allows for easy access to your electronics even in the hustle and bustle of the security line. The smaller mesh pocket along the inside of the main compartment is the perfect place for swimsuits, undergarments, or other smaller articles of clothing.
The additional zippered compartment at the top of the bag makes it really easy to extract toiletries for the TSA checkpoint — as well as adding a layer of protection from our clothing in case our shampoo bottle exploded. Part of the ease of packing the Porter comes from the firm side panels — when you open the bag, it stays open much like a suitcase, but then it carries comfortably like a backpack.
Volume to Weight Ratio
The Porter 46 scores well for the weight held per liter of volume. The 46 liters of space only weighs 3.23 pounds, one of the more impressive ratios in our test group. This is an excellent feature for any backpack — since you will be carrying all that weight on your back, it's nice if the pack itself isn't too heavy before you've put anything inside of it.
The Porter 46 is an impressively durable travel backpack that we would never hesitate to cinch down with the padded Straight Jacket and send off as a checked bag if we packed too much for it to be a carry-on.
The 420 denier nylon can handle the abuse of conveyor belts, rough surfaces, and even minor assaults from some sharper objects. The manufacturing on this bag is sound, with sturdy stitching and excellent, big, smooth zippers. We also like how the zippers are placed — even when we overstuffed the bag, we did not see much strain on them.
Should You Buy the Osprey Porter 46?
The current version of the Porter 46 went up in price from the last model, but it is still a great deal. It is super durable and easy to pack at a fairly light weight for the amount of space offered. It is also an excellent companion for airline travel with the padded compression system and the easy panel loading (and unloading) design. If you're looking for a protective bag that will withstand being tossed around on the airline, the Porter 46 should meet your needs.
What Other Travel Backpacks Should You Consider?
The Osprey Porter 46 is an excellent travel backpack; it is very comfortable, easy to pack, highly durable, and affordable. If you're looking for similar qualities and a similar volume capacity, the REI Co-op Ruckpack 40 is slightly smaller, slightly cheaper, and with more organizational options and a greater level of versatility for off-day pursuits. The Osprey Fairview 55 offers more space and is constructed of lighter-weight materials, though it is not as compact, and the dangly attachments can be a bit of a nuisance when running through the airport.
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