The Ideal Travel Backpack…Is there one? I think it’s highly subjective. I also think it depends on the type of trip you’re going on. Will you be moving around a lot or staying in one place? Will you be camping at any point on your trip or will it be exclusively indoor accommodations? I have been going back and forth on this for a while.
Travel and Leisure recently posted an article on the best carry on backpacks. So let’s talk about that. There are a lot of factors to consider. Should I go for a convertible pack or a standard backpack? How big should the bag be? Will I use it exclusively for transport between A & B or will I be wearing the pack often? Do I care if the pack is a top load or not? Will it hold everything that I want to bring? Is it expandable? Believe me, these are all things that will nag at you if you’ve left them unanswered.
For functionality, a backpack is a better choice for travel when you’ll be moving around a lot and don’t have your own transportation. So the first bag I checked out was the Osprey Porter 30. I decided to get the smaller version of the bag because I really wanted to be forced to pack as minimally as possible and I didn’t want to have to defend my bag on smaller airlines, like Ryanair. After several test packs I realized that although the functionality of the bag was great, the size was simply too small. So, it was back to the drawing board.
I researched quite a bit going back and forth between the Tortuga Travel Backpack and the Osprey Farpoint series. Both were popular amongst travelers, however, the Farpoint series offered a smaller sized pack so I took the plunge and purchased the Farpoint 40.
The bag is nice. It seems lighter than the Porter although it’s 10 liters bigger. I do wish the front “organizational” pocket was a bit more like the Porter’s but I think the pack will work well. The main compartment has a set of interior compression straps that the Porter is lacking and is comfortable with a full load. I like the fact that you can hide the zipper tabs as well as lock them if needed.
The bag comes with an additional shoulder strap which comes in handy when you want to wear it as a traditional shoulder bag. The backpack straps also tuck away nicely in a zippered flap. Overall, it’s a good-looking bag. The front pocket has a padded laptop sleeve as well as an additional pocket for pens and whatever else you might need quick access to. There is a top exterior pocket, however, it is a little difficult to get to when the pack is full and closed. In addition, there are dual water bottle sleeves on either side of the front of the bag, although it is difficult to access the sleeves when you are wearing the pack. That could be improved upon.
When wearing the bag it sits firmly against your back and the hip straps help distribute the weight so it makes the pack seem lighter than it is. The shoulder straps are fully adjustable, as is the chest strap, which is wonderful for someone who is smaller like me.
I weighed the pack when I had it fully packed and it ended up being just under 15 lbs, which is the regulation weight for many low-cost carriers. I found the pack to be extremely functional, especially since the main compartment opens up like a clamshell so you have easy access without having to unpack your whole pack. When you add packing cubes this pack stays very organized and easily accessible.
I think my one critique apart from the water bottle sleeve location is the location of the laptop sleeve. I would’ve liked it to be located against the back for better weight distribution. I would highly recommend the pack to anyone who, has a strong back and is looking for a functional travel pack.
Do you have a travel backpack that you like to use? Tell me about it in the comments. Until next time.
(Unfortunately, I cannot find my photos that I took of the pack. If you follow the link for the Farpoint you will see most of the features I mentioned.)