I researched long and hard before deciding upon the backpack to take with me on my travels. I had decided it was important for me to take carry-on luggage only – no checked baggage – for my Digital Nomad Debut, at least.
Why? Well, I really wanted to embrace a minimalist lifestyle going into this experience – to give me a chance to start over and separate myself from the burden of possessions, at least temporarily.
The Osprey Farpoint 40 was my choice of backpack for my adventure…here’s why…
For me, the confronting idea of living out of only a carry-on backpack for 6 months while travelling in Asia was just the sort of personal challenge I felt I needed to meet for my personal growth at that time.
I was nervous about it. But I decided the best thing I could do would be:
- carefully select all the items I would be carrying in it for versatility, durability and weight and
- equip myself with a quality backpack I was comfortable with
I embarked on my search for the ultimate backpack (for me!) with a few particular factors in mind:
Considerations When Choosing Backpacks For Digital Nomads
Considering that most airlines put their carry-on baggage limits at 7 kg, one of my foremost concerns was that my backpack should be as light as possible while also fulfilling its function. After all, I didn’t want the weight of the bag itself to take up too much of that 7 kg allowance.
I was hoping for a bag under 1.5 kg and this model weighs in a little over 1.4 kg or so depending upon if you get the Small/Medium or the Medium/Large.
Although I was willing to spend in order to get the bag that I wanted, I also wanted to keep the price reasonable. Some of the bags that I saw being recommended by other digital nomads were close to $300 and I felt this was a bit steep for an online purchase of a bag I had never seen before.
My price range was up to $200, ideally. However, I would have considered paying more if I hadn’t been able to meet the criteria I was looking for. I got mine for around $150 AUD including shipping, which was a real deal at the time. Currently they tend to be sold for around $160 USD, but it depends upon the retailer you buy from.
Aside from the weight limitations, many airlines put standards in place for the dimensions of carry-on luggage. It was essential that the backpack that I chose would fit into those dimensions.
The ability to securely lock all the main super compartments was my top priority. I needed a bag that had sturdy zippers that could be locked with a separate TSA approved luggage lock that I had purchased. This feature was probably the most important and would have been a dealbreaker in the selection process.
Other Things I Was Hoping For in ‘My Perfect Backpack’…
Aside from these four core requirements, I was hoping for a few other features in the backpack that I chose:
The first of these was the presence of compartments. Even in daypacks and handbags that I have owned, I have always preferred to have a few compartments. This enables you to separate and organise belongings a little better, especially when keeping electronics in a bag with other items.
I’d heard that ‘clamshell’ backpacks were popular, as they allow you to pack evenly, and access any item in your bag without having to unpack everything else. Fortunately, the Osprey Farpoint 40 is a clamshell backpack.
Considering that my backpack was going to be like a snail’s shell – practically attached to me a lot of the time – I wanted to feel good about the way it looked and shape of it. This was in no way a major consideration, as all practical issues came first. I did, however, at least want a backpack in a nice subdued colour like black or grey.
When carrying heavy loads, safety for your back is crucial. I wanted a backpack that had some sort of waist or chest straps and which could be adjusted to balance the load more securely. I also wanted it to feel comfortable on my back and shoulders and not dig into me. This backpack fit the bill.
Main Features of the Osprey Farpoint 40 Back Pack
If you are planning on travelling carry-on only, this is an awesome option. But at the same time this bag is well-suited to be used as checked luggage if you should change your mind mid-travel. There are two sizes of the Osprey Farpoint 40 – the Small/Medium (for back length 15-19″/38-48cm) and the Medium/Large (18-22″/46-56cm).
If you want to check the suitability of the Osprey Farpoint 40 with your intended airline you can use this super-nifty chart for comparing carry-on limits for many of the major airlines around the world.
Clam Shell Back Pack
Now that I have had a clamshell backpack I see the value in it – and there’s no going back. Clamshells backpacks allow you to completely open your bag and lay it out flat, making packing a lot easier. It doesn’t sound like much – but once you have used one there’s no going back!
Aside from the little pocket in the front, the rest of the bag is easily lockable using the sturdy metal loops on the zippers – you need to get your own lock, though.
It would be good enough if the Osprey Farpoint 40 was just designed to be carried on your back – but it is actually convertible as well.
You can turn it on its side and attach the shoulder strap that comes with it. There are provisions to pack away the regular shoulder, waist and chest straps, which makes the pack look a lot more professional.
I have found this feature really handy when I didn’t want to look like a backpacker – but instead like a travelling professional. It’s nice to have some versatility for different situations.
The rigid frame embedded within the bag means that the backpack can be completely empty, but will still retain much of its shape. The frame also helps to create more support for the load while it’s on your back.
Rip Stop Fabric
Like other quality bags of this type, the Osprey Farpoint 40 is made from rip stop fabric. As the name suggests, the fabric is made using materials and techniques that reduce the likelihood of tearing. A superior fabric is a good reason not to buy cheaper backpacks – after all, you will be carrying a lot of stuff, and you need your bag of choice to hold up under the strain.
A superior fabric is a great reason not to buy cheaper backpacks – after all, you will be carrying a lot of stuff, and you need your bag of choice to hold up under the strain.
Additional Features of the Osprey Farpoint 40 Back Pack
This is the firmest and most secure that I have ever been able to fit a backpack around me with adjustments capable of being made at the top of the shoulders, down by the side of your waist, at the front of your hips, and at your chest.
You can get this backpack in 4 different colours that I am aware of – grey, red, green and blue. However, not all stockists carry all colours.
I was well aware that this bag isn’t waterproof, but only recently did I discover how well it holds up in the rain. I got stuck in a very unfortunate downpour and the Osprey Farpoint 40 did an excellent job – it is definitely water resistant. I’m sure, however, that had I been out in the rain longer, my stuff would have eventually gotten wet.
Unlike some backpacks of this kind the Osprey Farpoint 40 does not come with a raincover. The company does sell an appropriately-sized Waterproof Osprey Ultralight Raincover separately, however.
The pack is a little heavier than I like, but part of the reason is the padding on the shoulder straps, waist straps and rear of the pack. The added weight is a small price to pay for the comfort the padding provides – especially when you have a heavy pack.
Adjustable Internal and External Straps
There are numerous straps within the bag, as well as without, that have nothing to do with securing the bag on you – but everything to do with securing your belongings in place and creating a compact and stable load. A winning feature.
Drawbacks of the Osprey Farpoint 40
Drink Bottle Holders
I’m all for drink bottle holders – but they have to actually work. The ones on the front of this bag are completely impractical and most bottles just slip right out of them. You can’t really use them to keep much else in, especially if you are concerned about security as they are open mesh pockets. They don’t detract from the appearance of the bag – but don’t expect the drink bottle holders to perform.
The bag has a laptop compartment, but it is located right at the front of the pack, leading to a very unstable load. Ideally, the compartment would have been located within the pack up against your back for the greatest stability.
I overcame this by storing my laptop in the main compartment of the backpack with my clothes. To protect it I simply kept it in its own laptop sleeve. This feature is a point to note, but it definitely shouldn’t be a deal-breaker when considering this pack. This bags good traits well outweigh the bad, and there is an easy workaround.
The Final Verdict for the Osprey Farpoint 40 Backpack
I really love the Osprey Farpoint 40 Backpack. It is such a good balance of price, appearance and other features important for travellers – plus it is carry-on friendly. I would buy it again without hesitation. If you think this is the pack for you, you can get your own Osprey Farpoint 40 Backpack here.
Are you a traveller? Do you own an Osprey Farpoint 40 Backpack? Tell us your impressions of the Osprey Farpoint 40 Backpack or your other favourite ‘carry-on only’ bag.