Osprey Farpoint 40 Rucksack Review

29th Dec 2018

Osprey Farpoint 40L Rucksack

While most of the rucksacks we review are very focussed on specific outdoor activities, sometimes our adventures favour a more generally travel focussed choice.  This could be for a trip aimed more at life on the beach or a city trip where you don’t need to carry camping clutter or a stack of climbing kit.  Until recently, for this type of trip I’d mostly got around this by just taking my normal climbing pack and, of course, that works.  However, as I’ve found during the testing for this review, shoving everything into a single compartment certainly isn’t as efficient as a purpose made option like the Osprey Farpoint 40………

Features

In line with Osprey’s typical attention to detail, the Farpoint has loads of really well thought out travel friendly features.  A large main compartment is accessed by a wide opening clamshell zipper with internal compression straps to help clamp everything securely in place.  The zippers are lockable and chunky enough for tough duty.  

There is a zipped mesh pocket inside the lid which will fit in smaller items like spare underwear or, as I’ve found, is great for holding charging cables and smaller travel items.  There is also a padded laptop/tablet sleeve that fastens via a separate zippered pocket.  This is at the front of the pack and can be accessed without opening the main compartment.  A final smaller exterior zipped pocket is sized to hold documents or small items and on the front there are two stretchy mesh pockets that will hold drink bottles.  The small exterior pocket also features a key clip leash.

The Farpoint is primarily designed to be used as a rucksack and features well padded shoulder straps and a sternum strap (with emergency whistle) and padded waistbelt.  However,  a zipped panel can cover this harness system which then offers a streamlined bag that can be carried either via the detachable padded shoulder strap or one of the padded side or top handles.  There are 2 compression straps across the front which can either be used to reduce the volume or to attach additional items onto the outside.  

As the name suggests, the Farpoint 40 is around 40 litres in size (the smaller back size actually comes in at around 38 litres capacity) and is designed to meet the carry on allowance for airlines.  Osprey do offer several larger sizes of the Farpoint although these don’t, as you would expect, meet the carry on size regulations.

The main body fabric is 210D Nylon Mini Hex Diamond Ripstop which, although lightweight, is designed to offer good wear resistance.  The pack isn’t claimed to be waterproof but should offer plenty of water resistance.  The lightweight fabric also allows the Farpoint 40 to come in a baggage weight allowance friendly 1.4kg.  Osprey currently offer the pack in the grey colour I tested (Volcanic Grey) or red (Jasper Red) and 2 back sizes of s/m or m/l (the Osprey Pack Sizer app is a great weigh to work out your optimum size).

In Use

The Farpoint 40 is a great looking pack - its blocky shape does make it clearly designed as a travel pack but that’s fine because it it is, after all, designed as a travel pack! To efficiently meet those airline requirements it makes sense to be a cube shape as this offers maximum volume for size.  

The clam shell opening makes packing and access very efficient.  It can be laid on a bed or table and you instantly have access to all the contents in the main compartment.  The internal compression straps really help to secure the contents or, if packed to full capacity, to compress the contents enough to squeeze a few more items in.

The front laptop pocket is cleverly positioned as it allows easy access without having to access the main compartment.  This sleeve is reasonably well padded although, as it is all at the front, you need to be very careful not to drop the pack down onto the front.  It is a trade off between accessibility and protection.  I tend to only carry an iPad when travelling and have no concerns about storing this in there - although my iPad does live in a protective cover.  In this laptop panel there is also another zipped pocket that could be used to store documents, a wallet or Kindle.

The final pockets are a small zipped outer pocket and a couple of mesh stash pockets on the outer front panel. The small pocket can store documents or things like a small camera and, although they fit in well, in some travel situations you might feel quite vulnerable with important items being stored in an unlocked pocket that is out of sight (when you are wearing it as a rucksack) on your back.  It would be nice if Osprey considered some lockable hidden document pocket behind the back panel - although important documents are usually best stored on the body anyway.  The outer mesh pockets are good for storing a couple of drink bottles or a snack or two but they only really work if the pack isn’t jam packed as, if it is, the pockets don’t have much flex.  These pockets aren’t accessible while wearing the pack.     

The overall capacity of a travel pack is very significant.  I think the 40 litre size hits a real sweet spot for travel packs. If you plan carefully you can fit everything needed into a bag this size (some years ago I travelled for 14 months with a 40 litre bag) and having the flexibility to carry it on flights rather than as check it in is a great way to avoid baggage handling damage and to ensure a quick airport exit after arrival.

The other key to a good travel pack is how it carries.  With the Farpoint Osprey have given loads of flexibility.  Most of the time you will probably carry it as a rucksack and the well padded shoulder harness and waist belt ensure it carries really well even when packed to maximum capacity.  This comfort also means that, if your trip involves a fair amount of carrying around, it will manage this with ease. It could happily be used for everything from day hikes to sightseeing to bus hopping.

I also love how the harness can be zipped away via a simple but efficient zipped flap.  This means that if you are tucking your pack under a bus seat or trying to slide it into an overhead airplane compartment it will be far easier to manage.  For those times you have the padded side or top handles and, if you prefer, the detachable shoulder strap (although I have always left this at home as I can’t envisage using it).  Zipping the harness away would also be good if you do end up checking the pack in occasionally.  

Given the generous features, the surprising lightness of the pack is very much appreciated when you have a limited baggage allowance.  This is down to attention to detail but also due to the low weight nylon fabric.  I am more used to durable duffle bag fabrics when travelling and was unsure how this would cope with everyday travel, but it is actually proving to be very hard wearing.   

Summary  

If you have a surf around online you’ll soon see that the Farpoint 40 has a very enthusiastic and loyal following.  There a few comments about the pocket configuration and small details like the uses of a detachable shoulder strap (this seems to be a Marmite feature), but opinions are almost universally positive about this pack and I totally agree with everything that is said.  

The Farpoint 40 is a perfectly sized and very well thought out travel rucksack that will become a trusted companion for all manner of travel adventures.  It is an Osprey classic and rightly so.  Oh, and if you think 40 litres isn’t enough capacity I do advise you to leave some stuff out - who needs more than 2 t-shirts and a couple of pairs of underwear for a year away anyway!  The Farpoint 40 retails for £100.

Posted by Paul