I mentioned in a previous post that I was taking my new Osprey Farpoint 40 as my travelling backpack across Central America and I’ve got to say I’m impressed with it. After a few years in the military I’d like to think I know a thing or two about what makes a decent pack too.
Lets start with the aesthetics because I don’t think this is a bad looking bag.
It reminds me a little of the turtle-back style bergens (above) I used in my basic training, only with a bit more street cred. This is the volcanic grey with green interior edition (but also comes in blue and red). I love this one, it’s a bit like me, functional and business like on the outside but when you get into it… boom! Hidden personality and pleasant surprises.
I love the feel and functionality of it too; the backpack straps can be stored away in their own zippered compartment making it more like a holdall (it even comes with a shoulder strap), or there’s enough padding that it’ll sit comfortably on your back most of the day with enough breathability in the fabrics it doesn’t become too much to keep on either. (Pretty helpful along the Caribbean Coast.)
Designed to be within the EU carry-on limitations I could keep everything I packed for my trip with me rather than checking any luggage in and waiting around the other side to retrieve it again- travel hack to avoid some of the airport scammers right there. The 40 litre capacity is more than enough to carry around, I was quite surprised at first how much stuff I got in there and at maximum capacity (and I mean seam-busting maximum capacity) it only weighed in at around 12kg.
The bag itself has 3 sections for storage: the main part of the bag is more like a carry on case being that it has the compression straps to keep your clothes securely in place and a mesh pocket section for anything you’d want to keep separate like dirty laundry, etc.; then in the middle there’s the laptop compartment and a seperate tablet pocket which, obviously, you can put your laptop (of upto 15 inches) and a tablet in there- among other things. I used mine to keep my Microsoft Surface Pro 3, my Samsung Galaxy S6 and most of my cables like chargers in there and there was more than enough room left over; then finally there’s a small zipper pocket at the top of the bag for any of those items you need to keep to hand like passports, tickets, money, etc.
This bag during my travels was thrown around a little too carelessly by more than one hapless “helper” and even fell off the roof of a bus and to my amazement absolutely nothing was damaged. Not the bag, not my tablet, nor any of the liquids like shower gel/shampoo, insect repellent, sun cream, etc.
Security was another reason I went for an Osprey pack over any other brand. With a lot of backpacks there really isn’t much stopping anybody from going into your bag while it’s on your back (or try to anyway), as it’s usually only closed with a zipper or two, clips, or a drawstring. Maybe even a combination of those. Ospreys backpacks have interlocking zips so you can secure it with a padlock (like the small ones used on suitcases), which was a huge relief for me since I was travelling solo.
Now this bag wasn’t specifically made for long trips like the one I took, even though I did pack in a kind of minimalist fashion, so I was very surprised (not to mention very pleased) that it survived the entire length of my journey. Moving every few days to a week, packing and repacking constantly, the never ending up-and-down and on-and-off of shoulders or being squeezed into storage space on public transport. Everything is still in perfect working order.
So to finish off, for feel, functionality and even the basic looks, you won’t find much out there better than an Osprey pack without extreme specificity. It’s rugged, durable, adaptable and basically just cool as f**k. If you haven’t got one yet then you’ve just been wasting money up until now; don’t just go and buy a backpack, invest in an Osprey.
Catch you later… 😉