So you’re going travelling for a bit. Maybe you’re one of an increasing number of young professionals swapping the office for a digital nomad lifestyle. Perhaps you’re visiting some of the world’s creative hotspots or most inspiring design cities (opens in new tab) on vacation. Whatever your motivation, if you’re hitting the road soon, you’ll need the right bag to carry everything you need.
This is exactly the situation we found ourselves in recently, when part of the Creative Bloq team travelled to Mexico to work remotely for two months. We wanted to explore the world’s sixth design capital, and find out if the rest of the country was as creatively rich as we’d heard. But we needed a bag...
Wheeled suitcases were no good – outside office hours we’d be exploring mountains, desserts, beaches and jungle; places where wheels don’t always go. Top-loading backpacks were out too: we wanted to be able to access our things quickly and easily at all times, even if they’d been haphazardly packed. But above all else, we needed our work equipment to be safe from wandering hands. (After all, no work: no play. And we were ready to play.)
After many hours of research into travel bags and backpacks, we settled on Osprey’s Farpoint / Fairview series (opens in new tab). Designed to be “carried like a backpack but packed like a suitcase” – and billed as the Colorado-based company’s lightest travel backpack yet – on paper it was perfect. But was it any good in real life?
Osprey Farpoint / Fairview: sizing
First, the name. The Farpoint / Fairview series of travel backpacks have the same features; the only difference is the Fairview has a female-specific fit. The series covers a range of capacities: 40L, 55L, 70L and 80L. The 55L and 70L options include a “zip and clip” day pack that attaches to the main bag; while the 40L and 80L versions come as one big backpack.
For this trip, we needed enough room for our work tech – laptop, mouse, DSLR, chargers and so on – plus clothes for a variety of climates. So we opted for the 70L version.
Both the Farpoint and Fairview are available in two colourways – grey or red; and grey or green respectively – with the Farpoint offering two sizes to choose from: S/M and M/L. The Fairview comes only in WS/M, but the straps and frame offer a lot of adjustment options, and it fit us perfectly.
Osprey Farpoint / Fairview 70: design and features
We’ll say it straight away: we loved the design of the Farpoint/Fairview travel backpacks. The main compartment opens like a suitcase thanks to a large, zippered and padlockable opening that runs three-quarters of the way around the main compartment. Inside, there are two compression straps to secure your belongings, and a large mesh pocket attached to the zipper flap.
Outside, two cushioned handles on the top and side let you carry the bag like a suitcase or easily pull it off a carousel. On the back, meanwhile, an ergonomically shaped hip belt transfers the weight from your shoulders to your hips, and a die-cut spacer mesh harness (with an adjustable chest strap and load-lifter straps) makes it super-easy to customise your bag for your body shape.
The best bit? The hip belt and harness pack can be quickly zipped away behind a small panel when you’re checking your bag in for a flight.
Finally, it comes with a 13L daypack that can be either zipped onto the back of the main bag, or clipped kangaroo-style onto the harness straps on your front – useful if it’s carrying your laptop or passport, say, and you need them to hand. (Yes, we tried this. And yes we felt ridiculously touristy – but didn’t it just spread the weight nicely!)
The daypack comes with a smaller front-facing stash pocket for your sunglasses or phone, two meshed side pockets, and a laptop sleeve and meshed tablet sleeve inside the body.
Osprey Farpoint / Fairview 70: what we liked
The Osprey Farpoint / Fairview 70 is ridiculously comfortable. We overpacked (yeah, yeah, it’s been a while since we went travelling) but could still carry our stuff for miles and miles in comfort, with the hip belt taking the weight. (Er, this feature became even more valuable after we smashed our camera phone (opens in new tab) and lost Google Maps.)
Even better, the arched spacer-mesh harness meant our backs didn’t turn into pools of sweat. In terms of portability and comfort, the Osprey Farpoint / Fairview 70 gets full marks from the Creative Bloq team.
It was also ridiculously easy to access what we needed from inside the main compartment, at all times – we can’t overstate this aspect. And we liked the lockable zippers, which can be tucked out of sight underneath the zip casing to deter opportunist thieves.
Speaking of safety measures, we also appreciated how secure the detachable daypack is when it’s zipped onto the main pack. There’s a hidden strap that doubly locks it into place for extra peace of mind.
The external handles, too, proved remarkably useful for grabbing the bag from a carousel or bus and ferry-dump situations.
Osprey Farpoint / Fairview 70: what we didn’t like
We wish the detachable daypack had a hip belt as well. It’s only 13L, but on hikes or long airport transfers we often found ourselves wishing we could take the strain off our shoulders. (Although positive point: yes, it’s the right size for airline carry on.)
Speaking of 13L, we also found it tough to fit in everything we wanted for our day trips. It’s doable, certainly – we used it for two months – but a squeeze. We’d like the daypack to be just a little bigger.
Failing this, more generous side pockets would help: on a good day you can just about force in a 750ml water bottle – but you can’t do it one-handed (while you’re walking, for example; you have to take the bag off your shoulders) and if your bag is full, forget it. The side pockets are next to useless.
And if we were being really picky, we’d like a few more pockets or compartments on the inside. That’s what Osprey's packing cubes (opens in new tab) are for, of course.
Osprey Farpoint / Fairview 70: should you buy it?
Overall, we loved the Osprey Fairview 70. The capacity was more than enough for two months’ travelling around a country where temperatures varied from 0-35 degrees (and if you can pack for two months, you can travel forever). Yet, it was also compact enough to be super portable. We had no problem fitting it into hostel lockers, overhead compartments and crammed colectivos.
Most importantly, the carry system customisation made it fit like a (non sweaty) glove. We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Osprey Fairview 70 to anyone considering either long-term travel or a short-term break to non-wheel-friendly terrain. And if you’re better packers than us, or not heading to multiple climates, we think the 55L version would be a great choice too.