It's a common travel conundrum. You want adventure but also comfort. Comfort and adventure. A back that won't ache by the end of the day and a suitcase that won't get caught on the cobblestones of Europe. Could a hybrid backpack wheelie be the answer? Our Osprey Farpoint 65 review investigates...
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Typical Price £200
Weight 2.8kg Dimensions 70 x 41 x 34
210D High Tenacity Nylon
My backpacking days are well and truly over, but this bag intrigued me.
It’s mainly a wheelie suitcase but you can zip off the rear panel and use it as a backpack for trickier situations.
The 65 size makes it bigger than a standard carry on suitcase but within the carrying range of smaller people (like me!)
One of the best things about the Osprey range is the great way they wheel. They have large, tough wheels and a strong skeleton and they can handle most bumps, curbs and uneven pavements with ease.
They can also handle cobblestones but the vibration becomes a bit uncomfortable in the wrist, so this may be one of the occasions when you’d rather use the backpack.
In addition, there’s a small wire stand that allows the bag to stand upright. This is so helpful when travelling with a small child and trying to reach for documents at check in, unfold a map or… any situation where you’re distracted and would rather the suitcase didn’t slam down.
- Two mesh pockets suitable for one water bottle and one newspaper or magazine when out and about or travelling through the airport.
- Elastic fittings for the Osprey Daylite backpack system (these are smaller backpacks or daypacks that can fit on and off the bigger bags. This can make life much easier if you are mainly backpacking but in general I prefer to use separate carry on luggage – see my recommended range here.)
- Adjustable straps to compress your belongings and prevent them from sliding around inside.
- A modest zipped compartment opens at the top of the bag (near the handle.) The carry on Osprey Farpoint 36 has a large, laptop sleeve size compartment in a similar position. However, this pack has something smaller in mind. A pocket knife or novel, maybe, depending on your mood ;-)
- Fabric clips allow for carabiners to be attached with water bottles or other gear, but this is again for more hardcore travellers.
Inside the Main Compartment
- Two large mesh pockets live on the “peel back” part of the backpack. Unlike the external pockets, these are pretty large and could take travel documents, medication, keys and the like.
- The main compartment is about the size of a pillow (as beautifully demonstrated in the video!) It’s pretty unstructured, which I find incredibly useful as I organise my packing with packing cubes. However, it does have internal compression straps to help secure your belongings as they bump along those beautiful European cobbles.
You will need two hands and a bit of space to unclip and reveal the backpack harness but other than that it’s a quick and straightforward process.
Carrying 65 litres is about my limit and so I always need a fully adjustable backpack. This Osprey 65 has adjustment points at the top and side, a chest (sternum strap) and hip belt. A loose mesh against the skin allows for air flow.
- Very lightweight and easy to lift and roll.
- Thin feel to the outer fabric. Water resistant rather than waterproof, at a guess, although I haven’t had any problems.
You can always use the backpack harness section as an extra compartment. Particularly for magazines you plan to ditch when you get to the airport!
Mens or Womens
Osprey make bags for men and women, but the shoulder and hip dimensions are different. The female fit version is called Fairview Wheels 65.
In airports, hotels, and other places with smooth surfaces where you will need to be stopping and starting a lot. The fact that the bag can stand up rather than fall over is a huge help during check in and security.
Clearly, we're all different people with different tastes. But here's a quick checklist of important points to look out for when choosing a travel backpack.
- Is it comfortable?
Look out for as many adjustable points as possible but as a bare minimum, you should be able to adjust the shoulder straps and hip straps. Mesh fabric behind your back can help with airflow and cushioned straps are a must.
- How much can you carry?
Don't get carried away (boom!) Practice in the shop or at home if you are new to travelling like this. As a guide, I can rarely carry more than 65L, even back when I was 21 and active. A general rule of thumb is around 85L for men and 65L for women. Now is not the time to be proud! It is a good time to think about a wheelie hybrid like this to take some of the strain away.
- Will it break?
Luggage gets quite a battering on the road, from the moment it sails away on the airport conveyor belt to the stacks of luggage you don't see in hotels and at the back of coaches, trains and taxis.
Make sure the brand is reputable and the seams won't split, the handle won't fall off and the wheels won't go astray.
For some areas of the world where travellers are prime targets for thieves, I'd highly recommend a hard shell case. Opportunistic thieves can slash open fabric backpacks. For most places, though, you'll be fine!
- How easy is the access?
Old school backpacks used to only allow access at the top. This meant you needed to pull everything out to find the sleeping bag at the bottom. Then came a generation with openings a the top and bottom. Now, there's a peel-back design to many (including this Farpoint Osprey 65.)
Look out for quick access pockets for your essentials.
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Hi, I'm Abi, a doctor turned writer who's worked with Lonely Planet, the BBC, UNESCO and more. Let's travel more and think more. Find out more.
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