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If you haven’t already noticed, I am a bit of an Osprey pack addict. I’ve had four of their bags in five years and it’s not because they don’t last. It’s because I’m obsessed. #OspreyObsessed
Just to set the record straight: this company does not sponsor me and I’ve paid the hefty price tag for each and every one of my bags. I just really do love this luggage brand. Keep reading to find out why and learn which are the best Osprey backpacks!
The Best Osprey Backpacks: 4 Styles
When planning my 9-month Round the World trip in 2010 I wanted a bag that would last the duration of my trip. I found my first Osprey pack in the REI Outlet and scored an awesome discount during the After Thanksgiving Day online sales.
During those 9 months as a new and “official” backpacker, my bag underwent abuse like you won’t believe. From stuffing it to the brim to mean baggage handlers throwing it around and contaminating it with the dirtiest floors around the world this bag was pushed to the limits.
And at the end of it all, it still looked good as new and was perfectly in tact. I fell in love and I’ve never looked back.
The main reason why I’ve gone through so many bags in just a few years is because my needs have changed over time in my transformation from overpacker to carry-on traveler!
The fabric sets it apart from other brands. I love the lightweight rip stop fabric. It’s easy to clean, repels dirt and stains, and is water resistant. This isn’t advertised but this has been my experience so far.
Check out my tutorial on how to clean a travel backpack!
Because the fabric is so thin yet highly functional, it’s also incredibly lightweight which is super important when you’re trying to pack light. (This applies to all the bags featured below except the Meridian.)
A long term traveler or backpacker needs gear that’s built to last. Don’t skip out on the investment and get a solid brand with a reliable reputation.
Find out the most important features to consider when choosing a travel backpack!
Osprey has minimalist design options for people that want to “backpack” around the world without looking like a hiker. They have nice, inoffensive colors if you’re a feminine girl and subdued greys and blacks if you prefer understated shades like me.
The 4 Osprey Packs I Own
Description: The Aura 65 offers a ventilated mesh backpanel with an ultra-comfortable waffle foam harness and hipbelt provides superb fit while the AirSpeed suspension provides great carry.
Pros: Great color options, easy to clean rip stop fabric, light, many compartments, spacious
Cons: Top loader, doesn’t lock, isn’t carry-on size
Who it’s for: This is a great bag for backpackers that aren’t ready to go carry-on only and won’t be carrying anything valuable inside. It’s possibly better for hiking backpacking vs. travel backpacking.
Farpoint 55L (40+15)
Description: The Farpoint 55 includes a detachable 15L daybag in addition to the 40L main bag. It offers a fixed unisex harness in 2 sizes (s/m, m/l) and a spacer back panel with light wire suspension, and an ErgoPull hipbelt closure.
Pros: Featherlight, carry-on size, locks, fully opens, easy to pack and unpack, durable rip stop fabric, lockable
Cons: Compartments not too functional, can’t attach daypack to main bag easily when fully packed
Who it’s for: This is a great bag for all travel backpackers and definitely one of the best Osprey backpacks if not the best. Paired with these 3 packing cubes for organization, it’s the perfect choice. Read my full review here.
Please note: you have to remove the daypack to use it as a carry-on. While most travelers confirm they can use this bag to travel carry-on it may not work for budget airlines with smaller size limitations. Please double check with your airlines. The Farpoint 40 is slightly shorter at 21 inches which is a good alternative (it just doesn’t have the day pack but you can buy one separately if needed).
Description: The Meridian 22-Inch / 60 Litres offers the deluxe travel of this series in a maximum carry-on size. This pack offers organizational features including internal and backpanel compartments, a laptop compatible feature, zippered detachable daypack and an adjustable, removable backpanel suspension system.
Pros: Suitcase style, great wheels, carry-on size, removable backpack straps, lockable
Cons: Heavier than other bags, structured shape makes it difficult to make full use of space
Who it’s for: This is a great bag for backpacking style travelers that prefer wheels and want the flexibility of occasionally using it as a backpack. Read my full review here and here to see if these are the best Osprey backpacks for you.
Description: The Ozone 22-Inch/46L volume and its 4lbs 4oz/1.92 kg weight make the ideal combination when you’re trying to pack light and travel carry-on only. This is my new favorite bag!
Pros: Ultra-light, durable and easy to clean rip stop fabric, laptop space in the back, lockable
Cons: Some people complain about the single bar handle but it’s not a problem for me
Who it’s for: This is an awesome bag and I recommend it for a variety of travelers: whether you’re traveling for business or leisure or short term or long term; this bag has a contemporary look that’s not too sporty yet it’s durable enough to handle the tough wear and tear of traveling for long periods of time. I can’t really say that they’re the best Osprey backpacks since they don’t have straps but they for sure have one of the best designs this brand has to offer and the perfect alternative to straps. I’ve been able to take this bag carry-on on all my international flights and budget airlines such as Air Asia. It fits perfectly in the airline luggage size racks and I’ve fit it easily underneath cramped bus seats and limited overhead compartments.
Which will you choose?
If I knew then what I know now, I would say to skip the top loader Aura and go straight to the Farpoint if you’re a backpacker style traveler. Why? Because the Farpoint zips and locks making it safer plus you get a carry-on size main pack plus smaller daypack in one. You can even get this Farpoint on its own without the daypack. For travel this by far one of the best Osprey backpacks.
For travelers that prefer wheels, especially someone with back problems like me, I’d say to skip the backpack straps altogether avoiding the Meridian and choose the Ozone instead. If you’re a long term traveler or like to get off the beaten path then the average suitcase wheels aren’t good enough so you need something rugged with durable wheels like either of these two options.
What do you think are the best Osprey backpacks? Please comment below!
For more tips and ideas on travel luggage, please read:
- The Step By Step Solution to STOP OVERPACKING
- Packing Cubes: The Pro Secret to Carry-on Travel
- How to Choose the Best Luggage: Smart Buying Guide
- Suitcase Recommendations: 20 Travel Experts Reveal Top Luggage Brands