I love my Osprey Sojourn convertible travel luggage. It’s been a faithful companion on many a trip. But lately I’ve decided that I want to travel lighter and go for a bag that’s carry-on-sized. After much searching I decided that the Osprey Farpoints have the feature set I was looking for: lightweight, roomy, potentially capable of being carried on, can be carried as a backpack with tuck away straps, and includes a detachable daypack.
Initially, it seemed if I wanted to carry on the bag, then the Farpoint 55 would be my only option, but after some digging, I also saw that some folks had successfully carried on the Farpoint 70. I searched blog after blog and review after review and found lots of confusing and conflicting information on exactly how big these bags are and how they compare to each other. Even Osprey’s site had confusing information: it listed the Farpoint 55 with larger dimensions than the Farpoint 70! (They’ve since updated their website and cleared this up).
I decided the only way to really get to the bottom of this was to order both backpacks and check them out myself. If you’ve had any questions regarding these popular travel backpacks, hopefully this post will clear them up.
When I first unpacked the backpacks and set them next to each other, I couldn’t notice any discernible difference. As mentioned earlier, there was lots of conflicting information about the actual dimensions of the packs. Ospreys updated website clears up the misinformation it had before. Without the daypack attached, the Farpoint 55 measures 25″ x 13″ x 12″ (64cm x 34cm x 30cm) and the Farpoint 70 measures 25″ x 14″ x 13″(64cm x 36cm x 32cm). This makes sense with how they look next to each other. They are the same height, and the extra inch on the width and depth of the Farpoint 70 isn’t noticeable unless it’s stuffed. The Farpoint 55 has a 40L main compartment and the Farpoint 70 has a 55L main compartment (the detachable daypack accounts for the other 15L for each bag).
The next step was to pack the bags and compare them to each other. I put together a packing list for what I might take on a two week trip, including extra shoes and a jacket to cover various climates. I used two large Eagle Creek packing cubes for shirts and pants/shorts. The Eagle Creek cubes are 14″ (35cm) in width which is perfect for both the Farpoint 55 and Farpoint 70. Other companies’ large cubes are 17″ or 18″ (43-45cm) which would require you to pack them vertically instead of horizontally, taking up more space (the tradeoff being they are able to hold more items in each cube). My socks and underwear went into the mesh pockets on the flap. I used dry sacks for my extra shoes and flip flops as well as my down jacket and rain jacket. My toiletries are packed in the Osprey Ultralight Zip organizer, and I also packed the Osprey Ultralight rain cover, just in case.. In the daypack I can fit my laptop, iPad, Osprey Powerhouse electronics accessory organizer with power cables and adapters, and my Nat Geo camera shoulder bag with Sony a7s camera and accessories.
In the Farpoint 55, I was able to fit everything I would need for an extended trip covering multiple climates and still had a little room to spare. Using the included straps, I compressed it all down and measured the bag: 25″ x 13″ x 10″(63cm x 33cm x 25cm). Next I packed everything into the Farpoint 70 and measured it: 25″ x 13″ x 10″(63cm x 33cm x 25cm). The same size. Since I didn’t have the Farpoint 55 stuffed to the gills, the Farpoint 70 also had plenty of room. The only fixed dimension is the height, due to the internal frame. That means if you don’t have the bags stuffed to the gills, you should be able to compress them both to the same size.
For me that is great, and exactly the kind of information I was hoping to find when I ordered both bags to compare. That means I can opt for the larger Farpoint 70 but still compress it down to a carry-on size while having some extra room just in case. Most people indicate they’ve never had a problem carrying on the Farpoint 55 even on some of the strictest budget airlines like Ryanair, so the same should be true of the Farpoint 70 when not stuffed. If I end up bringing back more souvenirs than expected, the extra capacity will come in handy, and I can check it if need be.
It should be noted, however, that it is very hard to find this extra 15L of space between the two bags. Again, we are talking one more inch in depth and width. That means really having to cram stuff into every nook and cranny of the bag to maximize space. Comparing to the Sojourn series, it’s very easy to spot the 20L difference when the 80L 28″ Sojourn is next to the 60L 25″ Sojourn, due to the reinforced walls of the Sojourns.
In conclusion, I’ve decided to go with the Farpoint 70. I like that the lightweight material means I can compress the bag down in size to something I should be able to carry on in most situations, while still having the ability to fit more stuff should the particular trip demand it, or if I pick some stuff up along the way. However, you might find the Farpoint 55 to be right for you, especially if you live by the maxim “If you have more space, you’ll pack more stuff.” For me, this isn’t necessarily true; I just like having the extra space for flexibility and for my bag to not feel crammed.
I hope this post helped clear up some questions you might have had about these great travel backpacks. If not, please comment below and I’d be glad to help any way I can! Or if you have questions about the Osprey Farpoint 40, check out Iylana’s post on why it’s perfect for petite-sized travelers.
FOLLOW UP: I took my Farpoint 70 on our three week trip to Turkey, Israel and Jordan and had no trouble carrying it onto planes. The only time I had to check it was flying Pegasus Airlines from Istanbul to Tel Aviv, due to it being overweight, not oversized (8kg limit). See the picture below, where the bag is able to fit inside United Airlines bag sizer for carryon luggage.