This post is part of a series in which ladies on the road offer a review of their backpacks. Today’s review comes from Mirje Halla of Anywhereism.
I’m Mirje, a digital nomad, homeless-by-choice and traveling the world nonstop since the beginning of 2013. Together with my husband I run a web consultancy company online, mainly for clients back in our home country of Finland. We blog about our experiences at Anywhereism. Currently I’m in Lisbon, Portugal for a month before exploring more of Europe and catching a cruise boat to New Orleans for a housesitting gig.
What’s your backpack brand and model? How much does this backpack typically cost?
It’s an Osprey Farpoint 40 S/M. It’s 38 liters and carry-on compatible. I paid €140 for it in an online store in Finland. In Amazon (US) it seems to costs $130-150 at the moment.
>> Check out prices for the Osprey Farpoint 40 on Amazon.
How long have you had your backpack and where have you traveled with it?
What factors were most important to you in choosing a backpack? How did you come to choose this one?
I wanted something that is carry-on size, front-loading, durable and professional looking. My previous backpack was also an Osprey (Talon 44) and I was very happy with it. It was very durable and comfortable. The only reasons I wanted a new one, were to get something even smaller and front-loading. My husband actually took over my old Osprey and is now happily using it. As a satisfied customer, another Osprey was on top of my list, but I did look into other options, too.
When looking for my new backpack I read tons of reviews of different backpacks online, including all here at Her Packing List. As a digital nomad, I’m living off my backpack and continuously using it, so getting the right one is important. After settling to a couple of possible models, I tried them out in a store. Farpoint 40 wasn’t actually available in the stores I visited, so I tried on the bigger size of Farpoint. When it seemed that this is the pack I want, I ordered it online. And luckily, when it arrived and I tried it on, it was spot on.
What do you like most about your backpack? Any down sides?
It’s the perfect size. It fits an amazing amount of things and with the fully opening front, it’s easy to get to everything. It looks nice and professional. I can even take it with me to a meeting if needed, without looking like a backpacker on a gap year. The dark grey color is also very convenient, hiding the dirt gathered when on the move.
It has a separate (and padded!) compartment for a laptop, making it easy to reach when going through security. There are also several other small pockets and compartments, making it easier to find the small things that would otherwise be lost.
One thing I really like about my pack is that I can hide away the harness, which is very useful if I ever want to check it in on a flight. For example to bring some excellent port wine back from Portugal? There are also handles to carry the pack as well as an attachable shoulder strap.
The only slight downsides have to do with comfort and fit, more about those in my next answer.
Tell us about the fit and comfort level of your backpack.
The fit is good and it’s very comfortable to carry. I’m using it at the maximum length, since I’m quite tall (174cm, bit over 5’7″). Maybe the M/L version would have been even better for me, but it wasn’t available. This is a unisex model, which can sometimes mean compatibility problems with my big bosom and the chest strap. This one is comfortable enough on that department, although not perfect.
The pack has a partly padded hip belt, but I don’t think it would make a good hiking pack. It’s good for an hour or two, but for a whole day of walking you need something more ergonomic. Since I’m not doing any long hikes with my pack, other things like easy access to my things were more important.
Another thing is that the compartment for laptop is on the outer side of the pack, so when carrying one it affects the balance of the pack a bit. Not a problem on short journeys, but if having to carry it for several hours, I’ll probably pack my laptop inside the main compartment, closest to my back.
If you want to take your backpack as carry-on luggage, can you?
Yes, it was one of the criteria when buying it. The size is 53 x 33 x 23 cm (21 x 13 x 9 in), which should be ok to nearly all airlines. It is possible to pack it much fuller than 23 cm though, so if an airline is strict with their regulations, you need to be careful not to over pack it. Same goes with the weight; it’s easy to fit more than 10 kg (23 lbs) in it. But it does look very small when I’m carrying it, so far no one has asked to weigh or measure it.
Have you found the size to be too small, just right, or too large?
For me, it’s just perfect. It fits all I need comfortably, and even has space for some nice-to-have items. I can take it with me inside in a bus or as carry-on in an airplane. And I’m not constantly afraid of destroying something nearby when turning around, like I was with a bigger backpack.
Overall, would you recommend your backpack?
Definitely! For a carry-on size, sturdy, professional and user-friendly backpack, this is a top choice.