Meet Amber Hoffman and Her Osprey Porter 46

Osprey Porter backpacks

This post is part of a series in which ladies on the road offer a review of their backpacks. Today’s post comes from Amber Hoffman.

Amber is a recovering tax attorney traveling the world, again. The most important thing she “packed” was her husband. Amber is traveling With Husband In Tow.

What’s your backpack brand and model? How much does this backpack typically cost?

I have the Osprey Porter 46 in black and grey. It is usually sold for only $99, but I signed up for the free membership program at Eastern Mountain Sports. The membership gave me 25% off, bringing it down to $75. A steal, especially for an Osprey.

Eric, my husband, has the larger Osprey Porter 65, in brown. It was a perfect bag for him too. But, that means that we have somewhat matching bags โ€“ something we tried to avoid! Too cutesy.

>> Check for deals on the Osprey Porter 46 on Amazon

How long have you had your backpack and where have you traveled with it?

I just bought my Osprey in November, on a stopover in the US. So far, it has gotten me through all of Central America, through lots of chicken buses, and walks across dusty and hot borders. It heads to Asia next.

The Osprey Porter 46
The Osprey Porter 46

What factors were most important to you in choosing a backpack? How did you come to choose this one?

I loved my last pack, mostly because it was a travel pack and not a traditional top loader. I love the idea of laying my bag down, unzipping it, and having access to everything without having to rummage through, or take everything out to find something on the bottom.

My prior pack took me on my first RTW, through 18 countries, but it was starting to show its age. It lasted for the first leg of my second RTW, and got me through 19 European countries in 4 months. It was time to retire it. I was worried about the zippers and did not want to have an issue on the road.

I researched online by looking at the specs of my bag. I wanted something just a little bit smaller. The larger my bag, the more I carry โ€“ some of it not needed. I saw the Porter 46 on some websites and liked the specs.

I went to EMS because it was closer than the REI, that simple. I asked if they had the Porter 46 in stock, and they said no. But, then, I found one on the rack, behind a bunch of other bags, hidden from everyone. It felt like it was meant to be.

Although I tried some traditional top load bags with secondary side zippers, when I opened the Porter 46, I fell in love. It was so roomy inside!

What do you like most about your backpack? Any down sides?

I love the size! It has a huge amount of space inside, but even when loaded up, it still feels small and light on my back. There are two small outside pockets that I can use for wet stuff, or dirty things, like my bathing suit or flip flops. There are also two mesh pockets inside for organizing small items. Most of all, when I unzip the bag I can see everything I have in there at one time!

The only downside is that I wish it had more compression straps on the outside, but I can buy those to add on.

Tell us about the fit and comfort level of your backpack.

Currently, I am carrying around 11kg, or about 24 pounds. Although the bag has a smaller, more lightweight waist strap, it does not seem to be a problem. The bag fits the contours of my back. It’s not super high, so the weight is distributed.

If you want to take your backpack as carry-on luggage, can you?

It is advertised as overhead bin material, but I have not tested it yet. My husband’s bag is bigger and has to be checked when full, so often I just check mine too.

Have you found the size to be too small, just right, or too large?

It’s just right when it comes to being able to carry it. Sometimes I still think it is too big because I have too much stuff with me now. But, I often pack more at the start of the trip and shed stuff as I go. I will wear the same two t-shirts for weeks, and then get rid of them, lightening the load.

I also carry my yoga mat with me. When my bag is full, I attach it to the outside under the compression straps. When my bag has some more space, I am able to fold it up and pack it inside, making the bag more streamlined. But, the fact that it fits inside is another bonus.

Overall, would you recommend your backpack?

Yes! I love this bag.

>> Check out our guide for picking a backpack, or read more female backpack reviews.

Big thanks to Amber Hoffman for sharing more about her backpack with us! You can follow Amber on her site, With Huband in Tow.

Written by Brooke

Brooke Schoenman runs the show at Her Packing List. Inspired from years of travel experience, Brooke decided there needed to be a travel gear site focused on the needs of a wandering female.

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Gear We Use

Organization

Packing Cubes – Organize your luggage with the lightweight, durable and compressible Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Compression Cubes.


Backpacks + Daypacks

Pacsafe – Since they come with extra theft-resisting features, Pacsafe bags make you a more confident traveler. We especially love this bag.

Sea to Summit – Of all the Sea to Summit products, our most recommended is the fits-in-your-palm, super packable Ultra-Sil Daypack.


Personal Care

Nalgene Toiletry Bottles – These leak-free toiletry bottles and tubs come in all sizes – even super tiny, helping minimalists pack it all without bulk.

Turkish Towels – They’re thinner than most travel towels, and they actually cover your body! We can’t get enough of Turkish towels for travel.


Clothing

Speakeasy Supply Co. – They make the awesome hidden pocket infinity scarves that are perfect for stashing secret cash, lip balms, and passports.

Anatomie – Anatomie travel pants come with luxury prices, but they offer many benefits for travelers. See our review of the famous Skyler pants.

Travel Resources

Booking Airfare

Dollar Flight Club – Get flight deal alerts for your preferred departure airport. There is both a free and premium version (recommended for more sweet deals). Members save on average $500 USD per flight!

Skyscanner – Skyscanner is our preferred site for searching flights. They offer unbiased search results and are free from hidden fees. You can also book your hotels and rental cars.


Accommodation

Airbnb – Airbnb is the best place to book out apartments around the world. Sign up using this link to get $37 USD off your first stay booking + $14 USD towards an experience booking!

Booking.com – Search for hotels, hostels, and apartments using this one resource. Use it for flights, car rentals, and airport taxis as well.

Hostelworld – For hostels, Hostelworld remains our number one source for booking stays. Choose from straight up hostels, budget hotels and bed and breakfasts.

Trusted Housesitters – Save money on travel accommodation by becoming a housesitter. Housesitters often have extra duties, like caring for pets and gardens.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Alex @ ifs ands & butts says

    This is the pack I use and it’s a dream – mainly because it’s not top loading and not so big that it can get too heavy. For a woman, I think you really shouldn’t go any bigger than this, if you do, you aren’t packing correctly. I second the recommendation for sure!

    • Amber says

      Thanks so much Alex! I just returned from 12 days in Cuba with the Porter 46 and was once again happy with my choice as I saw so many other women with larger bags, or wheelie suitcases struggling on the uneven roads. Great minds think alike on this one!

  2. Silja says

    Hi i know its a long time ago you posted this but one must try right! ๐Ÿ˜€
    So i was wondering what you think about it now that some more time has passed, and after you have been walking around with it for hours on your back in super hot climateยดs.
    whats maybe your last though of the porter 46? is there too little support and is it too sweaty on your back ? wondering because I’m going backpacking in Thailand and around Asia for a few months ๐Ÿ˜€ (super exited!)

    • Amber says

      I do still love my backpack! Although, I am not a FT traveler anymore, as I am based in Bali now. But, we still use our packs to move through the region and beyond. I also do not tend to walk with the pack on for hours at a time. I don’t backpack or trek with it, usually just use it to transport stuff from one location to another, like from the airport to a hotel, etc. But, I do tend to carry it on public transport, walking up to a mile, etc. I will say it is super easy to get on and off, so when I know I am going to be on a bus or train for longer than 15-20 minutes, I slide it off and put it back on. It probably does get sweaty on my back, but no more than other packs when you are hauling 12 kg in a sweaty Singapore or KL. I hope that helps! Good luck with your trip. Let me know if you make it to Bali.

  3. Jo says

    Do you travel carry on with your yoga mat stapped on like it is in the picture? Thats exactly how i want to travel (with a porter 46 and a yoga mat) but am worried i will get stopped by the airline.

    • Amber says

      Hey there. I actually started traveling with a travel mat that I could fold up and put inside my backpack. There was plenty of room. I did check my pack a few times with the mat on the outside. I was never stopped but always wondered whether the mat would make it. Just easier to put it inside. I used the Jade light weight mat and it was great.

    • Amber Hoffman says

      Tracy, It does not. It’s a lot more compact than traditional hiking style backpacks, and is more streamlined, which means it doesn’t have that sort of stuff on the outside. But, there are some clips where you might be able to clip on a water bottle.

  4. Melissa says

    I just bought one and I am fairly petite. But its rubbing the back sides of my neck. Do you think its too big for my size or maybe I am positioning it wrong? Any one with this experience?

  5. Kira says

    What was the other backpack that you had for a while? trying to compare to see which one i should get for a 4 months trip.

    Thank you!

    • Amber Siobhaun Hoffman says

      Oh, I don’t remember it was so long ago. I will say that although I had to switch to a wheelie bag for my back over 2 years ago (as I get older), I still have this Osprey 46 as a back up bag. I still love it.

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