When compared to other backpacks Osprey's Farpoint 40 is tested as the best travel backpack and the best carry-on backpack mainly because of its unbeatable comfort and durability. Besides traveling, it can also be used for weekend hiking & camping activities as long as it doesn't exceed 3 days (because of the ventilation and size suffers) and even for daily purposes. See the in-depth, hands-on review here.
The only downside of Farpoint 40 is that although the laptop AND tablet sleeves are very large (laptops up to 17" can fit) and well padded, having them at the backpanel would make Farpoint 40 even more comfortable. But luckily, it's a comfort oriented pack, so we didn't wish it to be more comfortable.
We've been buying backpacks online for years and never had any problems. Before you buy, do make sure to check the seller's return policy, but you can almost always return an unused pack within a certain time frame and you're good. If it doesn't fit quite right after trying it on at home, you can always return!
Osprey Porter 46 | $139.98 can be a better option only if you're 100% sure you won't walk much (say, more than half an hour) with the pack, you don't care about carry on compatibility and organizational features such as traveler organizer are very important to you.
Turn your phone sideways for a much better table display!
This product is a Crunch Top Pick!
Osprey Farpoint 40
Osprey Porter 46
Very comfortable, large laptop AND tablet sleeves are well padded to keep your electronics safe, stow away harness, very durable, lots of external gear attachment options, sits upright when put down, very pretty design, carry on compatible for most airlines
Lots of compartments and pockets, traveler organizer make your frequently used items very easily accessible, a detachable daypack (sold separately) can be attached, large laptop and tablet sleeves at the backside of backpack feel safer, stow away harness
Having the laptop in a backpanel compartment instead of in the middle could have made this pack even more comfortable due to better weight distribution
Not technically carry-on compatible for most airlines, walking long distances is uncomfortable and cumbersome due to thin shoulder straps and hip belt without sufficient padding, not for daily use, no water bottle holders
Osprey Farpoint 40
Osprey Porter 46
Size options and corresponding torso heights
S/M: 15 - 19 inches
M/L: 18 - 22 inches
One size fits all
Main & middle compartments
6 Pockets: 1 external zippered pocket, laptop sleeve, tablet sleeve, 1 internal zippered mesh pocket, 2 unenclosed side mesh water bottle holders
5 Pockets: 1 external zippered top slash pocket, 1 external zippered front pocket, laptop sleeve (rear compartment), tablet sleeve (rear compartment), 1 internal zippered side pocket (main compartment)
Laptop & Tablet Sleeves
Inside the front compartment:
Inside the rear compartment:
Osprey Farpoint 40
Osprey Sojourn 45
Top and side carry handles, duffel bag strap, backpack
Top and side carry handles, duffel bag strap, backpack
Osprey's Daylite Daypack attachability
S/M: Dimensions: 22H X 14W X 8D IN
One size: Dimensions: 22H X 14W X 11D IN
The most important thing you need to know when comparing these products is that the biggest difference between them is harness. Farpoint 40 makes a better job than Porter 46 in terms of harness and that’s why I’m going to mention it first.
Porter 46 still feels pretty comfortable compared to other backpacks, but it’s just undoubtedly not as good as Farpoint 40. After around 30 minutes it gets uncomfortable on your back because it simply isn’t intended for long hauls.
Harness is important because as Joseph stated in 2013 that gluteus maximus (hips) is the largest muscle in human body .
That’s why the size and fitting system of all backpacks should be designed to help you distribute most of the load to your hips  as John explained, relieving load from your weaker torso as much as possible and enabling walking longer distances more comfortably without extra exhaustion.
Shoulder straps of Porter 46 are thin. In 2016 Dr. Bautch said  that a backpack with thicker straps is healthier since your shoulder muscles can get cut by a thin backpack strap and lead to injuries.
Farpoint 40 comes with sturdy and thick straps designed for efficient load distribution.
Breathability and comfort is boosted in Farpoint 40 with decent padding as a mesh foam throughout all contact areas; your shoulders (shoulder straps), waist (hip belt) and back (backside of backpack). Padding prevents your muscles from getting cut and are easier on your skin.
There is no back or shoulder strap padding in Porter 46, only hip belt is padded.
Like shoulder straps, hip belt of Porter 46 is also too thin and doesn’t have a padding, unlike Farpoint 40 with thick and padded hip belt.
You’d instantly feel that hip belt of Porter 46 is lacking in thickness even if you tried it in store with weights. The difference is very apparent and it’s the main cause of the distinct difference between these products in terms of comfort.
Both products come with 3 handy options to carry: backpack, briefcase and duffel bag.
It’s also very well thought out that while you’re using them as a briefcase or duffel bag, you can simply zip the straps and hip belt into the stowaway flap and get rid of the flying straps and belts everywhere while you’re carrying it or stuffing it into the overhead compartment of an airport.
The carry handles of both products are easy on your hands with soft padding and on your wrists with accurate dimensions. There is one on the top and another at the side of each backpack.
Porter 46 doesn’t come with the shoulder strap of duffel bag. Also, it’s worth to mention that the shoulder strap of duffel bag of Farpoint 40 is detachable.
Stowaway Back Panel
Farpoint 40 uses zips for stowaway.
In Porter 46 a layer compartment is used for the times you’re not using the products as a backpack as you can see below. You can stuff the shoulder straps and hip belt into this stowaway back panel compartment.
Porter 46 (Total: 6 pockets): Main compartment, an internal side mesh pocket, a front panel organization compartment, a rear laptop/tablet sleeve compartment, a vertical zippered pocket at the front, a top zippered pocket
Farpoint 40 (Total: 4 pockets without two mesh water bottle holders): Main compartment, an internal zippered mesh pocket, a front compartment with padded laptop and tablet sleeve, a front slash pocket, two front mesh water bottle holders,
Main compartment of Porter 46 opens sideways like a suitcase and that of Farpoint 40 opens all the way down from top like a clamshell. When laid on the floor both products provide incredibly easy access to your equipment without requiring digging through everything.
Farpoint 40 offers a mesh pocket at the backside of front face while Porter 46 has one side mesh pocket inside the main compartment.
Even though the main compartment is easily accessed, you don’t want to lay your pack on the floor each time you need a frequently used item.
Farpoint 40 doesn't come with a traveler organizer.
Most backpacks have laptop compartments on the front or at the middle, but Porter 46 provides it at its backside. It makes carrying your valuable electronic feel more secure and more readily accessible.
It's also easier to access especially while waiting at airports.
Farpoint 40 provides a laptop and a tablet sleeves in the front compartment like most backpacks.
Both products provide large enough sleeves to fit a 15.6" inch laptop and a 10" tablet.
Mesh water bottle holders
There are 2 mesh water bottle holders in Farpoint 40 at the front.
Porter 46 lacks them.
In addition to traveler organizer in front compartment, there's a top pocket in Porter 46.
Farpoint 40 doesn't have a traveler organizer but it does have a slash pocket on the front face and it’s soft lined so that your fragile items wouldn’t get scratched.
Front zippered pocket
Farpoint 40 lacks the vertical front pocket in Porter 46.
Like other Osprey products, durability is one of the main things that make both products superior to others.
Side paneling is sturdy in both products.
The carry handles are durable would never come off, wear out or get torn.
Even though the main fabric materials of products resist moisture, since both products aren’t labelled waterproof a rain cover would be beneficial if rain is expected.
In short, both products make a very good job being durable.
Size Options and Dimensions
Porter 46 is a one size fits all pack, on the other hand, Farpoint 40 provides options.
Osprey Farpoint 40 Size Guide
Farpoint 40 offers S/M and M/L sizes. Even though S/M and M/L sizes aren't a choice of volume and intended to match torso lengths to fit the backpack properly for a healthy load distribution, S/M Size of Farpoint 40 is 38 liters instead of 40. The dimensions are as follows:
Farpoint 40 S/M
22h x 14w x 8d
Farpoint 40 M/L
22h x 14w x 9d
22h x 14w x 11d
If you multiply the dimensions, obtain the volume in cubic inches and convert it to liters you’ll see that the numbers won’t add up – S/M Size gives 36.7 liters and M/L Size gives 43.36 liters.
The reason is that height, width and depth dimensions are rounded up and down, and the differences of these multipliers create a deviation in result. That’s why I recommend you considering the volumes of S/M and M/L sizes based on 38 liters and 40 liters.
You can evaluate your torso length at home with the help of Osprey’s very own Size & Fit article , then you can find the torso length vs recommended size chart of Osprey under the same article and choose accordingly (click on image to enlarge).
Find Farpoint 40 at the bottom row.
In my experience, 2 liters of extra volume is less important then a properly fitting backpack.
Osprey Porter 46 dimensions are 22 x 14 x 11 inches (46 liters) which is almost the largest a carry-on backpack can get. In fact, it’s more of a traditional suitcase that you can overstuff more than a backpack.
At 22 x 14 x 9 inches (40 liters), Farpoint 40 is 13% smaller compared to Porter 46.
In all honesty, I’ve never seen any advantages of extra volume. As I'll also mention in Weight section the temptation to fill up a bag to the brim becomes a more dangerous problem with larger volume bags especially if you’re planning to walk with them.
Also, 40 liters is huge when you think about it. I’ve never had any problems in terms of Farpoint 40’s size.
Both products come with the compressible outer structure called osprey straightjacket compression.
It helps distributing the load evenly by pulling the sides of the backpack and ultimately preventing your items from applying stress one side of the backpack more than the other and decrease its lifespan.
You can also compress the backpack to a smaller size when it’s not fully stuffed, which is great.
Weight is more important for those who are planning to walk long distances with their backpacks.
At 3.11 (S/M) and 3.17 (M/L) pounds, Farpoint 40 is lighter than Porter 46 at 3.4 pounds.
If you’re an ultralight hiker, both products are heavy for you.
However if you’re not an ultralight traveler/hiker but still care about the weight, in addition to 0.2 pounds, you should also consider that at a volume of 46 liters which is 15% more than Farpoint 40, the temptation to fill up the backpack will cause more weight compared to Farpoint 40.
Carry on Status for Flights
Another area where osprey straightjacket compression comes in handy. If you don't fill the backpacks up to their brim, you can always shrink them into smaller sizes easily - and comply with airlines' carry on status size allowance.
You can check the carry-on status of most popular airlines as Independent.co.uk stated in 2016 September  and compare them with the dimensions of Porter 46 and Farpoint 40 explained below in Size section.
For those who care, reinforced cord loops of Porter 46 make it possible to attach a compatible detachable Osprey Daylite Daypack | from $37.46 unlike Farpoint 40.
Porter 46 offers Black, Hoodoo Red and Nitro Green options.
Farpoint 40 offers Volcanic Grey, Jasper Red and Caribbean Blue options.
Osprey Farpoint 40 manual can be found here.
Osprey Porter 46 manual can be found here.
Who should choose Farpoint 40: Those who prefer a very comfortable pack and going to be both travelling and will be attending outdoor events where walking with the pack is involved.
- Large panel zip access to main compartment
- Stowaway backpanel, harness and hipbelt with...
- Laptop and tablet sleeve secure in lockable...
- Dual front mesh pockets
- Heat-embossed scratch-free zippered slash pocket
Who should choose Porter 46: Those who are mostly going to be travelling with the pack without walking any more than half an hour.
- Straightjacket compression with padded wings and...
- Stowaway shoulder harness and hip belt with...
- Protected rear panel lockable zip laptop/tablet...
- Front panel organization pocket for easy access to...
- D-ring attachments for adding a shoulder strap...
My personal preference: My pick is Farpoint 40 as I mentioned before. I used both backpacks and I’m happier with Farpoint 40. Whether I’m on a long-haul adventure or just travelling inside a city walking and taking various forms of transportations, I’ve never complained about it and complimented on it many times.
Overall, Farpoint 40 provides more utility which is a huge plus and Porter 46 provides a better internal organization, which is a plus.
- Joseph, E. M. (2013, December). Know the body: muscle, bone, and palpation essentials. Elsevier Health Sciences, p. 346.
- Triano, J. J. (2012, August). Tips to Prevent Back Pain from Kids' Backpacks, Spine-Health.com
- Suszynski, M. (2016, December). “Is Your Bag Hurting Your Back?”, Back Pain Management Guide, EverydayHealth.com
- Osprey. Size & Fit. Retrieved from https://www.osprey.com/ca/en/fitting-learning/size-fit
- Travel Desk of Independent.co.uk. (2016, September). “From seat pitch to baggage fees, here's how the top low-cost carriers fared”, Retrieved from http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/budget-airlines-cheap-flights-ryanair-easyjet-monarch-norwegian-london-baggage-allowance-fees-a7333466.html
- Some photos and information from Osprey Farpoint Series Manual. Retrieved from https://www.osprey.com/user_manuals/OM_FarpointFairview_F17_ENG.pdf
- Some photos and information from Osprey Porter Series Manual. Retrieved from https://www.osprey.com/user_manuals/OM_Porter_F17_ENG.pdf
- Some photos from https://www.wardow.com/en/osprey-farpoint-40-s-m-15-travel-backpack-anthracite-5-503-0-1.html
- Some photos and information from Osprey.com Farpoint 40. Retrieved from https://www.osprey.com/us/en/product/farpoint-40-FARPNT40_526.html
- Some photos and information from Ospreyeurope.com Farpoint 40. Retrieved from https://www.ospreyeurope.com/shop/gb_en/farpoint-40-14?store=gb_en
- Some photos and information from Osprey.com Porter 46. Retrieved from https://www.osprey.com/us/en/product/porter-46-PORTER46.html