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I have graduated from my trusty old Ruby Red backpack to try out a few different Osprey packs: the Aura 50, Kyte 46, and Farpoint 55. I want to address each one I’ve tried, what I like and don’t like about them, and why the Farpoint gets my vote for long-term travel.
Related: How to Pack for a Year in the Farpoint 55 and Carry it on!
I started with the Aura 50 but almost immediately returned it. Why? Because it had an extremely tight, awkward fit around the waist that didn’t seem like it would ever be forgiving enough to be comfortable, and also because even though I ordered a Small, the height of it worried me for carry-on size restrictions. Of course, I tried it on at REI before I ordered it like I always recommend doing. However, they only had an XS in stock, so I couldn’t truly compare.
Related: How to Choose the Perfect Travel Backpack (VIDEO)
Back to REI, I went to try on more backpacks, and I decided to switch out my Aura 50 for a Kyte 46. This was sacrificing a bit of space, which also concerned me because I’d be taking it on my longest adventure yet (constant travel indefinitely, packing for a year). I would lie if I said the color had nothing to do with it (teal is one of my faves).
But aesthetics aside, I thought the Kyte 46 was almost exactly what I wanted. It would have been better had it been a 50, but the REI employee and I stuffed it FULL of all sorts of pillows to ensure I was comfortable with what it could hold.
In hindsight, I should never have planned to stuff a bag that full, but as space was limited, that’s exactly what I ended up doing. I started my trip with the Kyte 46 backpack. Here are my thoughts about it:
What I liked (besides the color) about my Kyte 46:
- Bottom access zipper to main compartment (not just top-loading)
- Comfortable around my torso
- Top pocket on outside and inside (easy access)
- It really did stretch a lot and I’m almost convinced I fit more than 46 L worth of stuff in it
- I carried it on no problem
What I didn’t love:
- The pocket on the outside front of the pack doesn’t zip closed, just an elastic mesh pocket (I couldn’t really trust that anything would stay in it)
- Even with top and bottom access, I still grew frustrated with having to dig around so much, constantly
- Its capacity of 46 meant I had to carry more in my personal item than I prefer (which ended up being another daypack)
About 4 months into my trip, I switched out the Kyte 46 for an Osprey Farpoint 55.
FIREWORKS. I’m telling you, I used to think this pack looked funny, and now I sing its praises all day long.
The Farpoint is a backpack that opens like a suitcase. GENIUS. There is a detachable daypack on the outside of the flap that unzips like a suitcase, and the main compartment is completely open, with buckle straps if you choose to use them. You almost need to see it in action to understand its brilliance.
What I love about the Osprey Farpoint 55:
- The suitcase-like opening is amazing for finding things quickly, staying organized, and not continuously scraping my hands and arms along the fabric of the pack digging for contents
- Detachable daypack eliminated my need for a second, smaller daypack that I was using for a personal item, which I switched out for a large purse
- The daypack has compartments, including a laptop sleeve (#digitalnomad)
- While the main compartment itself is only 40, which is smaller than the Kyte, between that and the daypack it is 55, which means I can carry more weight on my back and less in my arms (personal item)
- Comfortable to wear
- Backpack straps can all tuck in and get zipped up so if you check it there are no hanging straps, just sturdy handles (even the airport employees were amazed by this transformation when I zipped it all up in front of them to check my bag from Europe to South America)
- The daypack not only zips on, it also straps on, so it feels very securely attached
- I use the daypack almost every day on its own, it’s a brilliant size and I love its compartments
- Still small enough to carry on (can detach the daypack to fit in some smaller overhead bins)
- It’s UNISEX (gasp!) that means this is the first pack I’ve recommended that everyone can enjoy
What I don’t love:
- It is short in height and packs deep instead of tall, which isn’t a problem in itself, except I stick out a lot in the back when I have it on and sometimes run into people or things (no swinging around, you might take someone out!)
Seriously I can’t think of anything else. I have been on the road for 5 months, unpacking and repacking constantly, and the Farpoint is the best pack I’ve ever experienced for this type of travel.
The Kyte and other top/bottom loading packs might be ideal for backcountry backpacking trips with camping gear, etc. However, in my opinion, the Farpoint backpack is the clear winner when traveling the world.
Check out these Osprey Packs on Amazon or at REI.
Thanks to Osprey Packs for providing these packs to me. All opinions are my own.
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