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Is the Osprey Fairview 40 really 40 liters??

Alright backpackers, I’m looking for your opinion here. I have an Osprey Fairview 40 that I bought in early 2020 for a trip that never happened, and so far it just gets practice-packed and I wear it on the treadmill while I watch European travel videos on YouTube.

Here’s my issue: it does not pack like it’s 40 liters IMO. I just took everything out and put it in my RS rolling backpack (maybe 31 liters according to interior dimensions) and I can fit MORE in that bag (not a fan of that bag, but that’s a different issue). I do plan to take the Fairview on my next domestic trip to try it out, but I’m really wondering if maybe it’s just not the bag for me.

So my question, dear backpackers, is do you use a 40L backpack (or 2) that you would happily recommend? If so I’d love to know what you like about it (pros/cons both perhaps). I may end up selling my Osprey (and my RS rolling bp!) and following a Forum recommendation.

Thanks for any suggestions!

Posted by
69 posts

Hi bogiesan, I agree that allowing for how organizational pockets take up space I thought it would still seem large enough. And really, even assuming all manufacturers use a consistent measuring system (unlikely), the difference of a few liters is probably less important than how the bag is designed and how you pack (I was surprised to notice that packing a backpack and roller suitcase if similar dimensions required different approaches). I think that the Fairview is particularly space-inefficient in its design, namely that the harness system (although excellent for longer carry) creates a lot of unpackable dead space that you expect to have based on dimension math. The Fairview is a favorite pack for many; in the end these things become very person-specific conclusions. I’m just not sure it’s going to be a favorite pack for me, hence the question.

Side note, I love Packer Hacker, btw, for their excellent reviews. It is from watching so many of their reviews on YT that I stopped looking for a “perfect” bag (ultimately too person and trip dependent) and am just looking for a “best pros & trade-offs for me bag”. Maybe the new Eagle Creek Travel Tour 40? I might go for that if I can see one in person first. The hunt continues! I am confident there will be some opinions on the Forum! :)

Posted by
1467 posts

I use the Fairview. I've taken it on 4 international trips, most are three weeks. There are two sizes, the M/L will give you another L or two. I sort of dislike a lot of the interior pockets, but I've never had an issue fitting 22 days of travel in it.

I do appreciate the harness on it when I have to walk a long ways, as sometimes we've had to leave our car in an old town outside of the walls or park a ways away from our lodgings which are uphill, etc, or even a long airport walk. It is on the bigger side though.

I too have considered the EC Tour, but I don't feel it will be any bigger than the Osprey. In the videos and pictures I've seen of it, it appears to me to be a bit smaller. I used to work at REI and I am an actual "backpacker", (I don't consider urban travel backpacking, but I just returned from another week long backpacking trip, in the Gros Ventre Wilderness this time) and I was the assistant manager there so I have a lot of experience with packs. I haven't found anything better that I like, if a pack is over 14 lbs.

I have not tried the Eagle Creek yet, it's not in store at our REI, but I've considered ordering it from EC and returning it if I don't like it. But based on my experience, it does not appear that the back will offer much in the way of comfort. My lightest three-week trip was my last one, 14.1 pounds. It might have been able to handle that.

So do you have an idea of what your pack will weigh?

Posted by
180 posts

I would agree w/you Kristin. It may say 40L but it doesn't pack that way. I have the Fairview 40. Used it on 1 domestic trip & said no more. The way the interior is laid out with the "flap" (divider) really takes up a lot of space. The shoulder straps zip away but that may be taking up some volume as well. I do like the cinch straps. And handles on 3 sides.

You really don't want to see my closet of misfit luggage

Posted by
1467 posts

Mark, do you have the Fairview or the Farpoint? Osprey's Farpoint is a bit bigger, made for men.

A thought, those of us who have the Osprey and dislike the divider (I don't know that I hate it, I use it for various things) can simply cut it out, thereby eliminating the room and opening up the interior.

Posted by
9293 posts

Looking at the Osprey website it seems the 'Fairview 40" comes in two sizes, 38L and 40L

I am not a backpack person so not sure what to make of it.

Did you perhaps get the 38 liter size?

The listed capacity of the current RS rolling backpack is 1960 cu in, making it a bit over 32 liters

Depending on the shape, a given volume can fit or not fit, depending on how it is arranged.

Posted by
69 posts

Hi AMann, thanks for your reply. I appreciate your personal experience with the pack as well as at REI — that gives you a lot of practical insight. Regarding my pack weight, I’m under 13 pounds. My electronics go in a crossbody, which keeps the backpack lighter (I feel better with electronics on me all the time). But, I am new to using a backpack at all, so I have to be open to the idea that my bp travel style will evolve. I just did a short domestic trip with the Eagle Creek Expanse Hauler and it went very well. I thought that bag’s harness system, certainly inferior to the Fairview, would leave me a little disappointed as the trip went on, but it was ok. However, Rick’s Alpine My Way tour is on my wish list, and I do wonder if a better harness system would come in handy for something like that.

Thanks again for your comments.

Posted by
69 posts

Mark McG, your closet and mine must look the same! It feels wrong to sell luggage — even if I don’t use it! I’m in the midst of a loooong-term effort to declutter, so I’m trying to change my mentality — if I don’t use it and it could be replaced if I changed my mind, then I should LET IT GO! I am staring at 3 pieces of luggage that are on the chopping block! LOL!

Joe32F, I have the larger Fairview, which I believe matches the Farpoint at 40L (whereas the small Fairview is 38L as far as I can tell). Also, the RS rolling bp dimensions that = 32 liters include the wheels, I believe, so maybe ex-wheels and ex-interior lost to the handle etc it’s 30-31? Hard to say. That’s why I think layout and design are more important than liter specs per se, but who knows — some people swear by bags that I wouldn’t consider. In any case, this Forum has been a good place to gather opinions and experience.

Thank you both for your comments!

Posted by
18553 posts

After reviewing Osprey's dimension and capacity calculations, I'm convinced that passing grade school math is not a requirement for employment there. In fact, if you did, you might be considered over-qualified.

By the way, I have an Osprey bag, and like a lot of things about it, but I still think their specifications are essentially fantasies.

Looking at the WXS/S Fairview, the HWD product, the maximum envelope, is a little less than 35 liters, but given it's irregular shape and tapers, and an allowance for fabric, it can't be anything close to 35L. However, the capacity is given as 38L, which means it would have had to be filled to extreme bulging.

But, the WS/M's HWD product is more than 43L, but they give the capacity as 40L, less than the maximum envelope.

The volume of the outside envelope for the S/M is 24% larger than the envelope for the XS/S, but the capacity, 40L vs 38L, is only 5.3% more.

Posted by
69 posts

Lee, LOL! I always do the math as well on the company specs and often end up scratching my head over the results. In addition, when I’ve measured bags myself that I own they rarely meet company specs. Go figure!

Posted by
1467 posts

Rarely if ever do packmakers ever use math for their L capacity. They just get “close”. Gregory is the closest I’ve ever seen.

Posted by
1189 posts

Kirsten, do I understand you are still shopping for a 40L bag? Do you require a serious backpack with a long distance suspension system? If so, you might go hunting for recommendations from women w ho have hiked the Camino. Osprey and Gregory are high on those lists. If you don’t need a heavy duty set of straps and hip belt, there are hundreds of great bags.

Posted by
69 posts

Hi bogiesan, I am only looking for use on a “normal” tourist trip to Europe, so being comfortable and mobile through airports, trains, reasonable walk to a hotel, and possibly several flights of stairs. I have been going through the learning curve of what is the value of 1) load lifters or not 2) frame or less structured bag, 3) hip belt for weight transfer or not necessary. These are hard to answer definitively for myself, certainly hard to answer for someone else, so thank you to all who are offering ideas. It’s getting harder to find inventory in stores, which is a bummer, because it would be nice to look at options side by side and try them on. Probably my next Euro trip is next spring, so I have a while to figure it out!

Posted by
276 posts

I just bought an Ebags Mother Lode Junior backpack. It is the slightly smaller version of the full sized Mother Lode backpack. I did a test pack for my upcoming trip to Italy and I was amazed at the amount it holds as well as the nice organizational features it has. It is 19.5 x 14 x 9 (so right at 40 liters) and feels spacious. The best feature and the reason I purchased it even though I have so much other luggage, is that it opens up like a suitcase. The Ebags website says that it is out of stock right now but I'm sure it will be back in stock soon. It isn't a backpack that I'd want to wear hiking or even for a really long time, but for regular travel, I think (hope!) it will be fine.

Posted by
69 posts

Hi slws2137, I’ve seen the Mother Lode Jr mentioned before — now you’re sending me back to their website for another look! Thanks for your comment!

Posted by
69 posts

slws2137, I just checked the ebags website, and I don’t even see the Jr or regular one listed! I think it’s been a very popular bag, so I’d be surprised if it’s being discontinued, but we’ll see!

Posted by
18553 posts

it’s been a very popular bag, so I’d be surprised if it’s being discontinued,

That's their M.O. Keep changing things in hopes people will buy more new stuff.

In my opinion, the best bag eBags ever sold was the eTech 2.0 Weekender Jr. I have one, have used it for at least three trips (8 weeks) in Europe, and it is my "go to" bag. But they don't sell it anymore. It's replacements are heavier, with no compensating new features.

I think eBags discontinues perfectly good bags in hopes that you will buy a new (inferior) one, from them.

Posted by
69 posts

Hi Lee, I’m with you there — I have the ebags EXO backpack, no longer available. Nice bag, a little heavy for the strap cushion, but useful at times.

(For anyone counting, yes I have 3 backpacks for European travel that have yet to get out of the midwest! Why? Pandemic buying! I know some of you can relate!)

Posted by
1189 posts

I am only looking for use on a “normal” tourist trip to Europe, so being comfortable and mobile through airports, trains, reasonable walk to a hotel, and possibly several flights of stairs.

If you do not require bombproof construction or stout and robust suspension, the next factor is budget. For my money, Tom Bihn. the 45L Techs- or Aero-naut bags are frameless, will last a lifetime, and the shoulder straps provide just enough support for your needs (although a waist belt and frame sheet are available). Once you get into that level of cost, sophistication, and quality of construction, many other selections are available. Packhacker probably has the most comprehensive list of travel-specific 30-45L bags but there is also onebagtravels.com

I really like my Aeronauts (both 30 and 45) but I have done carryon-only with Patagonia's MLC45, PacSafe 40, and the one that got away, REI's ultra-simple Big Haul $100 40L duffle.

Posted by
69 posts

bogiesan, which Pacsafe do you have, the X40 or the Vibe 40? OneBagTravels did a side-by-side on those plus the EXP45. I like PacSafe, and use the Citysafe CS200 as my day bag. Based on OBT's review, I was intrigued by the Vibe 40.

People who love Tom Bihn LOVE Tom Bihn! That alone makes me take a look at them, but the $300+ price for the 45L bag is a stretch. If indeed it would be my favorite bag and last and last, it would be fine. I wish you could try on the bags from smaller companies first, but that's the way it goes.

Thanks for weighing in.

Posted by
1189 posts

bogiesan, which Pacsafe do you have, the X40 or the Vibe 40? OneBagTravels did a side-by-side on those plus the EXP45. I like PacSafe,

I had the Vibe40, great clamshell soft sided suitcase. The security features are well designed. You just need to remember to deploy them. It worked great for a few trips but I had visited the Tom Bihn facility in Seattle decades ago and I was delighted, years later, to be in a position to support the company's vision.

REi member? be sure to visit both the garage and used gear sections on the site. Great quality gear, good prices. This unit from Osprey, the Heritage, is $125 (reg $180), 42L and has a full suspension system.
2563 in.cu. / 42 L 21.26H X 15.35W X 11.02D IN. 2.933 LBS.
https://www.rei.com/used/p/osprey-heritage-turnstone-bag/215503?color=Bazan%20Red&aqi=c51ab95a8e205c268b668060bffe96c9

https://www.osprey.com/us/en/product/heritage-turnstone-OHTURNSTN_550.html

Posted by
69 posts

I am an REI member - thanks for pointing me in the direction of the used gear!

Posted by
1467 posts

Kirstin, let us know what you decide.

Looking at the Vibe 40, it appears to be the same as the Osprey dimension-wise. I have a Pac-Safe small crossbody bag. I'm interested in how that weight listed on it is a bit lighter than the Osprey with all of those security features, as even my small bag is heavy. Of course, it is probably in the hip belt and back that Osprey has all the weight. (I also just got mine down and realized the compartments are all one, so cutting out that middle one obviously wouldn't work.)

I am still also on the hunt, if I find something I'll let you know!

Posted by
69 posts

AMann, I really wish I could try out some of these bags in stores - I’ve seen so many YT videos that I now think I have a pretty good idea of the features I need, but fit matters, and that’s hard to judge from descriptions. However, inventory does not seem to be rebounding at retailers. Oh well.

I am leaning toward the Eagle Creek Travel Tour 40L — seems like a good blend of soft, open bag (= maximum “packability”, which I get from my Eagle Creek Expanse Hauler) and solid harness system (which is a highlight of the Osprey Fairview 40). I wish they had added a couple of D-rings so a shoulder strap would be an option, and I don’t care for their choice of front pocket configuration. At the same time, I’m not in a great rush, so maybe I’ll see an updated model or a sale before I feel the need to buy! In the meantime, I’ve identified 3 pieces of luggage I’m willing to part with — maybe that will fund a new bag :)

Thank you everyone who has contributed to this thread!