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Osprey Fairview 38L or TSL Mother Lode Weekender Junior?

I am traveling to Europe for 6 weeks in May/June, and I am currently debating between investing in the Osprey Fairview 38L or the TSL Mother Lode Weekender Jr. I've had the opportunity to look at the 40L Osprey in person and I like it, but probably just a slight bit large for my frame. I would likely try the 38L if I decide to go with that bag. I am also intrigued by some of the organizational features of the ML Weekender Jr., and I really like the look of the design from what I can tell online.

The two bags are very similar in size (Osprey is 19.3" x 13.8" vs. Mother Lode at 19.5" x 14"), and the Osprey comes in a little lighter than the Weekender at 3.1 lbs compared to 3.5 lbs.

Does anyone have experience with either of these bags? Would you recommend one over the other?

Posted by
1259 posts

Edit: you were asking for user experiences, sorry, I have experience with other Osprey equipment and I have seen both praise and scorn for the ebags motherlode series. I hope you get more direct answers from users. Of these specific models. Give the forum a few days.

You can read many reviews of each, carefully and easily filter out the shills and the ignorant rants. Osprey is going to last much longer, one of the things you pay for is the build quality and the suspension. but the ebags units have their devoted fans, too. Ebags often has that bag marked down to $70 so search wide for coupons and promotion codes. If you are not expecting to pass your luggage to your grandchildren, ebags motherlode series can be exceptional bargains. You may wish to review the Rck Steves store, too, for good buys on luggage, unless you are certain you need a backpack.

REI has the Fairview on sale for $120.

Posted by
1039 posts

I've had the Fairview 38L for over a year and have been quite pleased. I like that the main compartment opens flat - which makes it easier to pack and unpack - and I like that the backpack straps and hip belt can be zippered into their own compartment if the bag needs to be checked, which I have done on multiple occasions because I was carrying alcohol. The bag - and alcohol - came through unscathed. The internal frame shifts the weight on to my hips so I don't experience any back discomfort even when walking quickly between terminals. The only potential downside is if you carry a laptop. The laptop compartment is in the front of the bag which shifts the weight away from your back. Since I don't carry a laptop it isn't an issue for me. I am unfamiliar with the Mother Lode. Hope that helps.

Posted by
312 posts

I have the 40L .used about a year for multiple trips to Europe and Mexico. Since I am 5 feet 3 inches it's been difficult to find a travel pack that works for a short woman but this pack works very well for me. The 40L can also be ordered in a small or medium size and is designed for women. Also never had any issues with using as a carry on bag. I looked at the 38 and decided it was too small in terms of packing. I am not a backpacker but this pack is comfortable for walking a mile or so and no problems hoping onto trains or buses.

Posted by
1769 posts

I use the TLS Mother Lode Weekender - both the full size and the junior. I have used the full size on eight or nine overseas trips (2-3 weeks each) and I used the Junior version on a recent 5 day trip to Iceland. The bags are sturdy and do have good organization, but I have personally removed some of the features - for example, I don't take a laptop, so I took out the laptop sleeve to open up a space to put my packable duffel bag. I'm a petite person and thought the Junior would be a better option for my frame. I actually didn't notice much of a difference for that reason, but I definitely noticed the storage space difference in the main compartment. For a longer trip, I'd likely go back to the slightly bigger bag.

Are you moving around a lot and needing to carry your bag long distances walking? If so, I might prefer a bag with more comfortable backpack straps. The eBags are fine for short jaunts (from hotel to transport, around the airport) but I would not put them in the comfortable category. I have an older version of the large bag and the clips that attach the straps are not very sturdy - easily solved with backup carabiner clips. The newer bag seem to have an improved design - I'm waiting to see how it holds up.

Note, eBags is currently having a sale - use code EXTRA - the Junior is $69.99 and full size $79.99. They have a decent return policy.

Posted by
5 posts

Just joined the forum and saw this post, so hope my answer isn't too late. A few years ago I needed a smaller backpack (Delta carry-on) and was between the Osprey and the Mother Lode. I love eBags and bought the Mother Lode Jr but returned it for an Eagle Creek bag. I highly recommend looking at the Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Ultra-Light Duffel Bag Backpack (the new version, not the old one), it's 22 x 9 x 12.5 in/40L and just 1.5 lbs.

Mother Lode Jr
The compartments are honestly what made me return this bag. I use packing cubes/ziplock bags (lighter than cubes) and found the compartments restrictive when trying to fit in all my stuff. I prefer one large space for more flexibility when packing and this just had too many small spaces. The water bottle holder is very nice but it wasn't something I needed. The bag feels very solid so I'm sure you'd be happy with the quality. As I said, I love eBags, my Piazza bag is a must when traveling but the Mother Lode Jr just had too much happening with it for me.

One warning, it's very easy to over expand it. I once watched a fellow passenger spend several minutes forcing the bag into the overhead. If you get it, just make sure you measure it before you go and again if you buy anything. It's also pretty structured which makes it harder to smash into overhead bins/under seats/etc.

I nearly bought the Osprey but again I didn't want all the compartments or the extra straps around my waist.

Eagle Creek
Three main selling features for me: super light weight, large main compartment, and the main opening being against my back for safety. Since I bought mine they've dramatically improved the bag to the point I might buy the new one. The straps are now attached and store in the flap, whereas mine were removable (one "removed" itself from the bag while I was carrying it, thankfully I was using both at the time). They also added a compartment and a few other minor tweaks. I nearly always use public transportation getting to and from the airport/other hotels and it's very comfortable for 1 to 2 hours (5'4" female). The fabric cleans really well and it smashes down easily if needed. I was on an Embraer 175 once and got the seat with the half size overhead bin, after a few adjustments of my stuff the bag fit (I was not going to pay to check it since my bag wasn't the problem). The side pockets worked well for me for my liquids bag, dirty laundry/shoes, and anything else I needed quick access to. The straps are well padded and adjust easily. Overall, I really like this bag and use it often. The one downside if that if you have anything breakable like a tablet you'll likely want to get a padded sleeve for it since the bag itself won't provide any protection.

If you can, while I love my Eagle Creek bag, you might want to get one of the others if they have free returns and try packing it. Seeing how my stuff fit in helped me make my decision.