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Osprey Porter 30L or Osprey Porter 46L?

For my upcoming trip to Italy, I am leaning toward this particular bag. I can't, however, decide which size would be best. We are flying AirCanada and the 46L will be .5 longer than max regulation. I plan to pack light, but I do want to have a little wiggle room for bringing a little bit back. I don't live in an immediate area where I can go check these bags out. Does anyone with experience with these bags have any advice?

Thanks so much!

Posted by
84 posts

I know that the Porter 46 is advertised as being a carry on size. I've personally checked this bag out recently and it is nice. There is a lot of room and should fit no problem as a carry on. The only downside I noticed is when the bag is packed full, it sticks out backwards pretty far, so it's a bit bulky. Also, the shoulder straps are relatively uncomfortable compared to other back packs.

Posted by
1574 posts

I confess that I don't know all the features of the Porter but I am a big Osprey fan. I have 2 of their backpacking/hiking packs. My normal backpack is a Talon 44 which is an ultralight (<3 lbs) and super comfy and fits really well even on steep terrain. It is almost similar in size to the 46L but may not have the pockets and other features you may want but something to checkout. It may not have the sturdier and hence slightly heavier construction of the Porter. Also, one wouldn't be able to lock it and I don't think the Talon is built for checking in - would only work when carrying on. I've used it over 3 years and love it.

Posted by
715 posts

I have used the Porter 46 for several years now and it is a great bag for the combo carryon/backpack/luggage variety. However, it is not meant to be a backpack beyond trucking from train station to hotel, etc. It is certainly nothing I wold take on the trail with me. But, for convenience, versatility, it works great. Certainly can pack light for a two month stay with room for some souvenirs on the way home. I am actually thinking of down sizing.

Posted by
19169 posts

As are all non-wheeled bags, the Osprey Porter 46L is, within some limits, flexible and, if not stretched to the limit of its packed volume, will distort to fit other shapes.

Osprey "claims" that the volume is 2807 cu in, but they don't say if that is the volume the bag, packed, will occupy, or if it is the volume of "stuff" you can put in it. I think they are trying to convince you it is the volume you can stuff your stuff into, but airlines measure the outside dimensions of the bag. I understand (maybe Frank II can enlighten us) that luggage makers determine the capacity by stuffing a bag as full as they can with a small sized, solid material (sand?), then pouring it out into a graduated container and measuring the volume of the material. But, when the bag is stuffed full, they don't check to see if it has exceeded any of the specified dimensions. Example, if a perfect rectangular solid, with right-angle edges and pointed corners, 22x14x9 (the maximum dimensions of the Osprey Porter 46L, as reported on their website), would be 2772 cu in, not over 2800, as claimed by Osprey, and that doesn't include the volume (minimum 80 cu in) occupied by their 3.3# pack, itself.

I wouldn't worry about the height being over by ½ inch. The top fifth of the bag, if you see it in profile, is triangular and comprises, amongst other things, a "top accessory pocket". Don't fill that pocket and it should compress to 21½" without losing much volume.

Posted by
2 posts

I have the 46L and I'd recommend that one. It's comfortable on the back, and has quite a bit of room. It fits easily the short way in the overhead bins.

Posted by
64 posts

I have the 46L as well, and as others have noted, it's easy to squish lengthwise. It's really roomy, and the compression straps do a great job of making it all a little smaller. I particularly like the small top pocket for storing my 311 bag before security, or my sunglasses when wandering around.

Posted by
108 posts

I've had the Porter 46 for years (so have an older version w/o the organization panel that they come with now) and I've never had the size challenged at check in, even on regional jets like Porter flights. Granted, knowing that the overhead bins for the Porter flights are tiny, I did not pack it full and cinched it down, but still. In international flights, again, no challenges at all, even when it was stuffed. I think the Flight Attendants and Gate Agents are really looking more closely at rolling bags, not backpacks, unless the backpacks are obnoxiously huge.

Posted by
19169 posts

Just because you've never been challenged doesn't mean that you are legal and won't be challenge in the future, not that airlines are getting picky.

Posted by
23 posts

I have an Osprey Farpoint 40L (although mine is the S/M size which is actually 38L) and I love it. That would sort of split the difference in the two sizes you are looking at.

Posted by
41 posts

I would give the Porter 30L a miss if you require a 'little wiggle room'. I have a Porter 46L, and have used it on trips up to 3 months in duration (what i pack for a week, I pack for 3 months and would pack the same for 10). You will have no problems with the 46L being .5 longer than the max regulation, unless you pack the bag to its max capacity. Its a 'soft' bag/pack and unless its filled to the brim, it will fit inside any of the airlines bag measuring frames you see at the boarding gates. Mine fits in easily and is under 7kg when packed.

Posted by
11 posts

I just bought the porter 46 and took it to the airport and went down the line at the ticket counters and tried it in each airlines carry on checker thingy and it fit in all of them (including an air Canada)

Posted by
19169 posts

It all depends on how much you pack in it. Like I said, ***if you don't stuff it, it can be compressed to fit the sizers".

They call it a 46L because it's capacity is 46 liters, but the standard for most European airlines is 44 liters and that is outside dimensions (displacement). However, that for a rectangular solid, and if you look at the Osprey Porter, it has lots of lost volume because of rounded corners and tapered sides, plus the bag itself probably occupies 2 liters, so you capacity is much less than 44 liters.

For those of us who pack less than 1500 cu in, just about any flexible (ie, non-wheeled) bag will conform.