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Porter 46 vs Farpoint 40

Hey everyone, I am deciding between 2 different bags. I am 21 (no health problems) and 5'6. I am traveling to Europe for 4 weeks to 8 different cities using plane, train, and bus. I do not expect to walk more than 5 miles at a time with the backpack. The porter holds 46 liters and the farpoint holds 40 liters. As carry on approved bags, they're both about 21 x 14 x 15 and they both weigh about 2 lbs 15 oz. I have included my pros and cons that I have discovered:

+ Larger
+ suitcase like opening
+ more durable
- less padded
- less comfortable for long distance

+ water bottle spots
+ more padding/better weight distribution
+ shoulder strap
+ More attractive - smaller
- more like a backpack than a suitcase
- more lightweight material/more prone to wear

I went in and tried them both on and I do agree that the farpoint is more comfortable. But does that outweigh the larger space and durability provided by the porter? I would love to hear some feedback from owners too. Thanks!


Posted by
22984 posts

What is the size, volume of the bags? Bigger is not always better. Just adds weight. Are you looking at the small or large Farpoint?

Posted by
1666 posts

I don't have specific experience with either of these two packs, but every time I go on a trip I get slightly obsessive about luggage and I shop and try out various different options. Here's my takeaway:

It doesn't matter all that much.

Every time I travel with a backpack, there are times I wish I had a suitcase with wheels and other times I'm so glad I have my luggage on my back. And vice versa.

Also, larger means heavier if you take advantage of the large size to take more stuff, so having the smallest luggage that's big enough for what you need is an advantage. On the other hand, if you plan to shop, your luggage that was so lightweight or so roomy on the way over becomes heavy or overfull on the way home.

I'm trying to learn not to obsess so much. In your case, you're considering two packs that have excellent reviews, and each has different pros and cons. No doubt you will find lots of fans of either one. Ultimately, you're the only one who can answer your question about whether the more comfort of one outweighs the more space and durability of the other.

Personally, comfort and convenience matter more to me than durability (unless the less-durable pack is literally going to fall apart before my trip is over), so the real question is if the smaller one is big enough. If the Farpoint is adequate for what you plan to pack, then it sounds like the better choice.

Posted by
158 posts

Are you traveling during winter where you'll need to pack more layers of clothing?

From your lists, it looks like the Farpoint wins. I'd go for comfort if you might walk multiple miles. Plus the water bottle spots and shoulder strap will probably be very handy. It doesn't sound like you are moving around that often on your trip for the the suitcase-like opening of the Porter to have much advantage. You can tie a sweatshirt to the smaller pack or get lash straps if you need additional space.

Posted by
19 posts

@Frank both bags are relatively the same dimensions. The porter holds 46 liters and the farpoint holds 40 liters. As carry on approved bags, they're both about 21 x 14 x 15 and they both weigh about 2 lbs 15 oz.

@sarah I am traveling this summer.

Posted by
1194 posts

People tend to fill up whatever bag they take. So take the smaller bag and travel lighter. 40 L is plenty big enough for a summer trip.

I also want to comment on the durability issue. Many times people think that a lighter material is less durable. It isn't necessarily so. Strength is dependent on material, weave, coatings, etc. So a lighter material could actually be stronger than a heavier "bombproof" material.

BTW, the Osprey website says that the Farpoint is 20h x 14w x 8d. I suspect that the REI site is incorrect.

Posted by
4083 posts

According to the REI website, your specs for these bags are not correct. But also keep in mind that online vendors frequently vary in the specs. I've even found that the manufacturers' websites can be wrong.

The Porter 46 weighs 3 lbs 5 oz, measures 22x14x9 and its volume in cubic inches is 2807. The Farpoint 40 measures 22x14x9, weighs 2 lbs 15 oz, and its volume is 2441 cubic inches. If you are flying within Europe on any of the small airlines, 22" is too big to carry-on. Of course, they might allow only one carry-on, so you might have to check your larger bag anyway.

There is also an Osprey Porter 30 that weighs 2 lbs 8 oz and measures 20x13x8 with a volume of 1881 cubic inches. And there's a Farpoint 38 (S/M) that weighs 2 lbs 14 oz, measures 20x14x9 and has 2319 cubic inches.

I'm 2 inches taller than you are and used to travel with a 22" backpack. I found it to be too big, even though I kept the weight to less than 20 pounds.

I think you should try those bags on for size again, but this time filled with what you plan to take or 17-18 pounds of substitutes from the store. They both look like they would be more comfortable than mine was, but the 22" length might be too long for your torso when loaded up.

Also, the problem with a larger volume bag is that you will be tempted to fill it up. It's amazing how just a pound or 2 can wear you down. I even keep my roller bag(s) to 20 pounds maximum including the weight of the bag.

I'd strongly suggest that you consider those smaller bags. If the Porter 30 is just too small, the Farpoint S/M 38 might be a good compromise.

Beyond the load on your back, keep in mind that you will likely have issues if you want to wear the pack in a museum or church. If they don't have a place to check it or lockers to store it in, you may be turned away.

Posted by
5828 posts

RE: ...the Farpoint S/M 38 might be a good compromise.

Backpack size (S/M vs M/L) is not a choice of a smaller volume bag vs. larger volume bag. The size is intended to accommodate short to medium torso length bodies vs. medium to long torso length bodies. An excessively short pack on a long torso person will not properly transfer load (weight) to the hip strap placing an excessive proportion of load on the shoulder straps. An excessively long pack on a short torso person does not load the shoulder straps when the hip belt is properly located and adjusted resulting in excessive pack sway. On average, M/L bags will also space should straps wider than S/M bags. While "specs" are a good start, always best to try packs with the intended load.

One of the keys to a comfortable backpack is to get a pack that is the
right size (e.g., small, medium, large) for you. Your torso length—not
your height—is the key measurement; hip size can also be helpful.

Find Your Torso Length

...locate the bony bump at the base of your neck, where the slope of
your shoulder meets your neck. This is your 7th cervical (or C7)
vertebra.... This is the top of your torso length. of your hip bones (also known as your iliac crest) with fingers
pointing forward, thumbs in back.

[Your torso length is] the distance between the C7 and the imaginary
line between your thumbs.

Posted by
1028 posts

I do not own either of them. I have examined them in the store. I prefer the Farpoint 40 because of the internal frame which helps to transfer the load off of your shoulders onto your hips. If you already find the Farpoint more comfortable in the store, you will be better off with the Farpoint. Five miles is a long distance to walk with a heavy pack on your back.

Posted by
10 posts

I have the Farpoint 40 and my boyfriend has the Porter 46. I have carried them both and I find the Farpoint 40 to be more comfortable and has better distribution of your "stuff". I think both are durable - not sure why one is considered less durable. Besides, Osprey has a great guarantee and REI lets you return anything for any reason. Yes, the Farpoint holds a bit less, but you get creative with what you do pack and where - and know that you will be doing laundry.

Either way, you will get a good pack.

Posted by
13237 posts

I just wanted to chime in on something Christy said about REI and their return policy. They are awesome. Had XC skies de-laminate after about 5 years and the FULL purchase price was refunded, no questions asked. Really. I would have been happy with 50% since I had used them quite a bit!

I would also go with the more comfortable pack as well.

Posted by
23 posts

I also have the Farpoint in the S/M size which is really 38L (though still marked generally as 40). I'm 5'9" but at REI their measurement indicated the S/M would fit better so I would think it would fit you better as well.

I brought it to Europe for over two weeks in May as my only bag and it was great. I've also used it on other trips and it doesn't show any wear. I did spray it with Scotchguard just in case. It's pretty comfortable, but like you I didn't carry it long distances without stopping. I wouldn't have wanted anything bigger as that would have potentially encouraged me to add more weight and bulk.

I'm not sure what makes you think the Farpoint is more like a suitcase than a backpack. I would prefer if it unzipped more "horizontally" than "vertically" if that makes sense (so that the two sides would be next to each other when fully open instead of one above the other) but it's not a deal breaker.

Posted by
18941 posts

It would have been nice if you had included a link to both of those bags so we could see the specs ourselves.

As carry on approved bags, they're both about 21 x 14 x 15

At 21 x 14 x 15, they cannot be carry on approved. Carry on size limit for most US airlines is 22" x 14" x 9". For most European airlines it's (converted from metric) 21-5/8" x 15¾" x 9". 14 or 15 inches is entirely too thick.

Posted by
175 posts

Sydknee09 - My husband and daughter both have the Farpoint 40 (M/L size, since they are both tall) that they used for recent trips to Europe. My husband used it for a 2-week trip and my daughter for 8 days. They both felt they had plenty of room to pack everything they needed. My husband carried it using the backpack straps and hip strap. Our daughter carried it using the shoulder strap, and said that was very comfortable for her. They have both used the bags for several trips and don't see any wear yet.

Posted by
41 posts

They are both great bags the 46 and 40 - I've got both.

If you are going to be walking '5 miles' with either pack, I would definitely recommend the Farpoint 40. The 40 has a vastly superior harness, internal weight distributing allow frame (the 46 doesn't have a frame) padded shoulder pads and hip belt.

The Porter 46 is a great bag, but it's just not as comfortable (your shoulders will know about it after considerably less than 5 miles) when worn as a pack, than the Farpoint 40.

The Porter 46 has a larger capacity than the 40, however, you have to remember that all Euro airlines have a 7kg (or less) carry- on weight restriction.

The stuff I pack (whether for 3 weeks or 3 months) weighs about 6.8kg. My stuff fits in both the 46 and 40 easily. Sure there is a little more room left in the 46. If you are going to 'check' your pack, than yes the 46 will hold more.

Anyway, if your going to arrive at your destination, catch a train to near the hotel and then walk there and book in - the 46 will be ok.

If your arriving, then going to where ever, do some sightseeing for the best part of the day (walking 5 miles) then booking into your accommodation - then the 40 is the bag for you.