Best Carry-On Backpack for Long or Short Trips

Once I settled down in Europe it fast became apparent that I needed a backpack I could use as hand luggage . Most airlines now charge extra for checked-in bags and we know how much I love to save money. It needed to be small enough to satisfy budget airlines but also hold enough stuff for a few weeks travel. I loved the convenience of my previous hard-shell suitcase but wanted a carry-on backpack.

osprey backpack hiking

After extensive research (reading hundreds of blogs and reviews) I found the Osprey Farpoint 40 . I can tell you now, I would buy this bag a million times over! And I'm not being paid to say that. It is comfortable, durable, stylish and compact. My current record is six weeks with more than enough stuff.

I love it so much I convinced Max to buy a matching one- so cute! We both plan to travel with only these bags when we begin travelling permanently later this year. Stay tuned for updates and packing lists as we experiment with fitting our lives in a carry-on backpack.

Here are the reasons I love my backpack:

1. It folds out


The Osprey Farpoint 40 folds out like a suitcase. This alone is a selling point. Yip, no digging around in the bottom of a backpack to find the one thing you're looking for. Just everything laid out in front of you and easily accessible.

2. It's comfortable


It's lightweight but has enough back support to be worn for a long time. It has a waist and chest strap to switch the weight to your hips. I've carried it around many cities and airports without being uncomfortable.

3. It fits so much in it

You'd be surprised, I know I was, at just how much you can squeeze into a carry-on backpack. We use packing cells to compress clothes and make them easy to find. We plan on using our Farpoint 40s to fit everything we own when we backpack the world. It comfortably fits clothing and toiletries for over a week and for longer trips we just wash our clothes. 

4. It has a variety of straps


It's not just a carry-on backpack! The backpack straps fold away for when you do want to check it on. There is also an over the shoulder strap which is great for when you're carrying a smaller backpack as well.

5. It has a padded computer pocket


This is more important to me now that I've started blogging. There are also other zippable front pockets and a mesh pocket on the inside which I use for my underwear.

6. It has compacting clips/straps

These are on both the inside of the main compartment and on the outside of the entire bag. They keep everything tightly packed and help to squeeze stuff down to make the bag appear smaller and keep everything safe. 

7. It comes in a variety of colours

I bought mine in charcoal a few years ago but Osprey has since released it in blue and red as well. Max chose the blue one so we could tell them apart. Personally, I think the darker is better as dirt doesn't show up!

8. It has lockable zips

Security is always a good idea. I usually lock my passport pocket with a combination padlock if I'm leaving my bag somewhere or putting in the luggage hold of a bus or plane.

9. It's durable

I've had mine for three years now and it's been hitchhiking in Kazakhstan, on buses in Cuba and taxis in Egypt without any kind of damage. I definitely think it has a few good years and countries left! 

I'm feeling pretty good about living only from this backpack for the next couple of years and can thoroughly recommend it for short or long trips. It truly is the best carry-on backpack for all kinds of travel. Everything you need in one handy, comfortable, budget-flight friendly, little package.

If you're wondering how we fit everything in, check out our travel accessories for packing light.

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