So you are looking for your perfect travel backpack and wondering if the Osprey Fairview 55 is a good choice? Wanna know if the reality of travelling with this backpack lives up to the hype? Read on, as I’ll give you a brutally honest review of Osprey Fairview 55 backpack (a female version of the Osprey Farpoint 55) after a year of travelling.
If you are looking for a mid-sized, comfortable backpack with a detachable daypack and extreme durability, this might be just what you are looking for. Might.
Choosing the right backpack is very important, especially if you plan to travel for an extended period of time. This backpack will be your ‘home’. A place where you will keep all your belongings and you will have to carry them with you wherever you go.
I researched for a few months before deciding to purchase my Fairview 55. It’s not easy, I know. I can watch hundreds of YouTube videos over and over again, read all the articles and reviews and still not know which bag to buy.
But my trip was coming up and I had to make a decision. So I decided on the Osprey Fairview 55, backpack which is a female version of the Farpoint 55. If you want to know if I regret my purchase and will be getting another bag or if I will keep this bag forever – read on. This will not be a straightforward answer.
Why am I the right person to write this review of Osprey Fairview 55 backpack?
I travelled with this bag for a year in Madeira, mainland Portugal, Colombia, Guatemala, and Mexico, while carrying with me everything I owned at the time. I am a woman of average age and average fitness level. I walk a lot, take public transportation, stay in hostels, hike, and I often carried this bag for more than half an hour. I have carried all sorts of things in this bag and I loved and hated it at various stages of my travels. I will give you my honest opinion and you will make a decision.
So let’s get started.
The reason I chose this backpack was mainly due to its capacity, the detachable day bag and the fact that it opens like a suitcase. But there is much more that needs to be said about this bag.
It has a total capacity of 55L, but you have to keep in mind that it’s a total of 42L of main bag and 13L (in the women’s version) of a day bag. The main bag can be taken as hand luggage on some airlines, but I actually always checked it in, mainly because of the weight. This bag can carry a lot.
During my travels, the bag weighed 18kg at its heaviest and 14kg at its lightest. So you have to keep in mind that it’s easy to overpack it and exceed the carry-on weight limit.
I must say that I found 42 litres perfect for me! It allowed me to carry everything I needed for any weather but prevented me from buying unnecessary stuff.
The day bag is great on many levels but it is not perfect so I will talk about it in more detail a little later on.
Osprey Fairview 55 (also available in 40L and 70L) is made from 210D Nylon Mini Hex Diamond Ripstop, making it durable yet lightweight. It claims to be water resistant but I didn’t find it to be much of the case. The rainfly isn’t included so I suggest you definitely buy one. The Fairview 55 backpack comes with a LightWire peripheral frame, comfortable straps, a sternum strap and a good, breathable hip belt all of which are padded with Osprey’s spacer mesh.
This bag is female-specific and was designed for the slightly shorter and narrower female torso. However, keep in mind that this isn’t actually a backpacking/trekking bag. It’s a travel backpack. I am talking about comfort in a separate section below.
The main compartment features a couple of compression traps but no internal organization aside from a zippered mesh pocket on a flap. The great feature of the Osprey Fairview and Farpoint is that you can zip the harness away during flight or when not in use. This was extremely handy. I even tucked my jacket and hoodie in between the harness a couple of times!
The day bag zips onto the main bag but I have to say I only attached these bags once. Otherwise, I carried the day bag at the front. You can also attach it from the front using the clips, which is a smart feature.
The zips on both bags are of excellent quality and on the main bag are lockable with interlocking zip housings. The bag also features padded top and side handles and front compression straps that can be used to secure the day bag or to hang additional gear (which I did to the excess). It’s a very lightweight bag that comes under 2kg in weight.
Osprey Fairview 55 detachable day bag review
The Osprey Fairview 55 day bag is awesome!
I have used it all the time when travelling from place to place, but also on day hikes, walks into town, shopping – everywhere. It’s an almost perfect size. It’s small enough that it does not look ridiculous when you hang it at the front, but it comfortably fits a 15-inch laptop, some electronics, a camera, a raincoat, and snacks.
It’s very comfortable and super durable. I really enjoyed this day bag and still do to this day. The only downside to this bag is how useless the mesh pockets are when it comes to holding any size water bottle. If you put anything inside the bag, it becomes impossible to carry a water bottle in these mesh pockets. Which of course did not stop me from stuffing them with other junk. But if only I could carry my water bottle in these mesh pockets, this day bag would be perfect!
Inside the Fairview 55 day bag there are 2 pockets – one perfect for storing a 15″ laptop and the second for a tablet or documents. Although the interior is a bit narrow I managed to fit my bulky electronics organizer and a ton of other stuff.
There is a small pocket on the front, perfect for storing small items such as change, medication, cables or even a pair of sunglasses. The straps are also very comfortable even after a very long day of hiking and the bag also features a sternum strap.
While I love this day bag the lack of usable water pockets is a major downside for me so I am on a hunt for another bag but trust me it’s not easy to find something this awesome. I am looking into Osprey Daylight Plus. If you have ever used it, let me know what you think in the comments below!
What I love about the Osprey Fairview 55:
Things I did to this bag!
If I were to mention only one feature in this review of the Osprey Fairview 55, I’d mention its durability. It’s absolutely perfect on all levels. From the fabric to the straps and zippers! It’s just so impressive!
This bag has been thrown on suspicious-looking racks on the roof of the collective buses in Guatemala, on the ground, on the streets and beaches, on water taxis, mototaxis, you name it.
I over-packed several times, and as I shoved my staff inside and forced closure, I fervently hoped the zippers wouldn’t give up. And they never did!
I can’t say that the bag looks like new after a year of travelling because it doesn’t. Come on! But nothing broke, nothing ripped, there are no holes and the zippers are still in perfect condition. This bag is a reliable travel bag powerhouse and will last forever. Now I understand why Osprey gives a lifetime warranty.
The size and weight
For its size, it offers an amazing amount of space! And famously, its size-to-weight ratio is unbeatable.
At first I was worried that the 42l of the main bag would not be enough, because at first glance it doesn’t look like much. But it was just perfect. Normally I would fit 4 medium size packing cubes, toiletry bags, junk bags and stuff 2 to 3 pairs of shoes in, and then some.
In addition, this bag is very light for its capacity. It weighs just under 2 kg. There are a few drawbacks and some ambiguities that come with the size and lack of organization, which I will mention in the cons section – but there’s no doubt that the Osprey Fairview 55 packs very well and weighs very little.
It opens Up Like a suitcase
The big selling point of this bag was the opening style. This backpack loads from the front and opens up like a suitcase. This makes packing and unpacking easier as you can see what’s in the bag. In addition, 2 compression straps inside the backpack allow you to create extra space.
My experience? As much as it was a very useful feature of the bag and I really enjoyed having a full view of everything I had, once I opened the bag, while packing, I still often stuffed it from the top. But I guess its because I found it easier to slide additional items to the sides that way. Yes, I know. Overpacking. But isn’t that what we all did?
Option to hide the straps
The shoulder straps and waist belt can be hidden behind a zippered flap, so you can safely check the backpack on a plane or just wear it without the straps dangling or being caught. This is a great feature and I even found an additional use for it! Look!
Before I zipper up the straps, I sometimes tuck in a hoodie or jacket that I usually have hanging in the front and zipper it up along with the straps. Extra storage space! Genius!
The value for Money
It is definitely a value for money as far as Osprey goes. Of course, you can buy many cheaper bags but you will not find this quality for the price. You get a lot for your money. Lifetime durability, great size, weight and versatility.
I got mine 2 years ago for €177, and yes I hear you! How is this a value for many you are asking? But it is. The quality and durability you are getting are worth much more than this!
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What I don't love about Osprey Fairview 55 :
I love organization and I love pockets! This is where Osprey Fairview 55 backpack largely underdelivers.
The main bag has no compartmentalization and no outside pockets. Yes, there is a zippered mesh pocket on the inside lid, but for me it was pretty useless. When I put smaller items in it, they all rolled to one side. Some travelers put their towels or dirty laundry in it, I didnt find this pocket useful and it stayed empty most of the time.
Basically, the main bag is just one big open space, like in a suitcase.
This has its pros and cons. I found that I had more freedom to wiggle around the space and squeeze some items between my packing cubes and into empty gaps, so all in all the inside of the bag suited me quite well.
What I definitely missed were the exterior pockets. There are none.
There are a few pockets on a day bag, but since I was using it as an actaul day bag, I was definitely missing a few pockets on the main bag that would help me organize my junk.
Of course, I found a solution by getting a few little bags so there’s always a solution, but having some pockets on the outside of the bag would just be so much nicer.
But you have to remember that this is a travel backpack. I guess it’s supposed to be sleek and with the ability to attach a day bag to it, extra pockets would be in the way, so it makes sense.
For me, this was the bag’s biggest shortcoming and the reason I am on the hunt for a new bag.
The Osprey Fairview 55 is perfectly fine and comfortable when walking from the train station to the hostel, waiting for a cab, or performing any regular travel commuting that do not require you to walk with this bag for extended periods of time.
It was only when I had to walk a little bit longer from hostel to hostel or walk from the bus to my accommodation for half an hour or more – my back started to suffer.
I am one of those travellers who would rather walk 40 minutes to save $5 on a cab. Also, my back is not the strongest (but I am working on it), so a comfortable backpack that distributes the weight well is crucial for me.
This is where I think the problem lies with this backpack – weight distribution. While the straps and hip belt are well padded and comfortable, and the back panel is very breathable, the weight distribution of this pack is a bit wonky. It must have to do with the fact that it’s a bit bulky, especially with the daypack attached, but also because it’s a lightweight bag so the savings that had to be made on the harness system. The system feels a bit stiff and does not fit my back that well.
Also,I do admit, I have overpacked this bag. I am sure if I kept it under 12kg it would be more comfortable to carry.
This insufficiency in comfort didn’t start ‘weighing’ on me until maybe the 3rd or 4th month of my travels so again it really depends on what type of traveller you are. If you do not plan to travel for an extended period of time and carry the bag a lot, you will be fine. Or if you often opt for taxi rides instead of walking uphill in the heat to save a few pennies, you will be fine too.
What I have learned is that comfort is the most important feature of the bag when travelling for long periods of time. I can live without pockets, less space or anything, but when I carried the bag a lot, it started to hurt after a few months.
I mean, dont get me wrong, I am being picky here. It is an Osprey backpack after all and it is comfortable and of excellent quality. Osprey makes hiking backpacks with excellent and super comfortable harness systems. But they are heavier, so something has to give. It all comes down to your priorities and the art of making the right decision.
At the time, I did not know what my priorities really were. Now I know
Technically, this bag is a bit too big to be carried on, but some travellers claim that you could probably be able to get away with it. I think if Osprey took away those 2 litres and make this bag truly a carry-on size without the day bag attached, it would make so much more sense. In the end, you only gain only 2 to 5 litres (depending on if it’s a female or male version) for the price of possibly not being able to carry it on.
For this reason, if you like the look of this bag I think getting a Fairview/Farpoint 40 would make more sense.
However, if you want a larger bag, then perhaps something like a 50 or even 60-liter backpack would be more efficient.
So the idea of this bag is kind of floating in the air without being specifically defined. That’s also why I’m thinking about getting another bag while I’m debating whether or not I want to travel carry-on only.
If I choose to go carry-on only, then I could think of a 40 or 45-litre backpack that is officially a carry-on size. If I decide to go with a check-in backpack then I’ll choose something like the Osprey Atmos, for example, which is a very strong candidate for me given its excellent harness system.
Who is Osprey Fairview 55 (or Farpoint 55) backpack for:
The Osprey Fairview 55 is a very durable, lightweight, midsized backpack great for those who plan shorter or longer trips but aren’t planning longer hikes while carrying this bag. If you are travelling for a week or two and looking for a versatile and durable bag with a detachable day bag and a suitcase-like opening – Osprey Fairview or Farpoint 55 is for you!
I would say Osprey Fairview 55 would be a great backpack for digital nomads preferring a backpack to a suitcase with a day bag giving the additional option to carry your laptop or electronics.
Who Osprey Fairview 55 isn't for:
The Osprey Fairview 55 is not for you if you plan on doing longer hikes while carrying your main bag, or if you are one of those travellers who walks a lot. Also, if you love having multiple pockets and storage options, this bag probably is not for you either.
The Osprey Fairview 55 is a travel backpack, not a hiking backpack. So if you are a hiker, intense walker and hardcore traveller – this bag isn’t for you and maybe you should look at bags like Osprey Atmos, Aether or Gregory Deva instead.
My overall opinion - Will I continue using this bag?
Osprey Fairview 55 backpack has a lot of great things going for it but after a year of travelling, I do not think it’s the right backpack for me.
It is an extremely durable and high-quality backpack and there is a lot to love about it. It packs very well and you can fit a surprising amount of stuff in it while being very lightweight and versatile. The front suitcase-like opening and the ability to hide the straps are also fantastic features. A day bag is fantastic and great for carrying a laptop and electronics, but also for day hikes and trips around town.
But as a traveller that roughs it a lot, walks and travels for long periods at a time, comfort is my number one priority, and I’ll be looking for something with a better and more comfortable harness system. And more pockets! I am willing to sacrifice the front opening for carrying comfort.
I hope this review has helped you if you were on the fence about buying this bag. Please let me know what you decided and what your thoughts are.
I’ll be happy to take any recommendations from you as well!
Stay tuned for more future reviews and until then, stay free and happy travels!
This post may contain affiliate links which means that if you purchase the product or make a booking via one of my links, I will receive a small commission. Please know that I will never recommend or promote a product I don’t believe in or haven’t used. This way, you are supporting this blog at no extra cost to you. Thank you!
My favourite Travel Resources
- For most of my accommodation management, I use Bookings.com and Hostel World. With both booking platforms, you will often get free cancellation and access to tones of reviews. Read them! You will also get the most extensive selection of all types of accommodation. I hardly ever look elsewhere. If you are travelling in Asia – Agoda is definitely worth checking out!
- Make sure you download Google Maps and, on the first day, download an offline map of your location. This way, even without the internet or Wi-Fi, you will be able to get to your destination.
Moovit is also an excellent and very underrated travel and journey planning app. It works great in many countries and will show you all possible routes by public transport, including the timetables.
123Go — Great for tickets for trains, buses, ferries and charters in Southeast Asia! The best way to buy your ticket for the overnight Bangkok train! Rome2rio – Another great journey planning app. If your way of travel is mainly public transport – you will use this app for sure!
- For staying safe online and accessing streaming services like Netflix no matter the country I use a Surfshark VPN. Another great and high-quality VPN provider is Express VPN.
- I carry two debit cards with me. Given I don’t have a permanent country of residence, Revolut and TransferWise work fantastic. In case one gets frozen, stolen or simply lost, I have a backup. The great thing about both cards is that you can freeze them straight from your phone and transfer money between them in case you need to. You will also get a great exchange rate and create separate foreign currency accounts.
- I booked most my tours via either Get Your Guide or Viator. I also use TripAdvisor when I spot a good deal. You can also book locally, but I advise you to ask around and follow the local recommendations. For cooking classes and workshops, consider checking out Eatwith.
For more travel tips and recourses, visit Pati’s Travel Tips page!