Whether it's a quick trek through the woods or an intensive camping trip that's going to last all weekend, you want to make sure you have everything you need—and that includes a backpack that's capable of storing those essential supplies.
Two of the top competitors currently on the market are the convenient Osprey Porter 46 and the award-winning Farpoint 40. While each pack has its pros and cons, our favorite has to be the Farpoint 40—and we'll explain why below. In this guide we’re comparing the Osprey Porter 46 vs. Farpoint 40.
Founded in 1974, Osprey has a long track record of supplying hikers with durable, custom-fitted packs. Besides their high-quality backpacks, Osprey is also known for their lifetime warranty. If any of their products has a defect or gets damaged, Osprey will repair it free of charge. If the damage is too extensive for repairs, Osprey is also willing to replace your pack too.
This guarantee extends to the Porter 46, which is a stand-out among Osprey's products. While it has plenty to offer, the biggest draw to the Porter 46 is usually the amount of space it offers. Its name, Porter 46, stands for the 46-liters of space you get with this pack.
With zippered pockets, a main compartment, and even a sleeve to stow your electronics, you're probably not going to run out of room anytime soon. The good news is that extra space doesn't come with a lot of weight, either. The pack is just slightly under 3 ½ pounds, and it's made with nylon.
Also from Osprey, the Farpoint 40 is another one of this brand's most popular products. In fact, it was named the Best Overall Travel Backpack for 2020 by US News & World Report, so it's got a great track record to back it up. And, like the Porter 46, this one's also got Osprey's All Mighty Guarantee, so you don't ever have to worry about damage or defects while you own the backpack.
Technically, the Farpoint 40 is part of the Osprey Farpoint series—which also includes the Farpoint 55, the Farpoint 70, and even the Farpoint 80. The numbers correlate to the size of the pack, and this one is the smallest in the series at only 40 liters. As far as weight goes, the backpack is just slightly over three pounds and uses a combination of ripstop nylon, atilon nylon, and packcloth.
While this might feel like a "light" pack to serious hikers, the Farpoint 40 is all about consolidating space and keeping things organized. Even when it's packed full, the bag still slips on comfortably, and shouldn't feel too bulky on your shoulders.
Although we've given you an overview of what makes each backpack stand out in its category, it's time to get into the nitty-gritty details of how these two compare.
One of the first things most hikers consider when they're searching for a backpack is the amount of storage space. Most hiking backpacks fit into one of three categories: weekend packs (30 to 50 liters), multi-day packs (50 to 80 liters), and extended trip packs (anything larger than 80 liters).
Both the Porter and Farpoint backpacks fit into that weekend category. While you'll be able to pack enough supplies to last you two or three days, you shouldn't expect either of these bags to last you a week in the woods.
However, as far as storage space goes, the Porter 46 does have the edge. You can fit up to six liters more worth of supplies in the pack. And, the Porter 46 uses that extra space pretty well. There are some external pockets where you can easily access toiletries, your phone, or even a map of your route. You may be surprised just how much these pockets expand, too—the zippered mesh pockets on the front of the bag are perfect for keeping your wallet or any other small items you might need in a pinch.
There's also a handy sleeve to keep your laptop that runs along the back of the pack. While you're unlikely to feel it against your back while you walk, you could if you've got the bag packed completely full.
In comparison, the Farpoint 40 isn't quite as big, but it may be more ideal if you don't need to use every inch of storage space at your disposal. Much like the Porter 46, the Farpoint bag has a couple of zippered mesh pockets on the outside of the bag that you can keep smaller items in.
But, if you're trying to store something a little bigger, like a water bottle, in one of those pockets, you're out of luck. If you fill up the main clamshell in the Farpoint, you may find it tricky to work with the front compartment too.
If you're worried about how bulky these packs are going to feel, both the Porter and the Farpoint do come with compression straps that allow you to consolidate the bag if you're traveling light. This is also convenient if you plan to take the bag on an airplane and need to stow it as a carry-on.
Accessibility is a major factor when you're picking out a hiking backpack. When you're on a trail, you don't necessarily want to take your entire backpack off just to grab your water bottle or check your phone.
Some backpacks have better accessibility than others. Both the Porter and Farpoint bags have plenty of outside pockets to store things, but reaching for the laptop compartment on the Farpoint bag can be tricky if it's the only thing you're taking out.
The Porter 46 is also just a little bit more organized in general, which makes it easy to sort your supplies based on how often you'll need them. Since the Farpoint 40 doesn't have quite as much space, some hikers may feel as if it's a little easier to sort through—but the Porter 46 does come out on top for this feature.
One thing we do like about the Farpoint 40 is that it has plenty of handles to grab onto it with. While you should still stick to putting it on your back, you can easily use one of the top or side handles if you need to grab it from your tent. Since they're padded, you also don't have to worry about them hurting your hands, especially if the pack is full.
Speaking of padding, the Farpoint bag also comes with shoulder straps and an additional sternum strap for extra security. For more intensive hikes, that sternum strap can feel essential to keeping everything in place.
One more interesting thing about the Farpoint 40 is that it does come with a single attachable shoulder strap too. If you need to temporarily convert the bag into a "briefcase," you can wear the single strap and let the bag rest on your side rather than your back.
This isn't necessarily a big selling point for hikers because you're going to want more security over less security—but it's nice to know you've got the option.
Like the Farpoint 40, the Porter has padded shoulder straps as well as a sternum strap if you're worried about the bag falling off your shoulders. All the straps are adjustable, so they should fit people of various frames. The Porter also uses "StraightJacket Compression," which helps the backpack shrink down when you're not using every inch of space.
Storage space and security are great, but you're not going to want to haul a heavy backpack around for miles if it's not comfortable. Fortunately, one thing both these packs excel at is being able to evenly distribute the weight. Most hikers are used to lugging around heavy packs for hours at a time, but that doesn't mean you need to end the day with sore shoulders if you don't have to.
If we had to name a more comfortable backpack out of the two, the Farpoint 40 has to win this category. Not only is it a little smaller (which may work to a lot of hikers' advantage), but it feels less bulky to carry around. If you tend to be on the smaller side, the Farpoint is probably going to feel like the more comfortable pack.
When it's packed to the brim, the Porter tends to sit higher on your back, and also be more difficult to navigate through crowded areas or tight spaces.
The Farpoint is specifically an outdoorsy pack, so the design is a little sleeker and more suited to spending a lot of time in the woods.
A travel backpack may have everything you think you want out of it, but if it's going to fall apart after a couple of months, you're probably wasting your money. Durability is also important because hikers, and the great outdoors, can be tough on a travel backpack.
While some hikers might feel as if the Porter's bulkiness or stiffness makes it uncomfortable, the upside is that it provides better protection for your valuables. Of course, the Porter isn't waterproof, so that extra protection isn't going to do much if you get stuck in a downpour.
As far as lifespan goes, the Farpoint 40 has a pretty great track record of lasting years, even with frequent use. Although the Farpoint isn't technically waterproof, you'll probably find that it is fairly water-resistant.
Even if you get caught in a little bit of rain and can't immediately find cover, there's no reason to immediately panic about your phone or laptop getting soaked. Still, you can't expect the Farpoint 40 to survive if it spends a lot of time out in a downpour or if it gets dropped in a river.
If we had to pick between the two, the Farpoint's water-resistant material and durable zippers and pockets give this pack the edge.
When it comes down to a comparison, there's a lot of similarity between the Farpoint and the Porter. Both are made by Osprey and are travel backpacks. However, there are a couple of stand-out features between them:
There's a lot to love about both the Farpoint 40 and the Porter 46, and there's no "perfect" solution between them.
If you're in need of a heavy-duty travel backpack, then the Porter 46 is definitely the right choice for you.
For something a little lighter on your back, the Farpoint 40 is the better choice—keep in mind that this comes as a "Men's" or "Women's" travel backpack, so you can pick whatever's right for you.