Overview - When looking for the perfect travel pack, I had a list of requirements. I wanted a large capacity pack that was still within carry-on size. It needed to be comfortable to carry in case I needed to carry the pack throughout the day or was carrying gear. For that reason, I preferred a pack made by a backpack company verses a company that made standard luggage since there would be an emphasis on suspension and padding. It also needed to have a panel opening, a place for a laptop and lots of pockets for organization. I was also looking for a pack that could be easily checked in so stowable straps and lockable zippers were a plus.
I first looked at traditional packs for backpacking but most were too tall to be carried on. They also had a ton of straps that could potentially get eaten by a luggage carousel. I also looked at other travel packs that looked like a suitcase with shoulder straps which on the one hand, had large capacity but on the other hand, did not carry well. They were also pretty ugly. After ruling those out, there were some strong candidates from gear companies like the Kelty Flyway, the North Face Overhaul, the Eagle Creek Digi Hauler and the Osprey Farpoint. In the end, the redesigned (2014) Osprey Porter won out.
- Shape and size - The shape of the pack is within most carry-on standards and I have not had a problem getting the pack to fit into an overhead compartment. The pack is also very streamlined without too many straps and loops
- Volume - at 46 liters, it's one of the biggest travel backpacks
- Panel opening - The main compartment is accessed through a full zip panel that can flip open fully
- Main compartment shape - The padded sides help maintain the shape of the pack making packing easy
- Pack material and padding The pack is made of a durable 420 nylon hex-diamond ripstop material. The pack is padded on all sides keeping everything in the pack well protected
- Laptop/Table sleeve The front organization pocket zips open to reveal multiple pockets, a padded laptop sleeve and a zippered tablet pocket. The pocket is in the center of the pack which keeps the contents off the ground when the pack is set down. The pack can fit a 15 laptop though it's a tight squeeze for my 15" workstation laptop. Another option for laptop storage is the large zippered compartment on the back of the pack which is meant for tucking away the shoulder straps. It runs the length of the backpanel and does fit my workstation laptop
- Stowable shoulder straps The shoulder straps are padded and can tucked into a zippered panel. There's a clip on the load lifter and clip on the hipbelt that need to be undone before the shoulder strap can be stowed
- Stowable hipbelt with foam padded hipwings The hipbelt features padded wings which offer some carrying support without being too bulky. Generally when Im traveling, Im not carrying the pack for hours at a time so a thick padded hipbelt is not necessary. The hipbelt also can be tucked away
- Front pocket there is a front zippered pocket thats great for a book, map or tablet
- Lockable zippers both the main compartment and front panel compartment zippers can be locked
- Zippered top accessory pocket the top pocket has a key clip and is handy for small items and toiletries when going through airport security
- Front compressions straps the front straps can be used to carry extra gear and compress the load. If the pack is minimally packed, the front straps can be clipped to the side of the pack for additional compression. You can see the side clips on the right side of the pack
- D-Ring shoulder strap attachment The left side of the pack has two D-rings to attach a shoulder strap. Personally, I find a backpack more comfortable to carry so Id never use this feature
- Foam padded grab handles There are three grab handles on the pack; top, side and bottom
- Internal zippered pockets - There's one mesh zippered pocket and one fabric zippered pocket on the walls of the pack for additional organization
- Cord loops - 4 loops used for attaching a daypack
- Side pocket - I generally have a water bottle of some kind on me when I travel. A side pocket would be nice
- There are pros and cons for having the laptop sleeve on the front of the pack. On one hand, the weight is farther away from your back making the pack feel heavier but it does make the laptop easier to get in and out, especially when the pack is full
- The pack has a duffle bag shape which means the pack tapers at the top and bottom of the pack. It makes handling the pack pretty easy but the pack does not stand upright. It also makes using every cubic inch of the pack is a little tricky while packing
Conclusion - This roomy pack is the maximum legal carry-on size and is one of the most travel friendly packs around. The pack is made of a durable material and is padded on all sides. The main compartment panel opens wide for easy packing and accessibility and the front organization panel has pockets for both laptop and tablet. Combined with lockable zippers and stowable straps, this pack met all of my requirements and I highly recommend it.
Recommended uses - This pack is great for multi-day travel, snowboarding trips and travel where a laptop is needed. It's not optimal for climbing/hiking due to its weight and lack of pockets/gear loops