Priding ourselves on our range of reliable adventure ready bags, we thought it only right to field test the newest addition to the women’s specific range of travel bags from Osprey. To save bias though we recruited travelling guru and outdoor junkie, Joey from Cool of the Wild to help us. Join us as Joey 'unpacks' the best and worst features of the new Osprey Fairview 70L.
The first thing I noticed when I unpacked the Fairview is how light and compact it is. I had to check that I’d been sent a 70 litre bag and not something smaller. But it was correct and yes, it weighs in at a featherweight 1.76 kg (62oz)! For 70 litres of storage that is verging on minimalistic! The lightweight backpacking world might need to rethink their design format if they’re having to compete with this sort of storage to weight ratio.
To be clear though, the Fairview isn’t designed for backpacking, which is why the designers are able to omit the comprehensive suspension systems and super plush hip belts favoured by backpackers, trekkers and hikers. That said, if you found yourself making up your hitchhiking miles on foot, the mesh hip belt and shoulder straps, together with the adjustable load-lifters and sternum strap, will provide plenty of support and comfort to get you there comfortably.
About the Pack
The Osprey Fairview 70 has everything you would expect to find in a standard travel style backpack, but with some really nice extras, mentioned below in my favourite features section .
The main pack has a 57 litre capacity, plus plenty of options on the outside to attach more gear (shoes, jacket, bottle, sleeping pad etc).
Main access is through a huge D-zip that opens up the whole of the bag, like a suitcase, making organising your stuff just so easy.
Then there’s the 13 litre daypack that zips onto the pack and is further secured to the main pack with two compression straps.
The whole setup oozes the usual Osprey quality with nothing unnecessary about any of the extras or details.
The two can be carried together like a suitcase, or the back panel of the main bag zips down to reveal a full shoulder strap and waist belt system to carry as a backpack.
Women Specific Fit
One of my bugbears with unisex backpacks is the positioning of the sternum strap. Brands go to the effort to make the strap adjustable (up and down the shoulder straps), but often fail to extend the adjustment range high enough up the strap to be comfortable for women to wear. This is a huge benefit for me in choosing a backpack that is female specific. And the Fairview ticks this box perfectly. On both the main pack and the daypack, the sternum straps sit really high up on the chest at the highest adjustment points.
Other female specific features include a narrow back panel that is also short, making it fit really close to the body when all the straps and the ergonomically shaped hip belt are cinched down nice and tight. Running to catch that train with a fully loaded pack is actually doable without the whole lot bouncing around too much.
My Favourite Features of the Fairview
The Sternum Strap Whistle
This may seem like a small thing, but it’s actually a really nice addition to have as a solo female traveller. The placement is discreet and easy to access, and wowzers – that thing is piercing!
The Kangeroo Style Daypack Attachments
There are a couple of clips at the top of the daypack shoulder straps that tuck neatly away, and seemingly have nowhere to clip onto! But this genius little detail allows you to wear the daypack on your front whilst carrying the main pack on your back. The mystery daypack clips connect to the clips on the straps of the main pack, leaving you hands-free to map read, have easy access to faff in your daypack, or thumb a ride!
The main pack has two carrying handles that allow you to carry the bag like a suitcase when the shoulder straps are tucked away. One on the top of the bag and one on the side. Their presence is standard in this style of travel backpack, but what’s really nice about these is how comfortable and padded they are to hold – especially when the pack is filled to capacity, and heavier than it probably should be!
Padded Laptop Sleeve
Inside the simple daypack is a laptop sleeve that is lightly padded. It fits a 15 inch laptop in perfectly – secured in place with a strong velcro tab. And on the front of the pocket is a zippered mesh pocket which stores your laptop accessories nicely. What I really like about this setup is that you wouldn’t think there’s a laptop inside – it looks like a hiking daypack, keeping it nice and discreet.
Other Notable Features
- Zip away hip belt and shoulder straps
- Internal compression straps
- ID card holder
- Lockable zip on main access zip
- External removable sleeping pad straps
- Internal zippered mesh pocket
- 6 external gear loops
- Key attachment in top pocket
- Zippered top pocket with scratch free lining
- Adjustable sternum strap
What's Missing From the Fairview?
I would love to see a couple more internal pockets in the main compartment. There is one huge zippered mesh pocket on the inside of the main access panel, which is ideal for stuffing all your undies in. But I’d like to be able to organise all the extra bits and pieces a bit better. Things that don’t belong in your wash bag, nor in your daypack – like a head torch.
I’d also love to see a hydration reservoir in the daypack. The laptop pocket is plenty big enough to hold a 2-litre hydration bladder and it wouldn’t add any overall weight to have the option to carry water in a reservoir instead of a bottle. That said, the two mesh pockets on the front of the daypack have elasticated edges to hold in bottles securely.
Osprey has been really smart about not making the main backpack too big. They could have easily made this a 70 litre backpack with an additional 15 litre detachable daypack, and we women travelers could have easily filled the whole lot right up! But then it would have been heavier and bigger, and wouldn’t fit female frames half as well. And right there, the comfort levels go right out the window. Whether we believe it or not, 70 litres (total), is just plenty for one woman to travel on for months at a time.
I adore Osprey packs and all their added extras that set them apart from many of the other large backpack brands. But what really rocks about them is their durability. Their packs are built to last many happy years of traveling, and are well worth every penny of the initial investment.