Osprey Fairview 40 Review
The Osprey Fairview 40 is excellent for one-bag travel, and it’s designed to be comfortable for women to carry, though you’ll want packing cubes.
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- Torso adjustment helps you find the perfect fit
- Extremely comfortable harness system, even when fully packed
- Great hideaway strap system
- Gear can fall out of stash pocket
- No strap keepers
- Top pocket hard to access when bag is full
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3.41 lb (1.5 kg)
22 in x 14 in x 9 in (55.9 x 35.6 x 22.9 cm)
Recycled Polyester, DWR Coating, Recycled Nylon, YKK Zippers, ITW Hardware
Laptop Compartment Size
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The Fairview is Osprey’s travel backpack designed specifically for women, a female counterpoint to the Osprey Farpoint 40. The two bags share many of the same features, and much of what we mention here echoes our review of the Farpoint. However, this is a women’s specific travel pack and a standalone product in its own right, so it deserves its own review.
Like the Farpoint, the Osprey Fairview comes in three capacities, 40L, 55L, and 70L. We tested the original 40L version for several months and continue to use that size in the updated design. We like that capacity because it fits many carry on specifications, depending on the airline you fly. After using it around town and during a trip to a hostel, how does it hold up? Let’s find out.
As of this writing, the latest version of the Fairview 40 comes in four colorways: Night Jungle Blue, Zircon Red, Winter Night Blue, and Black. Osprey does love a fancy name for its colors! We have to give Osprey credit; they didn’t fall into the trap of pink and purple for a women’s bag. The colors are extremely practical, too, as they won’t show much dirt, unlike lighter options. Indeed, these look just as good hiking up a mountain or sitting in a coffee shop.
The entire exterior of the bag is durable, textured 450D recycled twist dobby polyester. It’s bluesign® approved—yay!—and coated with a PFAS-free durable water repellant to keep your gear dry.
Four loops are on the front of the bag: two atop the front stash pocket and two toward the bag’s bottom. You can use carabiners to attach small gear here since the loops at the top of the pocket, especially, are excellent for securing a travel water bottle since, otherwise, it can easily topple out—more on that later.
Two shoulder strap attachment points are better for clipping gear like hand sanitizer to keep it close at hand since there aren’t too many other quick-grab options available.
While the loop on the left shoulder strap is elastic, the one on your right is a piece of fabric with “Osprey” stitched in white. There’s a larger Osprey name and logo on the front of the bag, and Fairview 40 runs vertically down the left side to let you know which bag you’ve got. The Osprey name is also scattered across the bag’s ITW hardware, including on the sizeable hip belt adjustment slides and the molded plastic zipper pulls. The hip belt buckle features the avian Osprey logo, as well.
Speaking of zippers, Osprey uses YKK throughout the Fairview, so quality is assured. When it comes to clamshell bags like the Osprey Fairview, there are few more critical qualities than a good zip—luckily, this pack has big, chunky YKK No. 10 reverse coil closures! The main and laptop compartment zips are also lockable with a hole to slot a bag lock through for some added security.
For extra good measure, the compression straps on the front of the bag secure fabric over the zips, making them invisible and impossible to open fully. They also, of course, help with compressing the bag. After all, if you’re only traveling for a couple of days or an uber-minimalist packer, you may not fill out all 40 liters of this bag every time. The webbing straps include sliding plastic strap keepers and can also hold the Farpoint | Fairview Daypack in place on the front of the pack. The Daypack is sold separately from the 40L version but comes with the 55L and 70L versions. Or, slide the top strap through the handle of your water bottle or the loop of a packable travel jacket to keep them from falling out of the front pocket.
While the Osprey Fairview is a travel backpack with shoulder straps, there are also two well-padded carry handles. The top handle is great for hanging on a hook, and the one on the left-hand side can work well for pulling the bag out of an overhead bin or trunk or carrying it like a briefcase. Breathable mesh will keep your palms from getting sweaty, and the padding is cushy enough that it doesn’t dig into your palms, so the only question will be how long you can carry about 20 pounds in one hand, not how comfortable the handle is if you need to do so.
Compared with the Farpoint, the shoulder straps on the Fairview are slightly narrower but just as padded. Most importantly, though, they are shaped differently. Instead of coming straight over your shoulders, these curve in and around, making it easier to carry. Several women on our team needed to lock the sternum straps on the Farpoint to keep them in place, even when the bag wasn’t overly heavy. The Fairview doesn’t have this issue. The way the straps curve around a women’s body help prevent them from slipping off.
The Fairview also has sternum straps sliding along a rail on the shoulder straps so you can set them at the right height. They grip tightly to the rails, so it takes a little effort to move them. We don’t mind, though, since they stay in the right place and don’t require readjustment.
The hip belt on the Fairview is also shaped to fit many women’s bodies better—the curve is more pronounced, and the belt itself is shorter, sitting better under your rib cage and over your hip.
It’s not just for stability, either. The left side of the hip belt includes a stretchy mesh pocket where you can tuck your wallet and passport to have it within easy reach as you go through security or snacks if you’ll be hauling your pack through the city or on a hike for hours at a time. It can also fit most regular size smartphones, though it can be a bit of a sqeeze. There’s another attachment loop on the right side of the hip belt, as well.
There are also two buckles above the attachment points on the shoulder straps. These allow you to buckle the optional Daypack to your front for a more balanced carry. They’re tucked under fabric shrouds, though, and so aren’t very noticeable if you don’t have the Daypack or plan to carry it that way.
Enough about the front, though—let’s talk about the AirScape® back panel. It’s a ridged foam covered in a breathable mesh for ventilation while the pack is close to your body. Combined with the LightWire frame and breathable mesh on the shoulder straps and hip belt, it makes the Fairview comfortable to carry for more extended periods, even when full.
There is more hardware back here, too, so let’s chat about them, shall we? Buckled straps partway down the shoulder straps clip into their counterparts hidden under the fabric on either side of the top carry handle for load lifters. At the other end, where the shoulder straps connect to the bag at the bottom, are webbing straps with adjustable slides. These connect to the yoke holding the shoulder straps. Tighten them to move the collar down the back panel, lifting the bag further up your torso, or loosen them to bring it to the top of the bag, lowering the pack on your torso.
The mechanism is a game-changer for users with shorter torsos because while Osprey designed the pack with women in mind, there’s still a wide range of height between users, so we appreciate the amount of micro adjustment.
Something to note about all these straps: none but the front compression straps include keepers, so you’ll potentially have a lot of excess dangling if you need to cinch things up tightly. Not a deal breaker, just something to note. If that bugs you, look for a strap management system, like VELCRO Brand Cable Ties.
However, you won’t have to worry about catching the handle of your seatmate’s rolling luggage when you heave the Fairview into the overhead bin on the plane. One of our favorite things about this bag is the hideaway strap system. This function allows you to zip away both the shoulder straps and hip belt—which is perfect for when you’re stowing this bag away on a plane or train. The system is simple; unclip the load lifters, unravel the material at the bottom of the bag, and zip it up. At the top, you’ll see a spot where it says, “I.D.” On the underside of that location is a slot where you can slide in a luggage ID tag so someone can get your bag back to you without digging through your pack if it’s lost. When you want the harness system back, reroll the panel and tuck it away. The latest bag version does away with a hook-and-loop fastener to secure the roll, but we have not had a problem with it coming undone during use.
While the Fairview 40 is not the chicest, most fashionable bag, Osprey markets it as a travel backpack, not a fashion statement. Throughout the months of testing the prior version and the weeks we’ve been using the current bag, we feel fine carrying it from the plane to the train to a hostel or Airbnb, though it will take up a bit of room sitting next to a cafe table if you stop for a bite to eat along the way. However, you’ll likely feel fine laying this thing down on the floor without worrying about scuffs and dirt since it’s built for the rigors of travel—we love that.
With its large capacity, this pack looks better full. It sags a bit when half empty, although the compression straps help. Whether it’s half empty or filled with all of the gear on our hostel packing list, it’s pretty comfortable to carry among different users thanks to the extreme adjustability of the harness system. Finding the right fit can take a bit of time since there are so many adjustment points, but we think the extra effort is worth it.
Additionally, we must mention that the large hip belt can get in the way when you’re putting on the Fairview. The hideaway panel zipper forces both sides of the belt into the center, so even if you try to hold one out to the side as you slip into the shoulder straps, there’s a decent chance of it falling back into the center before you get it in place. It’s not a huge deal, but it requires extra effort to pull out from behind your back if you’re slinging a fully loaded pack on, especially while wearing a puffer coat or sweatshirt.
The easiest way to get the Fairview in place is to start with it on a table at waist height. You can slip into shoulder straps and buckle the sternum straps and hip belt before stepping away and accepting the weight of the backpack.
Inside The Pack
While the 40-liter capacity of the Fairview is mostly the main compartment, there are a few other places for gear.
Two mesh pockets on the front of the previous version have turned into one large stash pocket on the current version. It’s still big enough for a water bottle or two, and now you also have space for a packable jacket, subway schedule, or other gear you don’t want to pack inside the backpack. There’s a drainage hole at the bottom for excess moisture to seep out should something spill.
There are a few things to consider with this new iteration, though. Using a water bottle with a handle, like a Hydro Flask or a Nalgene, lets you lock it into place with the compression straps or via a carabiner to one of the attachment loops. If you don’t, you may fling it out of the pack as you swing it onto your shoulders (true story!). However, if you’re packing the Fairview for a long trip and have used every last inch of space in the main compartment, you’ll lose capacity in this front pocket and have to squish your packing cubes into a different place to squeeze in a water bottle.
Atop the bag is a small compartment designed for easy access to your toiletry bag at airport security. However, it also includes a key clip and is the only small pocket on the pack, so it does double duty as a quick-access pocket. The nylon pocket hangs into the main compartment, so it can be tricky to get into when you stuff the bag with cubes full of clothing, shoes, and other gear. Because of this, the usable size of the pocket ends up being much smaller than it appears when the Fairview is empty.
Since a fabric flap obscures the zipper, you can tuck the zipper pull under it for added security and use it for your keys, phone, wallet, and passport. Slim gear such as this fits well here, although it can still be a squeeze to slide it in and out, depending on how much you pack.
A vertical zipper running next to the side carry handle on the left side of the backpack provides access to a large laptop compartment. While the prior version of the Fairview had the laptop area in the front of the bag, moving it to the back allows the weight of your device to be against your back for better weight distribution.
However, Osprey removed the admin panel adjacent to the laptop sleeve. While you can now slot up to a 16-inch device here instead of the previous 15-inch capacity, there’s no longer a mesh pocket for a tablet or travel tech. If you have a soft and flat tech pouch, you may be able to slide it above your computer; otherwise, there’s space in the main compartment.
The main compartment of the Osprey Fairview opens up fully, and you can fit a boatload of stuff in there. While it’s not necessary to use packing cubes with a clamshell design, we highly recommend using them to make the most of your space and give yourself some added organization.
The sides of the pack are flexible, so beware of stuffing too many cubes in here, or you’ll have a hard time zipping it back up. However, two compression straps within this main compartment can help hold everything together and make it easier to zip it back up.
You’ll see the padded laptop sleeve along the bottom of the main compartment. While it seems like it takes up the pack’s entire back panel, it’s a separate sleeve held slightly higher than the bottom of the bag to protect your device from impact. On the right side of the sleeve, both corners include toggles that slide into loops inside the pack. They hold it to the bottom of the bag while also allowing you to pull it up if you want to hide travel itineraries, cash, or other flat gear here. Remember that you’ll have to unpack the backpack to access this space, so it’s best for the gear you don’t need to access often.
You’ll find a large zipped mesh pocket on the other side of the main compartment against the front panel. It’s an open space with no organization, so use it to create segmentation from the rest of your gear. We use it for flip-flops, a beanie hat, gloves, an ultralight towel, and other items we’re packing just in case but are less likely to need, though you could also slide a slim tech kit or accessory pouch here if you can’t wedge it in with your cubes.
However, all of the space is combined, so packing more here means you have less depth in the main compartment and the front stash pocket. Everything has to play well together, so take some time to play around with the best way to pack the Osprey Fairview 40, and we think you’ll be happy to take it with you wherever you travel.
When we tested the original version of the Fairview for three months, it held up very well—no knicks, tears, or scuffs to report. However, we tested both the S/M and M/L versions of the previous Farpoint 40L for over a year and a half. After that time, we found some small tears in one of the bags, but nothing major. We’ll keep the usage timeline updated below so you can see how the newest version of the Fairview gets on in the future, but we have high hopes.
The differences between the Farpoint and Fairview are minimal at first glance, but when carrying this pack at full weight, you’ll notice a level of comfort that we think would be hard to achieve with the men’s version. Travel-conscious women don’t have to buy a bag designed specifically for women, however, carrying the Osprey Fairview was a pleasant surprise.To see exactly how we pack this bag for any trip, check out this video. Unlock access to our entire catalog of Pro Exclusive Videos when you sign up for Pro.
- Extremely comfortable, even for shorter users
- Digging how much we can fit in here
- Material looks durable
- Love the color of this bag, no break in period needed
- Really like the laptop compartment against the back panel
- Water bottles will fall out of stash pocket if not strapped in
- Hip belt pocket fits many phones
- Nothing new to report
- Still in great condition.
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