Before heading out on our current one year of travelling-the-world-trip, we decided we wanted to buy new backpacks for the both of us. On our previous backpacker trips we have been using normal backpacks from two Norwegian brands (Norrøna and Bergans), which we also use when mountain trekking in Norway. They are really comfortable on our backs, especially when carrying a heavy load, but not ideal for backpacking. They can not open in the front, only at the top, making the organization inside a total mess.
We started surfing internet for backpacks suitable for travelling, reading blogs and reviews. We also visited the travel specialist shop in Norway, Nomaden in Oslo, where we tried on quite a few backpacks from different brands. In the end, we both chose the Osprey Waypoint 85 backpack. This model also comes in a 65 liter size. But considering Maria has a bad habit of over-packing as well as over-shopping along the way, we had to go for the big ones of 85 liters. To be fair the backpack is actually “only” 70 liters, plus the small day-pack which is 15 liters.
We have now been backpacking around Asia for about six months, testing our Osprey Waypoint backpacks to the fullest. Here are our pros and cons:
Pros of the Osprey Waypoint backpack
1. Great design of compartments
The backpack has a great design, and we really like the way it is divided into several compartments. It consists of one large main compartment, with two straps inside to keep the content study and in place.
In the bottom there is a smaller compartment, which is only reachable from a zipper in front of the backpack. This smaller compartment is completely separated from the big one, which makes it easier to organize the backpack.
The big compartment has one fairly large side pocket with mesh. Perfect for an umbrella, mosquito net, chargers, books, towels and so on.
In the other side of the big compartment there is another large side pocket. The lid has two see-through mesh pockets. This is nice for small light things/ clothes. I have my bikinis in one, and papers, receipts and maps that I want to keep in the other.
On the top of the backpack there is a small pocket, for small things one might need in a hurry, like headlamp, pad locks, rain cover, and so on.
2. Can open the whole front
The best part of the backpack, and the main reason why we chose it, is that it has a big zipper in the front, making the whole front a lid that can be opened completely. That way the backpack becomes like a suitcase when lying open on it’s back, and it is easy to find and organize the stuff inside. It also has a zipper in the side, which one can access the main compartment through. It’s nice with two entrances so one doesn’t have to open the whole front in order to get something out.
3. Can be made into a bag
Another big reason why we chose this model, is that one can cover up the carry straps with an extra lid that is tucked away in a small pocket at the bottom of the backpack. That way one can easily make the backpack into a bag when checking it in at airports, or boats, buses, trains and other places. This minimizes the amount of wear and tear on the backpack’s straps during transport.
4. Stiff sides
The sides of the backpack are stiff making the backpack keep it’s shape even with the lid open. Convenient for when you don’t want to unpack in your hostel/hotel room. You can easily just keep your clothes in it the whole time.
5. Lockable zippers
All zippers can be locked with padlocks, which makes it thief-resistant when traveling on buses and trains.
6. Great day pack!
We really like the small day-pack which can be attached to the big backpack using a zipper. We use the small backpacks a lot, both as hand-luggage when traveling and as day-packs when sightseeing and going on small hikes.
The day-pack can only be opened in the back, making it thief-proof when walking through crowded areas.
The day-pack also has two small pockets with zippers, one in each side, ideal for water bottles and so.
It also has one fairly large pocket on top for small things like tickets, tissues, sunscreen and mosquito repellent.
Inside the day-pack is one big compartment, as well as a smaller padded laptop compartment towards the back. Perfect for safe storage of laptops, Ipads and other electronics when traveling.
Here are also some small pockets and one bigger with a zipper, convenient for small stuff such as pens, passport and wallet.
7. Men and Women model
The Waypoint comes in a men and a women model, and we have obviously one of each model. The women model has a hip belt and harness adapted to the female body. Other than that, I can not see any other differences. You can choose between small or medium torso lengths on both the men and women model. On both models you can also adjust the length of the back:
8. Two different colors
It comes in two different colors, green and black for women and black and brown for men. Nice to have a choice.
Cons of the Osprey Waypoint Backpack
1. No rain cover
It does not come with an in built rain cover. So we had to buy that extra. We paid around 40 US$ for the Large Osprey raincover. Not that much, but still, it all adds up. I wish that it was included, since it is really necessary to have a rain cover on a longer trip.
2. Annoying shoulder straps
On top of the shoulder straps, there is a strap that tend to slide out when putting on the backpack. It slides out to it’s maximal length all the time, creating a gap between the back and the backpack. It is easy to tighten it again by just grabbing the end and giving it a pull, but it is really annoying!
3. What have broken so far
The day-pack has one weak element, the small rope-thing attached to the zippers used to open and close the day-pack in the back. These have both broken on my day-pack, so I had to buy some new ones. I ended up buying new ones of the brand Chums, at the Travel Shop in Bangkok, at Siam Discovery. That is the only thing that has broken or fallen apart on the backpacks so far.
Over all we are very pleased with our Osprey Waypoint 85 backpacks! They have served us well and gotten our things safely around Asia (except from one time when Espen had a cockroach all of a sudden jumping out of his backpack! Nearly gave him a heart attack! But that was not the backpack’s fault….). We particularly like that it is divided into smart compartments, making it easy to organize the content, as well as unpacking and packing quickly. And that it has a big zipper in front, making the whole front to a lid that can be opened completely.
Even though the backpack is divided into compartments, it still gets pretty chaotic inside after a while of travels. We chose to buy Eagle Creek packing cubes to get the backpacks more organized. Please read our review of the Eagle Creek Packing System here!
Hope you find our review of the Osprey Waypoint backpack useful. Let us know in the comments below if you have any further questions, and we will be happy to answer them!
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