I've had my Osprey Porter 46 for a little over 6 months now and it's fabulous. It's kind of like when Goldilocks finally finds the bed that's just right. Other bags were too big, too small, too heavy, or too something else. This bag is just right.
It's carry-on compliant and will fit in a regular jet overhead compartment, even stuffed full. I've also been able to carry it on small, regional jets that have smaller overhead compartments, as long as I don't pack it full and cinch down the straps to make it smaller. Other travelers have to gate check their carry-ons on those small planes, but I just walk on through with my Porter without a second glance. It's great for saving time waiting for my bag and for making sure that I have a change of clothes when I get to my destination because I know my bag's not going to get lost if it's on the plane with me.
The backpack straps are comfortable enough for my purposes. I don't know that you'd want to hike miles and miles with them, but they're fine for walking around an airport, to and from a hotel, etc. I also really like that you can zip them away if you need to check the bag and don't want to worry about the straps getting damaged in the baggage handling process. The bag does not come with a shoulder strap if you want to carry it like a duffle, so I've used an REI Shoulder Strap for that.
It has a few pockets inside, enough to allow a little organization, but not too many to get in the way of being able to pack things the way I want. There's one pocket on the top flap, one along the long side of the bag, and a small one at the top of the bag that's great for your bag of liquids.
I like that the Porter has structure but is flexible. That means that it provides more protection for fragile items than a plain duffle and keeps the contents of the bag from becoming all jumbled, but also provides flexibility to cinch the bag down to fit in to smaller spaces and to keep everything in place when the bag's only partially full, which you can't do with a hard-sided carry-on.
I believe that my Porter is a previous generation, but when I checked out the new one at an REI store today, the only differences seem to be that the side pocket is fabric in the new version and mesh in my Porter and that the new version does not have a zipper on the outside to access the pocket on the opening flap. So, relatively minor differences, since the zipper on the outside isn't super helpful most of the time because the compression straps get in the way of opening the zipper.
In short, this is an amazing carry-on. I've used it by itself for carry-on only travel on shorter trips and in conjunction with a checked bag for longer trips and have been quite pleased when using it both ways.
Great for the Plane: A Portable Suitcase
So far I've had this backpack for two months and have used it on three trips - one week of train travelling through three countries, one week in the French Alps (did not use it for any hiking/activities - just to transport my things to where I was staying), and five days in the Brittany and Normandy regions of France. I'll begin by saying that its capacity is great; it's easy to fit everything needed. This backpack is really just like a regular carry-on suitcase but in backpack form - the whole bag is essentially the main pocket which can handle all your items packed any way you like. On the downside, it isn't very comfortable to carry. The shoulder straps leave a lot to be desired, and the hipbelt doesn't really do much. The bag can get uncomfortable and heavy if you have to do a fair amount of walking. In addition, it would have been nice to have included a small side pocket or two for a water bottle or other frequently used items. The best use of this bag is for airplane travel - use it as a suitcase that's easy to carry. The compression straps work really well and the D-Rings are useful for attaching much more than the intended daypack. However, on trains, buses, and for fast-paced travel/backpacking, I prefer another backpack (my Kelty Redwing 44) - the Porter 46 isn't practical enough for me on those types of trips since it doesn't have enough pockets and is too uncomfortable to be running through a train station or walking more than two or three kilometers. But for airplane travel it's perfect - the straps tuck away and nothing is able to be snagged or damaged, while all of your things are secure under the compression straps.
Overall: Perfect for trips where you're getting on an airplane then going right to your final destination and you want a sleek and easy-to-pack bag that works as a suitcase. For backpacking or faster-paced travel... Maybe think twice. It all depends on your intended use!
Awesome...but what's with the new model?
This pack is great. 5 stars for last year's pack, 4-stars for this year because they removed my favorite pocket :( (but it's still a great bag) It fits every overhead compartment while still fitting everything I need. I use the Eagle Creek Pack-it Cubes, and it will easily hold Pack-It cubes and a Folder-15, plus toiletries, jacket, Spare shoes, Laptop, etc. Downsides, it's not the easiest bag to fish your laptop and toiletry bag out of upon hitting the security checkpoint. Similarly, there aren't enough easily accessed pockets on the outside to keep your, book, tickets/itinerary, snacks, water, etc sorted. The last version at least had a zippered outside pocket on the front flap in addition to the top zippered pocket. The new version just has the top pocket. Why did Osprey do away with the front-flap pocket? They added in the same nylon liner/separator that last years model had, so there would be pocket space in there, but without the zipper to access it. Puzzling. Also, if you're planning on using it for legit backpacking, the back panel is gonna get you sweaty (caveat: my normal pack is an Atmos 50, so i'm a little spoiled) and the hip-belt is kindly worded as "minimalist". But for a versatile piece of luggage, this pack cannot be beat. I bought mine over a year ago, and I haven't touched my suitcase, or my other "traveling backpack" since. Business trips, vacations, adventures, weddings, funerals, I used this bag. So good, that my wife borrowed it, and bought one herself immediately upon returning home. Thanks to Osprey for another great pack.
Excellent Carry On Choice
After doing some research I opted for last years model which I found online. Older model has an outer vertical zipper where you can easily store your laptop/passport/papers, etc.
This bag is awesome. I use it as a carry on as I like to get to the airport right as the plane is boarding so checked bags are not my thing. The bag fits easily into the overhead compartments on normal sized aircraft. The shoulder straps tuck away easily and on the new model that does not have the outer storage zipper you can place your netbook/laptop in the shoulder strap compartment as well. The whole pack opens up with the main ziper so its very easy to load and find gear. There are compression straps with two attachment points to make sure the pack meets carry on requirements, I use this to secure my jacket to the outside of the bag so as to not take up room inside. The stiff foam on the sides is also removable. It also has handles all over the bag so you can grab this thing from any which way.
Only downside is that the straps are not comfortable like a backpacking bag so I would not plan on wearing this bag for long periods of time. For that I recomend getting a real backpacking pack.
I can fit 2 shorts, 2 jeans, 2 pair shoes, underwear/socks, 4 tshirts, 3 long sleeve shirts, 3 polos, 2 dress shirts, a big sweater, laptop, beanie, chargers, and a toiletry bag in here.
Solid Travel Pack
I purchased this bag to use on a 2 week vacation to SE Asia (Thailand and Laos). I used it along with the Osprey Daylite. The combination worked prefectly. The Porter is a panel loader which makes packing and unpacking much easier than a top loader. Plus the Porter has the two big straps that let you really "suck in" the pack to reduce the size before you board the plane. I flew from the US to Japan and all around Thailand and Laos and never had a problem using it as a carry on. The straps can also be hidden and the bag appears to be a duffel-style bag.
I'll be using this again for my future trips. It can be used short trips or long trips. I feel like I could live off this pack on a 4 week vacation. I use it in combination with the Eagle Creek cubes and that combo works great.
Build quality is excellent too. I really put it through the ringer throwing it in and out of taxi's, buses, planes, etc... All the zippers and stiching held up great. Still looks like a new pack.
We had to hike into town and few times and after the first couple miles the shoulder straps can get a little uncomfortable if your pack is fully loaded. Thats the only downside to this pack, but this wasn't really designed to be a hiking backpack. It's best use it for traveling.
The Best Bag for Efficient Traveling
We purchased this bag for my wife for our 10 day trip to Peru and I have to say it was every bit as great as described. One of the best things about this bag is the main compartment that opens with a horseshoe zipper that allows easy access to your items unlike a backpack where you have to dig for your things. The bag easily fits into the overhead compartments on a plane and the fold away backpack straps allow for easy transport. My wife was easily able to fit all of her things for the 10 day trip into the bag with some room to spare for the things we brought back. The style is streamlined and gives you a bit of a Ninja Turtle look but it's worth it. The red color makes it easy to identify and some smaller pockets on the inside and top give you even a bit more space to place small items The bag feels durable and even still both Osprey and REI offer amazing return policies on damaged products. I could see this bag lasting for at least a good 10-15 years of solid use. Go ahead and make the investment. You'll be glad you did.
I bought this bag based on an online review. The person was using it for overseas travel and had nothing but good things to say about this travel pack. I used it for a two week European vacation with my family. Since we had a flat with a clothes washer, we decided to pack light and use only carry-on's. I nearly bought some carbon fiber suit-case with four wheels and a handle, but decided on the Osprey. I thought it may be handy to have my bag on my shoulder so I could have my hands free to carry my other family members bags if necessary. From that standpoint, It worked great.
I wasn't sure if I could get everything in there but by utilizing a couple packing cubes I was able to get two weeks worth of clothes, a jacket, toiletries AND a pair of shoes in there! I didn't even need to use the compression straps!
I also like having a choice in handles to carry it - used them both at various times on the plane and the train.
All in all, a great purchase that I can use for overnighters, long trips and camping too.
Amazingly roomy carry-on!
My husband and I each bought a Porter 46 for our around-the-world trip that we're leaving on in a few weeks. This is the only bag we found that comfortably fit both of us, and met all of our other requirements. So far I've used it for a weekend trip, and it fit my clothes, accessories, electronics, jacket, AND my sleeping bag. The amazing compression system still allowed me to carry it on to the bus. We'll be carrying this bag on the plane on our trip. It's not the easiest bag to access when it's all cinched up, which I consider a positive safety attribute, although there is a small pocket on the top that is easier to access for you, but harder for others . It's comfortable to carry around as a backpack, but converts easily and quickly to a duffel for carrying on an airplane. The design keeps the weight close to your body, which makes it more comfortable, and I think it looks great! It's lightweight and extremely high quality. After years of looking for the perfect long-term travel backpack, I finally found it.
Great 1-2 week travel carry-on bag!
This bag was the biggest, most useful carry-on backpack bag we could find, for our 2.5 week trip to Europe. My wife and I bought one each, and with a medium camera bag and a medium purse, we could pack everything we needed for a 2.5 week long working holiday in Europe.
I did NOT want to have to deal with checked baggage, and wanted a good, stylish, large capacity carry-on backpack, and these fitted that need perfectly.
We loaded them with 2 laptops, one week's office clothes, casual clothes for 2 weeks vacation, toiletries, etc, etc. and it all fit in nicely once we used compression sacks for the clothes.
The ONLY small "negative" is that the little zipped pocket on the top of the bag is difficult to access when the main bag is full and cinched down with the compression straps, but this is a minor issue, as the main advantage of this bag is the large main compartment which can pack much more than what you'd expect from a carry-on legal size bag.
Fabulous Travel Bag!
My husband and I spent two weeks traveling in Europe. We didn't want to invest in camping/hiking backpacks because we didn't think we would get a lot of use out of those. We knew we wanted to only travel with carry-ons and we didn't want roller bags which are annoying to navigate with on uneven street surfaces in unfamiliar places. We meandered the Seattle REI store and a helpful employee pointed us in the direction of this travel pack.
These packs were perfect! They held everything we needed plus some tourist items we picked up along the way. They were easy to wear. The straps pack away quickly if you want to just carry it like a piece of luggage. There are smaller pockets on the bag for items you might want quick access to. When not in use they fold up to be fairly flat and store easy. In addition to long trips like our Europe adventure we'll be using them this weekend for a short trip to San Francisco. These are our new travel packs!