Osprey Fairview 40 Review: The Best Travel Backpack for Women?

In the market for a new backpack? This Osprey Fairview 40 review will help you decide whether or not it’s the right backpack for you before you buy it.

Osprey Fairview 40 Review

Searching for that perfect travel pack is a real challenge. And trust me when I tell you that you’re not alone in this struggle!

If you’re a backpacker yourself, you know exactly what I’m talking about, because your backpack is more than just a bag. Whether it doesn’t feel right or lacks storage, it can make or break your trip if it isn’t a good fit.

Well, there’s good news for our female readers out there looking for that perfect bag. We’ve found one that we feel is a solid all-around choice for today’s backpacker.

The Osprey Fairview 40 is similar to Osprey’s best-selling bag, the Farpoint. But unlike the Farpoint, which is better suited for the male frame, the Fairview is designed specifically for women.

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Osprey Fairview 40 in black

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HERE'S A SUMMARY!

Osprey Fairview 40

The Osprey Fairview 40 is for the woman who travels light, especially for anyone who is a laptop-based digital nomad without extra equipment like cameras!

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And at 40L, this is the perfect one-stop travel bag.

While the Osprey Fairview 40 does share a lot in common with the male version (you can read up on the Osprey Farpoint 40 Review to learn more), it does have a few specific features that make it different: the size.

Taller women are better off using the Farpoint because the Fairview only comes in Extra Small/Small and Small/Medium sizes.

This is because the Farpoint was the only option on the market before. It was the catch-all travel bag before Osprey released the Fairview.

NOTE: The Osprey Farpoint 40 and the Osprey Fairview 40 are pretty much the same bag, but the Farpoint is designed for the male body, while the Fairview is for the female frame.

That doesn’t mean the Fairview isn’t good though. For average height or shorter women, the Fairview is a solid choice.

But you’re here for the pros and cons of the Fairview, right? This Osprey Fairview 40 review has you covered.

Osprey Fairview 40 Review: Quick Answers

  • It’s a decent-sized backpack that is small enough to use as a carry on backpack.
  • This is a smaller version of the best-selling Farpoint line that’s made specifically for women.
  • Comes with all the main features you need plus a few nice extras.
  • Comfortable fit with high-tech suspension systems and stable shoulder straps and hip belts.
  • This robust and durable backpack comes with a lifetime warranty.  

Who Is the Osprey Fairview 40 For?

  • Women under six feet tall.
  • Light packers.
  • Low budget travelers who want to save money on checked luggage fees. 
  • People who aren’t planning on doing much hiking.
  • Digital nomads that live and die with their laptop.

Who Isn’t the Osprey Fairview 40 For?

  • Men or taller women.
  • Heavy packers (consider the Osprey Fairview 55 instead).
  • Digital nomads that carry a lot of equipment. Photographers and videographers should try a hiking camera backpack.
  • People who want to do a lot of hiking or trekking. This bag won’t hold all of your gear.

Should You Choose Osprey Backpacks?

Let’s talk about the company itself before we dive too deep into our Osprey Fairview 40 review. Osprey is one of my favorite brands. They’re backpacking professionals with an established reputation for quality items from top to bottom.

And with about 40 years’ worth of experience, they know a thing or two about backpacks, hiking, and the outdoors.

Osprey Backpack Mountain Hikers
The folks at Osprey are serious about their bags

Osprey is based in Cortez, Colorado. The company is surrounded by some of the most inspiring landscapes on earth! How could they not be inspired?

They are also passionate about making trekking and traveling accessible for pretty much everyone, so they have an incredible amount of sizes and styles.

I can’t think of many people who wouldn’t be able to find an Osprey product that didn’t suit them. Osprey has options for everyone because they know how to make travel accessible regardless of your budget.

They also offer something they like to call the Almighty Guarantee. It’s a lifetime guarantee for all of their products, including the Osprey Fairview 40 line.

That means they’ll fix any issues with your pack, completely free of charge.

That same guarantee extends to all of their backpacks, regardless of age. So, you can rest easy knowing you’re in good hands.

Osprey Fairview 40 Review: The Features

What better way to start our Osprey Fairview review than by exploring everything it has to offer. This backpack isn’t the Cadillac of backpacks.

And that’s a good thing.

The Osprey Fairview 40 has the right amount of features. It will do everything you need it to do if you’re traveling light. 

There’s something attractive about simplicity when it’s done right. Features are great, but some backpacks lose focus of the basics. 

The ideal backpack should provide enough storage, durability, and fit right.

Let’s take a look at the main highlights of the Osprey Fairview 40.

Dimensions & Specifications

Extra Small/SmallSmall/Medium
Volume38L40L
Dimensions19.3H X 13.8W X 8D IN21.3H X 13.8W X 9D IN
Weight3.1 lbs3.2 lbs

Designed for Carry-On Travel

The number one point in this Osprey Fairview review is that this is one of the best carry-on backpacks on the market.

Carry on dimensions tend to vary between countries and airlines, but bags under 22 inches are usually the safest options.

This bag is closer to the 20-inch mark, so you can easily bring this with you when boarding a plane. You won’t have to worry about checking your bag and paying extra—even on European budget airlines, which are pickier when compared to US airlines.

Going to the airport and catching flights with your Osprey Fairview 40 is a breeze.

Perfectly Sized for Women  

Fairview 40 for women in green

Let’s be honest for a second.

This Osprey Fairview review is for women because the company created this bag just for them.

Everyone wants a comfortable backpack. I’ve never met anyone that actively searched for an uncomfortable one.

Women often find it challenging to find a backpack that fits their frame comfortably while still providing enough storage.

Well, you don’t have to look far anymore. The primary difference between the Farpoint and this pack is the back-length measurement.

Look, I’ve traveled all over the world and this is the most important thing to look for when looking at backpacks. Even better: this backpack offers an extra small option that women under 5’4″ will absolutely love.

Are you looking for something a little bigger? You’re in luck.

Osprey initially sold the Farpoint bag as a unisex backpack. So, if you’re a little taller and want more space, the Farpoint is still a suitable alternative. You could also try the Fairview 55, which comes with a detachable daypack (hence the extra 15L).

Lightwire Frame Suspension System 

Osprey Fairview's lightweight suspension system

The Osprey Fairview 40 has a sturdy frame that fits nicely against your back without weighing you down. It keeps your posture straight so that you don’t feel like you’re hunching over or being pulled back by the weight of the bag.

The back panel does a great job of distributing the weight across the shoulders and hips.

Stowaway Harness and Hip-Belt 

I love the Osprey Fairview 40 and Farpoint 40 for the stowaway harness and hip belt features. You can zip the whole harness system into the back panel, leaving you a duffel bag.

Osprey Fairview in green with stowaway straps

This is great when you’re loading it on and off buses and planes, or if you do decide to check it in for a flight.

You can protect the more delicate parts of the bag (like the buckles) from getting damaged by baggage handlers who have made it their life goal to destroy all luggage.

Stowing away the straps and hip belt in busy areas is a bit of a hassle though. It definitely takes some fiddling around to get used to it. Other backpacks I’ve seen have a magnetic pouch that does a similar job to this. I think they’re easier to use when you’re rushing, but this is only a minor problem.

What about the build quality for the shoulder straps and hip belt on the Osprey Fairview 40? They are incredibly well-padded and lined with sweat-wicking material. This is a huge bonus to me, especially if you plan to hike.

The hip strap is also hiking grade. And even though this isn’t the best hiking bag, it does provide excellent hip support. That makes it a great choice for walking around cities and general traveling.

Sternum Strap with a Rescue Whistle 

The Osprey Fairview 40 has a decent sternum strap. The strap actually looks a little flimsy, but it does a surprisingly good job of adding extra weight distribution across your chest.

This allows it to take some of the strain off of the shoulders and straps. It also comes with a rescue whistle, which is fantastic for solo female travelers who want some extra security.

Zip-Off Daypack 

Fairview 70 with daypack

We’re all about honesty in this Osprey Fairview review.

The Osprey Fairview 40 doesn’t have a zip-off daypack. But if you opt for the Fairview 55 , that one does. It’s essentially the same backpack as the 40L Fairview, but it comes with an extra 15L detachable daypack.

Having two bags in one is always an attractive idea, especially if you need flexibility while traveling. You can still carry the 55L on planes and use the daypack as your personal item.

It’s surprisingly spacious, and the laptop and tablet sleeves are found in this part of the bag too. That alone makes the daypack essential for digital nomads.

The daypack back panel tends to get a little sweatier than the back panel on the main part of the pack. I often found myself letting the bag hang off one shoulder in warmer or humid climates.

However, if the Osprey Fairview 40 is your preferred size, you can always check out our list of best travel daypacks for more options.

Suitcase-Style Access to Main Compartment

Suitcase-Style Access to the Osprey Fairview 40

Unlike your typical top-loading backpack, you can open the entire front panel and access the main compartment with a zipper. That makes opening your Osprey Fairview 40 the same as a suitcase.

This was another big draw for me. I hate digging around top-loading bags trying to find things. You know exactly what I’m talking about—rooting around at the bottom of your bag to find your phone charger isn’t fun.

However, this feature paired with the soft sides means that you sacrifice some stability in the backpack when it’s open. This doesn’t affect the bag at all when you’re wearing it, but it tends to spill out its contents all over the floor when you have it open. This can quickly create a mess if you’re not careful.

It can also make the bag hard to pack because things tend to bunch up on one side— unless you’re methodical with your packing.

The best solution to this is to invest in some packing cubes , so everything stays where it belongs.

Laptop and Tablet Sleeves

I love a backpack that has a place for laptops. How else would I review all of this awesome travel equipment?

The Osprey Fairview 40 has an anti-scratch pocket for your laptop and other devices. While the internal frame is super sturdy against your back, it creates a problem in that you can’t have the laptop sleeve against your back. So the Fairview 40 solved this problem by putting the laptop/tablet sleeve in the front.

Generally, the more cumbersome stuff should always go as close to your back as possible. Having the laptop at the front of the bag kinda throws off the weight distribution. However, if you have a lighter laptop like a Macbook Air, this isn’t really a problem.

Also note that the sleeve is only good for laptops up to 15 inches.

Dual Front Compression Straps

One downside of the Osprey Fairview 40 is that the front panel opening can get a little bulky and extend further out than your typical backpack. The compression straps help you to condense it a bit, so you don’t accidentally hit too many people in the face. 

This bag does a reasonable job of making things a little smaller, and you can also fit a thin rain jacket under there for quick and easy access.

Good Security  

The compression straps also add an extra layer of protection to the Osprey Fairview 40. They help hide the zippers, keeping your belongings safe from shady characters.

It also helps when you have a badly packed—or overpacked—bag and are running the risk of the bag unzipping itself. I’ve lived through this experience many times, and trust me—it’s not fun.

Lockable Sliders 

I tend not to use locks on my bag because I’m bad at keeping track of keys and remembering combinations.

But the zip sliders on the Fairview 40 have a little loop that you can hook a padlock through if you do like the peace of mind of locking away your valuables. There’s nothing particularly innovative here given every bag I’ve ever owned has these, but it’s a useful addition. 

Padded Top and Side Handles 

Osprey Fairview padded handles

The two well-padded top and side handles allow the backpack to function more like a duffle bag when you tuck away the straps and hip belt. This lets you quickly load and unload it onto shelves and overhead cabins. The upholstery is high-quality and durable, so these handles can take a lot of weight, and you don’t have to worry about them breaking off.

Dual Front Mesh Pockets

The Osprey Fairview 40 has two front mesh pockets. You can put a water bottle in there if you haven’t overfilled the pack. If you did overstuff it, getting your water bottle out is a bit tricky.

Zippered Stash Pocket 

The Osprey Fairview 40 doesn’t have a whole lot of options for storage, but there is one small extra pocket that is located on the front of the pack.

I’m not entirely sure what you’re supposed to keep in here, but I often stash my keys or headphones here.

The ad shows someone storing their sunglasses here, and it’s definitely the perfect size for this, but I wouldn’t recommend this. That’s an easy way to crush your sunglasses.

When I’m walking around town or on a short nature walk, I often store my phone in here while listening to music, so I can stroll around hands-free.

Internal Front Flap Zippered Mesh Compartment 

The zippered internal mesh pocket is the perfect place for storing the essentials you might need when you roll into a hostel late at night. I keep my underwear, socks, PJs, and toiletries in here.

The mesh design is a clever addition because the visibility helps you keep track of where everything is in that pocket without having to dig around and make a mess. 

Internal Compression Straps 

These are good to push your clothes down a little further if the external straps aren’t doing it for you.

They’re okay, but I still think you’re better off using packing cubes with the Osprey Fairview 40.

Osprey Fairview 40 Review: The Pros and Cons

Overall, this is a fantastic bag. The pros of the Osprey Fairview 40 vastly outweigh the cons.

But there are some issues to look out for before investing in this as your next travel companion. And this wouldn’t be an exhaustive Osprey Fairview review without talking about the pros and cons.

And I know you came here to read the good and the bad.

Pros

  • Osprey made this backpack specifically for women’s backs. The main advantage of the Fairview is that its suitable for smaller women that are 5’5” and shorter. If you’re over this height, you’re not going to find much difference between this and the Small/Medium in the Farpoint range.  
  • This bag’s compliant with global carry-on luggage standards. The bag is less than 22 inches, making it a safe choice for your carry-on.
  • It’s spacious on the inside. You can fit a surprising amount of stuff in this backpack given its size. Still, it’s not for heavy packers. 
  • The stowaway feature of the Osprey Fairview 40 is excellent. This alone is sure to add many years to the lifetime of this backpack’s buckles. Most backpack damage occurs to the more delicate parts like the buckles, especially when they’re in transit.
  • This bag is reasonably secure. The lockable sliders and compression strap base add excellent extra security.
  • A great option for digital nomads. Dedicated laptop and tablet sleeves make digital nomad life a lot easier.
  • Well-made with a lifetime warranty. This bag will certainly see you through your backpacking days.

Cons

  • The Fairview 40 does not have a detachable daypack. The 55L equivalent does . It’s essentially the same bag with an added 15L daypack that latches onto the front.
  • This bag isn’t great for messy packers. The lack of separate compartments and the soft sides can lead to disorganization.
  • The laptop storage is better for small laptops. While it can store laptops up to 15 inches, I don’t recommend anything larger than 13 inches.
  • The laptop storage pocket is not placed close to the back. This may cause your laptop to become suspended in the middle of the bag. If you have a light laptop, this isn’t a problem. If your laptop is heavier, you should purchase a different bag.
  • Lack of variety when it comes to color. The colors are limited to two greenish hues right now.

What Materials Are the Osprey Fairview 40 Made Of?

The main section of this backpack is made of high quality and durable ripstop nylon. It’s also packed out with breathable atilon foam. The accent and bottom parts are made with strong packcloth that is resistant to tearing and scratching.

While none of these materials are waterproof, they are water-resistant, and it does an outstanding job of protecting your valuables.

Aesthetics: How Does the Osprey Fairview 40 Look?

The Osprey Fairview 40 looks similar to the Farpoint, but it’s also smaller.

It’s simple and understated. And while Osprey backpacks usually come in many colors— that isn’t the case for this one. It only comes in two colors right now.

You can choose between Misty Gray (which is closer to an Olive) and Rainforest Green (no explanation needed, it’s green). They’re not the most aesthetically pleasing in my opinion.

It’s actually nice to see that Osprey hasn’t fallen into the pink-washing trap when designing a women’s backpack.

I’m also low-key thrilled that Osprey has done away with the toxic waste green of the Farpoint mesh interior in favor of a much more calming blue color in the Fairview. 

Comfort: Is it Easy to Wear?

The Osprey Fairview 40 is a comfortable backpack thanks to a well-designed combination of its high tech, lightweight suspension system, some really well-padded shoulder straps, and its hip-belt.

It also includes a pretty decent sternum strap that distributes weight evenly. But if you do try to overfill this backpack, it does tend to pull on your traps quite severely.

But if you use it as it’s intended, this backpack is wonderfully comfortable. The great hip straps and sternum strap play a significant role in this. Osprey made this pack with sweat-wicking material, so it does a reasonable job of keeping you cool too.

However, if you try to cover a significant distance in a hot climate, it does tend to get you pretty sweaty.

Don’t let that take away from this backpack. This really is a comfortable backpack, and I would recommend it based on comfort alone.

Organization: How Does it Stack Up?

This wouldn’t be a fair Osprey Fairview review if I didn’t talk about storage.

The Osprey Fairview 40 doesn’t have much in the way of separate storage compartments. There’s only the central part of the bag and the internal mesh pocket in the main storage area.

This, combined with the soft sides leading to things spilling over the edges when the bag is open, can cause you to become quite disorganized if you don’t have a packing strategy.

I really recommend adding some storage cubes to this backpack if the thought of a messy backpack stresses you out.

Durability: Will the Osprey Fairview 40 Last?

The durability of this backpack gets a big thumbs up from me. You just have to take one look at it to know that Osprey made this backpack to last. The upholstery is solid enough to bear quite a lot of weight.

The fabric is also durable and resistant to wear and tear. The mesh pockets at the front are the only things that tend to suffer wear and tear. But this has more to do with them being prone to snagging on twigs and door handles.

This isn’t that big of a problem though. The mesh pockets really aren’t that useful except for holding water bottles and other small objects.

Price: How Much Does the Osprey Fairview 40 Cost?

Are you still with me? Good. I’m at the point in this Osprey Fairview review where I’ll discuss money.

This backpack comes in at a mid-range value-for-money. It’s not the cheapest bag you’re going to find, but honestly, who wants to cheap out on a backpack?

It’s also not the most expensive one you’re going to come across. Add to that Osprey’s lifetime warranty, and you can’t go wrong.

The price-quality relationship of this bag is outstanding. It’s an investment in your muscular and skeletal health too. You’ll probably want to add a few packing cubes though, so budget some extra cash to cover those. 

Warranty: What Kind of Warranty Does Osprey Fairview 40 Offer?

Osprey has a great reputation, and a big reason for that is their Almighty Guarantee. This is their term for a lifetime warranty. 

If you’re in the US and you need a repair done on your backpack, you can contact Osprey directly on their website. And, if you cover the postage costs, you can send your pack to the factory and the repair team will fix it for free. 

Are you outside of the US? Don’t worry. You can contact their International Customer Service team and they will point you to a national distributor who can help you out. Repair policies differ slightly from country to country, but Osprey has your back. 

Shipping: Does Osprey Ship Their Bags Internationally?

Osprey provides free and direct shipping to the US and Canada when you purchase from their website. The company’s return policy is super-friendly as well.

You will need to purchase your Osprey Fairview 40 via a local supplier if you’re outside of the US or Canada. Osprey doesn’t directly ship their bags internationally because they rely on local suppliers throughout the world.

Pretty much every good backpack store stocks Osprey. And with the Fairview being the sister to Osprey’s most popular line, you can definitely snag one at your local store. If not, they will probably order it in for you.

A list of local suppliers is available on Osprey’s Fairview 40 product page. Shipping costs vary depending on which supplier you go for.  

Osprey Fairview 40 Accessories

Osprey Farpoint packing cubes

The Fairview 40 doesn’t have any purpose-designed accessories, but Osprey offers a range of useful packing cubes that are designed specifically for their backpacks. They are competitively priced and compete with the costs of generic packing cubes.

Take a look at them and grab a few if you don’t have any already. They make packing and traveling with this backpack that much easier. 

Osprey Fairview 40 Review Summary: My Final Thoughts

The Osprey Fairview 40 is the sister to Osprey’s best-selling Farpoint 40. Like the Farpoint 40, it’s a welcome addition to the series and it’s great for one-bag travel.

It also has a smaller back measurement than what is available for the Farpoint. So, if you’re a petite woman, this backpack is seriously going to fit you well—particularly if you’re a light traveler.

However, I don’t think the difference between the Farpoint and the Fairview is really all that considerable if you’re over 5’5″. I’d recommend that women 5’5″ and taller try both the Fairview and the Farpoint to decide which one feels best.

I love that the Fairview 40 does all the things you need it to do without being overloaded with features. The suspension system and padded straps do a great job of weight dispersal. There’s quite a lot of space in the backpack, and even though it lacks some of the organization that other bags have, you can fit a lot into this bag with careful planning.

The main downside of this backpack is the soft sides. They do make it easier to access your stuff, but only because all your items tend to spew out all over the floor. This is easily fixed with some reliable packing solutions though, so I doubt this will cause you too much trouble if you’re a smart packer. 

I would highly recommend trying out the Fairview if the Farpoint is too big for you. You’re almost definitely going to love it. But let this Osprey Fairview review help you decide for yourself.


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  1. At the beginning of the article, you say that the fairview 40L comes with a zip-off day pack. This is incorrect. While you have stated that it’s only the 55L version that comes with the zip-off day pack further down the article, it’s still misleading information at the beginning. Also, the article that led me to this one (the best backpacks for one bag travel) states that the fairview 40L has a zip-off daypack. I know this isn’t true because I’ve researched backpacks but this conflicting information will be confusing for people who are just starting to look at backpack options. I’m not trying to be picky, I just don’t want others to be confused.

    1. Hey Al,

      Thanks so much for pointing out that error! You’re absolutely right—the 40L does not have a detachable daypack, but the 55L one does. I’ve fixed this article and the carry-on backpacks piece to make sure that information is correct! I appreciate you and hope this helps others in their decisions about this bag.

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