This is a sponsored blog post, but all opinions are my own.
(TL;DR – skip to the end for a quick summary)
Finding the luggage can be quite a challenging process if you’re keen traveller. Immediately after we had booked our three month honeymoon in Asia, I started thinking about what bag to bring. As we were about to do a combined city and remote island trip, it wasn’t an easy task. The only bags I had were either a 40L backpack or a huge suitcase. Neither one optimal for the kind of trip we were about to do. All in all, I needed a versatile bag that I could roll during our city visits, and be carried as a backpack when we visited remote little islands with no roads.
After a lot of research I found Osprey’s wheeled backpacks and decided to reach out. They told me about their latest launch – the Fairview Wheels 65L bag – that had all the functions I was after, plus it was lightweight at only 2.8kg! An important factor for me as I was only allowed to pack 15kg.
When the bag arrived my immediate reaction was “oh no, it’s too small!”
But when I started packing it I quickly realized that it fits a lot more than meets the eye. It has many different compartments so it’s easy to structure your packing, plus it has multiple straps to further compress everything. I easily fitted all three months packing in the bag, with plenty room to spare (at least on the outward journey) and the total weight of the bag plus packing was only 11kg!
After thoroughly testing it out in every condition for the past 3 months I feel like I could give it a proper review. So here are my thoughts:
Overall looks and feels
The design is quite simple and kinda square looking, and thankfully it doesn’t have a lot of straps that gets in the way. In terms of appearance, I find the backpack reasonably stylish, but to be honest what I most care about is that it does its job (and it does).
There are two chunky and padded carry handles – one on the top and one on the side – which makes it easy and comfortable to lift the bag.
The bag comes in three different colors – purple, blue and black, and there’s a model for women and one for men.
When I first saw the T-handle I wasn’t too impressed. I get why Osprey went with just one instead of two handles, as it makes the bag considerably lighter but as I dragged the bag through the airport at our first destination I was a bit worried that the bag might break as it didn’t feel too stable at all, it even wiggled slightly which added to the concern. However, my concern was unnecessary. The bag is stable and so far it’s not even near breaking, despite mine and different airlines brutal handling.
The same quality can be found through the pack, with big zips pulls (which are lockable) and zips that didn’t even break a sweat, no matter how hard I put them to work.
Compartments and organisation
The bag consists of one big main compartment and as you open the front panel of the bag you’ll find two smaller mesh compartments on the inside. On top of the bag there’s a smaller compartment that surprisingly fits a lot, suitable for tickets, sunglasses or anything small you need to reach easily. On the front of the bag you’ll find a thin compartment suitable for magazines or important papers. This is where we kept all three months hotel and boat bookings. Perfect!
I’m usually a compartment junkie, and believe that the more the better, so personally I would’ve liked maybe 1-2 more smaller ones on the sides of the bag, either inside or outside but I managed just fine with the ones I had so it’s more of a wish than a need.
Photos from www.ospreyeurope.com
To use the backpack function, you can remove the back of the bag with a zipper. All the straps and the hipbelt have stuffing and are easily adjustable, which makes it super comfortable to carry the backpack.
Because of the ventilated trampoline suspended mesh backpanel, the backpack isn’t extremely tightly packed against your back, so your back doesn’t turn into a pool of sweat, and the backpack can breathe properly.
There’s even a little whistle that’s easily reached even without using your hands. I didn’t have to use it during this trips, but it still feels safe to have it.
On the front of the backpack you can also attach a smaller daypack, should you need it.
Wheeled bag function
This was the function I used by far the most.
The bag has two small plastic wheels that can withstand a lot more than they seem. It’s easy to raise and lower the handle and drag the bag, as long as you do it at the right angle and direction. It is nevertheless clear that the fairview is not not meant to be used fully as a wheeled luggage as it handles even the smallest curbs poorly and easily loses its balance. It requires stopping and gently lifting the bag over all small obstacles.
Overall it performs okay, but as a person used to travelling with a stable wheeled luggage (even though it also only has two wheels), it’s still a source of irritation.
I really enjoyed having the Osprey Fairview Wheels 65 as my travel companion and even though I might’ve bought more souvenirs than I should there always seemed to be some extra space for it, like it was a magical bag! If you’re doing a similar trip with both island hopping and city strolling I highly recommend this lightweight bag. Or if you’re doing a trip where you’d mostly carry the bag. If you’re only doing a city trip then maybe this isn’t the bag for you, I’d opt for a 4-wheel and more stable and easy rolling suitcase instead.