On a recent trip overseas I found myself booked on more flights than I can remember. I was traveling for a month, packing light and as per the name, using one backpack. Anyone who flies a lot probably knows the headaches of lost luggage. So my plan was to go strictly carry on.
My usual pack was too large so I started doing searches with terms like: largest, carry on, backpack etc.
After yielding several results I came across the Osprey Porter 46 Although some airlines do vary in their maximum carry on size, this pack did bill itself as being the largest for most airlines. At 46 liters it may not be large enough for the average traveler but for those who pack light it seemed to fit the bill.
To give a better idea of the size the following was my pack list-
3 pair of jeans
4 pairs of socks and boxers
2 pair of upper and lower base layers
1 winter hat
1 pair of gloves
Nexus 7, camera and my phone
All this with room to spare.
The Porter 46 handled it with ease.
To start the pack is convertible, meaning with a few quick clicks and tucks it goes from a backpack to a duffle bag. Another major advantage of this bag is that you load from the top like a duffle, one large compartment. You open the entire top for easy packing access and the foam padded sides allow it to keep its form while packing. There is some small mesh zippered pockets inside to store smaller items. At the top of the bag when it’s in duffle form is a small external zippered pocket for some dirty clothes. But the best external zippered pocket is at the top when using it has a backpack. Here is a medium sized compartment perfect for storing a quart bag with you toiletries. It is very easily accessible when going through security.
The external compression straps also work wonders when you are done packing and it looks like the bag is too large for carry on. Just cinch the two straps and everything compresses nicely. Now the shoulder straps are not well padded so I would not suggest this for long hours on your shoulders, but some concessions are made to keep its size minimal. I had no discomfort with the straps but was never carrying it on my shoulders for more that two hours. They are suspension straps also, so it can adjust well to various types of body sizes.
I lived out of this pack for a month and loved it. Eight different airlines and no issues. Packing and unpacking constantly was much easier than a normal backpack. Ill also make a note that I was carrying a very small Rothco messenger bag to use as a small day pack.
Overall I was very pleased with the Porter 46 and the quality was top notch. So if you travel light and want to keep your pack with you all the time give it a try.
I have now flown the following airlines with no issue: Aeroflot, Norwegian Air, SouthWest, Air Lingus, Easy Jet, Jet Airways, Air Asia, Bangkok Airways, Turkish Airlines, Etihad, Air Baltic, KLM, SAS, Delta, British Airlines, Czech Airlines, German Wings, Iceland Air, Finnish Air, EVA and Thai