Looking for an honest review of the Osprey Porter 46 liter backpack?
Well, I promise you won’t find a more experienced reviewer than me.
How can I be so sure?
I’ve taken this bag through the Amazon jungle, over the hills of Nepal, backpacking through Europe (4 times), through Mexico for six months, all around South America, and on a road trip in Tasmania. Ok you get the point: I travel full time and write a travel blog for a living, so I’ve put my Osprey porter through some serious testing!
So how does the Porter backpack hold up?
Read on my for my detailed review of the Osprey Porter 46 backpack: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Ok, it’s mostly just good because this is a truly awesome bag! If you don’t believe me, go read the many awesome reviews of the Osprey Porter 46 over on Amazon’s site.
[affiliate disclosure: if you purchase a bag through the links on this site, I may get a small commission at no additional cost to you]
Osprey Porter 46 Review: Summary
Here’s the bottom line on the Osprey Porter 46: it’s a truly excellent all-around backpack for most types of travelers. It offers the versatility and functionality of a backpack but the style and ease of a porter bag or suitcase. I would highly recommend this backpack to almost every type of traveler except for hardcore hikers who need a little more serious backpack for handling the wilderness.
It’s also enormously affordable considering how long it will last you. Click here to check the latest prices on Amazon.
Or check out the below table to see how the Osprey Porter 46 stacks up compared to some other popular backpacks:
A Detailed Review of the Osprey Porter 46 L Backpack
After 50+ countries across six continents, I have a lot to say about the Osprey Porter 46 backpack! So let’s dive right into the nitty gritty of why I think this is the best casual travel bag out there:
Features and Specs
For such a simple-looking bag, the Osprey Porter 46 is loaded with features you’d usually find on much more high end backpacks. Here’s a quick rundown of the key features and specs:
- Cost: affordable (click here to check latest pricing on Amazon).
- Size: 46 liters, 25 x 15 x 13 inches
- Weight: 3.4 lbs (1.54 kgs)
- Gender: Unisex
- Colors: Black, Castle Grey, Diablo Red, Mineral Teal
- Pockets: top pocket, laptop sleeve (up to 15 inch), stowaway pocket for straps
- Features: straitjacket compression for packing, stowaway hip belt and shoulder straps
- Adds ons: D-ring attachment for adding an additional shoulder strap, Osprey Daylite backpack compatibility
Pros of the Osprey Porter
- Carry-on size (if not over-packed)
- Rugged design
- Lifetime guarantee
- One very large and easy to use pocket
- Simple and stylish look
- Convenient straitjacket compression
- Easy to attach daypack
Look, there is a lot to love about this backpack. And in the six years I’ve been using it, Osprey has continued to make improvements over the model I purchased (e.g., by adding a laptop sleeve).
First, it’s the perfect size. Just check out my around-the-world packing list to see how much I fit inside it!
Second, my absolute favorite thing about the Osprey Porter 46 liter backpack is that it easily and quickly converts from a backpack that you can comfortably carry on your shoulders to a porter bag.
Why is that important?
Well, for one thing it means you can check this bag, put it under a bus, or store it somewhere without worry that your backpack straps are going to snag something. But it is also great for those times when you don’t want to “look” like a dirty backpacker who just rolled out of a hostel dorm bed with a huge bag on your back.
I also love that you can attach any Osprey Daylite daypack to the back of the bag and carry them together. Click here to check out the daypack I’ve taken on my travels around the world: it’s a perfect and affordable compliment to the porter backpack.
The Porter is also an enormously rugged pack and I’ve really put it through the ringer. I’ve taken it through the jungles of South America, the mountains near Denver, Colorado, backpacking through Europe, and hundreds of other places! Heck, I even had it with me when I was doused with water during Thailand’s Songkran festival (and I still managed to keep my electronics dry!).
Cons of the Osprey Porter
- Not built for hiking/camping
- Very minimal harness
- Not much padding on straps
- Minimal pockets
- Zippers can get caught
There’s not a whole lot that I would change about the Osprey Porter 46, but no backpack is perfect.
For one thing, the fact that the straps hideaway has a downside: they by necessity don’t have as much padding as you might find on a more serious hiking backpack.
This means that, while the bag is comfortable for general carrying or even short distance hikes, after a few kilometers the straps start to pull at my back a bit. So if you’re just planning to walk around cities or do some very light hiking, it’s fine. For anything more hardcore, you need a more serious backpack. That’s the price you pay for the hideaway feature, though!
Another drawback of the bag is that it doesn’t have a bunch of pockets. I think this is mostly a good feature, as I find it easier to pack my bag with one big pocket, but it does mean you have to pay more attention to organizing your stuff.
Lastly, the only annoyance I’ve ever had with this bag is that sometimes the zippers catch on the little slip of material that’s meant to protect them. It can be a pain to get them uncaught, but it’s only happened a few times in six years of traveling.
Recommended Addition: Osprey Daylite Daypack
If you buy the Osprey Porter 46, I strongly suggest also purchasing Osprey’s Daylite Daypack, which is designed as a companion to the Osprey Porter.
I’ve traveled with this pack + day bag combo for 6 years and I love it!
Well, first off, the Daylite Daypack can be strapped into the Osprey Porter 46 through the proprietary Osprey locking system so that you can carry them as a single unit.
Second, it’s an awesome daypack in its own right. Here are some of its great features:
- Can be strapped into Porter bag!
- Super lightweight
- Slip pocket for laptops
- Water resistant coating
- Affordably priced
- Lots of space (I fit my drone, laptop, and a full size camera inside!)
If you’re taking the Osprey Porter 46 traveling, you’ll also need a daypack for your days out exploring, so this is the perfect combo.
Best Alternatives to the Osprey Porter 46
Decided that the Osprey Porter 46 isn’t for you?
Here are some alternatives bags to consider instead, based on your reason for not choosing the Osprey Porter 46:
Looking for a More Comfortable Backpack?
If you’re looking for a high quality premium backpack that is carry-on compliant for most airlines, look no further than the Tortuga Setout.
My staff writer did a full review of the Tortuga Setout and was blown away by how super practical this little backpack is.
Tortuga seemingly thought of everything when they designed it – it loads like a suitcase but carries like a backpack (and looks stylish to boot!).
Oh, and it even comes in separate designs for men and women – making it one of the most ergonomically comfortable backpacks on the market.
Looking for a Bag for Hiking and Camping?
Like I said, if you plan on doing a lot of outdoor stuff, the Osprey Porter 46 is NOT for you. Instead, check out the Osprey Atmos 50 backpacking backpack:
- Same Osprey quality as the Porter 46
- Built specifically for camping and hiking
- Tons of pockets, organizers, and compartments
- More comfortable harness
Looking for a More Affordable Backpack than the Osprey Porter 46?
The Osprey Porter 46 is a great value for the price, but if it’s out of your budget I suggest checking out the Witzman Travel Backpack Canvas Rucksack:
- A fraction of the cost of the Osprey Porter 46
- Stylish urban design
- Rugged design
- Solid reviews on Amazon
Looking for a Larger Backpack?
I’m a big believer in packing minimally, but some people just have more stuff to carry! Need a little more room than what the Osprey Porter 46 has to offer? Then I suggest upgrading to the Osprey Fairpoint 55:
- Tons of space for all your stuff
- Osprey’s lifetime guarantee
- Solid construction
- Also combines with Osprey Daylite Daypack
Bottom Line: Should You Buy the Osprey Porter 46 L Backpack?
The Osprey Porter 46 is a really solid backpack for most travelers who need a casual bag that they can carry on their backs.
I’d call it more of a “flashpacker” backpack than a traditional backpack, since it sort of straddles the line between a normal backpacking backpack and a porter bag or suitcase.
The Osprey Porter 46 is a great backpack for solo travelers, long travelers, families traveling with kids, or just about anyone doing casual international travel.
About the only people I can’t recommend this bag for are hardcore outdoor enthusiasts. The bag simply isn’t made for multi-day long hikes through the wilderness. For that, you should get a more full-featured hiking backpack.
But for just about everyone else, after 50+ countries and some serious memories, I can honestly say the Osprey Porter 46 is the best backpack I have ever found!
What do you think? Have you tried out the Osprey Porter 46 L?
Scroll down and leave me a comment to let me know your experience.
Don’t like the Osprey Porter 46? Check out my post on the best backpacks for Europe to see if there is something else that suits your needs!
And, if you’re on Pinterest, you can pin this Osprey Porter 46 review for later here: