I spent the last year in New Zealand and posted my full packing list over on the blog. At the time, I was using the Osprey Porter 46 liter backpack. I got rid of it just a few months into my trip around New Zealand, but I never talked much about the backpack itself or why I got rid of it.
I thought it would be helpful to post a (really) quick review of the pack. I want to talk about the pros & cons, and why I ultimately switched it out for a suitcase.
Front-loading pack, making it easy to pack and easy to find what you need.
It completely flattens out and folds up well for storage.
Compression sides & straps keep the pack small even when it's loaded to the brim. The straps also make for a handy place to keep your jacket.
Inside is spacious--the 46 liter was more than enough room to fit all of my clothings, shoes, jackets, toiletries, & some extras.
Adjustable, changeable, & stow-away straps allow you to carry it how you want: wear it as a backpack or carry it as a duffel bag. Tucking the straps away protect them while in transit.
The number one thing I disliked about the pack was the comfort level. It is not built to be worn for long-periods of time. There is basically no cushioning on the straps, and the back panel is stiff.
To go along with the first point, there isn't much flexibility for fitting the pack to your body like there is with "backpacking" packs. You can make small adjustments, but overall it's a one-size-fits-all.
While there is a separate compartment to store things like laptops, tablets, notebooks, and & other similar supplies, it's on the front of the pack. Storing your laptop there just adds too much weight to the wrong place.
Why I Got Ride of It:
I actually really liked the Osprey Porter, and I wish I had at least shipped it back home to use for future travels instead of just giving it away. However, based on the above, it just wasn't the right pack for my year-long trip around New Zealand.
Any time I was in transit--whether that was walking through the airport, or walking a mile from the bus station to my hostel--I was totally weighed down by the pack. It was just too uncomfortable and too difficult to lug around.
Since I was in New Zealand, there was no reason to have a backpack over a suitcase, so I switched out my backpack for a 30 l rolling suitcase. It made my life a lot easier, and also encouraged me to downsize a little bit more.
Like I said, overall I like the Osprey Porter 46 a lot. It's a nice design, it looks good, and all of the features make it a great piece of luggage. It works best for certain types of travel, though, and long-term "backpacking" is not one of them.
It is carry-on size, so it would be a great piece to use on any short trip, or maybe even a month-long stint. I'd recommend it if you won't be moving around and changing accommodation too often.
It also seems useful for anyone who carries around a lot of gear, as the inside is very spacious, and shaped in a way that you can pack a lot of big stuff in.