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I'm shopping for a travel backpack, too: a panel-loading carry-on with a laptop sleeve. The suspension system has to tuck away.
I'm leaning toward the Osprey Porter 46L. I agree with comments here, in Amazon reviews, and in blog reviews, that the position of the laptop sleeve comes close to being a deal-killer. If anyone knows of a better option, or if Osprey wants to put the laptop sleeve in the back ASAP, that would be great. :)
This Amazon listing has user pics and a review that compared it with the Farpoint 40 & 55. I like that it's more sleek than the standard backpacker styles yet still has a hip belt, and that all the straps tuck away. I wish it had a water bottle pocket and other handy compartment in reach. I'd rather have a pack with water I can reach without taking the pack off. Having a zip compartment on the hip belt would be great.
Osprey Porter 46l 22 x 14 x 9 inches ; 2.4 pounds
"The Porter 46 won out for us, pretty much hands down. It had these advantages:
The Osprey Day Lite pack can be attached to the Porter. I like the extra padding on the Porter, the lockable zips, and the top compartment for easy access to liquids for going through airports. So far, it has the best features, quality and appearance in a travel backpack that's carry-on size.
I'm considering this one, too. [link]
It's the best one I've found with the laptop compartment in the right place, and it's designed right for going through checkpoints. On the downside, it's smaller than the Osprey Porter.
I've looked at many reviews. This is the first one I've found with side-by-side specs: [link]
They came up with the same picks as I have: Osprey Porter "...we think it is a great option for individuals looking for an attractive, yet rugged carry-on that doubles as a backpack. The closest competitor in this review was the REI Vagabond Tour 40, which is more comfortable for use with heavier loads, but looks significantly less attractive."
I hope you post what you decide. I'm going to see if I can find a place that has these in stock so I can try them on.
i recommend this pack in every single backpack thread. perfect carry on size, durable, front loading, ~$100. [link]