Regular readers might be aware that I’ve been bounding around the fells with the 46-litre Exos model for a few years. It’s been my overall daypack of choice in all that time and has stretched to one- or two-night backpacking trips on more than one occasion. Indeed, at 996g it’s lighter than many daypacks and it goes without saying that I was looking forward to laying my hands on the largest model in the Exos range. I’m not disappointed.
Despite a name suggesting the lowest stated volume of the packs here, it handled more volume than all but the Lowe Alpine model, and that was before I considered shoving gear in the generous front, lid or side pockets. Yet even at 1.37g (200g heavier than Osprey states) it’s still lighter than some daypacks. Osprey seems to be ahead of the game in tailoring the US cottage lightweight backpack industry’s philosophy to the wider outdoor market.
Lightweight usually comes at the cost of some comfort. The Exos 58’s carry was acceptable for the 12kg test load; Osprey reckons it can bear 15kg comfortably, 20kg at a stretch, though I’m not keen on testing that upper limit. Padding is absolutely minimal but tactically effective at shoulders and hips. The back features a taut mesh to allow some airflow, to minimise the chances of getting a sweaty, chilled back – it’s the only pack here with such a feature, more common on daypacks.
Weight transference isn’t the best; I’ve sometimes found that it bears down either side of the hips rather than being distributed around the waist, necessitating a little fiddling with the harness to correct.
I’m not usually a fan of adornments – I like the simplicity of the Lightwave pack, for example – but Osprey’s features strike a chord: stow-on-the-go pole attachments facilitate hands-free moments for photography, or light scrambling; the phone/GPS pocket on the shoulder harness is a tad small for my iPhone but has held smaller models; the hip fin pockets are spacious and easy to use.
For the price I reckon you get a lot of pack, though note that this is the only pack featured that doesn’t come with rain cover supplied.