Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Super light,
Cons: Not super durable.
Best Uses: Backpacking, trekking, mountaineering.
The Exos 58 is an amazing light pack that is similar in design to Osprey's Atmos series, just lighter. At 2 lbs 8 oz the Exos is the lightest weight pack in our review and one of the lightest packs that has a real frame. It has many great features and felt slightly bigger than its 58 liters would suggest. It is great for backpackers and trekkers as well as alpine climbers and mountaineers. For people traveling cross country, they might want a tougher pack, but for most hikers and backpackers who do the majority of there trips on trails, we think they will be perfectly happy with the Exos's durability. The Exos frame isn't flimsy and carries surprisingly well considering its weight.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Osprey Exos was surprising comfortable especially considering its exceptional light weight. It was more comfortable than the REI Flash 62 and similar to much heavier packs we tested like the Mountain Hardwear South Col and the Gregory Z 65. The fabric on the inside of the waist belt is cozy and, despite some initial skepticism, we found the shoulder straps quite comfortable even with minimal clothing on.
The pack has well vented from its perforated shoulder straps to the space behind the back panel, making this pack idea for use in warmer areas or people who run on the warmer side. We tested this pack on glaciers but didn't get to use it in a truly snowy environment and we wonder if snow would get stuck in the shoulder straps.
At 2 lbs 8 oz, this pack is half a pound lighter than the next lightest pack in our review and half the weight of many others we tested. For folks whose primary concern is weight but still want a frame, then look no further. This pack is even lighter than many packs on the market that have no frames. You sacrifice a little durability to get such a light package, but not much.
Despite its light weight, the Exos 58 has a relatively solid suspension. It is great for loads up to 35 lbs, but once we crested 40 lbs most of our testers felt that this pack was less capable.
Ease of use
Nearly all the features are well designed and easy to use. We like the two zippered pockets on the back of the pack. They weren't super big, but offered additional organizational spaces for smaller, easily lost items. We could also easily stuff a wind shirt or gloves in there.
The Exos features many smaller-than-normal buckles and smaller 7mm compression straps. But we didn't find that these buckles were much harder to use than traditional-sized clips.
We really liked the stretchy pocket on the back; it was secure and we used it for all kinds of small items that we wanted to be easily accessible – or to keep smelly clothing or garbage away from the rest of our stuff. The waist belt pockets are big, but we found you can only use about half the volumne in them when your waist belt is tight.
The "Stow on the Go" system was a little gimmicky. It is a way of attaching the trekking poles to the pack via a stretchy band near the bottom of the pack and an attachment on the shoulder strap, this was not as cool as we thought it would be. While practical for short distances, most testers who needed to stow their poles on their pack for more than 10 minutes just put them put in on the side of the pack where they are more secure.
Adjustability and Sizing
This pack is not very adjustable but it comes in three sizes so you can likely find a pack that fits you well. We find most people shorter than 5'4"-5'5" range might begin to be below a size small and conversely most folks above 6'3-6"4 are starting to get above a size large. So it may be difficult to size this pack for people at the end of each spectrum.
The next size down is the Osprey Exos 46 which is three ounces lighter and $40 less expensive. It is a size that is geared toward big day trips and thru hikers. You may want to check out the Exos 48, $190, if you're looking for something a smidge bigger.
The Exos 38, $160, is more of a daypack size or ideal for truly lightweight and minimalist trekkers and backpackers.
If you're looking to keep your pack dry, consider the UL Raincover, $24-40.
— Ian Nicholson
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: September 2, 2013
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