After thousands of miles of hiking with my Atmos 65, I decided I had leveled-up to a smaller capacity pack. The answer? The Osprey Exos 58. Seriously? Only seven liters difference? Yes, baby steps, people. I erred on the larger side because 1) there's only a 2 oz / 57 g weight difference between the 58 and the 48-liter, and 2) because although I hate planning, I still enjoy being prepared for anything (what if some dude wants to give me another machete?).
This pack has accompanied me everywhere for the past two years – from California's Sierra to Nepal's Himalaya – and the results have been excellent. I love this pack. Here's the deal.
NOTE: I have this pack in a MEDIUM. It also comes in small (55 L) and large (61 L). The information below reflects an Exos 58 (M).
- Frame type: Internal
- Capacity: 58 L / 3,539 in³
- Weight: 2 lbs 10 oz / 1.2 kg
- Dimensions: 30 x 14 x 14 in / 76 x 35 x 35 cm (length x width x depth)
- Fits torso: 18 – 21 in / 45 – 53 cm
- Fits waist/hips: 30 – 34 in / 76 – 86 cm
- Material: Nylon
- Frame material: Aluminum
- Number of stays: 1 peripheral hoop
- Suspended mesh back panel: Yes
- Pack access: Top
- Number of exterior pockets: 7
- Gender: Unisex
- MSRP: $220 US
- Removable lid with top and under-lid zippered pockets
- Removable 7 mm side compression straps
- Mesh side pockets
- Zippered hip belt pockets
- Removable sleeping pad strap
- Integrated cover for lidless use
- Cord tie-off points
- Front stretch mesh pocket
- Ice tool attachment loop
THE COMFORT | Since this is Osprey's “Superlight Backpacking” pack, I was worried about how it would carry a heavier load. The first time I loaded this pack up and put it on, I was legitimately surprised by how comfortable it is (Osprey recommends a max load of 40 lbs / 18 kg). It's so comfortable in fact, that I go as far as making people try it on to see for themselves. The mesh lining the inside of the straps and the hip belt makes this pack incredibly comfortable, even when fully packed.
THE POCKETS | I love the mesh pockets on the sides (and front) of the Exos. They are really flexible and fit a lot. I can even reach back and grab a water bottle from a pocket without taking the pack off – and then I can put it back (granted, it did take some practice). The elastic continues to snap back no matter how far I stretch it, and the front mesh is massive enough to fit anything and everything you don't feel like digging through your pack to find.
THE SUPPORT | Admittedly, I am a big fan of Osprey's AirSpeed Suspension. It keeps plenty of air flowing between your back and the pack which means no wet, cold, dank, disgusting mess (and no risk of sweating through to your pack's inners. It's also incredibly comfortable. The suspension on this pack is more resilient than that on the Atmos and has yet to show any signs of disrepair.
THE SPACE | When gearing up for Everest Base Camp, I was worried that this 58-liter pack wouldn't fit my winter sleeping bag (which is rather massive, even when compressed). To my surprise (and relief) the Exos 58 accommodated the bulge perfectly. As an added bonus, the mesh side pockets were still able to accommodate everything I threw at them. The single large storage pocket has never left me in need of any additional space (and that's without using the pack's hood).
THE WEIGHT | This pack may be a part of Osprey's ultralight lineup, but it still falls short of being a truly ultralight pack – and I'm okay with that. Yes, there are packs out there that allow you to save on weight, and if you don't want the option of making an 11 lb / 5 kg water carry through the desert or bringing along a bit of luxury, then I encourage you to explore the ultra-ultralight packs. However, the Exos 58 hits a sweet spot between weight and carrying capacity.
THE DRAWSTRING | Maybe this is just a matter of personal opinion, but sometimes I find the way in which you need to open the drawstring to the main compartment a bit cumbersome. This only applies when I need the Exos to be 100% opened, like when removing a bear canister or the aforementioned winter sleeping bag, but it typically requires using both hands (and sometimes reminds me of trying to wrestle the drawstring out of an old pair of sweatpants). Not really the biggest of issues, but something to mention, nonetheless.
THE STRAPS | The compression straps on the side of this bag, along with the sleeping pad strap at the bottom drive me crazy. The compression straps just get in the way when I'm trying to get things in and out of the side pockets (although they are nice when I have large objects in the side pockets that need to be secured further up the pack, like tent poles), and the sleeping pad strap takes a lot more finagling to secure my Z Lite SOL than the buckles on the Atmos (which I really miss). That being said, I learned whilst writing this review that these straps are apparently removable, so I will be doing that right away.
I really enjoy using the Exos 58, and if it weren't for the obnoxious compression straps (which I am currently removing), then this pack would be perfect (at least as far me right know is concerned).
If you're looking for something lightweight, but still comfortable carrying a heavier load, then I highly suggest you give the Exos 58 a shot. Check out Osprey's Exos 58 Backpack here.
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