Aimed as a fast and light backpacking pack, the Exos 48 offers the comfort and stability the larger Osprey packs already provide at a reduced weight. Having already used the Osprey Aether 70 I had already experienced Osprey’s feature set at the higher capacity end of the scale. I was also interested in the concept of using a smaller pack, would this make me consider my kit list and therefore carry only essential gear.
On unboxing the Exos 48 pack my first impression was just how light it was, and how many straps and pockets it had. I’ve always liked the idea of been able to add or subtract gear as needed. I was intrigued by the suspended trampoline mesh back system and how it was engineered. Having already used this system on Aether pack I was already impressed with it. The Exos 48 litre pack back system appeared to have a larger channel for airflow.
- Weight – 1.19 kg
- Maximum dimension (cm) 79L x 40W x 33D
- Main fabric- 100D high tenacity nylon.
- Two pull toggles and three loops adjust 7mm side compression straps. To tighten the strap you place your thumb on the pull toggle while pulling the cord with your other hand. Practical and easy to use.
Note: I really like how the compression straps extend to the top of the Exos 48.
- Airspeed trampoline suspended mesh back panel.
As I mentioned in my first impressions the Exos 48 litre pack seemed different. Here’s what I noticed. Firstly the mesh back panel extends the entire length of the back system. The panel itself has large 7mm diameter holes right across it. The panel itself is supported to the pack by a lightweight peripheral frame which encircles the pack.
Indeed the main shoulder straps and hip belt are also incorporated into the back system. I measured the distance ( mid-back ) and found the gap to be a considerable 6cm.
Both the shoulder straps and hip belt are constructed from ExoForm mesh. The shoulders straps are padded in the right places and allow perspiration to escape yet providing comfortable support where it is needed on load points. As with all Osprey packs a functional whistle is incorporated into the sternum strap.
The hip belt is without pockets, although this lack of hip pockets is cleverly replaced by a stripped down hip belt with a panel removed to allow airflow. Admittedly I did have a little grumble about losing the hip pockets but I soon realised the side stretch pockets were accessible whilst still wearing the pack, excellent.
Compatible with hydraulic reservoir (bladder pack)
I always look for a bladder pack storage in any pack and was glad to see it used on the Exos 48. A gap on the centre of the pack allows a drinking tube to pass through. The bladder pack itself can either be housed in the sleeve or secured with the Osprey clip.
Cord tie off points
The adjustable cords allow compression or attachment of kit/gear I like housing loops which hold the two main straps on the Exos. These housing loops help compress the packs load evenly.
This feature is a definite plus. Two toggled clips release the main lid allowing you to use the simple lid or use the removed lid as a hip pack/grab bag around camp.
Stretch mesh side pockets
Located on each side of the Exos 48 pack you’ll find a double opening mesh pocket. You will be pleasantly surprised at how much kit you can get into these pockets. Reachability is key, since you will be using these often in the absence of hip belt pockets. I found them accessible and not too much of a hassle to use.
Trekking pole attachment
Not that I use a trekking pole much, but I did attach my trekking pole on a number of occasions and found it worked fine.
Ice axe loop
Sorry to say I never got trying this feature out. I looked over it and it seemed good, maybe next year.
Stretch front pocket
I must mention just how cavernous the front mesh pocket is. I can store a full set of waterproofs, hat, gloves and buff in this pocket. Tension and closure is via a hooded toggle. Handy for absent mindedly stuffing things in when you need to get moving quickly in the rain.
Toggles, loops and clips
There is a vast array of toggles, loops and clips on the Exos 48. Throughout the pack I found they all worked functionality well. If you’ve never used an Osprey pack before you’ll notice some oddities when using the main draw cord. To open the draw cord you pull the tab away from the pack. To close the pack you hold the cord out and draw the toggle towards the pack. There’s a key clip in there too. Not a huge feature, but nicer than rummaging around on your doorstep or at your car door at the end of a tiring trip.
If you’ve never owned an Osprey pack before go along to an outdoor retailer or follow online instructions and have your back measured. As with boots, all the features in the world are useless to you if the fit isn’t right. I can’t overstate the importance of getting this detail right.
My only gripe is that there’s no rain-cover is included in this version.
The Exos 48 ticks all the boxes, it’s lightweight, insanely engineered and jam packet with features. In my first impression I explored the concept of ‘ smaller pack, smaller kit list’. Under this principle I’ve considered each item I pack and found that I can use the Exos 48 rather than a larger pack. I found the suspended mesh back panel simply outstanding. The mesh side and front pockets allow you to store loads of kit that can be grabbed really easily. Hikersblog have given the Osprey Exos 48 full marks
AVAILABLE DIRECT FROM OSPREY
The Exos 48 is available direct from Osprey Europe