The Osprey Exos 48 is marketed as a lightweight, multi-day backpacking pack, boasting several standout features to achieve a well-balanced product. We certainly found it to be just that, with the quality of the product clear to see, not least with the build itself, but the attention to detail that can only come from listening to the end user. The bag comes in both a male-specific model (Exos) and female specific model (Eja), we're currently testing out the female-specific model and will update this review accordingly once our thoughts have been gathered regarding it.

Osprey make a point of providing different sized bags which is useful for accommodating different sized backs. To make things even easier they've now released an app to measure your back! Obviously, this doesn't replace the experience of going to a shop with a well-trained fitter but it's certainly pretty handy the app is available on Android and Apple.

The medium pack tested in this review comes in at a relatively light 1.19kg, which is impressive considering the amount features and volume available. The main fabric is a 100D high tenacity nylon, which we found to be capable of handling the Scottish elements, however, we can’t claim to have put it through a full-blown storm.

The key features to write home about:

  • AirSpeed™ back panel venting
  • ExoForm™ shoulder harness and hip belt
  • Stretch mesh side pockets

The AirSpeed™ back panel venting aims at addressing one of the greatest foes of backpacking, the sweaty back. The venting system is composed of an elastic mesh that is suspended a few inches from the pack, which is kept in a taught arched shape through an aluminium wire frame. The key difference between this and other similar product’s back panel venting systems is that the mesh covers the full length of the back panel, including the waist, which allows for a complete venting experience.

The ExoForm™ shoulder harness and hip belt, are integrated with the AirSpeed™ back panel, but offer a dual mesh structure, which consists of a thick meshed foam encased in the elastic mesh, providing much-needed comfort at the key points of contact, whilst ensuring integrity overuse.

The stretch mesh side pockets are a nice feature that could catch on with other similar products. The deep side pockets have a wide opening a third of the way up their length, which allows for easy access to items without having to remove the pack. We found this feature to be a real faff-cutter, which is always appreciated on a long day and more than made up for the lack of hip belt pockets.

Some other neat features:

  • Full length, side compression straps, keep the pack weight closer to the centre of gravity and secure externally stowed items
  • Front, three-quarter length stretch mesh pocket, allows easy stowing and access to larger items
  • Stow-on-the-Go™ pole attachment, for quick stowing of poles, without having to stop and remove bag
  • Internal reservoir sleeve with buckle loop, ensure reservoir doesn’t slide down
  • Top of sack rope clip, to securely stow a rope
  • Adjustable and removable external roll-mat straps
  • Ice axe loop and bungee tie-of

 

Things we like: The combination of the AirSpeed™’s mesh back panel elasticity and frame rigidity, as well as ExoForm™’s shoulder harness and hip belt comfort, ensures the pack moves with you, and at the end of a long day you’re not aching as much as you’re used to. Sheer array of features, which results in a highly versatile bag, suitable for multi-day mountaineering to classic trekking.

Things we don't like: The AirSpeed™ back panel does result in the pack load being further from your centre of gravity, which means that sensible packing is required, with heavier items at the bottom and close to the back, to eliminate shoulder and neck pain. The top lid is removable, which is great if you want to go lean, but means the internal lid can get in the way a bit if not, which is often the case when backpacking. The stretch mesh side pockets are great and we really appreciated them, but smaller items could fall out if not placed at the bottom.

Succinct Gear Reviews are a collaborative team of reviewers based in Glasgow, Scotland. They have varied interests including; hill walking, climbing, mountaineering, camping, backpacking, kayaking, skiing, mountain biking and running which make them suited to reviewing a host of different outdoor products.

Top