Gear Review: Osprey Exos 58

Osprey Exos 58
MSRP: $220
Weight: 2 lb. 10 oz. (for a medium)

About 400 miles into my thru-hike, my pack was feeling heavy (5+ pounds empty) and overly complicated (I looked like I was about to embark on a space walk). I needed to pare down, and since I am Bad With Money, I decided to buy a pack in the next town: Damascus, Virginia. I was looking for something something light but not ultralight, simple but not a potato sack. When in doubt, go with the pack that pretty much everyone on the trail is carrying, right? Hello Osprey Exos.

fotorcreated

Hikers trust Osprey, and when they came out with a lighter model, this pack flew off the shelves. Osprey is known for luxurious, ultra-padded packs, and the Exos is a step towards lightweight trend while holding true to Osprey’s reputation for comfort and convenience. They also have a solid warranty, and will repair anything. Even if your pack was built in before the the customer service guy was born, he will still help you get it repaired.

This pack carried my 18-25 pounds of gear comfortably for 1,800 miles with minimal wear and tear. It comes in two color options (blue/white and green/black), three capacity options (38L, 48L, and 58L), and three (unisex) torso sizes (S, M, L).

Durability:

Structurally, this thing is a beast. It feels as solid as the day I got it, without any sagging or pinch points. The zippers, buckles, and straps all held up, and the reinforced bottom has no weak points no matter how many times I threw it. The first (and only) thing to go was the mesh side pockets and some parts of the mesh front pocket. That’s what a sewing kit is for, right?

Comfort:

Compared to other lighter-weight packs, the Exos is full of padding and happiness. The hip belt and shoulder straps have a mesh-faced padding that breathed well and sat comfortably on my hips. The mesh on the shoulder straps was a little abrasive, and when I dropped my pack at the end of the day, it would scrape a little on the way down. The weight suspension is forgiving and supportive— I could pack sloppily and still get the pack adjusted comfortably for the long haul.

Convenience:

The Exos is designed by a company who puts a lot of stock into on-the-go adjustments. It’s easy to maneuver the straps as you’re walking—a few tugs and the load lifters, hip belt, and shoulder straps were molded to my moldy body. The mesh side pockets are easily reached, and the removable “brain” adds extra organization options. The main compartment is accessed from the top, and has a very wide opening. A drawcord cinches it shut, and there are enough points of compression to keep your entire load snug and tight.

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Thru-hiker fashion shouldn’t distract from the snazziness of the pack.

Features:

Front Mesh Pocket: This pocket works well for anything you want to have readily available. Think snacks, rain gear, that layer you can’t stop taking on and off. The mesh didn’t hold up terrifically, but I feel like Osprey will address this in future models. It’s stretchy enough that you can really stuff your crap in there if you don’t feel like unbuckling everything.

Hip-Belt and Side Mesh Pockets: The hip belt pockets are a rounded shape, but they’ll fit most energy bars. They held up really well for me, (I saw some folks with ripped mesh though), and the zipper pulls are large enough for cold hands to grab. The pockets did not fit my iPhone 5S (with case). The side pockets were terrific until they ripped. They are in an easy-to-reach spot, and stretchy enough to fit almost any bottle. These pockets were not stitched all the way along the sides, and occasionally I would lose a bottle and have to go chasing after it.

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RIP side pockets

pack-belt

Cat not included.

Shoulder-Strap Pouch: This is a great little feature. I used it for my iPhone, so I could grab it quickly for another panoramic shot of some trees and Rocky’s receding butt. It also worked for sour gummy worms, and since the hip-belt pockets didn’t fit my phone, this is where I usually carried it for music as well as photos.

packshoulderstrap

Removable Brain: I left the brain (lid?) on because it allowed me two extra pockets for easy access and organization. The brain has a zipper pocket on the top and bottom, which was convenient for a guidebook, snacks, headlamp, and other small items. The compression straps snugged down easily and the webbing is narrow but durable. If you don’t want to use the brain, see below for the FlapJacket.

packbrain1

packbrain2

“FlapJacket:” (Their term, not mine.) If you want to ditch the brain and save 4.2 ounces, the Exos has a built-in flap that can be buckled over the drawstring top for protection without the weight. Clever! I saw a lot of people using this.

packflapthing

Cords/ Tie-Offs / Gear Loops: I never used these. I would tighten them for compression, but ultimately I cut off the extra length. These might be good for tools, but I found them to be awkward. The side compression straps were handy for occasionally sticking my trekking pole through, like in town or on a hitch.

Buckles, Webbing, and Zippers: Because this pack aims for weight-trimming, many of the fasteners are on the small side. This might be annoying if you are freezing cold and have large hands, but it didn’t bother me. These pieces may be small, but they are extremely durable.

Suspended Back: The mesh panel on the back keeps the pack close to your body while still allowing ventilation. More airflow  = less stank.

packair

Hydration Bladder Holder: The pack doesn’t come with a hydration bladder, but there is an elastic-topped slot for a hydration bladder against the internal back of the main compartment. It comes with a little buckle to keep the reservoir upright.

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Overall:

Overall, I am crazy about this pack and I would carry it on another long hike. It’s a perfect combination of weight reduction while maintaining convenience and comfort. The mesh pockets are an easy fix, so I’d be surprised if the next iteration of the Exos didn’t address their durability. Everyone and their mom has this pack, so put a fun patch or flag on it to make it stand out.

Shop the Exos 58

 

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Comments 3

  • Heather Provoncha : Jan 20th

    Maggie,

    I just switched from the REI Flash 52 to the osprey exos 58 (size small, 55 liters). Did you find that the pack had too much volume ever? I am wondering about the 48L, but I dont have total confidence that it would be big enough when I need to carry extra food.

    Reply
    • Maggie : Jan 20th

      Hi Heather- good question. When the weather was colder and I had more layers to pack around, the 58 was perfect. By the time it warmed up and my gear slimmed down, I definitely had some extra volume in the 58. It was kind of nice to have the safety net of space though, in case I did a big resupply… like you mentioned. Overall, if you are a light packer, the 48 should be fine, but given the changing weather and gear necessities of the AT, the 58 was a perfect size, and definitely worth the few extra ounces. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  • Simba : Jan 29th

    Nice review on a great piece of equipment, but you didn’t mention one of the most impressive features of an Osprey pack. In my case, after 2,000 miles on assorted trails, my Exos 58 had some mesh that had worn through. Osprey decided that, rather than repairing it, they’d just send me a (free) new pack. That’s right, the warranty not only includes repair, but complete replacement if you are able to actually wear one out.

    So far my new Exos has taken me around the Tahoe Rim Trail and 100 miles of the Sheltowee Trace and shows almost no sign of even being used. I’m going to have to work harder as I attempt to wear out another one.

    Reply

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