According to Osprey, the Exos Series are the ultimate thru hike and super lightweight backpacks, thanks to their Air Speed Suspension, which teams a 6061-T6 Aluminium frame with a 3D tensioned mesh back panel and side crescent ventilation. The Air Speed suspension works in tandem with the supportive and ventilated Bio-Stretch™ harness and hip belt for fit and comfort that is rare in a backpack this size. The Exos features an internal sewn-in back panel sleeve with clip attachment to accommodate any size hydration bladder up to three (3) litres. The Exos is equipped with a single vertical zippered front pocket, single tool attachment and stow-on-the-go trekking pole attachments. The Exos is also equipped with a removable top lid, an overskirt compression skirt and dual side mesh pockets with InsideOut™ compression strops. The InsideOut compression straps allow you to exert tension on the mesh side pockets, thus allowing you to secure the load when the pockets are in use. The Exos Series also comes with mesh hip belt pockets, a shoulder strap pocket, a front stretch woven pocket and the lightest straps, buckles and pull chords available. The Exos Series of backpacks, as with other Osprey backpacks, come with the “All Mighty Guarantee”. This guarantee states that Osprey will repair any damage or defect to their product, free of charge, regardless of when the backpack was purchased. This pack tested was 46 litres in size and was ember and orange in color.
When I first received the Osprey Exos 46 backpack, I could not help but be amazed and at the same time concerned, about the light weight of this pack. The aluminum frame was amazingly light and the chords and straps were lighter than any I had seen on a pack. While part of me was excited and immediately wanted to throw the pack on and feel the light weight as I scrambled up a steep grade, the other part of me had to wonder how these super light weight materials would perform in regards to durability and stability.
During my first use of this pack, my concerns and questions about this pack were quickly dispelled. The pack itself was very comfortable and the frame maintained very good stability over varying terrain. This stability seems to come from the aluminum frame that secures a very tight mesh back panel. This combination combines lightweight, strength and good ventilation. Due to the large amount of pockets, I was able to store much more gear that I thought possible in such a light weight pack. The two front mesh hip belt pockets are both extra large and can hold everything from cameras, snacks, global positioning systems and even gloves and a hat. The two side mesh pockets swallowed a one (1) litre plastic or aluminum water bottle respectively and the InsideOut compression straps secured these bottles so well, they would not fall out on even the toughest scramble.
The stow-on-the-go trekking pole attachments provided another options of storage and also allowed for easy access to the poles when stored. The front stretch woven pocket is very large and was able to store my water shoes with room for several others items. There is even a pocket on the shoulder strap to store a cellular telephone, a snack or other small items. The Exos also provides a shovel pocket and a tool attachment that is big enough to carry tent poles.
Over the next several months, I continued to use the Exos 46 backpack as both a daypack and a light overnight pack. With a storage capacity of 3,000 cubic inches (large size), the Exos allowed me to easily pack the appropriate gear for long day trips in any season, usually with room to spare. In the warmer months of the year, the Exos also provided enough room for overnight trips or even the super light thru hiking trip. I found that the Exos 46 maintained stability and comfort while carrying loads up to about (35) pounds, but seemed to get a bit less stable with weights over this amount. I continued to find that this backpack was easy to organize due to the large number of pockets and storage areas and that I could easily carry a variety of items both large and small on the outside of the pack due to the tool attachments and various straps.
While I used this pack in both cold and hat weather, I found it to be equally comfortable in either climate, I did find that the tight mesh back panel allowed air to flow between my back and the pack, thus helping to keep me cool. Team this with the superlight weight of the pack and the comfort of the aluminum frame, I began to think of the Exos, as my “Go To” pack for long day hikes in hot weather.
During the several months of using the Osprey Exos 46, the pack sustained a tear in one of the mesh side storage pockets. This occurred as I pushed through a small opening between two large rocks in a canyon. The storage pocket contained a one (1)-litre bottle and it appeared that the mesh ripped from the pressure exerted between the rock and the bottle. Besides this tear, the pack stained no other damage and showed no other signs of wear. With the Osprey “All Mighty Guarantee”, this small tear will be quickly fixed by Osprey at no charge. It is hard to find flaws with this backpack, but I did find that I had difficulty putting the bite value of my hydration bladder through the H2O port of the backpack. My bite value is equipped with a cover that makes it a bit large to fit easily through the packs H2O port.
Cleaning the Osprey Exos 46 was quick and easy and could be accomplished most of the time with a clean wet cloth. For those times when the backpack needed more thorough cleaning, I cleaned the pack in my shower using warm water and either a cloth or plastic brush. This enabled me to give the pack a good deep cleaning and then simply hang the pack to dry. The pack dried very quickly and looked like new.
Upon first glance, I was a bit sceptical of Osprey Exos 46 backpack, but after using the pack for several months, I found myself to be a fan of this new lighter series of backpacks. My initial concerns were mainly with the durability of the backpack, due to the light materials used in its construction. These concerns were quickly dispelled and while being the lightest weight backpack I have used, the Exos 46 proved to be strong, durable and have all the bells and whistles of a much heavier backpack. The aluminium frame proved to be strong and the super lightweight straps and chords proved much more durable then one would expect. The Exos performs well on loads of up to (35) pounds and has enough pockets to help anyone stay organized on the trail. If you are looking for a super light thru hiking pack, that is surprisingly durable, this is the backpack for you.