Review: Osprey Exos 58L Backpack
If I could only buy one backpack for all my varied hiking needs, it would be the Osprey Exos. Dollar-for-dollar and pound-for-pound, this go-anywhere, carry-anything pack remains one of the best (if not the singular best) backpack you can buy for the trail or distance hiking.
I have carried the Osprey Exos 58L on the Appalachian Trail, Florida Trail, and for supported hiking on Europe’s longer trails, such as the E trail, GR routes, and the Via Francigena. For all the packs in my closet, the Exos 58L probably gets more use than all the others combined.
One of the biggest reasons I love this pack is comfort. The Osprey Exos is fully-framed lightweight pack weighing well under three-pounds, which is unmatched in this pack size. Using Osprey’s vaunted AirSpeed suspension, the frame creates an arc to better lift and balance pack weight, to increase airflow behind the pack, and to reduce back sweat. If you’ve used Osprey’s AirSpeed packs, the setup will be instantly familiar. If you’re new to the AirSpeed, you’re likely familiar with the back sweat and shoulder pain this system reduces significantly.
Weighing in at just 1219 grams (2 lbs. 11 oz.) fully kitted-out, serious minimalists hikers can remove some accessories such as the floating top-lid to shave off even more weight, getting the Exos 58L down to just 1057 grams (2 lbs. 5.3 oz.).
Available in two color combinations, three sizes (38L, 48L, and 58L), and a women’s specific model knows as the Osprey Eja, the Exos features the brand’s Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachment system to hold your poles when not in use, a full hydration-compatible reservoir, and a large stretch-mesh pocket on the outside for keeping loose items handy or drying wet items, such as your tent fly or rain jacket.
Osprey suggests a top carry weight of 40 pounds; however, I recommend 32-35 pounds as a better top carry weight for this pack. It’s not that the suspension cannot handle greater weights – it can – rather it has been my experience that Exos rides better up to about 32 pounds. For what it’s worth, Osprey uses the Exos’s suspension in their ultralight models (the Osprey Levity 45L and 60L for men and the Osprey Lumina 45L and 60L for women).
For those that are curious as to how the Exos fits into Osprey’s line of packs, this is the brand’s premier lightweight pack, built for distance hikers who prioritize lightweight comfort for a more modest capacity. By contrast, the Atmos line is Osprey’s premiere comfort pack, often weighing two pounds or more than the Exos but offering an even more luxurious carry. Owning both the Exos 58L and the Atmos AG 65L, I prefer the Atmos only for extended trips when I must carry more than 30 pounds, such as when backpacking with my son. For my American readers, it is the difference between a Corvette (Exos) and an Escalade (Atmos). For my European readers, perhaps the better comparison is a BMW M-Type (Exos) and a Mercedes S-Type.
If there is one thing I would change about the Exos, it would be to return the hipbelt pockets to this model. Osprey eliminated hipbelt pockets in the latest redesign to cut weight. I don’t find this a particular hindrance given the dual-access side pockets, allowing you to reach and replace water bottles, snacks, or other items without removing the pack. This works well for me; however, I recognize that some hikers prefer the additional capacity/flexibility and I will dock the Exos by a half-star for Packability.
Osprey Exos 58L
|Features:||(5.0 / 5)|
|Comfort:||(5.0 / 5)|
|Durability:||(5.0 / 5)|
|Packability:||(4.5 / 5)|
|Adjustability:||(5.0 / 5)|
|Value:||(5.0 / 5)|
|Average:||(4.9 / 5)|
As of summer 2020, the Osprey Exos 58L and women’s specific Eja 58L retail for $220. While not inexpensive, the Osprey Exos and Eja packs represent a great overall value in this weight class, given that most lightweight packs lack a full frame and lifetime warranty. The very solid construction (100-denier nylon body/210-denier nylon bottom patch) of these packs means that they will hold up for years to come in all circumstances and – if something does happen – Osprey offers its lifetime warranty for any damage or defect. Both the men’s and women’s packs are available 38L, 48L, and 58L capacities.
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NOTE: I purchased the Osprey Exos 58L on my own and did not receive any incentive for providing this review. The views expressed regarding this product are mine alone based on my own experience using this backpack. If you purchase an item linked from this site, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you.
Husband. Father. Backpacker. Pilgrim. Author.
My recent treks include the Camino de Santiago through Portugal and Spain as well as section hiking along the Florida Trail and the Appalachian Trail. In 2020 and 2021, I’m walking the California Missions Trail in the United States, as well as England’s ancient Pilgrims’ Way from London to Canterbury. Afterward, I’ll begin the Via Francigena, the historic way in Europe connecting Canterbury to Rome.