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Osprey Exos 48 Review: An Ultralight and Versatile Backpack

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Osprey backpacks was founded in 1974 for the sole purpose of making functional and durable hiking backpacks. Mike Pfotenhauer is the founder, judge, and jury for each piece of gear that is released under the Osprey banner.

Every detail of each and every backpack has to be approved by Mike and his passion and commitment to the industry shows in the high quality build and wild popularity of Osprey backpacks around the world.

The Exos line of backpacks are affordable in price, have premium features, and carries the load comfortably. There are multiple sizes to choose from, with the 48 liter being the most popular option.

Let’s get started!

Preview
Osprey Packs Exos 48 Backpack
Product
Osprey Exos 48
Weight
2 lbs 10 oz
Volume
48 liters
Frame Type
Internal frame
Dimensions
31 x 16 x 13 inches
Frame Material
6065 aluminum
Material
100-denier high-tenacity nylon/210-denier high-tenacity nylon
Hydration Compatible
Yes
Suspended Mesh Back Panel
Yes
Pack Access
Top
Number of External Pockets
4
Preview
Osprey Packs Exos 48 Backpack
Product
Osprey Exos 48
Weight
2 lbs 10 oz
Volume
48 liters
Frame Type
Internal frame
Dimensions
31 x 16 x 13 inches
Frame Material
6065 aluminum
Material
100-denier high-tenacity nylon/210-denier high-tenacity nylon
Hydration Compatible
Yes
Suspended Mesh Back Panel
Yes
Pack Access
Top
Number of External Pockets
4

Osprey Exos 48

With ultralight backpacking becoming more and more popular, the move towards minimalism is becoming closer to the standard. The features are often stripped down with sacrifices on comfort and durability common. The Osprey Exos 48 is going against the grain, this backpack eases the suffering while giving you an ultralight backpack.

This backpack is great for long distance ultralight backpacking and provides you with high level carrying comfort. There’s a good reason that this backpack has quickly become one of the most popular thru hiking packs. The Exos 48 has a delicate balance between the versatility of smaller versions while maintaining the features of larger backpacks.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Ultralight – 2 lbs 10 oz
  • Excellent suspension system

Cons:

  • Rain cover not included
  • No bottom compartment
  • Harness is not adjustable

Osprey Exos 48 Review

Osprey has taken their knowledge and applied it to this pack by removing unnecessary materials to keep it ultralight while including every feature you’d expect to find in a standard hiking backpack.

Main Compartment

The main compartment has a curve to it that’s designed to accommodate the ventilated frame of the backpack. When packing your gear, it’s important to keep the heavier items close to your back, this keeps the frame from pulling away from your body which can make you feel off balance.

There is no sleeping bag compartment or dividers in the main compartment, so pack your bag wisely. It’s always a good idea to keep the items that you need most towards the top of the pack and this is especially true for backpacks with one large main compartment.

  • Main compartment has no dividers
  • Pack the main compartment with the heaviest items close to your back

Suspension System

The Osprey Exos 48 comes with the 3D AirSpeed suspension system. The back of the bag is made with a mesh panel that prevents moisture build up on your back. The lightweight mesh is designed to contour to your back allowing ventilation between your back and the bag.

The EVA mesh also covers the shoulder straps and hipbelt, which provide breathability and comfort in all the right places.

  • AirSpeed suspension system
  • Mesh back panel to increase ventilation

Pockets

Pockets are the first place that are typically left out in the ultralight category. Osprey made the decision to cut down on the number of packets, while including pockets that add to the overall functionality.

There are two large mesh side pockets on the backpack that are great for keeping water bottles, gloves, or hats. Each of the pockets are reinforced on the bottom of the mesh to increase durability and they have a holster style opening for easy access.

The front of the pack has a large stretchy mesh pocket that’s a great place to store things on the go. Things like a coat you might need when the sun starts to set or wet clothes from the sun.

  • 2 large pockets on the side of the pack
  • A large mesh pocket on the front

Top Lid

The lid on the Exos line of backpacks is a floating top lid rather than the typical dry bag roll up style. The “floating” lid allows you to keep gear in between the lid and the main compartment, giving you a convenient place to hold smaller items you need easy access to.

If you don’t have any need for the extra storage or want to shave about 5 ounces more off the weight of your backpack, the lip is removable. This brings the weight of the bag down to 2 pounds 4.6 ounces.

  • Floating top lid
  • Lid can be removed to shave 5 more ounces

Frame

The Osprey Exos 48 is an internal frame backpack that utilizes an ultralight 6065 Aluminum frame in combination with 3D tensioned mesh backpanel. The frame itself is not adjustable, however, the shoulder straps and hipbelt both have room for adjustment.

Some people report that the tensioned frame doesn’t fit like a typical hiking backpack and feels more like you have a turtle shell on your back. That being said, the design of the frame is made specifically for even load distribution across your back. The combination of the tensioned frame and the ExoForm padding, this pack handles a full load comfortably.

  • Internal frame backpack
  • 3D tensioned backpanel

Shoulder Straps

Shoulder straps are the main point of contact for the weight of your backpack, so it’s super important that they fit comfortable. The first step when you put your backpack on is to adjust the shoulder straps in a way that they fit against your body snug. You don’t want them too tight or too loose, so it may take a couple of tweaks to get the fit just right.

The shoulder straps on the Exos 48 are made out of Osprey’s ExoForm technology. ExoForm is basically a lightweight and breathable mesh that technology that dries quickly. The shoulder straps are padded with foam material that provides you with a nice layer of cushioning to ease the load.

  • Shoulder straps are made with Osprey’s ExoForm technology
  • Padded shoulder straps for a more comfortable carry

Hipbelt

Large hiking backpacks that are full of gear get heavy quickly, the hipbelt is designed to take a large portion of the load off your shoulders and back. Transferring weight from your back and shoulders to your waist and legs gives you a more balanced and comfortable carry.

The Hipbelt on the Exos 48 is made with the same ExoForm technology found in the shoulder straps. It’s sewn into the hipbelt providing you with additional comfort, cushioning, and load transfer.

  • Osprey Exos 48 uses ExoForm technology on the hipbelt
  • Hipbelt has adjustment points to evenly distribute weight

Weight

The weight of a backpack is the biggest burden on your back and body. The biggest reason that the ultralight movement is gaining momentum is the simple fact that when it comes to weight on your back, less is more.

While standard hiking backpacks range anywhere from 3 to 5 pounds, the Osprey Exos 48 weighs in at 2 pounds 10 ounces. This weight can be reduced even further by removing the top lid, this gives you the option to shave the pack weight by an extra 5 ounces.

  • Osprey Exos 48 weighs 2 lbs 10 oz
  • With the top lid is removed it only weighs 2 lbs 5 oz

Osprey Exos 48 Features

  • Removable floating lid with top-and under-lid zippered pockets for storing smaller items
  • Integrated FlapJacket protects packed gear when top lid is removed
  • Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachment allows you to stow your poles in steep terrain or whenever you need your hands free
  • Dual access stretch mesh side pockets for storing water bottles and other gear with InsideOut side compression straps
  • Front stretch mesh pocket stores rain gear for easy access when skies darken, or wet gear after the downpour stops
  • Top lid web loop attachment points for external gear storage
  • Ice axe attachment with bungee tie-off
  • Removable sleeping pad and side compression straps
  • Accessory cord attachment points for external gear storage
  • Sternum strap with integrated safety whistle
Sale
Osprey Exos 48
143 Reviews
Osprey Exos 48
  • An internal sewn-in backpanel sleeve with clip attachment accommodates up to 3 liters of hydration
  • The Exos peripheral frame is a 6065 aluminum alloy with an internal suspended cross strut providing excellent load carrying support
  • The ExoForm sewn-in hipbelt features seamless layered mesh covered foam providing exceptional comfort, cushioning and load transfer.
  • A removable floating top pocket with an internal key clip and under-lid zippered mesh pocket provides organization.

Is the Osprey Exos 48 right for you?

The Osprey Exos 48 is a superlight hiking backpack designed for the weight conscious thru hiker. The materials that are used in the design are just as durable as a standard hiking backpack and all this is accomplished while maintaining comfort and balance.

Overall, this is a versatile and functional backpacking bag that is loaded with features that are typically left out in other ultralight backpacks. This bag is ideal for ounce counting thru hikers, as well as, the features and capability of any backpacker looking to balance weight and comfort.

As always, get lost and keep wandering.

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