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Ultralight and lightweight backpacking is becoming quite popular throughout the world. The advantages of downsizing to a lighter load are numerous with the primary benefit being as simple as not having to carry so many pounds on your back.
Going with an ultralight or lightweight load means you can often hike longer and maintain a faster pace, with increased stamina and endurance.
Although some of the big brands have gear lines directed at this demographic of backpackers, many of them still fall short. Either they weigh too much, the bags are far too thin and thus easily damaged, or they lack a lot of features traditional backpacks have. Thankfully Osprey, a company well-known for their backpacks, stepped in and created their Exos line.
The Osprey Exos line consists of 3 different bags in 58, 48 and 38 liter capacities. Osprey has these bags listed as an ultralight pack suitable for Appalachian Trail, thru-hiking and long trail backpacking. All three backpacks are virtually identical save for the gear carrying capacity, but the Exos 48 is the perfect midrange model for the average UL backpacker.
If you are a gear junkie or someone that really enjoys a beautiful yet functional design, the Exos 48 is going to really impress you. As usual, Osprey nailed their goal of creating a backpack that has enough features to really give you a great backpacking experience while excluding unnecessary items that would only have added weight.
Here is a rundown of the specs and main features of the Exos 48:
While not a physical feature, another benefit of the Exos 48 is Osprey’s guarantees on their gear. If for any reason you decide you no longer want your backpack you can send it back for a refund or replacement.
You will find that the Exos 48 has been thoroughly tested by many people and has a 5 star rating on the Osprey website as well as throughout numerous retailer websites. This backpack is a truly awesome product that has nearly anything a backpacker could wish for.
There are a lot of advantages of the Exos 48 but there are 3 major strengths of this model.
When it comes to ultralight backpacking, the fit and frame of a backpack is particularly important. Even though you are carrying lighter base weight it doesn’t mean you can skimp on the fit of your pack. The ExoForm technology used in the padded hip belt and suspension system ensures that the backpack melds to fit your individual anatomy, from the sternum strap to the shoulder straps. Additionally, despite the backpack being unisex, this natural ergonomic, self-customizing fit from the gel and foam means both genders can wear it comfortably.
A huge benefit of the Exos 48 is how many storage options are on and in the bag. Just because you may carry less gear doesn’t mean staying organized isn’t important. If anything, it’s more important because you may have downsides items such as your cooking kit which could get lost within the main compartment. The various pockets and straps make this backpack super user-friendly while on the trail as well since you can access water, snacks and the top lid without removing the bag.
Bad weather, primarily wet weather, can ruin a backpacking trip if you aren’t prepared. Since weight is so crucial Osprey used only high quality Nylon that is fairly water resistant in light rain. There is also a built in rain cover for the backpack which is included in the total weights listed in the specs section.
There aren’t any obvious downsides or weaknesses of the Exos 48 but some people may wish there are gender-specific models to allow for differences in anatomy or more color options.
Overall Osprey really created an amazing backpack that is suitable for all lightweight backpacking activities up to ultralight trips.
I’ll be honest, I looked at a LOT of packs before settling on the Exos. AND, our team has reviewed a TON of backpacks over the years. Here’s a few alternatives to the Osprey Exos 48 worth checking out:
The Exos 48 is ideal for any person who is interested in ultralight and light backpacking regardless of experience.
Depending upon your experience with this method of backpacking, this pack is large enough for long weekend trips possibly up to a week based on your usual gear load.
For the beginner you will easily be able to use this bag for weekend trips. Osprey recommends this bag maximum weight stays under 30lbs so even if you are new to UL backpacking, you could start using the Exos 48 immediately even if you haven’t started downsizing your gear yet. You can check this listing for the latest pricing.
There are a few different online retailers stocking the Exos 48. These are the best places I’ve found (price, availability, service):
Sam Hardy is an outdoor enthusiast with a penchant for survival skills. He writes about the great outdoors and his favorite equipment here.