Expert Review: Osprey Men's Exos 58 Pack
This review is my own honest opinion of the backpack, which I bought with my own money in March 2014.
About this Review: This review is my own honest opinion of the backpack, which I bought with my own money in March 2014.
The Osprey Men’s Exos 58 Pack is my top recommendation for backpacks for beginner and advanced hikers alike. Its size and weight is perfect for weekend hikes as well as multi-day (or months-long) thru hikes.
About the gear
- Model: Osprey Men's Exos 58 Pack 2014 edition, which I replaced under warranty in 2021
- Gender: Men’s
- Size: Large
- Pack capacity: 58L
- Height: 6’1”
- Weight: 195 lbs
- Experience: 15+ years of hiking and camping
- When I bought it: March 2014/replaced with new August 2021
- Length of trips: Overnight to 2 months on the A.T.
- What I carried:
- Total pack weight: About 33-35lbs with food and water; max of 55 lbs
- Used for: Backpacking, thru-hiking
- Where I’ve used it: Dolly Sods, WV; Denali, AK, Appalachian Trail, GA-NC, Susquehannock Trail System, PA; Allegheny Front Trail, PA; Isle Royale, MI
- Terrain: From flat land and improved trails to bushwhacking thru Denali and Dolly Sods
- Seasons I’ve used it in: Spring, summer, fall, winter
How it performs
What I was looking for
I was looking for a roomy but lightweight backpack without having to give up features, such as pockets, tie loops, and volume. I wanted a pack that would be large enough for my gear without going over the top. My base weight was 25 lbs. 33-35 lbs with food and water. I didn’t want to add more weight with a bigger pack nor was I looking for an ultralight pack that couldn’t handle the weight.
Why I chose this gear
This pack has a stripped weight of 2.33lb yet is loaded with anchor points, tie straps, and other useful features. The price was also excellent; for example, the Gregory Paragon is $10 more and 3.44 lbs. The Deuter Aircontact 50L is a similar price but weighs 4.56 lbs. The Exos 58 also comes with Osprey’s lifetime warranty.
What I love about it
- Durability: I had this backpack for nine years, and I was NOT delicate with it at all. I had a few small holes, wear points, and a couple of broken loops, but nothing that affected the overall performance of the backpack. I decided to replace it because its waterproofing had peeled off like sunburned skin.
- Weight: I’ve carried loads from around 20lb to over 55lb with this pack. While I won’t be carrying over-55lb loads, the pack carried it better than I did. I struggled, the pack did not. I had room for everything. It didn’t pinch or cause any rubbing or bruising.
- Ease of use: The pockets are easy to use with a straightforward design.
- Suspension and comfort: The AirSpeed 3-D tensioned mesh back panel isn’t just a gimmick; it actually works. It keeps the pack off the back, allowing for air movement between the back and the pack.
- Adjustability: This backpack is fairly easy to adjust to personal comfort. All of the straps are within reach, even while wearing the pack.
- Capacity: With 58L of volume, I was able to pack all of my usual gear for a five-day hike plus my DSLR camera, two lenses, and a tripod on my Isle Royale trip. While being the heaviest load I’ve ever carried, it was not unduly uncomfortable.
- Weather resistance: It did not come with a rain cover, though I had one from a previous backpack. The drawstring closure and strapped-down “brain” (also known as a top lid, and is removable) keeps water out. So unless it’s a downpour, I never bother with the rain cover.
- Features: This pack comes with a hydration sleeve for a reservoir, water-bottle pockets, adjustable and ventilated hip belt, pole holders, load lifters, ice-axe loop, mesh back panel, and removable top lid.
- Organization and pockets: The straps and loops allow tent, trekking poles, sleeping pads to be strapped to the outside, while the two side pockets hold water bottles.
- Hip belt: The hip belt is padded with breathable mesh. Sizes are S 24-25", S/M 26-45", M 27-48", M/L 28-50", and L 29-55".
- Pack access: The top “brain” pocket, or lid, is for storing daily, easy-to-reach items—things like a first-aid kit, maps, rain gear, toiletries, and electronics. It can be opened without opening the main compartment even in the rain, keeping everything else dry.
- Warranty: The warranty replacement after nine years of wear and tear was easy. I simply shipped the pack back to Osprey. They examined it and shipped a brand new one to me. Even in the height of their summer busy season, I had the new pack in five weeks.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Waterproofing: The pack’s waterproof finish began to peel after eight years and was the main reason for returning the backpack to Osprey.
- Hip belt pockets: Unlike my 2014 pack, the 2021 version doesn’t include pockets in the waist belt. I was looking forward to working zippers on the hipbelt as they were completely seized by years of sweat on the older version. I had never used them and thought I would give them a try. Because there are no hip-belt pockets on the new version, I now use a fanny pack.
Favorite moment with this gear
I don’t normally hike with a bear canister as I prefer to hang my food bag, but it was required in the Denali backcountry as there are no trees. I used the BearVault BV500, which fit nicely in the front stretch mesh pocket, leaving room in the pack and below the canister for my tent and other gear. My girlfriend and I did not see any bears on that trip, except from the bus, which was fine by me as I haven’t had any encounters with grizzlies. However, a lone wolf wandered up to us. He was a juvenile looking for a hand-out at dinner. I allowed him to come within about 20ft of us as he was showing no signs of aggression. At that point, I shooed him off for his own safety with future hikers.
Value for the money vs. other options
A lot of packs in the 50-60L range can be purchased for the same price or even less than the Osprey Exos 58. Only one of those comes with a lifetime warranty: Deuter. The Deuter Aircontact Lite 50+10L Backpack is more than a pound heavier and doesn’t have the front stretch mesh pocket.
Unless you are looking for a truly ultralight backpack, it is my opinion that the Osprey Men’s Exos 58 Pack is THE best option on the market. For its comfort, durability, breathability, and built-in features, I recommend it to fellow hikers and friends alike.