Osprey Exos 58 Backpack Review

Osprey Exos 58 Backpack

Osprey Exos 58 Backpack

The Osprey Exos 58 is a very lightweight backpack that’s obviously made for backpackers. Weighing a mere 2lbs 8 oz in a size medium, this pack has a lot of features that work well together, and provide both comfort and value. I am surprised by the sheer quantity of features that Osprey has been able to include on this pack, including their trademark ventilated trampoline suspension system.

Here’s a quick rundown of the Exos 58 feature list:

  • 58 liters (3,539 cubic inches) of pack capacity, centered around a central compartment.
  • Extension collar with a large outer pocket, including key ring clip, and a mesh internal pocket
  • Four webbing attachment points on top of the extension collar
  • The extension collar is completely removable if desired
  • Upper and lower side compression straps that do not interfere water bottle access.
  •  A shovel style rear pocket large enough for a rain shell but too small for a climbing helmet.
  • Mesh covered shoulder straps and hip belt to improve breathability
  • Shoulder pad and hib belt cutouts to reduce weight
  • Gadget sized elastic pocket on the left shoulder strap
  • Hiking pole loop on the shoulder strap for stowing poles when standing around
  • Trampoline style metal frame which provides superior ventilation
  • Ajustable sternum strap with four different heights settings
  • Emergency whistle included on the sternum strap
  • Dual internal hydration hose ports in the main compartment, including a hydration reservoir hang loop
  • Elastic hydration loops on the shoulder straps
  • Load lifters to the pack frame for better control
  • Dual ice axe loops at the bottom of the back, including cord locks higher on the pack to secure their handles
  • External webbing at the bottom of the back to attach a sleeping pad or tent.
  • Draw string closure on the main compartment, including a top compression strap and
  • Use of lightly colored fabric to improve internal compartment visibility
  • Internal hydration pocket and zipper access to trampoline frame for additional storage close to wearer’s core
  • Two side mesh pockets that provide additional storage and hold water bottles that can be accessed and replaced while wearing the pack.
  • Two external, half-moon shaped pockets with zippers on the back of the main compartment but underneath the shovel pocket that can still be used to store gear even when the main compartment is full.
  • Lots of external attachment points on the back of the pack, as well as the ability to thread webbing around the front frame stays to hang additional gear
  • External loop at the bottom right side of the pack for hanging climbing equipment such a carbiners and screws
  • Two large mesh zippered pockets on the hip belt.
  • Webbing based hip belt adjustment system.
  • Pre-cut drainage hole at the bottom of the shovel pocket.

Exos 58 Likes

An a evangelist for lightweight backpacking, I am excited to see that a major manufacturer like Osprey Packs is bringing lighter and lighter backpacks to market. Weighing under 3 lbs, the Exos 58 is a great way for hikers to experience the benefits of a lighter weight backpack that is still loaded with features found in much heavier, higher volume backpacks.

Here are the key features that I like on the Exos 58.

  • Light colored fabrics make it easy to find gear in the main compartment
Contents are Easy to See

Contents are Easy to See

  • Water bottles are accessible in side pockets while wearing the pack, and the zippered pockets on the back of the pack are usable even if the main compartment is full of gear.
Water Bottle Accessibility

Water Bottle Accessibility

  • Camelback style hydration reservoirs can be hung inside the trampoline frame increasing comfort and positioning water weight over your hips, closer to your center of gravity.
Ventilated Frame

Ventilated Frame

  • There are lots of external attachment points on the back, sides, and top of the pack.
Lots of Attachment Points

Lots of Attachment Points

  • It is possible to carry snowshoes along the sides of the pack using compression straps and side mesh pockets to  position the extra weight over your hips. I prefer to carry snowshoes this way.
Ability to Carry Snowshoes

Ability to Carry Snowshoes

Exos 58 Dislikes:

While the Exos 58 is better designed that a lot of other Osprey’s lower end packs, there are some things about it that turn me off. My biggest criticism has to do with the fact that many of Osprey’s Packs have non-detachable hipbelts, that can make it difficult to find a size that matches your torso length and hip circumference.

For example, if you have a torso that is between 18.5 inches and 20 inches long, you can only get a Exos 58 hip belt in a size small (<31″) or a size medium (30″-34″). Moderately chubby people can’t get a good fit with this pack. That doesn’t make any sense to me. This is a big segment of the population.

Here are some other things I don’t like on the Exos 58:

  • The hip belt buckle does not stay closed and pops open 75% of the time. This might have been a manufacturing defect with my Exos 58, but I find the plastic connectors and hip belt systems on many expensive Osprey Packs to be under-built and cheesy.
Exos 58 Hip Belt

Exos 58 Hip Belt

  • The shape of the trampoline frame pushes the center of gravity of your gear farther away from your hips. To mitigate the feeling that you’re being pulling backwards, you need to pack heavier items higher in the main compartment, making the pack feel top heavy, and reducing your lateral control over its momentum.

Conclusion

Honestly, I can see why people might really like the Exos 58. It is a very comfortable pack to wear, it has a lot of nice features, and if you can get one in a size that fits you properly, it’s a good value. But when it comes down to it, I’m not a big fan of trampoline suspension systems. The added ventilation benefits are insignificant when compared to the load distribution negatives. Some people love trampoline frames, regardless. Unfortunately, I’m not one of them.

Disclosure: The author owns this product and purchased it using their own funds.

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20 Responses to Osprey Exos 58 Backpack Review

  1. Robin Evans January 3, 2011 at 4:06 am #

    I found that I was leaning further forward because of the centre of gravity issue. I also felt the frame was too rigid to be totally comfortable. The pack material tends to absorb a lot of water in rain as well.

    While there are many things Osprey have got right with this pack, these issues make it less than ideal for me. I can see that it would be good for hot weather with relatively flat terrain. Not a description of the UK most of the time!

  2. marco January 3, 2011 at 4:24 am #

    Heavy pack, good review.

    jdm

  3. Earlylite January 3, 2011 at 5:42 am #

    I was speaking to a sales person at REI who does a lot of their backpack fitting. He said that the straps get very soft in hot weather and feel like ropes, ie. very uncomfortable. I couldn't verify it myself, but I could see it being true.

  4. Rob January 3, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

    Does it have the unusual bent "ventilation/platypus pocket" frame like some of the other Ospreys? I tried one of those and it (after I left the store and tried for real) would really hurt my back. This isn't a universal phenomenon as my son now uses it and is fine – as are a couple of my friends. But it is something to watch for.

  5. Earlylite January 3, 2011 at 1:07 pm #

    Yep – called a trampoline frame. They now make a lot of packs that don't use it….As you can see, I'm systematically reviewing every Osprey pack I can get my hands on.

  6. Ken_colby January 3, 2011 at 11:05 pm #

    Great pack Phil. I bought one the year after I tried Mt Whitney in the Sierras in snow with a Dana Design Terraplane (and about 65lbs). I was amazed at how – on the one hand it could handle so much gear, yet on the other hand forced me to make tough choices about what to take. It swallowed (albeit tightly) a bear canister, and supported a tent, pad, sleeping bag, etc. Bottom line – I live it!

  7. grumpyhighlander January 4, 2011 at 8:23 am #

    I have put over 500 miles on my Exos here in Colorado and loved it on the CDT section through the Weminuche Wilderness last year and the year before. It performed perfectly in hot conditions in Colorado. The waist belt buckle had no problems

    ( I have used three different Exos packs without problems in this area, your buckle must be damaged or faulty, Osprey should be willing to replace it for you at no charge if that is the case. You can read their almighty guarantee online)

    I was very grateful to have the ventilated back panel. I am a very light hiker with a base weight of ten pounds so I did not feel like the pack pulled me back due to the airscape space, however to cooling effect of the breeze through the msh was most welcome. I us a sinylon cover for thunderstorms here in the rockies and a Tiso plastic pack liner on the interior. Yes I'm originally from Scotland where my pack was always getting soaked. I didn't see how the pack absorbed any more water than a Karrirmor or Berghaus as the material is actually lighter in most cases. the bottom line is that most pack are never waterproof! ( Disclaimer, I have done pack testing for Osprey ) In winter I use a heavier pack due to carrying heavier loads that are above the recommended weight for the Exos, that might be why the REI employee talked about the straps seeming to be soft as he was overloading the pack.

  8. Earlylite January 4, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

    Did I mention that the same REI guy tried to sell me an Osprey Variant that was obviously too long in the torso for me. Glad to hear that this pack worked out well for you.

  9. grumpyhighlander January 4, 2011 at 1:26 pm #

    Earlylite, sorry to hear about REI my experience has been that the staff are usually very knowledgeable but sometime people like to talk more than walk, if you know what I mean. The Variant is also a great all-round pack, I like it as it can carry a huge load of camalots for the desert in Utah when crack climbing and fit all my ice gear in when I go ice climbing in Ouray Colorado. I sometimes wish it was a bit larger as the belt and straps would be good for a larger load.

  10. Earlylite January 4, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

    I used to think so, but I find myself interrupting REI staff frequently when they are talking to customers and "simplifying" the options available, important trade-offs and details. I've turned into a terror customer, I guess.

    I'll be writing a review of the Variant in a few weeks. The 52 size is a very nice backpack but I wish they hadn't conflated the compression straps with the shovel pocket. It makes it awkward to use for carrying snowshoes. Other than that, it makes an awesome approach pack for winter climbers. We agree on that!

  11. grumpyhighlander January 4, 2011 at 3:00 pm #

    Yes they should be stitched to the side before the pocket and a separate buckle to compress that area, as a continuation of the strap with independent adjustment would help. Also the lid pocket drops the contents out if opened with the lid flipped over. This is due to the bad placement of the zipper (Pet peeve!) However this is being designed out of packs as production changes.

    Yes you have turned into a terror customer as you are more qualified than the staff, perhaps it's time for you to moonlight as a consultant. !?

  12. miska January 5, 2011 at 10:41 pm #

    My girlfriend got this pack and it is really nice. I love the features and layout and it's slightly wider than my REI flash 50 so you can fit a bear canister sideways down in the bottom of the pack which is very handy. Unfortunately it absolutely kills my back and the curved frame feels weird like it's putting the weight way further out from my center of gravity than other packs and hanging/pulling on my shoulders. I couldn't get this as my day to day pack but if you're the type of person who it fits, it's nice.

  13. juan blas June 18, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    i love this pack no complaints nothin

  14. Kimberlie Dame July 18, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

    I used this pack on all 819 miles of the Arizona Trail and had that very same irritating hip belt buckle popping apart.. really no fun.. I also had a difficult time getting enough weight on my hips away from my shoulders… Other than that, the pack served its purpose well and endured much rugged desert mangling without becoming damaged.

  15. beau June 30, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    I love this pack. I retired my old friend…my osprey crescent 110 to get some serious weight reduction. My base weight is now 18 pounds. The expos 58 is a great pack. I backpack mostly in AZ and the ventilated suspension system is awesome. The suspension system has another side benefit…you can put the water badder in the air space to get more room out of the pack. The other benefit is the cool water against your lower back. :)

    Since the load is less, the weight distribution away from you center of gravity (suspension system) is not as big a deal and can be managed by making sure all the side compression straps are very tight. Once that is done the pack feels very compact.

    My only complaint is the wimpy front buckle and the narrow belt strap.

    The pack is light, durable and holds gear well. If it lasts as long as my 110, then it will be, almost, a miracle pack.

    • Earlylite June 30, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

      I can see how a ventilated backpack would be handy in the southwest – I’m sitting in Texas as I write this in 100+ temperatures! I can also see you point about the suspension system – doesn’t matter as much for lighter loads. That’s probably true.

    • Beau August 26, 2012 at 1:57 am #

      Follow-up:

      I still like the exos….but I have decided to go with the arcteryx altra 75 as my primary. The belt and shoulder straps just are not cushy and stable enough on the exos at 32lbs. The belt does not transfer the weight to hips as well as I wish it would. The altra adds two pounds to exos but the weight is added in the right areas…the belt and shoulder straps. Both are great packs, the exos works the best under 30lbs.

  16. Spyros July 23, 2013 at 8:41 am #

    The problem with packs that have a frame like this, is that the internal space of the pack is somewhat divided in the middle of it, because of the shape. For example if you put a 2-litre bladder, it is very difficult to push down a sleeping pad or a sleeping bag because in the middle the pack gets much narrower because of the framse shape.

  17. Corn Dog July 25, 2013 at 1:34 pm #

    I have used this pack for over a year now, logging some 400+ miles with it. For me, it’s a great pack. The size large fits me perfectly. I sometimes forget I have it on when I’m on the trail (my base weight is 15 lbs.; add food for 3-4 days and water and it still is under 25 lbs.). I have never had an issue with the hip belt coming unbuckled. I think this pack evenly distributes the load between hips, back and shoulders.

  18. JearBear November 7, 2013 at 8:45 pm #

    A friend of mine bought this pack when he found it on sale at a resale store. When not fully packed with gear, I liked the trampoline suspension, but I can see how it would cause uneven distribution or cause one to lean farther forward leading to neck pain. The trampoline suspension is incredibly innovative and it is interesting to see a commercial company trying these things out.

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