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Osprey Packs Exos 58 Backpack Review

manufactured by :
Philip Werner
Version:
1
Price:
219.99

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On January 25, 2016
Last modified:January 30, 2016

Summary:

The Osprey Packs Exos 58 is a very lightweight but high-capacity overnight backpack that's excellent for long distance thru-hiking or weekend backpacking adventures. Weighing a mere 2 pounds 10 ounces in a size medium (torso length 18"-21"), this pack has a lot of features that work well together and provide excellent comfort and durability.

The Exos has a rear mesh pocket useful for storing loose or wet gear and sleeping pad straps, something you don't find much on such lightweight backpacks anymore, but a very useful feature all the same.

The Exos has a rear mesh pocket useful for storing loose or wet gear, and sleeping pad straps, something you don’t find much on such lightweight backpacks anymore, but a very useful feature all the same.

The Osprey Packs Exos 58 is a lightweight, multi-day backpack that’s excellent for long distance thru-hiking, weekend backpacking and other multi-sport trips. Weighing a mere 2 pounds 10 ounces in a size medium (torso length 18″-21″), the Exos 58 has a rigid but lightweight aluminum frame and a ventilated back panel that will keep you comfortable even when you need to haul extra gear and food. Loaded with capabilities and easy to customize, the Exos 58 is a very well thought out pack that can be used year-round for a wide variety of adventures.

Organization and Storage

The Osprey Exos 58 is very different from most other ultralight and lightweight backpacks since it’s configured with a floating top lid instead of a dry-bag style roll top. In addition to extra pocket storage (one pocket on top and one inside), the floating lid lets you sandwich extra gear between the lid and the top of the pack’s main compartment so you can carry extra technical equipment or supplies that won’t fit inside your pack. Top lids are a great feature, especially when you travel or hike and backpack in winter and want convenient access to hats, gloves, snacks, and navigation gear.

The floating lid has a top pocket and a bottom hidden pocket on the underside of the lid.

The floating lid has a top pocket and a bottom hidden pocket on the underside of the lid.

If you don’t need the floating lid, you just need to detach three hooks to remove it instead of fussing with a bunch of straps and buckles. Putting the lid back on is also a snap. Removing the top lid reduces the weight of the pack by another 4.2 ounces bringing the medium-sized Exos 58 down to 2 pounds 5.8 ounces.

There’s a nylon flap under the top lid that is permanently attached to the pack, what Osprey calls a FlapJacket, that covers the drawstring opening of the main compartment. When you remove the top lid, the FlapJacket is used to protect the main compartment from rain in its stead. The rear of the FlapJacket also clips into the same rear straps and buckles used by the top lid so you’re not left with any extra straps or buckles to get in the way.

You can remove the top lid and replace it used a speed lid (shown) that doesn't have any pockets to shave another 4.2 ounces off the total pack weight.

You can remove the top lid and replace it using the FlapJacket (shown)  to shave another 4.2 ounces off the total pack weight.

While the Exos 58, also has good open storage in the form of side and rear mesh pockets, the main compartment is where the bulk of this pack’s capacity is. With close to 3500 inches of room, you can put a ton of gear and food inside. Being a mainstream manufacturer, Osprey computes the volume of their packs using industry norms and only counts covered and zippered storage when they calculate backpack volume. If you are comparing the volume of the Exos 58 with a pack from a cottage backpack maker, be aware that they often add in open and closed pocket volumes, so the Exos 58 may feel quite a bit larger.

With the exception of a hydration pocket, hang loop, and top compression strap, there’s nothing inside the Exos 58 main compartment like a sleeping bag compartment or interior pockets to break up the seemingly cavernous space. Still it’s easy to see inside the main compartment because lightly colored fabric panels help channel light to the pack’s interior.

The Exos 58 has holster style cutouts in its side mesh pockets that can make it easier to pull out a water bottle without having to stop.

The Exos 58 has holster style cutouts on its side mesh pockets that can make it easier to pull out a water bottle without having to stop.

In addition to the main compartment, the Exos 58 has two stretch side mesh pockets which can be used to store water bottles. Each pocket is reinforced with solid fabric on the bottom for better durability and has a holster-style opening cut in front, so you can orient your water bottles sideways if you prefer. The mesh is not strong enough however, for off-trail travel and I would recommend you stay on trails with this pack in order to keep the pockets from tearing.

There is also a rear mesh shovel pocket on the back of the pack which is useful for carrying items that you want easy access to, without requiring that  you stop and open your backpack. I can’t live without a rear mesh pocket like this and use it to stuff light layers and snacks that I want easily accessible during the day.

The Exos has a single side compression strap.

The Exos has a single side compression strap.

External Attachment Points and Compression System

The Osprey Exos 58 has one Z-style side compression strap on each side of the pack. The strap can be threaded in front of or through the side water bottle pocket, which is handy because they won’t get in the way if you run them outside the pocket. Still, I’m not a huge fan of the Z-style threading pattern because I think it makes it difficult to strap gear to the side of a pack and release it.

But don’t let the Z-style straps deter you from rigging up two horizontal compression straps instead. One of the great things about the Exos 58 is the distribution of gear loops around the perimeter pockets, the pack bag seams, and even the top lid, making it easy to rig up your own custom compression system with an extra cord lock and some guyline or a piece of webbing.

The other key attachment point on the Exos 58 is the sleeping pad strap on the bottom of the pack, a feature which has largely disappeared from the lightweight backpacking market. While the strap is optional and can be removed, it’s super handy to have if you’re a hammock camper or a winter camper and carry a bulky foam pad to sleep with/on at night.

Exos ventilated frame and hip belt

Exos ventilated frame and hip belt

Backpack Frame and Suspension

The Osprey Exos 58 is a trampoline-style backpack. Breathable mesh is suspended in front of the back panel creating a ventilated space behind your back that’s designed to evaporate sweat before it can soak your shirt. The mesh is tightly stretched across the aluminum frame, hence the name trampoline, which also serves to anchor the hip belt and load lifters.

The aluminum frame on the Exos 58 is the secret sauce that “makes” this pack. It’s super lightweight and super stiff, providing great load transfer to the hips, so you can really load up this pack and still get a very responsive carry. The nice thing about an aluminum frame is that the torso won’t collapse, causing the torso length to shorten when you load the pack to capacity, which can be an issue with other lightweight packs.

The shoulder straps and hip belt are both covered with a stretchy mesh fabric that is soft and helps wick moisture to prevent rubbing and chafing. While they’re both well padded, they’re not overly padded, so they conform to the shape of your collarbone, shoulders, and hips and don’t slip.

All good so far, but there’s one thing about the Exos 58 that I don’t particularly like and that’s the length of the hip belt, which I think is too short.  This isn’t just a sizing issue with the Exos 58, but a sizing issue that I repeatedly encounter with Osprey Packs that don’t have adjustable hip belts.

Unfortunately the hip belt length is non-adjustable. Note how the pockets and padded part of the hip belt are behind the centerline of my profile, and don't wrap all the way around the iliac crest (hip bones).

Unfortunately the Exos 58 hip belt length is non-adjustable. Note how the padded part of the hip belt (hidden by the pockets) are behind the centerline of my profile and don’t wrap all the way around the front hip bones.

I’d like to see this pack made available with an adjustable hip belt that will fit a 34″-38″ waist because I see too many people wearing Osprey hip belts that are much too short. Ideally, front part of the hip belt padding should wrap around the front of your hip bones as well as the side and rear. If they only wrap around the back of your hips, which happens when the hip belt is too short, you won’t be as comfortable or get the load transfer you would expect.

For example, if your torso length is 18″-21″ (a size medium), the largest hip belt you can get for the Exos 58 is 30″-34″ long (a size medium). If you need a bigger hip belt than that, you have to get the pack in a 21″-23″ inch torso length, even though that torso length may be way too long for you. I have a 19″ torso and a 36″ waist, which is pretty average for a man my age, so I’d have to use a hip belt that’s really too short if I wanted to use the Exos 58 as a pack. My advice: make sure you check the sizing carefully.

Likes

  • Lightweight and high capacity (58 L)
  • Easy to remove top lid w/ lightweight replacement lid
  • Optional sleeping pad straps on bottom of the pack
  • Lightweight perimeter frame provides great load transfer and control
  • Soft and grippy mesh covered hip belt conforms well to hip bones
  • Lightly colored fabric strips improve main compartment visibility
  • Lots of external attachment points all around the pack make it possible to customize the compression system

Dislikes

  • Hip belt is not adjustable and available in a wider range of sizes
  • Hip belt and shoulder strap pockets are mesh only, not solid fabric
  • Holster style cutouts in the side mesh pockets are less secure for stowing small items
  • Single Z-style side compression strap can be awkward to use
The Osprey Exos has a curved back which is ventilated to help evaporate sweat.

The Osprey Exos 58 has a curved back which is ventilated to help evaporate sweat.

Recommendation

The Osprey Packs Exos 58 Backpack is a nicely put together backpack that’s easy to configure for  many different kinds of hiking and backpacking trips. Weighing just 2 pounds 10 ounces, it boasts a stiff aluminum frame and trampoline suspension that provides excellent comfort and control for loads up to 35-40 pounds. If you want a large but lightweight (58L) backpack with a real frame and a top lid, the Exos 58 is a great choice. Sizing can be a little tricky however, since the hip belt lengths available are tied to the torso length of the pack. If the Exos 58 fits you, great. It’s an excellent backpack. If it doesn’t, give it a pass.

For complete specs, I suggest you visit the Exos 58 product page at REI since the Osprey Packs Sizing Guide at OspreyPacks.com can be difficult to understand.

Disclosure: The author owns this product and purchased it using their own funds.
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29 Responses to Osprey Packs Exos 58 Backpack Review

  1. Nate January 25, 2016 at 9:13 am #

    Thanks for the review as I’ve been considering this pack. Do you have a sense of the load limit? Will it carry 30lbs total comfortably?

    • Philip Werner January 25, 2016 at 9:45 am #

      Yep. I’d say 30-35 will be the upper limit if you have good hip belt fit. The frame is quite good as I mention above.

    • Tony January 25, 2016 at 10:54 am #

      I did ~42 lbs in the previous generation of the pack, and that was definitely as high as I would go. I went 25 miles with it, and it was fine, it was a just little uncomfortable. Lots of the webbing and straps are thinner than more traditional backpacks and you could tell they were straining a bit. 30 lbs is no problem though.

  2. brian g. January 25, 2016 at 10:25 am #

    i have the osprey talon 22 and talon 44 and im a bigger guy so the hip belts arent long enough but what i like from them is you can order a free hip belt extension, i believe thats for any of there packs.

    • Philip Werner January 25, 2016 at 10:28 am #

      Huh? Where have you seen that? I’ve spoken to Osprey Packs customer service and they’ve never mentioned it. But seriously, if you have information about this, please publish the ordering link.

      • Philip Werner January 25, 2016 at 1:00 pm #

        More details about the extender, which is a hack from my perspective and not a substitute for a properly fitting a padded hip belt, where the hip belt padding covers all of your hip bone: rear, sides, and front.

        Osprey provides you with a piece of webbing with two buckles which clip into the packs existing buckles. It’s webbing though and not really a custom padded wing extension which is what you want for the load transfer, especially on the front hip bones. Contact Osprey Customer service if you want it. It’s free but a special order.

        Like I said – get yourself a pack that fits.

  3. Tony January 25, 2016 at 10:50 am #

    I have the older version of this backpack, and I think it is an excellent compromise for people looking into ultralight backpacks. I know a few people who have hesitated to go frameless because they can’t handle very high weights. I always recommend this pack to those people because it very light (most of the people I know who want to go lighter are coming from 5-7 lb monsters so this is a big upgrade) and it can handle up to 40ish pounds. Anyone looking to go lighter than this probably already knows a lot about gear.

    • Philip Werner January 25, 2016 at 10:57 am #

      I completely agree with you except for one misconception.

      Most “ultralight backpacks” aren’t frameless anymore. The vast majority have aluminum stays which are a lightweight frame. Pack materials have gotten so lightweight that UL manufacturers can add a frame component back in with very little weight penalty, thereby greatly expanding the load carry capabilities and audience for their packs.

      The exos frame however is vastly superior to UL frame stays since it provides 360 degree coverage including horizontal support, not just vertical

      • Tony January 25, 2016 at 11:41 am #

        That’s a good point. I haven’t tried any of them yet, but I have had my eye on the GG Mariposa which has a removable aluminum stay in it.

        • wspscott January 26, 2016 at 3:18 pm #

          I just carried 30 lbs (5 night trip) in the previous model Mariposa. No problems at all, very comfortable. That is probably the max weight I would ever carry in that pack, but 25-30 pounds is no problem at all.

        • Patrick February 21, 2016 at 7:56 pm #

          Tony, I’ve carried the GG Mariposa over MANY miles on the CDT. Love the lightweight, loathed the flimsy stay. Have now constructed a Cpvc frame for it. Now it carries decent with up to 30lbs (I usually carry no more than 27lbs) and the pack is still under 2lbs. In the original form the Mariposa is delivered in, The Exos 58 has a far superior frame (I wouldn’t call the stay that comes with the Mariposa a “frame”) and thus a superior carry over the GG Mariposa… even after you learn how to pack the Mariposa for max stiffness. The one thing I don’t like about the Exos line (or any Osprey pack) is the missing lumbar “bump” the old Gregory Z65 packs had. That bump seems to really help lock the pack to my back without excessive hip belt tension. Philip Werner is absolutely correct about the Exos hip belt being too short (in diam.) for many people with a shorter torso that require a 36″ belt.

      • Bill K. January 31, 2016 at 6:21 pm #

        Why Horizontal support? . Keeps you from falling sideways due to a sudden load shift . Similar to having a grandchild playing horse on you back , legs hanging on hard , and they suddenly they sway to the left or right , and over you both go, laughing of course . But no laughing matter falling off “Charlies Bunion”.

  4. alexmtn January 26, 2016 at 1:02 am #

    What Philip refers to as an aluminum frame is actually the centerpiece of Osprey’s renowned and time tested AirSpeed suspension. Yes, it helps to make loads of all types sit more comfortably on your back, but that’s not its main purpose. Rather, it’s the “Air” in “AirSpeed. The point of the frame and the ‘trampoline’ of netting that’s stretched over it, is to give your back total exposure to the ambient air. To merely call it ‘ventilation’ truly sells it short: what it really is, is a way to hold the pack completely off your back. After acquiring my first Atmos pack with AirSpeed back in 2007, I have ceased since then to suffer even a single case of ‘wet back’ – a malady I found especially annoying when removing and then re-shouldering my pack in cold weather. Over years of leading AMC trips, I’ve not come across anything else that approaches this level of performance, and it’s fantastic to see AirSpeed on such a lightweight pack. I’m pretty sure that the successor to my aging Atmos 50 will be an Exos 48. Go Osprey! Alex

    • Philip Werner January 26, 2016 at 8:25 am #

      Alex also contacted me to see if we could switch our hip belts since his doesn’t fit. You can’t with the Exos because they’re not removable without involving a sewing surgeon. There are backpacks from other manufactures available with ventilated frames and hip belts that come in different sizes. Be kind to yourself and get a backpack that fits.

      Osprey didn’t invent the trampoline concept. Deuter did, but they also have a hip belt fit problem (ie fixed length hip belts) with many of their packs.

      Osprey has other packs like the Atmos AG which have ventilated frames if you like the brand. You can see if they fit better if you want to stick with Osprey.

      • alexmtn January 26, 2016 at 4:47 pm #

        Fortunately, the belts on my Large Osprey packs do fit me – but my 32-33 waist is at the bottom end of the range of waist sizes that the Large belt is designed to fit. Were my waist an inch narrower, I would have been out of luck. Had my torso size dictated a Medium pack, I would then have been more in the middle of the belt’s range. Since belt swapping is not easily possible with the Exos, I’ll be fine to continue with the Large — and I suspect that as the years pass, a shrinking waistline will not be one of my central fears, alas.

        I certainly second Philip’s ardently reiterated thought that if a pack doesn’t fit, you shouldn’t put up with it. Life’s too short. From my experience with the many folks I’ve hiked with, coping with an ill fitting pack is the penultimate frustrating, gear-related aggravation you can experience on a big trip — second only to ill fitting, inappropriate footwear. Happy feet and happy back, waist and shoulders go a long way toward ensuring a great day on the trail.

        Also, I should note that Osprey’s Aether line (I use a 70 for short backpacks in all seasons) *does* feature an interchangeable belt. The Aethers are a pretty lightweight option for their capacity, though not as impressively light as the Exos.

        • alexmtn February 23, 2016 at 11:27 am #

          Follow-up report: I got my Exos 48 a few days ago and put it to its first use. Fwiw, the belt on the Large size easily handled my 32-33 waist. The range of fit on this new model is definitely broader than was the case for my older Atmos and Aether packs, where the belt was just barely tight enough for me at full cinch. Alex

  5. Owen January 26, 2016 at 1:13 pm #

    Very informative review. Thanks. I’ve been looking into this pack as a replacement to my Osprey Aether 60. I did look at it in REI and almost got it except I (nor the REI employee) could figure out how to fit the regular Z Sol sleeping pad in the sleeping pad straps. We both figured it wouldn’t fit. So I abandoned purchase. But, it looks like you made it happen. How did you do that? What were we missing?

    • Philip Werner January 26, 2016 at 1:14 pm #

      Loosen the strap and slide it in. Nothing to it…..

    • JC January 26, 2016 at 5:17 pm #

      I have an exos 48, I love it. But my Z lite is full length (14 sections I think), and the straps were just barely long enough to carry it. It was really fiddly getting it in and out.

      I replaced my webbing with some suitable grosgrain ribbon and it held fine on my last trip (about 40 miles).

  6. Illimani94 January 26, 2016 at 5:43 pm #

    Another great review. It’s disappointing that Osprey continue to have this problem with hip belts that aren’t long enough (like you I have a 19 – 19.5″ torso length and 36″ waist). It’s especially annoying because they’ve already shown one fix. My 2013 Volt pack has a pair of clever extendable pads at the end of the hip belt padding, which I think extend up to 3″ on each side. I used about half that to properly cover my hip crest with the belt. Weight is the only reason I can think of for this pack lacking the same.

  7. Josh camp January 26, 2016 at 6:58 pm #

    The “air frame” trampoline suspension thingy has me intrigued, as I am a sweaty beast. I’m still using my trusty old GG gorilla from 2009 but unfortunately I usually end up with soggy underwear by the end of a long strenuous day. I have tried every combination of no sit pad , no metal stay, no hip belt, no underwear, etc… Lately my preferred setup includes the sit pad and metal stay but no hip belt. I have really considered the osprey brand and the arc whatever from zpacks specifically for these new “airy” suspension systems. Does it really make that much difference? In my head, there is still sufficient contact from the hip belt and the “mesh” for my sweat to absorb and run down into my pants. Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated.

    • Philip Werner January 27, 2016 at 8:42 am #

      Some people swear by these frames. I’m agnostic. I sweat but apparently not as much as people who seem to like these frames.
      I prefer a tighter body hugging fit.

  8. Moose Hunter January 26, 2016 at 8:20 pm #

    I love Osprey packs! My Aura 50 is awesome and will probably last forever. That’s my only “regret” – my current backpack looks almost as new, even after hundreds of miles, so I have no excuse to buy this pack… Thank you for the review!

  9. Vincent January 27, 2016 at 7:40 am #

    Great read :-)
    I’ve got my Exos 38 since Christmas, use it as my go-to pack because of the frame and air-gap – I simply need ventilation, or else even riding a bike makes my back wet out :-/

    While not the perfect pack (for one, it can’t stay upright on its own, also the 38 l version is not all that easy to pack, I figure it’s narrower), I love it. Absolutely love it. I am looking forward to the first overnighter with it, I’m quite unsure everything I’d have to take will fit..
    (I’m far from UL, mind you. My sleeping pad is an Exped Synmat, my bag a huge Nahanny one, my tent a Dragonfly 3XT, all of which sums up to quite a bit of volume.. but one can share, I guess)

  10. Gc3 January 28, 2016 at 2:17 am #

    Some people (like me) are just heavy sweaters. No matter how cold the weather, or light the pack, or how little clothing I wear…. I’m going to sweat going uphill

  11. Tim S. January 28, 2016 at 4:43 pm #

    I spent most of last year trying out an awful lot of packs. Reason is that though the Atmos AG line is easily the most comfortable to me, I wanted something much lighter.

    My back sweats heavily going uphill, pack or no pack. I am partial to the trampoline suspended packs not only because I sweat, but because of the irritation of my back from having non-vented packs flat against me. It becomes unbearable, like having sand in my shirt.

    I tried numerous non trampoline packs as well. Mariposa, ULA Ohm 2.0, Zimmerbuilt, HMG 3400, and quite a few others I don’t recall. Of those, the HMG was the hands down winner in overall comfort, the only thing that worried me was the hot back issue.

    I first tried on an Exos at Campmor, but that was just with beanbags which does’t tell the story. I took my Atmos (bought from Philip) loaded with my usual gear to REI and loaded up an Exos 58 med with my own stuff. Wore it around the store for quite a while, even tried on shoes and bought a pair. Had to take it off because the lower part of the shoulder straps were killing me. Felt like nothing more than two pair of parachords. Other than that I thought it was really nice and I wanted to like it, but it just wasn’t working for me.

    It turns out that shoulder straps would figure largely in my decisions.

    I tried out an Arc Haul and wound up ordering one customized with a Mariposa style left side pocket. Received it last week. It’s still not quite as comfy as the AG, but it’s a whole lot lighter.

  12. anwar February 2, 2016 at 11:55 am #

    i have older version of exos 58. i dont know why osprey didnt include the 2 additional side pockets (great function in the older) into the new exos 58.

    and i dont know why osprey choose white for the color of the lower part of their backpack, the part where it gets dirtier sooner.

  13. Cheri February 21, 2016 at 5:15 pm #

    Just a word to those who have back issues, the trampoline style packs may not work for you. I have a back injury that requires I keep the load close to my back. I tried the trampoline style packs, but they pull the load too far away from my back. It’s too bad though, because I love the concept. My HMG 3400 keeps it right against my back. Yes I sweat, but that pack sure moves great with me. There is always a compromise I guess.

  14. dara ohuiginn March 13, 2016 at 7:48 pm #

    Thanks for the great review. We just bought one and will report back if we can after use. One thing that would help would be normal metric weights and measures. Most hikers I think now use grams and kilograms and liters. Converting the old American ozs and ftpounds and feets and ninches is a bit harder,

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