|Rating:||8.8 / 10|
|Value for Money||1.8 / 2|
|Comfort||1.7 / 2|
|Weight||1.8 / 2|
|Durability||1.7 / 2|
|Versatility||1.8 / 2|
Now I need to own up here and say I’m starting to get complaints from my better half about the ever increasing number of packs I own. Point in case, at the time of writing this article I have four Osprey Exos packs including this new Osprey Exos Pro 55 Pack.
The Osprey Exos Pack range is without a doubt one of the mainstays of the Osprey range and one of the most used packs on the US long distance thru hiking circuit as well as on the European Camino. So what’s so different about the newest Exos pack and why introduce a third pack into the range?
Osprey has taken an already popular pack and introduced changes to make the Exos Pro 55 Pack perfect for the long distance hiking market. First up, instead of producing a pack that’s either 48 or 58 litres in size, Osprey has produced a pack that sits roughly in the middle at 55 litres. This may seem a strange sizing but given that some US trails necessitate the use of bear canisters, this make perfect sense.
Even though this pack is only marginally smaller in capacity than the Exos 58 litre pack, the weight drops from 1.334 kg (Large size) down to 983 grams for the Exos Pro all with the small loss of three litres in capacity. This weight reduction is achieved a number of ways including through the use of a different lightweight, durable and waterproof material (UHMWPE ripstop – now that’s a mouthful!), less padding on the shoulder straps, lightweight strapping and buckle systems and the removal or change to some of the pocketing systems. Having said that, the side water bottle pockets are deeper than those on the standard Exos packs making them so much more versatile for storage.
Feature wise this new pack is well thought out. In an aim to reduce the pack weight, the clipping system has been scaled back but as a large male who can be hard on his gear at times, I found this lightweight hardware durable so it will last so long as you aren’t deliberately rough. The cinching straps that run over this pack are more versatile than than the standard Exos packs – the pack size can be reduced in just about every direction possible. During the testing phase I used this pack fully loaded and then loaded lightly and found that it cinched down and it didn’t feel floppy.
As is the case with the other Exos pack models, this one comes with Osprey’s Airspeed back suspension which is a fancy way of saying there is an air gap between the back frame and your back which means that in hot weather, you won’t end up soaked. The downside of this style of suspension is that with a small pack weight (roughly 8 kg) it can feel like it’s ‘free floating’ which is a negative. On the topic of pack weight, the shoulder straps have been trimmed so while Osprey says this pack will cope with 18 kg, I’d be inclined to carry a maximum of around 16.5 kg for any extended period. If I was carrying heavier weight for longer periods, I would stay with the standard Osprey Exos.
This pack comes in two torso lengths so the starting point is working out your size by measuring your torso. In my case, I sit very firmly in the larger size so I didn’t need to think about it. Like the standard Exos packs, the Exos Pro has the ability to fine tune the adjustment of the suspension length. It was a fairly simple process to adjust this length. Once you have set this pack up, you don’t need further adjustment but it’s a nice feature to have. In addition with this pack, the front chest clip is designed to be set for the user and then left rather than being swapped out if you loan someone your pack. This adjustment took me a few minutes to adjust but as I don’t loan my pack, this will never have to be moved.
The water bladder system has stayed in place inside the pack and there is an improved clip system that seems to be paired with a redesigned Osprey water bladder but also works with the older bladder system and better than the older packs in the range.
The large stretchy pocket at the rear of the pack is usually where I store my tent. Our lightweight two person tent comfortably fits into this stretch pocket even though it makes the pack bulge. Getting back to the strapping system, when fully extended there is plenty of space in this pocket when fully let out.
Now for the negatives and in most cases this is very much a personal thing rather than a flaw in the pack design. First, the inner security pocket inside the pack brain has gone. In my case I have always loved this little pocket as that’s where I store my wallet, credit cards and keys. Second, the left hip belt pocket isn’t a zip pocket but rather a small open stretch pocket that I wouldn’t put a loose key in for fear of loosing it although it is a great place for the day’s snacks. Last, the design of the Airspeed pack frame means that the lower half of the suspension on this pack (and the standard Exos packs) is joined to the pack body which actually gets in the way if you’re using a pack cover. In earlier models, the strap that keeps the cover in place fed under the suspension. However, that’s not an option so you have to leave the cover unclipped or opt for a larger cover with a longer strap.
Price wise this pack is AUD $420 RRP which is getting up there in price but these days that’s average for high-end packs. Having said that, you should be able to find this pack o sale at a cheaper price.
So what’s my view on this new pack? For me this pack is almost perfect and even with a few very picky niggles I love it! So long as my pack weighs in under 18 kg (around an 8 day hike) this will be my pack of choice going forward. It’s comfortable, feature packed and very versatile being bale to be cinched down.
You can purchase the Osprey Exos Pro 55 Pack online from Wildfire Sports
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AUD $419.99 RRP
Osprey Exos Pro 55 Pack – Blue Ribbon colour
Image showing internal water bladder pocket on my Osprey Exos Pro 55 Pack
Shoulder strap padding. The straps aren’t overly thick compared to packs designed for heavy loads and will cope well with loads of around 18 kg but better with around 16.5 kg
Pack Brain with zip open. The opening is not excessively wide but you can still fit quite a lot into this compartment. I try to put what I need fo the day in the brain to limit opening up the main pack
Osprey Exos Pro 55 showing back gap which allows your back to stay drier in hot weather
Osprey Exos Pro 55 Pack right hip belt pocket, with zip
Osprey Exos Pro 55 Pack left hip belt pocket, no zip
Osprey Exos Pro 55 Pack showing back frame
Osprey Exos Pro 55 Pack adjustable back system
Osprey Exos Pro 55 Pack chest clip system
Osprey Exos Pro 55 Pack showing stretch pocket
This review was done with product provided by the Australian supplier of Osprey Packs