REI is going to have a sale next week, so I was checking out their backpacks and doing research. Can any of you suggest alternatives to the Osprey Exos 48?
I'm an armature hiker, maybe three trips per year, fair weather.
Sierra Nevada, no more than 5 miles in a day, 1 to 3 nights. I'll use my huge Kelty110 for week-long excursions (the length of Desolation Wilderness for example).
Budget is $200.
Normally I'd just use my big Kelty Redcloud 110, but I now have plantar fasciitis, my right foot is currently broken, and I'm not as young as I used to be, so I'm trying to get under 30lbs with a comfort item or two. I'm down to a 3lb tent, and a 2lb sack, and the Exos will shed three lbs off my backpack.
I'm 6'2", and I *think* my torso is 41.25 21.25". I have no idea how people get exact measurements. In any event, that length indicates I should get a "Large" Osprey.
Durability is important to me, as I can't imagine dragging cottage industry gear over granite slabs here in the Sierras.
So... having read all that, and supplied all the "read before posting" information, what's a list of alternatives to checkout?
Deuter ACT Zero 50+15 and Osprey Kestrel 48 leap to mind. A bit heavier, both a bit over 3 pounds, but the materials are a bit sturdier and the suspensions a bit beefier. I've used both and like both; get the one that fits better.
I've also used the Exos 48, and I don't find it comfortable with more than 25 pounds in it, so if you're trying for a 30 pound, be wary of the Exos - I don't believe it's got the suspension for it. (l'm 66, and am not sure how experienced I am - I've been at this for 35 years, but I'm never sure whether I've got 35 years' experience or one year's experience 35 times.)
Unless you're somewhere north of 7 feet tall, I doubt that you have a 41 inch torso - I'm hoping that was a typo, and should be 21 inches. I have a torso of 20-21 inches (call it 20.5); both of the packs I mentioned have adjustable suspensions, and should work for you. By the way, you find out what your torso is by going to a good store and having someone measure it - from your C7 vertebrae (the bump at the bottom of your neck) to the top of you hip girdle, as I recall. (Someone correct me if I'm wrong.) REI usually does a good job; so does a good local shop.
If you have any respect for your gear, or the $$$ you've put into it, you won't be dragging it on the ground or over logs or rocks! I do have lightweight gear, and my pack (1 3/4 lbs, a long-since-discontinued model from Six Moon Designs) has held up fine for the past 10 years and will probably last another 10, if I live that long. Please pick it up, don't drag it!
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
fantastic, thanks guys, I'm researching your suggestions now. My base load would be 22.8lbs, so I'm easily at 30lbs with clothes/food/water. How does the Exos suspension fail at that weight? hips? shoulders? other?
First, I've talked to people (mostly younger and fitter than me) who say they notice no problems with a 30 pound load in the Exos. So keep in mind that this is my opinion, based purely on subjective experience, and is not gospel about this pack.
I find that, above 25 pounds, I can't keep the hipbelt cinched tightly enough to keep it from sliding down my hips, or trying to double over. This lets the pack slide down, which means the shoulder straps and load lifters don't function properly because I can't keep the load on my hips and off my shoulders. It also feels like the pack tends to collapse onto the trampoline suspension and push against my back. In short, the suspension just sort of stops working for me.
As I said, that's my experience - it may not be the same as others' experience.
Thanks for the additional observations on the Exos. I've seen video reviews with similar concerns. Does it feel like there's no padding in the hip belt after a while? As if the 1.5" nylon strap is the only thing in contact with your torso? Reviews also indicate 25lbs is a reasonable maximum, not the listed 30lbs. others say 30lbs is no problem.
I just did another weigh-in and I'd be at 23lbs without food/water/clothes. I know it's borderline. Think the hip belt would bother me after 5 hours? I really want to make the Exos work, as the next step in comfort is the Atmos, which weights a lot more.
I'm lightening to overcome plantar fassiitis, and a currently busted foot, plus it's fun and more convenient with lighter loads.
In the 20-25 pound range, I never had any problem with the carry - the hipbelt and shoulder straps were comfortable for the entire day. That was usually a 9 or 10 hour day: 8 hours of walking, with a 15 minute pack-off break mid morning and mid afternoon, and a half hour or hour in the middle of the day for lunch (and maybe a nap?) So, while I've worn it for 8 hours a day, I've never worn it for more than 2 or 3 hours at a stretch.
The Atmos is comfortable, but if you're in that low-20s weight range, it's "weigh" overkill.
Thanks Glenn, The contents of my pack are down to 20lbs, with no food/water/clothes/backpack. Adding those things will put me over 25lbs, but I'll take your advice and draw the line there. Seem reasonable?
If I need 30lbs, i'll use my big/heavy/comfy kelty pack.