Osprey Exos 48 Pack Review- A Lightweight Pack for Serious Hikers

Osprey quality in a bite-size shape that should make even the crunchiest thru-hikers happy. Weighing in at 2lbs 10oz, this pack is agile enough for light hiking and comfortable enough for those who like to carry a bit more electronics than the average backpacker. Internal framed with a cushy ventilation system, this pack can take users around the world.

Osprey Exos 48 Review Summary


  • Lightweight, weighing in at 2lbs 10oz
  • Comfortable straps and harness.
  • Osprey lifetime warranty protection.


  • If weight is your main concern there are lighter options on the market.
  • There is additional material between the floating lid and the body of the pack to make it more universal with the lid removed - called the “flapjacket”. This adds weight for those who decide not to use the top pocket.
  • No hip-belt pockets on the newest model. Come on Osprey- munchy pockets are a hiker’s best friend!

Lightweight demand has gone mainstream and this is Osprey’s entry into the marketplace. The biggest weight saver is the size of the pack, the medium holds 48 liters. Small enough to force users to pack smart, it also requires a smaller frame and thinner padding while still keeping the comfort level high.

Built for Speed

First introduced in 2008, this pack was specifically designed for Appalachian thru-hikers. Everything is built to minimize weight and maximize comfort. The “airspeed” ventilation system is a mesh fabric that cushions the back and increases airflow where friction occurs. Its internal frame and solid construction also allows it to carry loads up to 40lbs, perfect for bringing some extra beer into camp.

With three sizes available, this bag has been made to fit a universal list of outdoors people. There are also two, large, outside side pockets. Built from a stretchy material, they can hold rain gear or water bottles, good for gear that is constantly being used.

Lightweight Materials

Made of strong material, the pack will hold up for the duration of a thru-hike, perhaps more than one. Sometimes, tougher equipment is better than ultralight fabrics. Having your backpack break in the backcountry is a calamity that no hiker should experience.

The frame is made of aluminum, which is a strong and lightweight choice. It does extend the length of the bag, which stabilizes larger loads. There are gear attachment loops as well as a strap designed for holding styrofoam sleeping pads on the outside of the pack. Hang your trekking poles on the outside and strap on a solar panel as well, this bag can do it all.

Ease of Packing

The most obvious feature of the pack is the single pocket design. Sometimes known as a ”top-loader”, there are no additional internal storage areas and everything must be packed in a vertical method. Critics of this design dislike having to dump their pack on the ground when looking for gear. My own personal thoughts are that the weight saved without additional zippers and fabrics is worth it. Packing just takes a little more strategy.

My major concern with this pack is the lack of hip-belt pockets or shoulder strap pockets. I use my side pockets to carry maps, snacks, a knife, a compass, even my cellphone, I enjoy having my most used items within easy reach. Older models do feature these pockets and if you’re like me, it shouldn’t be too hard to find.

The outside pockets include an ice-axe strap. A cool item that some hikers use and all of us want to carry. This gear attachment does allow Pacific Crest Trail hikers to become users as well - smart on Osprey’s part. My favorite characteristic of the design are the water bottle holders. Designed to face forward, I don’t have to break stride to take a swig from my nalgene. And for you bladder pack lovers, there is an internal pocket for that as well.

How Many Pockets Does the Exos 48 Have?

There are two outside pockets, two water bottle pockets, a hydration sleeve, one interior pocket, and a floating lid with an internal pocket – 7 total.

I am happy to see outside pockets included in the design. They are useful for stowing rain gear, especially in situations where you are constantly putting on and taking off layers.

How Comfortable is the Exos 48 Backpack?

Having hiked with ultralight packs as well as heavier, more luxurious ones, the Exos 48 falls right in the middle, a Goldilocks scenario. The airframe of the Osprey architecture keeps my back cool even on hot days and the shoulder strap has enough cushion to prevent uncomfortable chafing. The additional comfort is also nice for carrying heavy loads. The minimalist design helps to make hiking easier and prevent bad packing choices.

Osprey Exos 48 Technical Specifications

We’ve broken down the specs to make it easier to compare this backpack to others featured on Gearsignal.

Internal Capacity

Small - 45 L

Medium - 48 L

Large - 51 L

Backpack Weight

S -2.55lbs

M - 2.57lbs

L - 2.60lbs

Maximum Weight


Torso Sizing - broken down by body length

S - 16-19 inches

M - 18-21 inches

L - 20-23 inches

Outer Dimensions

31 x 16 x 13 inches


Body - 100D high tenacity nylon

Bottom - 200D high tenacity nylon

Frame Material

6065 Aluminum

Packed Size

4 x 19 inches

Rainfly and Floor Material

Nylon treated with 1200mm waterproof polyurethane

Interior Pockets

2 (1 without the floating lid)

Exterior Pockets



Osprey Lifetime Repair

Hip Belt


Hip Belt Pockets


Hydration Compatible



M & W

User reviews


Osprey Exos 48 Summary

Built for backpackers looking for a lightweight pack without breaking the budget, but will facilitate an amazing thru-hike. This pack is a reliable choice for thru-hikers and boys scouts alike, possibly weekend warriors trying to shave weight. The Exos 48 is lightweight, small, powerful, and comfortable, a smart investment and one that will could last longer than your knees.