Thanks for the ideas. I have to be careful with these though because I reckon most shops here aren't so keen on people testing their packs unlike US.
The Exos feels really great on my back, but the back mesh feels like it could rip apart if I even look it the wrong way. However the rigid frame transfer load to my hips very well, and I enjoy it. Durability is my main concern right now, it seems like I would have to send it back for repairs rather often. Exos though has very well bended back frame which fits me. Another drawback is that I might want just a bit more padded hip belt like Crown does.
The Crown on the other hand puts the load on my shoulders unless I adjust my shoulder straps to move it a bit further away from my neck which also moves the pack slightly away from my back. In every other aspect I love the pack. It seems much more durable, and doesn't have useless extra, except access to water bottles isn't that easy (you'd need a hydration sleeve). The padding and hip belt is much better too. The problem with Crown has more to do with my body structure than the pack itself.
Are there any other light backpacks with a rigid frame? I understand the GG Blaze 60 has some kind of tough frame, but is it comparable to Exos? Does the alloy frame connect to the hipbelt as a true internal frame? Exos won't fold unless I'd force it by hand or overload it. Load weights over 30lbs would be extremely rare for me.
Will, thanks. The Aquilo looks very interesting and I think BPL reviewers said it as good as Exos in terms of load transfer if not better. I'm sure it could work but it costs me about 20 euros to send the pack one way, so basically if I buy it, it'd have to be a keeper, and I'd have to send these two back.
They're intriguing packs though, the Aquilo and HMG Porter. Hopefully in the future they'll get some of these into the local gear shops so I could test them. Right now I'm a skeptical whether I can enjoy without a true internal frame. I don't really mind the extra pounds in the backpack if it feels great, I mean the objective is to get more comfortable load, and pounds are only instrumental to that.
Other packs that caught my attention was Lightwave UltraHike 60 and Montbell Versalite.