Forum Index » GEAR » Anybody tried the Exped Lightning 45 and 60


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Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Anybody tried the Exped Lightning 45 and 60 on 03/30/2013 18:21:29 MDT Print View

Anybody noticed the Exped Lightning 45/60? Basically two packs based on the same model weighing 35 to 38 oz and supposedly capable of carrying 50 pounds! Looking at the suspension that just might be possible. It even has and adjustable frame. Looks like a good choice for an UL hiker who might occasionally need to haul extra weight.

One thing I don't like is the long frame. According to the website the pack is 72 cm or 28 inches tall. I'm assuming that is the height of the frame. This would be a bummer for me because my load is normally small enough I can compress the pack down so its just level with my shoulders. Looks like the Exped packs would stick up above my shoulders a bit which is annoying if you don't need your pack to be that tall. However if you are carrying big loads all the time this may not be an issue. Packrafters, climbers and guides might love this pack. And if you are a really tall guy who wants a 28 inch torso length this pack might be perfect for you.

Edited by Cameron on 03/30/2013 18:33:15 MDT.

John Harper
(johnnyh88) - M

Locale: The SouthWest
Re: Anybody tried the Exped Lightning 45 and 60 on 03/30/2013 20:01:18 MDT Print View

Good find, Luke. Here is a pretty detailed video over-view of the pack:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NlhDcfCaH4

The adjustable torso looks good, but I wonder how the back padding is? The little pocket at the top is neat too. I've been trying to find a pack that actually fits me, maybe I'll order one of these to try out.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Re: Anybody tried the Exped Lightning 45 and 60 on 03/30/2013 20:06:39 MDT Print View

I watched that video. Backpacker tried this pack out too (that is where I first saw it). This might be the main competition for the HMG packs in the UL heavy hauler category.

John Harper
(johnnyh88) - M

Locale: The SouthWest
Exped Lightning 60 on 04/03/2013 22:20:40 MDT Print View

Well I ordered an Exped Lightning 60. It is a neat pack, to say the least. The suspension is quite good. I loaded it up with about 35 lbs and was able to place 100% of the weight on my hips. The way it works is cool and simple. At the top of the pack, the main stay (which is very stiff) forms a T. The pack bag basically hangs from this T:

exped1

The main stay then goes down to the hipbelt (I've un-velcroed the lumbar pad here):

exped2

And transfers the load directly into a little pocket sewn into the back of the hipbelt:

exped3

So it seems to basically be a very simple and light external frame pack. No part of the frame resides inside the pack. In fact, there is nothing inside the pack except for the little zipper pocket. Adjusting the torso height is very simple and can even be done with the pack fully loaded. It takes me less than a minute total.

The shoulder straps are well-cushioned but thin. And the hipbelt padding is a little on the thick side but pretty nice overall. Unfortunately, I am right at the lower limit of the hipbelt. I have about a 30 or 31 inch waist and have about half an inch of webbing left in the hipbelt when it's fully tightened. It was obviously made for bigger folk.

What I like least about the pack is the lumbar pad. It is overly cushioned and seems to place more pressure than I'm used to on my lower back. It's not uncomfortable but I wonder if it would cause me back issues after a long day. Maybe I just need to try bending the bottom part of the stay to a different curvature? The lack of back padding does not seem to be an issue. The pack only really contacts my back through the lumbar pad and the padding in the shoulder strap harness.

If you want a light pack that can carry a big load, I think this one is worth a look; however, I am not sure if I will keep the pack or not. The hipbelt size and the lumbar pad are both issues for me and may be deal-breakers.

Edited by johnnyh88 on 04/03/2013 22:22:39 MDT.

M L
(Ablaut) - F
Re: Exped Lightning 60 on 04/03/2013 23:03:12 MDT Print View

Thanks for the quick write-up, John.

I have a Marmot pack - Odin 35 - that has the same issue with the lumbar pad. I thought it might also end up being painful over an extended time. So far no pain for weekend trips, but it just feel so weird. Can't get used to it, even though the hip belt carries so well. Haven't used it much, only because of that pad.

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
t-frame on 04/04/2013 05:09:41 MDT Print View

wow, I always daydreamed about MYOG'ing this exact same suspension system* (which is just a more streamlined/lighter version of the Kifaru suspension system, which has the same flip down lumbar pad, and adjustable torso length via webbing--neither of which are patented I think) but kept getting stuck about how I would create the T. Short of welding two pieces of aluminum bar stock together, I had no clue how to form the T. John, is there anyway you can see how they connected the two pieces of aluminum? Is the main stay that goes the vertical length of your spine connected to the horizontal aluminum stay through some kind of slot? or are the two pieces welded? Thanks!

*I even brainstormed stupid trademarkable names for it, finally settling on "DTS" suspension, standing for Direct Transfer System ...LOL. Looks like Exped settled with "T-rex"

Edited by Konrad1013 on 04/04/2013 05:14:55 MDT.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: t-frame + 2 questions on 04/04/2013 06:14:42 MDT Print View

In the Outdoor Station video Bob mentions that the stay is replaceable.

Have a bear canister that you could show packed in there? How long a torso would that pack fit?

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Frame Question on 04/04/2013 08:59:51 MDT Print View

Thanks for the write up John, that was better then the reviews I'd seen. Could you tell me how tall the stay itself is? I would consider this as my "Do it all pack" but a frame that towers over my head when I don't need a tall pack is a deal breaker for me.

John Harper
(johnnyh88) - M

Locale: The SouthWest
t-frame on 04/04/2013 09:05:48 MDT Print View

Konrad, that's awesome! I think DTS would be a better name than "T-Rex". The "T" is actually really simple. The top of the main stay just slides into a pocket at the top (see first picture) and then a separate piece of metal (sewed into the gray fabric) is directly connected to that pocket. The head of the "T" is not completely fixed - it can angle to each side a little bit. So I guess all the weight of the pack really hangs from the top bar of the T, which then has a pocket to transfer the weight to the main stay, and then down to the hipbelt.


Ken, how big is your bear canister? I have never used one. I do have an Ursack stuffed completely full inside the pack. It cannot fit horizontally but it fits vertically with room to spare in every dimension. I currently have a Granite Gear Blaze AC 60, REI Flash 65, HMG 4400 SW, and ULA Circuit. The pack's dimensions are very similar to the first 3, except the HMG pack has a larger extension collar. It has much more interior volume than the Circuit.

I have an 18.5'' - 19'' torso and there is approximately 3'' left of adjustment for me (maybe 3.5''). My guess is it will work for up to 22'' torsos, +/- half an inch.


Regarding the lumbar pad, I discovered the pressure I was feeling is actually from the webbing buckle near the top of the lumbar pad (see 2nd picture). By velcroing the lumbar pad a little lower, I am able to reduce the pressure I feel. After doing this, I carried the pack around for about 30 minutes with no problems. The suspension system is really effective. Again, 100% of the weight on my hips with 35 lbs. 25 lbs in the pack is barely noticeable, but trail miles will be the real test. I'm taking a wilderness first aid course this weekend, but hopefully next weekend I can get out for a hike.

The Blaze AC 60 and Flash 65 are going back to REI this weekend. This pack and my HMG 4400 SW seem to easily carry better than both of those.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re t-frame on 04/04/2013 09:27:43 MDT Print View

Thanks again John. My torso is about 21 inches. So are you saying if I adjusted the pack for my torso I'd only have about 2 inches of pack sticking up? That might be tempting.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re t-frame on 04/04/2013 09:32:33 MDT Print View

nm

Edited by FamilyGuy on 10/30/2013 12:05:54 MDT.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Re Re t-frames on 04/04/2013 09:54:13 MDT Print View

My load is normally compact enough that my pack barely extends over my shoulders. So for me a taller pack is just an nuisance. I agree however that for bigger loads the load lifters and taller frames are nice to have.


Edit
I agree they look amazing but perhaps not for my intended us. I try to keep a 2 pound(ish) pack that can carry 35-40 pounds occasionally but compresses down for weekend trips when I don't want to use a SUL style pack. Right now my Zimmerbuilt pack fills this role. I'm trying to figure out if the Exped would to the same thing and carry a bit more weight.

Edited by Cameron on 04/04/2013 10:00:56 MDT.

Avery S
(Aveman)
Hipbelt on 04/04/2013 12:47:17 MDT Print View

Is the hipbelt completely removable? It looks like it is, but I want to be sure. I might just have to pick up one of these... Too bad backcountry.com doesn't have them, they have a 20% off coupon for a few more days...

Abraham Schlossberg
(ernda) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Torso length on 04/04/2013 13:07:28 MDT Print View

For the exped 60 any idea how short a torso length it adjusts down to? I need a 16-17 inch torso length.

John Harper
(johnnyh88) - M

Locale: The SouthWest
Re: Re t-frame on 04/04/2013 13:56:57 MDT Print View

I measured the total height of the stay to be around 25 inches. I don't find it to be "towering" over my head, but I get what you mean. It doesn't feel much different than my Circuit which I've used for over the past year. You would have a couple inches of the stay above your shoulder. Here's a picture of me wearing the Exped 60 with 35 lbs:

exped4

Do you see the little things directly above where the load lifters connect? I believe these may be alternate locations for the load lifters to route through, which may be necessary if you are pushing the max torso length? But I am not sure.

The hipbelt is completely removable. I suppose it might be possible to make your own (or get one built) that fits you better, if need be. This is a neat idea I hadn't thought of before...


16-17 inch torso length should be easily accommodated. I think the minimum torso length is around 15 or 16 inches. Exped really needs to publish some torso length recs

Edited by johnnyh88 on 04/04/2013 13:59:10 MDT.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Lightning Frame Question on 04/04/2013 19:36:54 MDT Print View

Thanks John. Your pics and pack size comparisions give me enough info. If it is larger than a Circuit, a bear canister will be no issue.

I agree that it is set up to run the load lifter straps in two positions.

It's a pretty clever suspension.

Wonder why no black available in the USA? That green is pretty nice though.

Edited by kthompson on 04/21/2013 22:46:33 MDT.

John Harper
(johnnyh88) - M

Locale: The SouthWest
Re: Exped Lightning 60 on 04/04/2013 21:35:10 MDT Print View

Forgot to mention the pack (with tags) weighs about 39.8 oz, so pretty close to its spec'd weight of 38.8 oz.

I'm going to give my HMG 4400 SW another chance to see how its torso length works for me; I like the HMG's pocket and compression system better and it's 7-8 oz lighter than the Exped. If it doesn't go well with the HMG again, I'll probably end up keeping the Lightning 60. Tough decision!

Leigh Baker
(leighb) - F

Locale: Northeast Texas Pineywoods
Exped pack on 04/05/2013 04:49:20 MDT Print View

Interesting, I see they make a women's 45. I have a lumbar disc issue, and as long as everything gets transferred to my hips, it doesn't bother me. I've been pretty happy with my Deuter pack, but it appears this one would shave around a 1/2 lb. I'm with Luke though on the height; can't stand a pack that I bump the top of with my noggin or hat. Make try one out and see, thanks for posting.

Richard Reno
(scubahhh) - M

Locale: White Mountains, mostly.
Backcoiuntry Edge? on 04/05/2013 05:13:59 MDT Print View

I don't know whether this is a good deal, but I just saw this pack on Backcountry Edge for $219, and you can get 12% off for joining their mailing list.

The 45, that is...

Edited by scubahhh on 04/05/2013 05:14:56 MDT.

Avery S
(Aveman)
Campsaver on 04/05/2013 09:26:27 MDT Print View

I just ordered the 45 liter off of Campsaver. $164.21 as it's on sale for 25% off. No tax (in CA) or shipping cost.

I was hoping backcountry.com would have it so I could combine their 20% code with 10% cash back from shopdiscover, but they don't have it and the chat representative seemed helpless as to knowing if they ever would.

If anyone has any questions specific to the 45 liter, I'll know in a few days!

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Exped Lightning 60 on 04/05/2013 10:56:52 MDT Print View

nm

Edited by FamilyGuy on 10/30/2013 12:23:59 MDT.

Jani Kikuts
(Enginerd) - M

Locale: Southern California
Bear Canister Fits on 04/05/2013 12:55:06 MDT Print View

Long time reader, just signed up for a membership. Anyhow, I received my 60 a few days ago and I can easily fit a BV500 in the bottom of the pack horizontally and vertically. I'm not sure yet if I will keep the pack or not, the center aluminum frame feels a bit strange against my spine when I bend forward but maybe I need to bend it a bit more to fit the curvature of my back. The frame does bend fairly easily for adjustments but I hope it would not go out of adjustment just as easily when carrying weight. I scored the pack on Campsaver with the recent 20% coupon they had for $199 and free shipping but I don't think that deal is still going.

John Harper
(johnnyh88) - M

Locale: The SouthWest
Re: Exped Lightning 60 on 04/05/2013 20:13:11 MDT Print View

Dave, the shoulder strap as I see it is split into 3 parts: the first part pads the back and connects to the stay, the 2nd part wraps around your shoulder, and the 3rd part goes over part of my chest then under my armpit and connects to the webbing. Parts 1 and 2 are equally padded, part 3 is very lightly padded (which is a nice touch).

Part 1: 4.5"
Part 2: 9.5 - 10"
Part 3: 7 - 7.5"

I also got mine at camp saver with the 20% off. Summit Hut still has them for $200

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: Exped Lightning 60 on 04/06/2013 10:41:58 MDT Print View

Thanks John

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Exped 45/60 Frame on 04/08/2013 17:51:01 MDT Print View

I emailed some questions about the pack to Exped and they said the frame on both the Lighting 45 and 60 is 24 inches long. I should be trying one out soon.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Exped 45/60 Frame on 04/08/2013 18:26:28 MDT Print View

Right. The 24" will be to where the load lifters are, I presume.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Re Exped 45/60 Frame on 04/08/2013 18:34:04 MDT Print View

"Right. The 24" will be to where the load lifters are, I presume."

That would be my guess. My Torso length is 20-22 depending on the hipbelt. Some hipbelts ride lower on my hips while others need to go a bit higher. My guess is I'll only have 2-3 inches sticking up which should be acceptable for me. Remember I would probably only fill this pack up to full capacity once or twice a year. For people carrying a packraft or a bear canister my nitpick over torso length is probably a non-issue.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re Re Exped 45/60 Frame on 04/08/2013 18:38:06 MDT Print View

So are you going for the 60 or 45? Based on specs, it looks like the 60 is just a smidge taller with a little more depth.

Avery S
(Aveman)
Lightnight 45 showed up today on 04/10/2013 00:07:11 MDT Print View

My lightning 45 showed up today, and it's a pretty neat pack.

The suspension does a really, really good job of getting all the weight onto the hip belt, which is big and cushy. I also was initially annoyed by weird pressure of the lumbar pad, but the sensation went away completely when I loaded it up with climbing ropes and gear.

This 45L version weighed 38.7 oz on my scale (with tags), so not much lighter than the 60L. There is a 0.70 oz top strap and 0.35 oz ice axe bungee that can be removed.

It would be possible to remove the hip belt completely if I cut the end of the webbing that snugs the bottom of the bag to the hip belt. As many webbing ends are, it is sewn bag onto itself to keep it from slipping through the ladder lock. This double layer of webbing is too thick to go through the lightweight ladder locks on this pack. The load lifter straps are not sewn back, and as such they can be switched to the higher set of load lifter ladder locks. The bigger problem is that without the hip belt, there is no anchor point for the stay, and without the stay, the shoulder straps lose their main connection to the pack. So while the hip belt can be completely removed, the pack can't be used without it. Why do I care? I'd like it to function as a "bag with straps" for climbs with a long approach in the Sierras. My opinion is that it is unusable without the hip belt and stay. My fault for trying to get the bag to do something it was definitely not designed for!

With the hip belt as separated as I could get it without cutting the pack, it weighed 9.5 oz. The stay is 2.55 oz.

The side pockets seem as difficult to use as they looked with the compression straps tightened. These straps are very light webbing. I'm a little bit worried about the plastic rings that they thread through over long term use. I was able to secure a Z-lite (full length) to the side of the pack by putting only 3 of the 4 diagonal straps over the pad, and the other one under. I had to work to get the 3rd part of the strap over. In general, I don't think these straps would be good for heavier or sharp things, like snowshoes.

Overall, I think it's a really good pack, and a bold design. They have gone one step further than I've seen in terms of eliminating EVERYTHING that doesn't contribute to the load carrying ability of the pack. Obviously I haven't tested it, so this is somewhat meaningless, but I think it's only competition in terms of carrying capacity to pack weight ratio are the HMG packs (from what I have read) and probably external frame packs.

Since I want to avoid bringing a daypack for climbing trips, I won't be keeping the pack. The extreme design of the Lightning 45 is very cool, and I think that having toyed around with it for an evening has helped me understand what compromises I am and am not willing to make for my next pack. If I wasn't a climber, it might be a different story!

If anyone has any questions about the pack, I'd be happy to try to answer them.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Anybody tried the Exped Lightning 45 and 60 on 04/20/2013 20:53:36 MDT Print View

Anyone had a chance to use one of these in the field yet?

John Harper
(johnnyh88) - M

Locale: The SouthWest
Re: Anybody tried the Exped Lightning 45 and 60 on 04/20/2013 21:17:38 MDT Print View

Not here - I ended up returning mine. The hipbelt proved to be too big for my waist.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Exped Lightning 45 and 60 Hipbelt on 04/20/2013 22:00:23 MDT Print View

I unfortunately predict that will not be an issue for me.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Exped Lightning 45 and 60 on 04/21/2013 22:47:29 MDT Print View

John. What size Evernew bottle is in the pocket?

That's good news Jani. Also the answer to my next question.

Edited by kthompson on 04/21/2013 22:51:11 MDT.

Leigh Baker
(leighb) - F

Locale: Northeast Texas Pineywoods
re: Anyone had a chance to use one of these in the field yet? on 04/22/2013 07:26:19 MDT Print View

I ran into Luke this weekend on the trail and he was trying out the 60. My bet is he'll share his thoughts soon. I got to try it on and I'm interested enough to order the women's 45.

Edited by leighb on 04/22/2013 07:27:17 MDT.

John Harper
(johnnyh88) - M

Locale: The SouthWest
Re: Exped Lightning 45 and 60 on 04/22/2013 08:10:37 MDT Print View

That's a 1.5L Evernew in the side pocket. It barely fit.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
The Exped 60 on 04/22/2013 08:38:51 MDT Print View

I tried out an Exped 60 as Leigh mentioned. Here are my initial thoughts. First its a big pack, I think it might actually be more then 60 liters. Second even though it was not loaded up with a heavy load it was very comfortable. Once I had the adjustments dialed in I don't think I changed it for the remainder of the trip.

This may be more pack then most UL hikers need but if you want a UL pack that can haul more then 40 pounds this is one of the few options out there.

I'll put together more info later.

Jani Kikuts
(Enginerd) - M

Locale: Southern California
New video by Exped on lightning packs on 05/06/2013 08:30:17 MDT Print View

An overview video by pack designer now on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKX3m8BnovY&feature=youtube_gdata_player

John Finney
(guavarex) - M

Locale: Zürich, Switzerland
Any trail use feedback yet? on 05/17/2013 05:33:06 MDT Print View

Hi all,

My current pack is a 2002 Mountainsmith Auspex which is finally worn out; here in Switzerland (limited UL options), trying to make up my mind between the Lightning 45 and a Laufbursche huckePACK. The latter is lighter, while the Lightning clearly sports extra load transfer capability with the T-frame.

I'm interested to hear a field report on the Lightning 45 (or 60), esp. from someone who has similar experience with a frameless pack like the huckePACK.

My intended use: my US trips are nearly always 5-7 days, 25 pounds or so, about 1/2 of time with a bear canister.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Exped Lightning 60 on 05/29/2013 22:24:41 MDT Print View

24" stay per Exped FWIW.

Keith F
(hamerica) - M

Locale: Northern Virginia
Re: Lightning on 06/03/2013 19:36:17 MDT Print View

I picked up the 60 on sale at campsaver for $200 a little while back and I just took it for a 35 mile packrafting trip. The pack carried 30lbs of gear like it was nothing, all the weight is transferred to the hips and the load is very stable. I hardly felt anything on my back since the only contact points are the shoulder harness and the lumbar pad, in 90+ temps it kept my back pretty cool. I have a 20" torso and I had to set this between small and medium so if you have a really small torso I don't see how this pack would work for you. I did notice at first the stay was above my head and thought it would bother me but it really was not an issue. The pockets could be much better, I can get a water bottle out without taking the pack off but it is really tough to get back in. If they made the pockets a little larger and angled them forward a bit it would help. The compression system makes using the pockets difficult as well but not impossible. All of the contents in my pack stayed dry for the trip, however I think if this thing used a more waterproof fabric it would be the ultimate packrafting pack. All in all I think this is a great pack, definitely the most comfortable heavy weight pack I have ever used. If you need to haul 30+ pounds I recommend trying the lightning and if you can find it on sale it is really a bargain.

Just wish they sold the black in the US.

Edited by hamerica on 06/03/2013 20:52:06 MDT.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Lightning on 06/03/2013 20:08:56 MDT Print View

Just wish they sold the black in the US.

+1

Thanks for the update. Very tempting for me.

Kevin Schneringer
(Slammer) - MLife

Locale: Oklahoma Flat Lands
Exped Lightning 45/60- Revisited on 07/09/2013 20:51:52 MDT Print View

There is a fairly long thread on this pack from April.i am interested in this pack but want some info on load handling and comfort.

Has anyone got MILES on theirs yet. How do they like it.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Exped Lightning 45/60- Revisited on 07/15/2013 06:56:44 MDT Print View

+1 w/Kevin What's the word?

Kevin Schneringer
(Slammer) - MLife

Locale: Oklahoma Flat Lands
Well I just ordered one on 07/30/2013 18:47:56 MDT Print View

Well seems like good info. But I was hesitant so I ordered one from Campsaver using 20% of code.
I really hope it's the comfortable UL load hauler it seems to be.
If any one has got miles they might post some updated thoughts.

I ordered the 45, I will right it up once I gets some miles.

Alex Wallace
(FeetFirst) - F

Locale: Northern California
soon on 08/01/2013 15:13:31 MDT Print View

I received the 45L flavor this morning (Campsaver.com's free shipping is very fast) and plan to use it on a 2-night trip this weekend. I'll post my initial impression shortly thereafter.

Kevin Schneringer
(Slammer) - MLife

Locale: Oklahoma Flat Lands
Re:soon on 08/01/2013 19:09:15 MDT Print View

Alex,

let me know what you think. Mine will arrive Monday 8/5 so i guess i can give some updates also.

I am probably more excited about this pack than any other i have ordered.Not sure why but it is just so slick. we shall see what my $175 bucks bought me...

Alex Wallace
(FeetFirst) - F

Locale: Northern California
update on 08/02/2013 11:34:26 MDT Print View

I was able to fiddle with it a bit at work and liked what I saw. When I got home I packed it with my normal summer/fall Sierra load, including a small bear canister (BareBoxer Contender 101)and a liter of water, adjusted the torso length until it felt good, and went for a walk around the neighborhood. The pack was very comfortable and very little weight could be felt on my shoulders. It was also very stable and I'm surprised how well the hip belt conformed to me. From my past experiences, less padded, pliable, hip belts work better for this, but so far so good.

After about a 45 minute walk I returned home and unpacked. I noticed a small defect (missing cover fabric) on the shoulder strap where the sternum strap connects. I called Campsaver.com this morning and they handled the exchange impeccably! So I won't be able to use it this weekend, but should have a new one before next weekend and hope to use it on a trip then.

Nit-pics: I really dislike the compression system. It works well to reduce the volume, but it's fiddly and awkward to use. I'm going to deal with it for now and see how I feel about after a few trips.

The load lifter straps are difficult to pull?! It feels like the webbing is binding up in the glide. Hopefully this will subside with more use.

That's about it for now. I'll post more after a trip with it.

Kevin Schneringer
(Slammer) - MLife

Locale: Oklahoma Flat Lands
Just got the 45 today on 08/05/2013 19:57:44 MDT Print View

Just received the Exped Lightning 45,Green, today and so far I really like it.
Loaded it with 23+ lbs.which is my winter kit, 3l water, 5.5 lbs of food.
It was very full as all of the gear,food and water were in the rucksack.

This pack is great at putting weight on hips. I hiked about 2.5 miles in it and found it very comfortable.
I also found the compression straps different but work well. Load lifter straps do pull hard but seemed to loosen after several adjustments.

I will right a proper review after several trips. But as it stands now I would recommend this pack.
I think I would not have noticed another 5-6 lbs. its so comfy.

Desert Dweller
(Drusilla)

Locale: Wild Wild West
Exped on 08/05/2013 20:10:02 MDT Print View

I noticed when I was in the big city of Tucson last week that Summit Hut is carrying the Exped Lightning.

John Finney
(guavarex) - M

Locale: Zürich, Switzerland
Quick Exped Lightning 45 review on 08/19/2013 04:33:50 MDT Print View

I just finished a 7 day, 82 mile, 16000 feet trip in the Sawtooth mountains of Idaho, where my new Exped Lightning 45 (black) received a good workout. One first step of first day, pack weight was around 33 pounds with 10 pounds of food, two liters of water, and 750 ml of bourbon. By end of trip, clearly the weight was about 15 pounds less.

Overall, the pack performed very well, with three nags:
(1) The suspension running down the spine is annoying. I would gladly take a little extra weight for two struts and not have to adjust (often) to shift the pressure point on the spine. Not a deal killer, but not as comfortable as my old Mountainsmith Auspex, which otherwise has a very similar design.

(2) The internal two-sided pocket is deep, and presses on the upper back accordingly when it hangs down. This is easily resolved by lifting it up and placing it on top of the pack contents before closing the roll top.

(3) The cinch straps go across the side pockets, making water bottle entry a hassle. Simply anchoring the cinch straps two inches higher would resolve this, but such mods exceed my very limited sewing skills.

Pluses:
(a) The hip belt is very good, with roomy pockets.
(b) The bag shape maximizes useful volume.
(c) Pack fabric very tough.
(d) Adjustability is a breeze.
(e) Cinch straps are effective, simple, and very light.
(f) Black color looks cool :)

I was able to hang food (about 13 liters worth) rather than use a bear canister. In a canister zone, I would recommend the larger 60 liter size.

Alex Wallace
(FeetFirst) - F

Locale: Northern California
I just got back from a week in the Ansel Adams Wilderness... on 08/27/2013 02:24:34 MDT Print View

...and I agree with the comments above, except about the bear canister. I carried a BV450 with no problems.

Huffing and puffing with Thousand Island Lake and Banner Peak in the distance:


Day trip up to Lake Catherine from base camp at west end of Thousand Island Lake (note the compression):


On trail near the shores of Garnet Lake:

Edited by FeetFirst on 08/27/2013 02:45:38 MDT.

Tjaard Breeuwer
(Tjaard) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota, USA
Not tall enough, to 'deep' on 09/20/2013 08:27:07 MDT Print View

I just got one, but will returning it. From previous comments I had hoped that it was a tall pack, but that is not the case, it's merely not a short pack.
Unlike Luke, I want the pack to stick up well above my shoulders, this helps keep weight on your hips and over your feet. Load lifters should come down at about 45 degrees for the most efficient carry. Of course, that is for a pack of this size (~50l) and packed weight (~15-25lbs). If it were smaller, for a lighter load, I'd be quite happy with the length.

This is the 45 and it is huge. I wish it were less 'deep' to keep the weight closer to your back.
For me, a few inches taller frame, along with a pack bag that was shallower front to back would have been perfect.
The frame length is about 24 inches.
That means, the overall pack is about 25" tall, and 11" deep. For best carrying with heavier loads and to keep the volume from getting too huge, I think a ratio of 3;1 or so is better, say a 9" deep pack that is 27" tall.

Lightningoutside

Lightninginside

The lumbar pad sticks up above the hip belt, and creates uncomfortable pressure at that spot. I love a good lumbar pad, but this one is to high up.

Lightningnoperson

The top of the bag does not have much of a collar to form the roll top, a little more fabric here would make that easier.

Edited by Tjaard on 09/20/2013 08:37:21 MDT.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Not tall enough, to 'deep' on 09/20/2013 08:44:53 MDT Print View

nm

Edited by FamilyGuy on 10/30/2013 12:25:18 MDT.

Tjaard Breeuwer
(Tjaard) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota, USA
my torso on 09/20/2013 14:37:57 MDT Print View

dave,
good point, i had forgotten that. my torso length is 18.5" from top of iliac crest to C7.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: my torso on 09/20/2013 14:45:46 MDT Print View

nm

Edited by FamilyGuy on 10/30/2013 12:26:25 MDT.

Alex Wallace
(FeetFirst) - F

Locale: Northern California
? on 09/20/2013 15:28:05 MDT Print View

I have a 19" torso and the frame extends high enough on me for the load lifters to extend up at approximately a 45 degree angle. When I get a chance, I'll load it up and snap some profile pics to post. I wonder if either (1) I wear packs high on my hips or (2) you wear packs low? What pack, and size, fits you comfortably?

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Anybody tried the Exped Lightning 45 and 60 on 12/01/2013 20:07:54 MST Print View

Recently got a Lightning 60 to use on family and extended solo tramps. Used for four days so far, carrying about 30lbs each day (ate food but had to carry more water as trip went on). Overall I am pleased with the pack. Weight transfer to hips is excellent. Definitely superior to the Elemental Horizon Aquilo I had initially been intending to use for this trip and a major improvement on my Gossamer Gear Gorilla at weights over 25lbs. The only thing I would change is the hipbelt, as I prefer more flexible and less heavily padded hipbelts and I also don't like sewn on hipbelt pockets.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Exped 60 on 07/20/2014 15:52:26 MDT Print View

I was in Bozeman for a race and stopped in at Prolitegear and they happened to have a couple of Exped Lightnings in. Sooooo....I've been looking for a pack w/ a little more volume and the ability to carry a few more pounds than my Hornet 46 for shoulder season and winter. My young grandson has just started backpacking w/ us, so a bigger tent and the need to carry some of his stuff also necessitated a larger pack. Based on the good reviews (here and elsewhere), the Lightning looked like a strong candidate. The guys loaded up a 60 for me, adjusted the frame length- easy to do and I ended walking out the door w/ it (well I had to pay for it first :))

I'll post up my impressions from the field in a couple of weeks.