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.
(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.