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Exped Lightning 60 Review
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Maia Jordan
(maia) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Exped Lightning 60 Review on 05/13/2014 18:06:35 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Exped Lightning 60 Review

Hamish McHamish
(El_Canyon) - M

Locale: USA
_ on 05/14/2014 10:32:09 MDT Print View

Nice review Luke, very informative.

"It was just over two pounds and rated to carry up to 53 pounds..."

Did you weigh the empty pack? ExPed's website lists it at 41 ounces, which is 2 lb 9 ounces, considerably more than just over 2 pounds.

Seeing your photos, it appears that the waistbelt and stay are fully removable if the load is light enough to go frameless, correct?

Aaron Patt
(apatt_tm) - MLife

Locale: Southern NH
Exped Lightening 60 Review on 05/14/2014 11:00:49 MDT Print View

Thank you for your review. I am glad to see a review that focuses on load transfer and hipbelt integration rather than one that simply ends the conversation after a comparison of lightweight fabrics. I have tried the UL grocery sack and hated the poor hipbelts sewn to the sides of the backpack with no real thought to load transfer. Your post covers what I always considered should be the logical extension of thought when it comes to the evolution of UL packs, i.e. how well do they transfer loads to the hips; how to maximize the load capacity so that the pack works well at lighter and heavier loads; and how to maximize load transfer to (most important point) allow you to stay out in the field longer (more food and water carried).
I happen to be one of the people that finds carrying on shoulder uncomfortable and have wanted to see a review like this one for some time. Thanks again.

Jacques de Plume
compression system on 05/14/2014 11:24:47 MDT Print View

Thanks for the review. I've been using this pack for the last year and think it's great for times when you need to carry heavier loads like when packrafting. The compression straps going OVER the side pockets is completely ridiculous. I eventually ended up modifying it myself:

exped lightning 60 compression system

exped lightning 60 side pocket

exped lightning lineloc

After the modification and shortening some of the straps etc. weight is 1060 grams (37.4 oz)

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Exped Lighting 60 on 05/14/2014 11:28:40 MDT Print View

Old weights if I recall were 35 oz for the 45 liter version and 38 for the 60 liter version. Mine weighs 38 oz on my scale. I just checked the current website and you're right it is 41 oz. Also looks like the compression straps MIGHT have been changed from one picture. The other pictures still show the original version of the pack.

To answer your other question the frame is removable but you can't use the pack without it. The shoulder harness and hipbelt have nothing to attach to if you take it off.

Glad it helped I also like to get the load off my shoulders for the most part.

Jacques that is a very nice mod on your pack, I just might try that one myself (if I can find time).

Edited by Cameron on 05/14/2014 11:30:14 MDT.

Eric Gjonnes
(EKG) - MLife

Locale: Northwest
Exped 60 on 05/14/2014 11:40:06 MDT Print View

Nice review Luke. Would the compression straps work well for securing clumbsy tools such as a shovel? Or will that mess up its original intent?

Hamish McHamish
(El_Canyon) - M

Locale: USA
_ on 05/14/2014 12:13:31 MDT Print View

Luke, thanks for the fast update. Upon closer review of the pics I realized my question was dumb.

I emailed Exped asking if they could estimate when the version with the newly designed pockets would be on the market. Hope I hear back.

Great mod work Jacques!

Dan Dru
(Dandru) - F

Locale: Down Under
Re: Exped Lightning 60 Review on 05/14/2014 12:57:54 MDT Print View

I wanted to buy this pack but the lumbar pad protruded into my back and was so uncomfortable that I decided against it.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Eric on 05/14/2014 13:15:35 MDT Print View

Eric I attached snowshoes to mine once using a separate piece of webbing around the pack. Because the straps are so thin I'd be a bit concerned about tearing them out if you put something really heavy under them. Hope that makes sense. A piece of webbing run between the frame and pack worked fine and didn't stress things.

Hamish McHamish
(El_Canyon) - M

Locale: USA
_ on 05/15/2014 10:45:26 MDT Print View

Exped USA emailed me today to say that all Lighting packs shipped as 2014 stock have the lower compression strap routed through the side pockets instead of over them. REI for sure should have this new design.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re _ on 05/15/2014 11:37:26 MDT Print View

That is great to hear, I got used to living without side pockets but it makes the pack much more functional for other people. Great beginners pack since its relatively light and adjustable. If you decide a medium isn't your size you can just adjust instead of buying a new pack.

Adam Klagsbrun
(klags) - MLife

Locale: Northeast US
Great write up!!! on 05/15/2014 13:58:11 MDT Print View

Dude, this has to be one of the best write-ups/reviews I've read on this site so far. I also think it covers a very important topic. There are so many backpackers out there, like me, that just can't quite get down to the weight needed for a truly frameless or UL pack. I haven't tried the new zpacks frame pack yet, but I also like this idea of the single stay. I wish more companies produced packs that were truly designed to hold 30-35 lbs comfortably. Many of us in the northeast USA need a beefier pack made of slightly more durable material, and because many of us use lightweight tents like Big Agnes fly creek or sleeping bags instead of quilts, being able to carry the full 32 lbs on my back comfortably means a lot. I have found most packs that carry this weight to bottom out around 2 lbs 7 oz (Osprey Talon is my current pack... but there are many other brands around 2.5 to 2.8 lbs per pack, but they all struggle to carry a 35 lb load comfortably.) If more manufactureres could produce packs around 2 lbs that carried about 35 lbs comfortably, they'd be selling like crazy. Right now Osprey seems to have the lock on that market... I'd like to see some more options. Tell me what I'm missing if you have any other recommendations? Seems like the zpacks is also on the edge in terms of weight carried, right?

(Edited because I used the word tent where I meant to write pack :)

Edited by klags on 05/17/2014 06:39:49 MDT.

Derek M.
(dmusashe) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Exped Lightening 60 Review on 05/17/2014 03:36:15 MDT Print View

@Aaron Patt,
I couldn't have put it better myself.

I'm so tired seeing UL pack after UL pack whose sole defining feature seems to be that it is lightweight-- effective weight transfer to the hips be damned.

It's sort of maddening actually...

Nice to see a review that covers the features of a pack that I find salient, even if they don't exactly line up with the current vogue in the UL and SUL community here these days.

Edited by dmusashe on 05/17/2014 03:38:28 MDT.

Aaron Patt
(apatt_tm) - MLife

Locale: Southern NH
Exped Lightning 60 review on 05/21/2014 06:26:58 MDT Print View

Thanks Derek,

I started hiking in 1980. We used aluminum frame packs and shortly thereafter internal frame packs came out. Pricey, some were very heavy. I forget who talked about this recently, citing the historical evolution, but it was a good be fair Will R. has done some terrific reviews and he spends time discussing weight transfer. Now that we've digested the news and specs on cuben fiber and other lightweight materials, I am hoping someone will do a really deep dive on transfer of weight, comparing hipbelts, and the attachments of internal frames and how the work with or connect to the hipbelt.

As I said of myself, I've done a lot of shoulder carry but really don't like it. Because of the discomfort level for me, I've decided to stick with a pack that puts as much weight on the hips as possible.

Nice to know I wasn't alone with my thoughts :)