Rating: 5 / 5
The Exodus is the new 2009 version of the MLD Zip pack. So far, I have taken it on 2 overnight trips and one 9 day trip. This is my first frameless pack, so I can't compare to others, but the pack is well made and performed beautifully.
The pack weighs 14.3 oz including the optional sternum strap. The shoulder straps have just enough padding, and no more. According to Ron's specs, the main pack bag is 2400 ci, 3200 ci when you include the outside mesh pocket and side mesh pockets, and 3600 ci with the extension collar. The Dyneema X material is durable.
Some observations based on my experience with the pack. The Gossamer Gear Night light torso pad fits well in the pack as a surrogate frame. The outside mesh pocket in the back is something I thought I wouldn't use, but I have used it extensively for everything from drying a bandana to carrying an extra water bottle on a dry stretch of trail. Ron is spot on with his observation that about 25 lbs is the limit on comfort even though the pack can carry much more. I had to lug lots of water on a dry stretch of trail, and the pack had room for it all, but I noticed the tug on my shoulders when the pack was at around 25 lbs. Once the water was gone and the pack was back to 20 lbs or less, the ride was much smoother. I use the pack in conjunction with a bottle pocket on the shoulder strap, so I can't comment on the hydration system compatibility, though you can buy the pack with a hydration sleeve and it has ports on both sides of the top for tubes. I bought the pack with an optional clip in mesh pouch, which I have since abandoned because it just doesn't work well with my packing system, so I can't recommend that option.
To give you an idea about the flexibility of the size of the pack, on an overnight with my kids I carried their Squall 2 in one of the outside side pockets and my son's sleeping bag, plus my quilt and bivy and tarp, and all my other gear and food for 3 for the night. I was surprised that I could easily carry all of this in a frameless pack. Although the pack was full it rode fine.
This is now my preferred pack for pretty much all trips, though I have a trip coming up where I need to carry a bear can and food for my whole family for multiple nights (short daily mileage though), so I'm not sure yet whether I'll be taking the Exodus, but I'm going to try to pack it and see how it feels.
Edit: I wasn't able to comfortably fit everything in it for the family trip, so I ended up using a different pack (an old Gregory) that had more room. Nothing wrong with the Exodus, it just isn't made to carry gear for my whole family for 4 days, especially when I have to carry a bear can and my son's sleeping bag. I'm still happy with it and plan to use it on future trips when possible.