Rating: 5 / 5
The zpacks Exo, is light and tough and just the right size. I have a 6lb baseweight but with food and 3 liters of water, I end up carrying about 18lbs which the Exo handles with ease. It has a great suspension and can carry 30 lbs with or without the frame because it's narrow and keeps the load near your back. The stays are removable. I had been using a blast but needed a tougher material for bushwacking. The Exo has a tougher fabric. The hydration port is
in the center and allows you to use it on either side. The hipbelt isn't cushy but it does it's job; putting the weight on my hips. If used with the stays then I have no weight on my shoulders and they are wide enough apart that the stays never touch my back. I like the color. People on the trail used to stop me when I carried the blast and after awhile the novelty wore off. With the Exo, I'm ultralight but I blend in and can just enjoy the hike. The rolltop closure has tabs which help opening the velcro. The pack is well designed and has many fine features. I like that it is narrow and wide.
I've owned or tried almost every pack the cottage industry puts out and this is my goto backpack.
I did notice the bottom of the hipbelt had frayed a bit (about the size of a fingernail) after using it over the summer on about 4 trips, I patched it and no longer sit on the rocks with it on but it's light I almost don't need to take it off.
Exo - 3,000 cu in (50 Liters) - 12.8 ounces.
Zpacks Exo next to Nimbus Ozone
When I need to go for a longer trip use the two outside pockets to hold two long thermarest stuff sacks of gear, bumping the cu inches up closer to 65 liters.
Zpacks Exo along side HMG Porter
Looking inside an Exo with a bear canister bearicade weekender and a MLD Klymet pad for a smooth back.
with the front Pocket filled.
The frame on this pack did eventually break but I sent it to Joe and he converted the pack into a Blast with stays and I'm still using it.