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Mountain Laurel Design FS exodus

in Backpacks - Internal Frame

Average Rating
4.00 / 5 (3 reviews)

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Fred eric
( Fre49 )

France, vallée de la Loire
Mountain Laurel Design FS exodus on 03/03/2013 03:09:46 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

After a few overnight with this pack ( he was too big , but i wanted to try it asap, planning for 2013 TGO ), i just did my first one week snowshoeing hike with it.

- first as i have complained on this forum on a few overweight MLD items, i must state than this one was a few % under the stated weight !
- one of my reasons to buy it was the back inflated mattress, due to a bike versus car accident, my back is painful with most packs, i can stand a light and well packed golite ion for a summer overnight (3-4kg ), but i wasnt able to stand a carefully packed golite jam, or even a talon 44 with 8-10kg.
the only packs that i use are a an old stratos 32 (2008 i would say ) and an exos 58 atm.
so the very good new for me is i found the MLD FS exodus back comfortable enough over a week.
- the shoulder straps are very comfortable, i would rate them on par with my stratos 32 and way better than my exos 58.
- the size reduction at the bottom and with the straps was enough for me to use this pack on overnight ( not compressing much my sleeping bag helped too )
- i used this pack with up to 9-10kg, weight transfer is good until the belt starts to slide down a bit
- the only part i am not 100% satisfied is the belt, while its better than my exos 58 ( again ) i find my stratos 32 way better ( but to be honest this pack even stripped down is twice the weight of the FS exodus )
after a while it tends to slide down a bit, and i find it difficult to tighten it just right for it not to slide without being over tightened

but as belly and hip are a personal thing, this last remark isnt for everyone.

overall i am very happy with this pack , its a keeper, only the belt prevents it being the perfect pack for me.

edit : a few typos and spelling errors, but i am afraid lots are left

Edited by Fre49 on 03/03/2013 12:31:00 MST.

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Jeremy Pendrey
( Pendrey )

comfy ride on 08/27/2013 20:02:40 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I have taken the FS Exodus on 2 trips this summer with very different circumstances. Both left me very happy with the FS.

First, in July, I hiked 130 miles along the PCT in the Sierra. For this trip, instead of using the inflatable pad that came with the pack, I swapped it out for a Gossamer Gear tri-fold night lite closed cell foam pad. When put inside a plastic bag, the GG pad slides in the pad sleeve and fit perfectly and allowed me to use the pack with my existing solo sleep system without carrying the extra weight and bulk of the inflatable pad. I kept the carbon frame in.

Second, in August, I spent 4 days family backpacking in the Three Sisters Wilderness in Oregon. On this trip I went for comfort and brought a neo air so I left the GG pad at home and used the inflatable back pad. Again the pack was very comfortable, even considering all the extra family gear I was carrying. I didn't weigh my pack at the outset, but probably high 20s. I again kept the carbon frame in.

Overall, I really like the pack. It is great to have load lifters on such a light pack. Like all of Ron's gear, the construction is impeccable. If you use a tri-fold GG pad as part of your sleep system, you can swap it out for the inflatable pad and you won't even notice the difference. The carbon frame is light and unobtrusive and adds quite a bit of structure and stability. The inflatable pad still strikes me as a bit gimmicky, but it seems to do the trick. When I used it I brought along the included pump because I didn't yet trust it would stay inflated. I'd probably do that again on at least one more trip, which does add a little bit of weight.

If you are looking for a long haul pack that is roomy and still fairly light, this is a good option.

Scott S
( sschloss1 )

New England
Overpriced, underfunctional on 12/23/2013 17:07:45 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 2 / 5

I used an Exodus FS for my 5-month CDT thru-hike. The pack was, by far, my least favorite piece of gear.

What I didn't like:
- The pack squeaked loudly and persistently, with almost every step I took. I think the squeaking came from the hoop frame, but I was never certain (I would've removed the hoop, but the air frame was leaking, so that would have been left with no support in the pack). I emailed Ron to ask what I could do, and he suggested taking out the pad and frame and making sure they were in the right place. I did this to no avaiil.
- The blow-up pad started leaking about halfway through the hike. If I blew it up in the morning, it would be empty by evening. I met another CDT hiker with an Exodus FS, and he had the exact same problem after 2 months. Without the support from the pad, the pack sagged badly, and I was carrying a lot of weight on my shoulders. Ron included a patch kit with the pack, but another hiker told me that the fabric of the pad was too rough for the patch to work--I didn't try it myself.
- The new, wider hipbelt is too wide for the MLD hipbelt pockets. The MLD website suggested that you can attach the pockets by strapping the shoulder strap between the two elastic pieces on the hipbelt pocket. But the Exodus hipbelt was too wide to fit the pockets that way without seriously deforming the hipbelt. I had to use the clips that MLD provided instead, and that meant extra weight. Plus, there was nothing securing the hipbelt pockets in place, so sometimes they ended up sliding off the hipbelt and dangling when I took my pack on or off.
- The Exodus FS has the worst side pockets I've ever seen on a pack. I could not access water bottles in the side pocket. For some reason, the pockets are sewn flat, so that the mesh, which is not stretchy, lies almost flat against the pack. This means that, when your pack is full, you have to jam your water bottles into the side pockets to get them in, and they are very hard to pull out with your pack on your back. Luckily, I had a partner on the CDT, and she pulled my bottles out for me when I needed them. But even then she had to pull hard to get the bottles out. A little extra fabric in those side pockets would weigh almost nothing but would dramatically increase the functionality of the side pockets.
- The drawstring closure at the top was tough to maneuver, and I had to pull hard open or close the pack.

What I did like:
- Excepting the frame and pockets, the Dyneema fabric was high-quality and very durable. The sewing was top-notch, and the pack held up well overall despite a lot of abuse on the trail.

If the Exodus FS was cheaper, then I might be able to forgive some of these problems. But for the $300ish I spent (including the hipbelt pockets), I expect better.

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