Osprey Exos 48 Backpack Review: For the Minimalist Explorer

by Nomad | Last Updated:  July 26, 2020
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When searching for high-quality ultralight backpacks for thru-hikes there aren’t many that live up to their billing for a full trek. The Osprey Exos 48 is incredibly well built and ready and up for the task at hand. The Osprey Exos 48 is made for minimalists.

The Exos provides you with an unbeatable combination of comfort, ventilation, function in a lightweight package. It can provide great weekend trips and, depending on your needs, can go much further.

Ultralight doesn’t have to mean uncomfortable, and the Exos proves this.

Osprey Exos 48 Men's Backpacking Backpack
  • AirSpeed suspension keeps the weight in the pack off your back, enabling highly ventilated carrying comfort
  • Dual access stretch mesh side pockets for storing water bottles and other gear
  • Front stretch mesh pocket for quick storage of rain gear or extra layers
  • Removable floating top lid with integrated FlapJacket protects packed gear when top lid is removed
  • Internal hydration reservoir sleeve accommodates up to a 3L reservoir (sold separately)

Here’s a rundown of what we’ll provide in this Osprey Packs Exos 48 Backpack review:

Sound good? Let’s get started!

Features and Benefits of the Osprey Packs Exos 48 Backpack

Osprey Exos 48 Pack

Do you daydream about hiking through meadows dotted with wildflowers? Made for quick overnights and long thru-hikes alike, the Osprey Exos 48 pack is your ultralight ticket to the great outdoors.

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Special Features (Pros) of the Osprey Packs Exos 48 Backpack

Very Comfortable On Trek – The shoulder straps are nice and relaxed for carrying over long distances built with soft yet sturdy material with air holes that allow ventilation and breathability.

Quality Mesh Material And Build – The mesh material has around an inch or two of airflow between your back and the rest of the pack itself. No more sweaty backs, no more freezing when the wind picks up on the sweat.

Durability – Many people have reported that the pack has lasted them for numerous multiday hikes, though I didn’t find a lot specifically on thru-hiking. The reports all pointed to signs that are positive and that after their trips it was no worse for the wear

Drawbacks (Cons) for the Osprey Packs Exos 48 Backpack

No Hip Pockets or Shoulder Pockets: Previous versions of the Exos came with both of these. It’s new version it appears the people at Osprey removed both. I find hip and shoulder pockets to be worth the extra ounce or two

Video: Osprey Packs Exos 48 Backpack


Osprey Exos 48 Pack

Do you daydream about hiking through meadows dotted with wildflowers? Made for quick overnights and long thru-hikes alike, the Osprey Exos 48 pack is your ultralight ticket to the great outdoors.

Purchase on REI Buy on Amazon
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

About the Osprey Company

Since Osprey’s founding in 1974, every single product design bearing the Osprey name has passed through the hands of owner and founder Mike Pfotenhauer, undergoing relentless scrutiny.

From stitching the first lines of custom-fitted packs, to meticulously designing innovative products with intuitive features, to forging personal relationships with the sewing operators who construct the packs, Mike has been the unbreakable thread that makes Osprey a top company.

Osprey Packs Exos 48 Backpack Reviews

Looking at the features and benefits is great, but taking a look at what real-and-actual customers have to say about a product offers a deeper dive of insight. Here we’ve curated reviews that reflect the Osprey Packs Exos 48 Backpack, providing feedback from product users and reviewers on independent review sites as well as online.

Independent Reviews and Recommendations for the Osprey Packs Exos 48 Backpack

The Osprey Exos 48 continues to be our favorite a reasonably priced pack that still scores highly in all metrics. The Exos is by far the most affordable, versatile, and widely available option out of all of these reasonably specialized packs. The feature set is extensive and allows you to pick and choose which features are best suited for your use.

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For the beginner you will easily be able to use this bag for weekend trips. Osprey recommends this bag maximum weight stays under 30lbs so even if you are new to UL backpacking, you could start using the Exos 48 immediately even if you haven’t started downsizing your gear yet.

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Hiking in it has been a dream – it sits so well on my body that it disgusts me. I think this is a great pack for most lightweight hikers for up to a week of hiking. The side pockets and hip-pockets could be much better, the frame could be adjustable and these packs could still be made in the USA.

Read More…

Osprey Exos 48 Pack

Do you daydream about hiking through meadows dotted with wildflowers? Made for quick overnights and long thru-hikes alike, the Osprey Exos 48 pack is your ultralight ticket to the great outdoors.

Purchase on REI Buy on Amazon
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

What Online Customers Have to Say About the Osprey Packs Exos 48 Backpack

Light super light. Great quality. I used it for a three day two nights on the Superior Hiking Trail in northern Minnesota and it performed excellently. My load with food and water was about 32lbs.


This pack is so light that at first I thought they sent me some cheap knockoff. But this is the real deal and weights just over 3 pounds. You can pack all you gear inside of the pack which is nice when going through areas with a lot of branches. I did not use a rain cover and everything stayed dry through a 2 hour hike in the rain.


Excellent backpack. I used this for two weeks on the Camino de Santiago. More than enough room to carry what I needed. Fits easily in the airline overhead. Very light and comfortable even after 6 hours of walking. The frame kept me cool on the hot days. Water bottle easily accessible on the side.


I have an Osprey I was planning on using for my AT Thru-Hike this year but decided to try and cut off another pound by going with the Exos 48. This bag is more comfortable than my Atmos 50AG if that is even possible. The suspension system on the AG has incredible ventilation and even though it looks much more robust than the Exos’s suspension, the Exos’s is much more comfortable to me.


Osprey Exos 48 Pack

Do you daydream about hiking through meadows dotted with wildflowers? Made for quick overnights and long thru-hikes alike, the Osprey Exos 48 pack is your ultralight ticket to the great outdoors.

Purchase on REI Buy on Amazon
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Final Thoughts on the osprey exos 48 backpack

When trying to get into a quality backpack which won’t bust the bank you have a wide range of options at all different price points. There are most definitely lighter packs available from HMG and other companies. These other backpacks will come in at double this price and sometimes even more.

In the Osprey Packs Exos 48 you have a backpack which can suit you for your long-distance hikes for now and well into the future when kept well and kept clean. It would be a very good introduction pack to thru-hiking that can take the beatings you will provide on a 2000+ mile trek. That’s the bottom line!

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Nice to meet you, my trail name is Nomad the founder of Nomad Hiker and I love being outdoors and exploring nature! I now want to help spread that love through information back out to everyone to help them feel the same excitement with the world that I feel while in the back country. My current goals are to thru hike all the trails in the greater Texas region and to show everyone it is easily achievable at any age!