This year's long, hot summer was one to remember. Sunny, dry days meant there was plenty of opportunity to get out and explore. Having just received a new Osprey Exos 38 Rucksack to test, I had the perfect excuse for a weekend camping trip. So, with a rough plan of action I decided to pack up my bag and head over to the New Forest to get back to nature.
The first thing I noticed when packing the Exos 38 was just how much space it had in it for a lightweight pack. Even though it holds 38 litres, thanks to the easy to use compression straps around the sides and in the main compartment, it feels like you can fit in way more than your standard 38 litre pack – as well as keeping everything secure and compact!
Usually, when I go away for a weekend camping trip, I take a 60-litre pack. The Exos 38 managed to fit everything I would usually take. I even managed to attach my sleeping bag, thanks to the multiple lashing points you can find on the front, top and bottom of the bag.
The Exos 38 benefits from Osprey’s ventilated Airspeed back panel, which doesn't look particularly comfortable on first inspection, but the second you have the bag on you can start to feel the benefits. The trampoline style mesh that sits against your back gives you the perfect support and is incredibly comfortable. The space between the bag and the mesh that provides a good airflow between your back and the bag. No longer did I have to keep adjusting my bag to try and stop myself from overheating as I hiked the small journey from my car to my chosen camping spot!
The Exos 38 also features an ExoForm harness and hip belt which provide additional comfort. Irritation or rub on my shoulders and waist as I was walking was kept to a minimum thanks to the smart design. Plus, as the pack distributes weight brilliantly, the weight isn’t all focused on your shoulders, giving you a much more enjoyable walk.
Once our pitch was set up, it was time for a little hike around the beautiful New Forest to see what else the Exos 38 could do.
I was able to make the bag into an even more streamlined and lightweight day-pack by removing the top hood, replacing it with a FlapJacket top cover, which clips into the same buckles.
There's also a hydration sleeve in the main compartment, which leads out at the top for a hydration pack. Perfect for such a hot weekend. A spacious front compartment with an elastic fabric provides loads of extra space so you can make sure you have whatever you need for the day.
So, after a few hours of exploring the vast woodland of the New Forest and coming face to face with the many roaming horses, it was time to head back to the tent.
My favourite feature of this bag has got to be the unbelievable comfort. Not only from the ExoForm harness and hip belt but mainly from the Airspeed mesh back panel. The great weight distribution combined with the springy back rest and breathability of it all really made this bag a stand out for me. I don’t think I have ever roamed around for that long, in temperatures hitting 27 degrees with my back feeling so fresh and comfortable. It truly is the perfect lightweight weekend pack for any occasion.