45+L Framed Backpack Recommendations

SteG

Section Hiker
I've got an exped lightning too, also a bit of a bony spine. The metal stay that mole mentioned is easy to form away from any contact with your back and the bag itself is very adjustable to different back lengths.
 

Shewie

Chief Slackpacker
Staff member
I had an Exos 46 when they came out, carried nicely although I thought the shoulder straps were a bit too stretchy which lead to some bounce with a decent load, it squeaked a lot too. I wasn't massively keen on the scooped back which did pinch some useable volume in the bottom of the main compartment, I'm not sure if the current versions are the same?

The Montane Trailblazer looks like a good buy, I was really impressed with the one @Chiseller bought, if I didn't have similar volume packs I might've contemplated getting one myself.

Not sure how either of the above would work with camera gear though sorry
 

vaguehead

Ultralighter
I recently took an Exos 48 on the Via de la Plata. Was great, it's got a proper frame and trampoline. I needed to carry a lot of water some days and i appreciated the trampoline in hot weather. I really like the side entry for the side pockets, can put a couple of water bottles in each side and get at them easily. Nice stretchy pockets. Downsides would be the faffy and pretty feeble compression straps, they do work but not that well, I wouldn't want to be regularly attaching lots of things to the outside. No hip belt pockets. Can't think of anything much else to say negatively about it, lightweight, relatively cheap, good features, comfy for me. It's not really a bag that you're going to pass on to your kids, it's not going to survive that long.

When I got back from Spain I did notice the stitching attaching one of the hip fins was coming out. I've no idea if this was my fault in overtightening (I've ripped hip belts before doing that) or some issue with the bag. I got in touch with Osprey and they ultimately replaced it basically hassle free. I'd put 750 miles on that bag and they gave a me new one for nothing, can't say better than that.

I've no experience with the others on that list.
 
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M1K3_W

Hiker
You could consider chest pod if you're getting a pack with a hip belt. @slovhike makes a MPX(?) pack, which can used as a chest pod, bum bag or a shoulder bag.

my wife uses a (heavily home modified) Mindshift Gear OutBound holster to haul around her ridiculously heavy DSLR and lens.

e.g. https://www.parkcameras.com/shop/mindshift-gear-outbound-holster-30_9369950m

Two bachelor clips on the shoulder straps and two side stabilizer straps seem to get the weight reasonably well balanced.

I *think* I have a camera holster like that already, just need to see if it's compatible with a proper rusckack. Good idea that, hadn't considered it.
 

M1K3_W

Hiker
I think you will struggle to find better bang per buck than that. I have one and recently went through mental gymnastics trying to find something better having convinced myself that I needed more external pockets and might be able to shave 400g of my base weight with a different pack. In the end I couldn't find a clear better pack for my needs. On my back this pack fits in such a way that there is a small air gap over much of my back and I like that.

There is one very dubious Youtube video in which the person who made it says it wouldn't fit him. It nearly put me off but having got one an adjusted it properly I can't understand what he is on about.

Have a look at this one instead on how to fit the pack properly and you will see what a great system it is. Most of the load is carried on the hip belt and I've found that 12kgs is a very comfortable load all day. I've reduced my base weight by 2kgs now so expect to be even more comfortable on my next multi day hike.


I recently took an Exos 48 on the Via de la Plata. Was great, it's got a proper frame and trampoline. I needed to carry a lot of water some days and i appreciated the trampoline in hot weather. I really like the side entry for the side pockets, can put a couple of water bottles in each side and get at them easily. Nice stretchy pockets. Downsides would be the faffy and pretty feeble compression straps, they do work but not that well, I wouldn't want to be regularly attaching lots of things to the outside. No hip belt pockets. Can't think of anything much else to say negatively about it, lightweight, relatively cheap, good features, comfy for me. It's not really a bag that you're going to pass on to your kids, it's not going to survive that long.

When I got back from Spain I did notice the stitching attaching one of the hip fins was coming out. I've no idea if this was my fault in overtightening (I've ripped hip belts before doing that) or some issue with the bag. I got in touch with Osprey and they ultimately replaced it basically hassle free. I'd put 750 miles on that bag and they gave a me new one for nothing, can't say better than that.

I've no experience with the others on that list.

I think I'm erring towards the Lightning and the Litewave, with the Exos as well (I own the Stratos 36 [not UL by any stretch] and find it very comfy). But before pulling the trigger I'll try to try them all on, which means waiting a while I fear. Oh well, can always do more research in the meantime.
 

JRT

Trail Blazer
I'd second (and third) the Exos 48 from Osprey. I've got three of them (current gen 38 & 48 and an old 46 in the back of a cupboard) and haven't used a better all-round pack.

The latest version without the hip belt pockets is the best fit yet. Other packs tend to make my back damp, especially on hot days, but the Exos solves that problem with its ventilated back panel. There are a host of other innovative features on the new models, including a removable 'lid' with a second, lighter weight flap underneath and massive side pockets that are accessible while walking. Without the main lid (which is rarely needed outside of winter wild camps), both weigh around a kilo.
 

Mole

Thru Hiker
I used a first gen Exos 58 for a TGO challenge. It transferred weight to hips well. But I never really filled it, so sold it soon after.

A few years later I got a bargain pre-owned 2nd gen Exos 38. Which was a perfect size for summer backpacking. But it always felt like it was pulling me back. I sold it to my LDP hiking pal, and he loves it. Thinks it's pack perfection.
 
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