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Osprey backpacks are without a doubt some of the best backpacks made in the world, they have a hard earned reputation as top of the heap, king of the hill. It’s obvious upon inspection they are far superior to the overwhelming majority of backpacks on the market and that they are designed with features for serious backpackers.
(Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to be super serious to buy one, your money is as green as anybody else’s, after all. And everybody deserves quality and comfort, whether they’re hiking the Andes or hailing a cab in Manhattan.)
For serious seekers of the true wild and deep, off-the-beaten-path-lands this brand is well known and well loved; of course city dwellers and even commuters of all kinds, because of the comfort and versatility, are also utilizing this brand more and more widely.
In fact, you could say the brand has a fairly large, (and expanding) niche following, and this is well deserved because the products are truly extremely high quality, durable, long lasting, comfortable, and even unique in the marketplace.
So, which pack – the Osprey Farpoint 55 or the Exos 58 – is better?
Well, we’re here to give you our expert opinion on the matter and break it all down for you, bit by bit. Firstly, they are both amazing backpacks and you really can’t go way wrong with either one, in many cases either would be a good choice.
When I take the Osprey Farpoint 55 backpack on the plane, I remove the day pack and place it under the seat in front and I place the 40-L pack in the overhead compartment.
With the different features it should become very apparent and very quickly which one is for you, as they are geared towards slightly different folks.
Price Points – Farpoint 55 Is More Inexpensive, And Perhaps Even A Better Value Too
If you’re worried about price points (who isn’t these days really?), the 55 is the cheaper pack, and it also comes with a day pack included, whereas the Exos 58 does not. So, the Fairpoint might possibly be a better value for a lot of people because it has a completely “extra” pack, and for a lower price point. Price point for the Fairpoint hovers perhaps around $150 to $180 US and the Exos is more like $220 or so.
The 55 Is For the More Casual Hiker? The More Urbane Traveler?
Upon deeper investigation the Farpoint 55 was certainly created for the more casual hiker, and perhaps for the city dweller, it was certainly built for day travelers, and probably hostel seekers of all kinds, and not necessarily for the biggest of the wilderness junkies.
(That is not to say that this pack is weak, or can’t handle badass environments, it can, it’s just got a different audience in mind.)
The Farpoint is just so practical, and then of course the tip off – it can double as a legit suitcase or more precisely a duffel. It has the ability to front load like a suitcase; some people are going to love that, and some people are going to hate it.
The Exos loads like a typical backpack, from the top; it is more of a purist’s pack. So, obviously you can see where this is going, each pack was developed for a particular audience, however, don’t let the marketing fool you, both are very capable, comfy packs.
Also, and more importantly such different features will allow you to easily figure out which model is better for you, which is what’s the goal here.
The daypack of the 55 is also a giveaway of the audience they are targeting, who really needs a day pack?
People who casually traipse around city squares in Milan, not people who climb Kilimanjaro.
Nevertheless, the Farpoint is a sturdy pack that can handle the elements when called upon, and its versatility is a great feature that a lot of people are going to love.
The day pack can look kind of silly.
It can strap to the front of the torso and look a bit weird (in this mode); it’s perhaps kind of like the fanny pack of the 80’s, but sillier? You decide, if you even remember the fanny pack.
Of course you don’t have to wear it on the front, you can wear it on your back, provided you’re not carrying the main pack on your back at the same time.
The Farpoint 55 was definitely built with a different consumer in mind; it’s really built for the frequent airline traveler as well as wilderness enthusiast. There is a caveat here too; only the smaller of the two sizes of 55’s is guaranteed to fit underneath your seat in an airplane.
That’s a big deal to a lot of people, so you’re forewarned. If you’re under about 5’ 6”, you probably don’t care because the S/M size is the right size for you anyway. If you’re on the tall side and have the M/L, you might be a bit bummed that this pack may not fit under your airplane seat. So again, like I showed above, detach the daypack and put under seat and overhead compartment.
You’ve been forewarned; sometimes those flight attendants are really sticklers – ugh.
Comfort You Would Expect Comes Standard With Both Models
Both the 55 and the 58 are built for amazing comfort, you won’t be chaffing one single bit if you set it up correctly, and it’s surprisingly comfortable, well surprising if you’ve never tried a more expensive pack.
These things are comfy, they both have multiple straps, for the shoulders and the torso, you’ll be strapped in tight and the weight of the pack will be evenly distributed so that you’re not hunching or putting too much pressure on certain parts of your body, remember, this is pro gear.
You can, with some difficulty cram 40 to perhaps 50 pounds of gear in the Exos 58, so that is a heavy duty pack.
Folks in the U.S. military carry packs of about this weight, so this is fully stocked and with just about everything you would need to survive, including the kitchen sink. A more comfortable load would be around 25 to 30 pounds, and this is very, very easy to accommodate with the Exos.
Exos 58 – Lightweight, No Extraneous Pockets, Breathable Fabrics
The Exos 58 was built without any external pockets, and was very purposefully built to be super lightweight as well. It’s obvious that this was built for folks who are going to be logging a lot of miles up and down steep inclines, or, in other words for very serious hikers (but not without a sense of humor, of course).
The Exos 58 feels like it is form fitting to your body, and it’s just super comfortable, it also breathes extremely well, with it’s airspeed backpanel. Again, a feature for people who are going to be humping it through the outback, not going to the beaches of Croatia on spring break…although super fun in it’s own right.
Osprey Farpoint 55 and the Osprey Exos 58 packs are both similar in many ways, and different, at this point you should be able to easily pick which one is right for you. If you’re flying down the Machu Picchu for a once in a lifetime trip, take the Farpoint, if you hike Mt. Shasta four times years choose the Exos 58.