Gear Review: Exos tactical backpack

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Exos tactical backpack is snag-resistant and great for prickly situations. (Photo: Team HB)

The folks at Exos Gear have a small but feature-packed line of backpacks. In this review, we tested the Bravo model, the only one in their tactical category.

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Tasteful Exos branding on their tactical backpack (Photo: Team HB)

The Bravo is a relatively large, full-featured pack available in black, olive drab, gray, and, the color of our test model, coyote tan.

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Mesh ventilation on Exos backpack. (Photo: Team HB)

Exos’ measurements say the pack has 34 liters of capacity.  It certainly does expand as it’s filled.  It can be up to 14 inches deep, back-to-front perspective, when full.  However, its solid system of webbing and buckles allow the user to tailor the thickness from three to 14 inches, depending on how full it is.

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Lots of room and lots of pockets. (Photo: Team HB)

The pack is an organizer’s dream.  There are two full-size and two mid-sized zippered compartments. Most have dividers and sub-compartments inside.  Yet another full-size but narrow compartment is padded, rides next to the wearer, and is made for a hydration bladder or laptop.  Two holes at the top of the rear compartments allow a drinking tube to be threaded up to user level.  The openings can be sealed off by a hook-and-loop flap, offering protection and insulation.

Speaking of organization, each strap is equipped with a keeper.  These do a reasonable job of preventing sloppy and dangerous strap-dangling. Some jobs are just made for duct tape, and strap management is one.

User comfort took priority with this pack, with looks being a close second.  Every weight-bearing, user-touching surface is well padded and lined with mesh material to keep the rig as breathable as possible.  The webbing holds its layers of compartments down so that it never looks sloppy, even when carrying non-bulky loads.

On a two-hour hiking test, with a modest 20 pounds of weight on board in various compartments, none of the paracord-enhanced zipper pulls loosened on their own.  The grab handle at the top, rolled and padded, made moving the pack around convenient when it wasn’t on my back.

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Adjustable straps and the right padding make this a comfortable pack. (Photo: Team HB)

Adjustable chest and waist straps kept the pack from shifting around, even going up or down grades.  It did settle as I walked, and by the end of the hike, five-foot-five-inch me needed to tighten the shoulder straps to the shortest adjustment to keep it off my tailbone.  That’s not to imply it was uncomfortable at anytime.

There are even bedroll loops on the bottom, a feature I didn’t notice until wearing it.  This could really be a four- or five-day pack for those whose excursions last that long.

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Hydration comparment has outlet for drinking tube. (Photo: Team HB)

Mounting choices are crazily abundant with this pack.  Molle covers most of the outer surface, so by adding extra pouches or other gear, its utility could expand even more.

I rather like the subtle Exos hornet logo on the back and center.  It’s not distracting or too big, and is attractively drawn.  A couple loop material patches on either side allow the user to make a bolder personal statement with patches if they wish.

This pack makes me eager to hit the trails this summer.  A follow-up review may be in the works once it’s logged some real weight-bearing miles.

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Room for lots more firepower even a small carbine. (Photo: Team HB)

The Exos tactical backpack seems a great choice for a well-stocked bugout bag or a medium-duty camping pack.  Unfortunately I can’t say it’s made in the USA; it bears a made in China tag.  Nevertheless, at $37.95 to $41.95 depending on color, it’s an excellent value for the money.