If you love backpacking, you’ve probably heard of two of the best bags: Gregory Optic vs. Osprey Exos. In the end, it’s important to choose the right one, since it’s something that’ll be carrying most everything you care about.
Some trails, treks, or stretches of globe-trotting can be extremely trying, and if you’re not careful, you’ll end up waving the white towel early or leaving some of your things behind.
So if you’re in the market for a backpack, you may be pitting the Gregory Optic vs. Osprey Exos, both of which are fantastic backpacks.
If you’re looking for the right bag that’ll fit your travels and adventures, you’ve found the right rundown. We’ll go through the 7 main characteristics/differences between these bags so that you can determine where your money should go.
Optic vs. Exos: General Features
Before we start, let’s get some of the basics out of the way, shall we?
Gregory Optic Vs. Osprey Exos
To get a clear picture of how these bags compare to each other, you need to look at least 7 specific categories. Here are those categories and how the two bags fare.
1. Carrying comfort
One of the things you notice about the Gregory optics is that it is very comfortable even when carrying big loads. You do not have to worry about feeling the weight of your load, which is important if you’re trying to avoid back pain. The whole bag has a mesh that improves breathability. It also has a metal frame going all around it, making it easier for you to carry up to 35lbs in the bag. Even though it has a minimalist build, it does not sacrifice comfort compared to other bags in the market.
With the Osprey Exos, you get a bag that hugs you when you carry it, giving the entire bag a snug feeling. You also get the metal frame which helps the bag hold in the weight of whatever you are carrying. The only thing you will notice with this bag is that it cannot carry a load of more than 30 lbs when you compare it to the Gregory optic. Users have also admitted that it did not hold everything together without the user feeling the bag’s weight.
The large size checks in at 2pounds 8.3 ounces, making it one of the lighter sides of big bags. With this weight, you get a very practical backpack that will not weigh you down, and you get to work with something big enough yet lightweight enough for you to carry your other things in it. The weight makes it perfect for a multiday trip since you can carry it around without feeling fatigued very fast.
Even though it is still considered a lightweight bag, it is slightly heavier than the Gregory at 2 pounds and 10.4 ounces. It is a reasonable weight for short hikes as well as long ones based on the things you are carrying in it. If you want to reduce the bag’s weight, you can even take out the top, which will reduce the bag’s weight by about 5 ounces.
One of the things everyone wants to know with a camping trip/ski trip bag is how well they can organize their stuff in it. Here is how the bag fairs in this category.
One of the things you notice when it comes to this category is that Gregory is just like the other bags in the market when it comes to organization. It comes with the main pocket where you keep all your things, and that is it. The only additional parts have to be the pole holder on the sides and the small side pocket for storing your map. There is no bottom compartment, neither is there a pocket at the top. You have to take it off just so you can access some of the things you have packed.
Just like Gregory, there is a limit when it comes to the organizational features of the osprey bag. You get the main compartment alongside two side pockets for your water bottles. Even though the previous designs had the hip belt, this design did not get carried on to the new bag. Adding that to future designs would make the bag even more functional.
There is nothing as annoying as carrying a bag in sweltering temperatures and having sweat run down your bag the entire hike. You do not have to worry about this with the Gregory bag. The bag has a suspended mesh back panel that allows for airflow on your back as you carry it. With that, you will not have sweat accumulate, and the breeze you get through the mesh will keep you cool even if you are walking in hot water.
The osprey bag also has a mesh vent on its backside. It resembles the trampoline-style mesh and weaves itself throughout your back. Carrying I allow you a degree of comfort as well. Even though it is not the best in the osprey bag collection, it is still good enough for you, so you do not have to worry about sweating while carrying it.
5. Build quality and durability
From the specs, you get to see that the Gregory bag is made from 100-denier nylon. While the material makes the entire bag lightweight, it also makes it really fragile. You need to be careful with it, so it doesn’t tear as you are using it. While the bag is made of nylon, the buckles come in a different material. As such, you realize that the buckles are more likely to come off than the other parts of the bag. If you need the buckles fastened at all times, then this might not be the bag for you.
One of the things you realize with the osprey bag is it has a good fit and feel to it. The material is strong, yet lightweight and the buckles look good as well. If you are looking for a bag whose functionality matches its outlook, then the Osprey bag is for you. Everything from the material to the buckles is made of quality fabric and pieces and will last you long.
6. Fit and sizing
One of the things you will notice about The Optic is, it comes in three categories. That way, you have more variety to choose from. There is nothing as annoying as getting a bag that you cannot use because it is either too big or too small for your back. With the three sizes, adjusting the straps is easier since you get to pick what works for you and your current needs. The only issue with this is the different sizes can only fit certain body types. It might not work for you if you are sharing the bag with someone whose body size is way too small or bigger than yours.
Just like Gregory, the Osprey also comes in three different sizes per category. As such, the bag might not fit everyone since it is not easily adjustable. You really need to think about the adjustability levels of the bag and see if you will be able to carry it with someone else.
7. Other notes!
One of the things that stands out with this bag is the fact that you can carry a lot of things in it despite its lightweight nature. There is also the fact that it comes with a rain cover which makes it the perfect addition if you go hiking in the rainy season. The only thing that holds it back are the buckles that break easily and the fact that you cannot carry any water bottles on it. Having to put the bottles in the main compartment is annoying.
With the osprey bag, you get comfortable and a snug fit to it. The plastic buckles and the padding are pretty strong, so you do not have to worry about anything breaking as you use them. The only annoying bit with the bag is. The more you carry in it, the more uncomfortable you get. The maximum comfortable weight limit is 30 pounds. There are also no hip belt pockets like in previous designs.
Gregory Optic vs. Osprey Exos – Conclusion
While we won’t come out and right-out choose a “winner,” we hope that you can parse the comparison above to make the choice that’s best for you. Which is, in the end, all that matters.
What’s more, you probably don’t need us to tell you: take your time, do patient research, and then just take the plunge and make the decision. Once the purchase is behind you, you can focus on the things that truly matter!