After reviewing many backpacks, both online and in person, Iv'e decided that I want the Osprey exos 48. Unfortunately, the only Osprey dealer in my area carries only the exos 58, and they had it only in the medium size, which I tried and felt great on my back, although the hip belt felt was a bit large (I'm slim fit). Since the 58 is too big for me, I'll be ordering the 48 online. My torso is of size 18", which by the Osprey sizing chart (attached) means small or medium. I'm reasonably sure that the small would be an even better fit for me, but is it worth taking the chance?

What's worse, a slightly too big or slightly too small backpack?

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  • 1
    Not an answer to the question, but wouldn't the simple/practical thing be to order both? The shop in your area must be able to arrange that with it's supplier, and even if they don't (want to), you usually can buy yourself and send the worse size back within (insert random number) of days for a full refund.
    – imsodin
    Commented Aug 12, 2019 at 15:09

1 Answer 1


A too short pack is worse because you will end up carrying some weight on the shoulders instead of the hips. I would normally lean toward the larger size but that is because I only use "frameless" packs where the torso length will compress a little bit once loaded. Since the Exos has a somewhat rigid internal frame, I wouldn't expect that to be an issue as long as you are carrying < 35 lbs (16 kg). Andrew Skurka has a good review of the Exos line, which shows how flexible the frame is under heavy load.

It would cost slightly more, but you could order both sizes (from REI for example) and return the one that doesn't fit you as well and you'd only be out the return shipping.

  • Thanks. I'm not in the US, so shipping cost is also a consideration (both ways), making the option of ordering both a bit less appealing. Commented Aug 13, 2019 at 15:47
  • @H.Rappeport You could order a small from the local dealer and if you don't like it return it and take the medium instead. I should hope they would allow returns. Or perhaps find online vendors closer to you so shipping is more reasonable.
    – topshot
    Commented Aug 13, 2019 at 16:22

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