Exped Lightning 60 $349.99
Used by: Contributing gear editor Mark ‘thrash it’ Watson
Used for: Two years
When I through-tramped Te Araroa I wanted to reduce my packed base weight to compensate for the several kilos of photography equipment I was planning to carry. After looking at lightweight 50–60 litre packs, I chose the Lightning 60, which weighs in at a respectable 1150g. The design of the pack is smart and simple: a roll-top closure sac mounted on a light, but feature-replete, adjustable harness.
The features that encouraged me to choose it are still what I appreciate about it after two years of use: a comfortable harness, with the hipbelt in particular being supportive of the load; hip belt pockets, which are great for keeping trail snacks and electronics handy; stretch side pockets for water bottles or hiking poles; and the clever ‘web’ of compression straps that cinch the pack down.
Impressively, the sac itself is in great condition with only a couple of small holes in the single-layer base. The side pockets are looking a bit battered, with a couple of big holes where they have scraped against rock with poles or water bottles inside. I had to sew the Velcro that holds the lumbar pad back in place, and there are a couple of worn areas on the lycra that covers it. This wear-and-tear (all repairable) is not unexpected for a lightweight product that has had a lifetime’s use in a short period.
Verdict: Very light, well-featured and good value for money.