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The Vargo ExoTi BOG backpack (2 pounds 9 ounces / 1.16 kg, MSRP $299.95) is a roll-top, external, titanium-framed backpack with a removable 40-liter 70 denier primary compartment. This article provides a review of the pack as well as an in-depth interview with the designer (Brian Vargo) about the design philosophy behind the pack.

The Vargo ExoTi series is an interesting take on the ultralight external-frame concept. The Vargo ExoTi BOG backpack was born of minimalist concepts and design and includes no unnecessary bells or whistles. It accomplishes the most basic function of all packs: carrying your gear on your back as you adventure towards your destination.

an external frame backpack set against a white background
Photo: Vargo Outdoors.

About this Review

This is a Limited Review of the Vargo ExoTi BOG backpack. The testing was done in a subalpine location in the Olympic Mountains and the Alpine Lakes Wilderness area of Washington State’s Cascade Mountain Range over a combined total of five days during the summer season. Approximately 30 miles were covered during this timeframe with several thousands of feet of elevation changes.

the Vargo ExoTi BOG sitting on a rock with a lake and mountains in the background
Taken in the Enchantments in Washington State. Little Annapurna in the background.

Features and Specifications

  • titanium alloy external frame design
  • removable, compressible 40 L water-resistant roll-top bag with fully taped seams
  • ventilated, adjustable shoulder harness
  • two zippered hip belt pockets
  • large front mesh pocket for quick access to larger items
  • dual water bottle pockets
  • fabric weight: 70 denier
  • torso lengths: 16-22 inches (40-55 cm)
  • hip belt sizes: 24-60 inches (61-152 cm)
  • volume (main bag only): 2,440 cubic inches (40 L)
  • pack length: 24.375 inches (61.9 cm)
  • pack width: 13.875 inches (35.2 cm)
  • weight: 2 pounds 9 ounces (1.16 kg)
  • recommended maximum pack load: 30 pounds

Description of Field Experience

My first overnighter with the Vargo ExoTi BOG backpack was in the Washington Olympics on a 7.2-mile trail with 1,300 feet (396 meters) of elevation gain. Temperatures ranged from 49 °F to 59 °F (9.4 °C to 15 °C) in June with no precipitation.

The second trip was over two nights in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness (Enchantments) in the Washington Cascades in September, over approximately 25 miles with 4,500 feet (1,372 meters) of elevation gain. Temperatures ranged from 56 °F to 94 °F (13.3 °C to 34.4 °C) in July with no precipitation.

Performance Analysis

Since this is a Limited Review, a detailed performance analysis based on long-term use will not be presented. Instead, performance observations and issues are noted below.

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