Vargo is all about lightweight, titanium outdoor gear. Probably best known for their stoves and other accessories, the company moved into external frame backpacks a couple of years ago. Founder Brian Vargo saw that most backpack designs require us to bend forward excessively, putting added stress on the upper body and vertebrae, so he set out to create a system that was much more comfortable to carry.
All Vargo’s backpacks are built around an ultralight, external titanium frame called ExoTi that features a lumbar support plate as well as a load lifting compression strap system to dial in your perfect fit. The hipbelt and lumbar support plate design holds the weight in your lumbar region, prevents sagging (i.e. inefficient load transfer), and promotes even weight distribution throughout the mid-section of the pack for increased comfort.
The rigid titanium structure helps to efficiently transfer the load’s center of gravity from a higher point on your back to your lumbar region. The load lifting compression straps bring the load’s center of gravity higher and closer to your body for a more upright walking posture.
In short, Vargo’s ExoTi rigid frame gets the load higher, the load lifting compression straps pull the load up and in, and the lumbar support plate keeps the load from sagging downward. Working together, these features help you to carry your load as comfortably and efficiently as possible.
As of this week, Vargo added two new backpacks to the lineup — the ExoTi AR2 and ExoTi BOG. The ExoTi AR2 features a 46 liter cinch top bag that is loaded with external pockets for plenty of gear storage and organization. The ¾ length provides enough space for strapping wet or bulky gear directly to the frame–perfect for attaching large bear canisters or packrafts for multi-sport adventures.
The ExoTi BOG features a removable 40 liter roll top dry bag that provides plenty of pack space and protection from the elements while also being able to serve as a bear bag, emergency lower leg bivy, pillow, etc. By separating from the frame, the ExoTi BOG makes it easier to haul gear inside a shelter without the need to bring in the frame as well. The cradle in which the dry bag sits features dual water bottle pockets and a large front mesh pocket for additional gear storage and has room to store wet gear for added protection.
Both the Vargo external titanium frame packs retail for $299.95 and are available from the company website.