This is a fairly heavy pack (970g) but it’s a serious work of construction. Well made and well featured, the pockets are large and compartmentalised for easy sorting (plus there’s an ever-useful pump sleeve), and you can expand or cinch it in.
It’s so well done it feels like a Tardis – better even, as it swallows much more than it should be able to without attracting Cybermen.
The back has a central channel with flexible stays for support. But, while it does keep it balanced when loaded to capacity, they only flex vertically and not horizontally – meaning you don’t get that optimum feel of it moulding perfectly to your back.
Mesh straps save some weight, but in truth we’d take a few more grams in exchange for solid straps with a little more padding, especially on the wings of the hip belt. The EXP 12 doesn’t come with a bladder (it has runs for the tubing, though) so bear that in mind when considering the price.