Exped Thunder 70 Backpack | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Exped Thunder 70 Backpack | Review

Could this be the perfect backpacking backpack?

Why We Chose The Exped Thunder 70: Versatile, durable, excellent carry.

While our Outdoor 100 product guide consists mostly of brand new gear releases, we also reserve space for real classic items that we haven’t got round to reviewing yet. This is one such example.

“Thinking of walking for three weeks into the wilderness of northern Scandinavia? This would be the type of pack to turn to”

It’s a trekking backpack that ticks a number of boxes. First of all, it’s lightweight but also durable, supportive and sturdy. Then it’s also hugely versatile, giving you over 70L of volume to work with but then enough adjustment potential to make it suitable for shorter treks with smaller loads. You’ll also find some handy features that’ll make life on the trail that bit easier.

Who Is The Exped Thunder 70 Backpack For?

The Exped Thunder 70 is one of those packs that has the capacity for some proper backcountry excursions. Thinking of walking for three weeks into the wilderness of northern Scandinavia? This would be the type of pack to turn to. Strip off the lid, pull in those compression straps and you’ve also got something that’s not overkill for any weekend wild camps either.

Perfect for multi-day expeditions. Photo: Mike Brindley


With its 210D high density and ripstop nylon, the main body of this pack should be able to survive the rigours of life on the trail and then go on to last some time as well. The PFC-free material has a PU coating to make it waterproof (2,500mm) but the seams aren’t taped, so while this might be able to get through heavy rainfall, there’s still a degree of risk from water ingress. To be on the safe side, we’d suggest packing kit into this in dry bags just in case.


The pack has a floating lid with an overlid pocket and an underlid one. This can be removed when you want to lighten your load slightly. There’s a stretch mesh pocket on either side, each one easily big enough to fit a big water bottle. A larger one covers the front of the pack, comfortably accommodating a waterproof jacket and a couple of other items if necessary. You’ve also got two zipped stretch ones on the hipbelt where you can store your phone, wallet, keys and plenty of snacks and have quick and easy access to them.

Handily, the side compression straps double as front compression as well, meaning you could attach something like your wet tent or roll mat on the outside if you needed to. In another nice touch, these straps can be tucked behind the side pockets so you can compress the pack but still have that pocket space. When you don’t need the compression, they can be neatly tucked away using little Velcro tabs.

“The back system, while simple, is still comfortable and effective”

With all of these strap points, plus the webbing loops across the front, bottom and top, there’s plenty of potential to fasten a tent at the base, a mat across the lid and even stow extra gear like ice axes, shovels or trekking poles across the front.

Then there’s the access to the main compartment. With the Exped Thunder 70, you have the option of going through your classic drawstring entry under the lid or you can use the dual zips that run down either side of the front of the pack, allowing you to get straight into its dark depths. These zips have reassuringly protective wired storm flaps covering them – no internal storm flap though.

The back system is simple, comfortable, effective. Photo: Mike Brindley
A nicely padded hipbelt with excellent lumbar support. Photo: Mike Brindley
The main body of the pack is made from 210D high density and ripstop nylon. Photo: Mike Brindley

Harness Design

You do see a lot of brands overthinking their back systems by adding loads of unnecessary padding, mesh and framing. You also see brands oversimplifying things and making something that’s superlight but ultimately uncomfortable to use. With the Thunder 70, Exped have got the balance spot on. At 1600g it’s in the lightweight category (for a 70 litre pack) but the back system, while simple, is still comfortable and effective, making transporting loads of up to as much as 24kg possible (though that would be the very, very top end of the scale).

One single aluminium stay which runs down the middle of the back panel makes up the main structure. At the top, it links with a shoulder yoke which can be moved up or down it depending on your size. At the bottom, it’s anchored in a padded lumbar support linked with an ergonomically-shaped foam hipbelt which it channels the pack’s weight down into. This top and bottom padding manages to keep middle section of the back panel just about off your back, meaning you won’t feel anything prodding into you and you get a nice bit of airflow as well.

Exped Thunder 70 Backpack

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