We understand that purchasing a pack is a big decision, and we ultimately want you to get exactly what you need. Below you will find the answers to some of the most common questions we receive about our company and products. We encourage you to explore this page and follow-up with us if there are any other questions we can answer for you.

Your Questions Answered

In addition to the written FAQ below, Mark and Steve discuss many of the common pack questions on the Hunt Backcountry podcast, which you can listen to here…

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher | Listen / Download at Sound Cloud

We sell our products direct to consumers, so we do not have retailer or dealer locations where you can try or purchase our products in person. If you happen to be in the Boise area, you are welcome to come by our shop. This direct sales model helps us produce the best product at the best prices. (For more information about that, please see the question about our pricing below.)

You can try it…

We know that purchasing a pack is a big decision, and we want to do everything we can do — both before and after a sale — to make sure you get the pack you need and the performance you are looking for. We offer a 30 No-Risk Guarantee with every pack purchase, so that you can receive the pack, get it fitted to you, load it with some gear and/or weight, and make sure it meets your expectations. If you decide for any reason to return your pack within that 30 days, we will be glad to accept your return and issue a full refund when you ship the pack back to us in “like new” resellable condition.

If you have questions about which pack to choose, please see the following questions, and don’t hesitate to contact us.

First and foremost, it is important to know that each of our three pack sizes — the 2000, 3500, and 5500 — share the same K2 Titanium frame, and each bag can swap on/off the frame with ease. No matter which bag you choose, you’ll have the same load-hauling ability, thanks to the frame system. Bag selection does not determine fit, or meat-hauling ability, only the volume of storage you have for your gear in the selected bag.

Also keep in mind that we have named the bags based up on the volume of the main bag only, and the 2000, 3500, and 5500 numbers do not include side pockets, external pockets, lids, etc. The actual overall volume of each bag is actually closer to 2,950ci for the 2000; 4,200ci for the 3500; and 6,800ci for the 5500.

 

K² 2000 K² 3500 K² 5500
Weight 4.5lbs 5.1lbs 5.4lbs
Dimensions, Compressed 2″ x 11.5″ x 25″ 3″ x 11.5″ x 26″ 3.5″ x 11.5″ x 26″
Dimensions, Expanded 6″ x 11.5″ x 30″ 8″ x 11.5″ x 36″ 12″ x 11.5″ x 42″
Total Volume (cubic inches) 2950 4200 6800
Frame K² Titanium K² Titanium K² Titanium
Dry Bag Compatible Yes Yes Yes

 

2000 Daypack

The 2000 bag is designed specifically as a daypack for hunters, but it can be used or a quick over-nighter in the early season. If you mainly hunt from the truck, seldomly carry a full camping loadout, and don’t anticipate being out for more than an occasional overnighter, the 2000 is your bag.

3500 Backpack

The 3500 is the bag we use most often and is by far our best selling bag. It is ideally suited for weekend hunts, or trips lasting up to around 5 days. Some guys can pack the 3500 for week-long trip, if they have lightweight, minimalist gear, and are hunting in the earlier seasons. The 3500 also compresses down really well when you’re only carrying a day’s essentials.

5500 Backpack

We recommend the 5500 if you will be taking trips longer than 5 days. Headed out for a week or more? The 5500 is definitely what you want. Newer hunters and backpackers tend to pack more gear, before eventually figuring out exactly what they need, and the 5500 is recommended for newer hunters for that reason. If you often have to pack bulkier late-season clothing, the extra space of the 5500 is likely necessary. The extra space of the 5500 comes with just a 5oz increase in weight over the 3500. The 5500 can also compress down really well — here’s a video that demonstrates that.

Our K2 Titanium frame features an adjustable harness to accommodate a variety of body shapes and sizes. The most important sizing consideration is your torso length, which can be easily measured — this video shows how. Our frame will perform best for individuals that have a torso length up to 21”. Our frame can still be used for those of you that have a longer torso length, such as 22”, but when loads get really heavy (above 50-60lbs), you will be carrying a larger portion of that weight on the shoulders, whereas we typically like to have nearly all of the weight distributed to the hips. The other sizing consideration is selecting the proper waist belt size, which we will cover in the next question. Also see the “How do I adjust the pack and frame for best fit?” question below.

Our waist belt sizes are Small for 29-33”, Medium for 34-36” and Large for 37” and up. To make it easy, we are listing those numbers based on pant sizes, not actual waist measurements.

If you are the borderline between two sizes (if you wear 33-34” pants, for example), we recommend going with the smaller waist belt. The danger with going up to the larger waist belt is that you will run out of room to cinch the waist belt tight enough — especially when loads get heavy. Additionally, most users that are border-line on size tend to be thinner at the end of a long, physically-demanding hunt.

Do not worry about the clothing layers that you will be wearing with the pack, such as an insulated jacket, and think that you need to “size up” to accommodate for that bulk.

If you want to take an actual measurement, you can measure your waistline with a soft-sided tape around the area where the pack’s waist belt will ride; this point is often higher than where you wear your pants.

To take an actual measurement, find the iliac crest, which is the top of your hip bones. The pack’s waist belt should ride dead-center over this point, so that is where you should take your measurement.

Choose a Small waist belt if you’re actual waist measurement at the iliac crest is below 34.5”, a Medium if your actual measurement is 34.5-39”, or a Large if you are above 39”.

It is also important to note that you can order an extra waist belt and swap between waist belt sizes as needed. This is a great solution if you fluctuate in weight throughout the year.

If you have a waist less than 29”, we can produce a custom “Extra Small” belt for you. Please contact us with your exact measurements to order.

Before you begin to fit your pack, please make sure that you are not wearing a thick leather belt, or any other items that you wouldn’t wear while hiking or hunting with the pack in normal conditions.

Additionally, it is important to load the pack with 20-30lbs for the fitting process. You’ll also want a mirror handy, so that you can see how the pack is sitting on you, once it is in place.

  • Begin by loosening all adjustment straps on the pack — the waist belt, shoulder straps, load lifters, and sternum strap. Put on the pack on and proceed through these steps…
  • Center the hip belt over the top of your iliac crest and secure the hip belt buckle, and snug, but don’t over-tighten, the hip belt in place.
  • Vertically align the sternum strap over your sternum, secure the buckle, and lightly snug it into place, setting the shoulder straps at a comfortable width.
  • Begin to tighten shoulder straps until you begin feel the pack pull into your body.
  • Snug-up the load lifter straps, removing slack but not pulling past taught.
  • Standing tall and straight, evaluate the amount of gap between the shoulder straps and the top of your shoulders toward the rear; you should be able to slide your index and middle fingers between your shoulders and the strap, but should not be able to fit your hand in the gap.
  • If necessary, remove the pack and adjust the torso length to achieve the desired gaps.  If the pack was riding too high and the shoulder gap was too large, bring the harness down; and vice versa.
  • When adjusting the shoulder harness to make torso length adjustments, be sure to re-loosen all straps and repeat the process from the beginning to test the fit of the new setting.

Those are the important steps in making sure that the pack is properly fitted to your body.  As you continue to wear the pack and gain experience carrying different loads, you can continue to fine-tune the adjustments to achieve maximum comfort for your body’s shape.

If you have any additional fitting questions, please contact us.

The answer to this question is part science, part preference. First, because of the physics of leverage and gravity, there are specific ways you can load your pack to carry the load most efficiently, securely, and comfortably.

For example, you always want to keep the weight centered in the bag (or on the frame), and as close to your back as possible. You also don’t want the bulk of the weight to be sagging toward the bottom of the pack or frame. The concentration of the weight should be loaded in a way that allows it to sit around the height of your shoulder blades. Lighter and bulkier items, such as your sleeping bag, should be placed in the bottom pack, providing support to keep heavier items, such as food, towards the top of the pack.

If you are packing meat, a cape, or a head and antlers, the same rules apply — keep the load “high and tight” on your back.

Now let’s briefly address the second part of the answer to this question — personal preference. One example of preference would be how you answer the question: Should you loosely-pack items (sleeping bag, tent, clothing, etc), or use stuff sacks? We advocate for loosely-packed items, allowing the natural voids in the pack to be filled by expanding sleeping bags, clothing layers, etc. When all of your gear is organized into numerous separate stuff-sacks, you have a lot of “big rocks”, and naturally don’t use the space of the pack as efficiently due to all of the gaps between those items. We can’t say it is “wrong” to use stuff sacks though.

The short answer that we like to give to this question is, “More than you can.”

In the video above you see Exo Mtn Gear co-founder, Steve Speck, testing an Exo Titanium Frame with 250lbs of sand. And, as the video shows, the frame remains structurally stable and functional, even when loaded with a weight that none of us will ever practically need to carry.

Our frame was specifically designed, engineered, and built to haul heavy loads of meat out of the backcountry. Everything — from the Titanium structure, to the fabric, webbing, and buckles on the frame — is built to stand up to heavy loads.

It is also important to know that each of our packs (the 2000, 3500, and 5500) can handle the same amount of weight, because each of our packs utilizes this same K2 Titanium Frame. No matter if you’re carrying the day’s essentials in a 2000, or a week’s worth of gear in the 5500, you can quickly and easily begin loading meat on the load shelf between the bag and frame and have the ability to haul heavy loads at a moment’s notice.

We designed our pack systems to be functional and capable, without the need for numerous add-ons. In our opinion, a pack that is purpose-built for hunting shouldn’t require the purchase of accessories to effectively carry meat or a bow, for example. At the same time, we always strive to keep our packs lightweight, streamlined and efficient — not cluttered with excessive pockets or covered in complicated attachments points for every imaginable scenario.

The accessories we do offer are purpose-built to enhance the functionality of the pack but are not required for every person or situation. Let’s take a quick look at each accessory, to help you decide which items you might find useful.

Hipbelt Pouch

The hipbelt pouch is our most popular accessory. It is a great option for carrying smaller items, such as rangefinders, GPS units, cell phones, wind checkers, calls, chapstick, etc. The dual-zip design is easy to operate, even one-handed and even with gloves on. The pouch is padded and also has a structured shape. The pouch installs on the 1.5” webbing that is built-in to our hipbelt. Each side of our hipbelt can accommodate one pouch, allowing you to run one on one side and a sidearm on the other side, or run a hipbelt pouch on each side.

Dimensions: 4” Height, 5.5” Width, 1.5” Depth, Weight: 2.7oz

Stash Pocket

Our zippered stash pockets are specifically designed to connect to Velcro attachment locations on our lid and along the zip-access to the main bag compartment. These pockets are great for keeping small items secure, yet accessible. We often use them for our keys, wallet, tags and license, knife, extra batteries, etc. Up to three stash pockets can be used in a pack — two located in the main bag, and one located in the lid.

Dimensions: 6×8”, Weight: 0.8oz

Weapon Carrier

Our Weapon Carrier accessory can be used with both bows and rifles. While the main horizontal compression straps on the outside of the pack do a fantastic job and securing a bow to the pack, the Weapon Carrier can be used if you are looking for some additional protection for the bow’s limb and cam.

The Weapon Carrier allows you to carry a rifle in a quick-access position off of either side of the pack or mount a rifle to the center of the pack. The Weapon Carrier supports the rifle’s stock and is easily adjusted, allowing you to customize how high the rifle rides for different scenarios.

When not being used, the Weapon Carrier can be easily tucked away between the bag and frame.

Dimensions: 8” x 3.5” x 2”, Weight: 2.7oz

Crib Load Panel

The Crib Load Panel is a very simple, yet very versatile accessory. It can be attached directly to the frame, allowing you to use the frame as a “load hauler” without a pack bag attached. The Crib can also be run around the outside of the pack bag as a beavertail panel.

The built-in compressions straps on our frame and bag, without the Crib, can be used to haul quarters, bags of boned-out meat, treestands, and more. But the Crib makes loading and securing items easier and ensures that heavy items are properly loaded “high and tight” for optimal performance and comfort. The Crib can remain installed at all times between the bag and frame and be used any time you need to carry items between the bag and frame.

Dimensions: 24” x 8”, Weight: 5.5oz

FTE Dry Bags

Our FTE (“Forget the Elements”) Dry Bag is our answer to ensuring 100% waterproof protection for sensitive gear. Although our packs are water-resistant and do a great job standing up to moisture, the FTE Dry Bag is what you want if you need serious protection for prolonged exposure to precipitation, chances of submersion, etc. To learn more about why we chose the Dry Bag approach over the typical pack rain cover, please see the FAQ item below: “Are your packs waterproof? Do you offer rain covers?”

Dimensions: Size-matched to our 2000, 3500, and 5500 bags, Weight: 8oz (size 3500)

Slurpy Stalker

Have you ever hunted high country mule deer and found yourself hours into a long stalk on a bedded buck, baking in the September sun and wishing that your water and snacks weren’t hundreds of yards away in your pack? We have, and that’s why we developed the Slurpy Stalker. The Slurpy Stalker bag can be run directly on our frame, or as a standalone pack with the shoulder harness. Although it was primarily developed to carry essentials for stalking, we have seen all kinds of imaginative uses for this accessory, including as a kids pack, a hydration pack and tool pouch for 3D archery shoots, and so much more.

Dimensions: 8” x 13” x 3”, Weight: 3.9oz

There are several ways to carry a rifle or bow on our pack without any additional accessories or hardware. The primary method will be using the horizontal compression straps to secure the weapon. There is a set of horizontal compression straps on the rear of the pack, which we use all of the time when carrying a bow on our packs. For rifles, there are also additional sets of compression straps on each side of the pack. When using these side compression straps with a rifle, the buttstock of the rifle can be dropped into the side stretch pockets on the pack. Additionally, the 3500 and 5500 bags feature full-length side pockets that can be used to carry a rifle.

We also offer our Weapon Carrier accessory that is purpose-built to carry bows or rifles. Here is a video showing the use of the Weapon Carrier, and some of the additional carrying options for rifles…

Our hip belt features 1.5” webbing, which can accommodate a wide variety of holster types and sizes for many pistols. Most holsters that can fit on a 1.5” (or larger) belt will work great on our hip belt. Both inside-the-waistband (IWB) and outside-the-waistband (OWB) styles can be used. About the only type of holster that should be avoided are those with a very wide backing or dual attachment points that are spaced far apart. For more information, examples, and installation instructions, please see this post…

How to Attach a Holster to Your Exo Mtn Gear Pack System

Unfortunately, “waterproof” is a term that is used too often. If something is truly waterproof, it is impermeable. The term that most products should use is “water-resistant”, which is what our packs are. The fabrics we use do a great job of shedding water, but they do have a saturation point. We do not worry about the contents of our packs when used during passing showers, some exposure to snow, etc.

If, however, you are using our packs in very wet conditions and climates with prolonged exposure to moisture, then some additional protection for sensitive items might be necessary.

The common approach to adding a water barrier to a pack is to use a rain cover. However, rain covers have numerous drawbacks — they are typically loud, they easily get hung-up or torn off when hunting in thick terrain, they completely limit the functionality of your pack by completely covering all pockets and access points, and many times they simply redirect water to certain areas that get wet anyway.

Instead of putting protection over our bags, we decided to put protection in our bags with our FTE (“Forget the Elements) Dry Bag Accessory. These bags are size-specific for our three pack models, and integrate directly with the roll-top enclosure on those bags.

By putting FTE Dry Bag inside the pack, external pockets and access points on the pack are still completely functional. You can divide your gear so that some of it is stored within the FTE Dry Bag, while other less-sensitive items are still stored within the main pack bag and fully accessible via the zip-access to the main bag. With this approach you can fully protect things like your sleeping bag and clothing, while still keeping other items, such as your food, readily accessible.

The FTE Dry Bag can easily be removed from the pack, which is a great option if you are packing into a “backcountry basecamp” and want to leave some gear at camp, while carrying other essential gear with you each day. The FTE Dry Bag can also be run in the load shelf between the pack and frame, extending the gear-hauling capacity of any of our pack systems.

Best of all, the FTE Dry Bags are truly waterproof, offering ultimate protection when it matters most. And they only weigh around 8oz.

Note: The FTE Dry Bags can be used with our packs that were released before 2017 and do not have the roll-top access and buttons, but the FTE Dry Bag cannot be secured to those packs and will be “free floating” within the pack.

We are the only pack on the market with a 100% Titanium frame, which is both difficult and expensive to source and work with. We also use the highest quality Cordura fabrics, specialized stretch fabrics, premium-grade YKK zippers and other high quality hardware. All of these high-end source materials are then put in the hands of highly skilled workers and turned into an Exo Mountain Gear pack, and it is all done right here in the USA.

We are only able to produce a pack of this quality at this price because we sell directly to you. In general, the products you see on store shelves and at retailers have a large amount of markup built-in to the price you pay. Because we operate on a direct-to-consumer sales model, we do not have to increase our prices to pay for distribution and profit margin for retailers or dealers. Each step between the producer and the consumer costs money, because each person involved has to make money. Eliminating the middleman allows us to sell directly to you and keep our costs in line.

We usually run just one sale a year, around Black Friday. The only discounts we regularly offer are for US Military (active and veteran), Law Enforcement, and other professional responders — please email proof of service (a photo of your badge, ID card, DD214, etc) to support@ExoMountainGear.com if you qualify. We also have a program for licensed hunting guides — apply here if you qualify.

Exo Mountain Gear is proud to offer a Lifetime Limited Warranty on all of our packs. The warranty covers against defects in materials and workmanship for the lifetime of the product, for the original owner. The warranty does not cover loss/theft, negligence, abuse, misuse, or normal wear that occurs over the life of a product.

Learn more…

 

We are proud to say that all of our packs are made exclusively and entirely in the USA.

We ship our packs to Canada via USPS Priority or FedEx for a flat rate of $55; if you prefer either shipping carrier, you may request that carrier in the Order Notes section on the checkout page. Regarding duties, fees, and taxes, it should be somewhere around 4-6% of the total purchase price. Many of our Canadian customers have reported a total cost of less than $30 for importing one of our packs.

We recommend cleaning your pack after each time you pack out an animal, or at the very least after each hunting season. It is also wise to clean your pack before hunting starts — especially if you have been using your pack for physical training or scouting trips leading up to opening day. Thankfully, the cleaning process is quick and easy, and you already have everything you need to get the job done.

Pack Cleaning Instructions

Each airline defines their own policy for carry-on luggage, including size restrictions. Our packs do not technically fit within the size guidelines for most airlines. However, we have flown countless times — both domestically and internationally — with our packs and have not had issues using our packs as carry-on luggage.

We do recommend keeping the pack looking as streamlined as possible by packing efficiently, keeping loose material managed, straps secured, etc.

Be sure to check both airline and TSA regulations to ensure that the contents of your pack meet all security guidelines and do not contain restricted items. Be sure that you thoroughly clear your pack of restricted items, such as hunting knives, fuel canisters, etc.

Carrying a treestand with our packs is very easy. You can quickly separate the bag from the frame, secure the treestand directly to the frame, and then re-attach the bag over the treestand. By utilizing this technique you are keeping the weight of the treestand close to your back and secure to the frame for the best load-carrying performance. Additionally, this technique leaves you with the full volume of the pack bag and complete access to the pack’s pockets for gear storage and access.

For a detailed example and step-by-step instructions, please see this post…

How to Attach a Treestand to an Exo Mtn Gear Pack System