First Look Review – The Exo Mountain Gear 3500 Hunting Backpack

In this video I walk through my new elk hunting pack, The Exo Mountain Gear 3500, and talk about the overall layout, features, and design of the pack.  To show you how much the gear the 3500 can handle (and why that number is somewhat deceiving), I have the pack loaded with almost everything that I take on a weeklong backcountry hunt.  This is an informal, rambling review, so feel free to skip around…

250lb load, be sure to check out Exo Mountain Gear’s Vimeo channel.

Quick Specs of the Exo Mountain Gear 3500

  • Weight: 76 ounces (Skeleton Frame and 3500 Bag)
  • Capacity: 3500ci for main bag and lid; total capacity 4500-5000ci
  • Materials: 500d Codura with X-Pac waterproof lining
  • Organization: 7 pockets total; reverse-open lid, external stretch pocket/panel, full-length side pockets, 18″ side-zip access to main bag, daisy chain webbing
  • Frame: 25″ height, Titanium
  • Harness: Micro-adjust torso length 16-21″; size-specific waist belt (S, M, L); adjustable lumbar pad; numerous compression and load stabilization straps
Exo Mountain Gear Pack Modes Exo Mountain Gear Frame Design

Here are links to some of the other resources that I mention in the video:

The Author

Mark Huelsing is a regular guy with an irregular passion for bowhunting and the outdoors. Learn more about Sole Adventure or get in touch with Mark...

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  • Andy Hamilton

    While I understanding saving the ounces, are you concerned about getting your sleeping bag wet with the hydration pouch on top and your sleeping bag in the bottom of the bag unprotected? I personally prefer to protect my sleeping bag a little better, but I understand the logic.

    • SoleAdventure

      It’s not about saving ounces, as I do have the waterproof stuff sack with me. When you don’t stuff a sleeping bag in the sack, and let it compress down inside the backpack itself, it fills the voids better and actually takes up less volume in the backpack. I see what you’re saying about the hydration bladder leaking, but I’ve been using Platypus-style bladders for years and have never had one leak. And by leaving the bladder sitting on top of the pack, it isn’t under pressure that could increase the likelihood of a leak. I guess there is some risk involved though…

  • Rob McConnell

    Hey Mark, I have the asat camo and i dont have the strechy pocket. Its there, but its just not stretchy. Wondering if you have a prototype or if the astat was the only pack with a more durable pocket? I’m not talking about the side pockets but the large main outside pocket.

    • SoleAdventure

      I wonder if they had to use a different fabric for the ASAT version. I’m not sure. Send Steve a message about it.

  • Tad Dedrick

    Great video. as a side note… If you take your Mountain House meals and store them in gallon freezer bags you can save space. Most freezer bags have a spot to label your meal and you can roll up the bags much more easily.

    • SoleAdventure

      Good tip, Tad. It was probably difficult to see in the video, but I primarily use the “ProPak” meals, which are vacuum packed and as small as could be.

      • Andy Hamilton

        While they are vacuumed tight, they do have a lot of extra packaging. I think that is what Tad may be talking about. I like to repack those also to cut weight and space.

  • BJY

    I don’t understand why backpack hunters claim they hunt for wild game for its natural food qualities yet stuff their pack with 25 year shelf life preservative loaded food packs (read “…..trate” in contents). Read the ingredients on any Mountain View product. Do you wonder why the cancer rate is so high in this country?

    • SoleAdventure

      I certainly can’t speak for other hunters, but personally I do try and limit my intake of artificial and processed foods. The majority of my diet for a backpack hunt is pretty clean/natural (probars, almond butter, etc.). In the end, I don’t think a handful of Mountain House meals (I assume that’s what you meant when you said, “Mountain View”) per year is going to kill me. It’s what I do the other 350 days of the year that have a much greater impact on my health.