Exo K2 3500 Backpack review**Review Complete 12/6/17**

Justin Crossley

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I've been wondering how the Exo packs stack up to brands like Kifaru and Stone glacier ever since they started a few years ago. I have mostly used Kifaru packs for the last few years with great results and last year I had a chance to test the Stone Glacier as well. This year I will be testing the K2 3500 Backpack – Exo Mountain Gear to see how it matches up. I got the 2017 K2 frame and 3500 pack a couple weeks ago along with the Weapon Carrier – Exo Mountain Gear, the Hipbelt Pouch – Exo Mountain Gear, and the Stash Pocket – Exo Mountain Gear. I've had the pack out for a couple days of turkey hunting and will have it out a little more this weekend. Next I'll be getting serious about some weight testing and then a week long spring bear hunt at the end of this month.

My review is complete; Exo Mountain Gear K2 3500 Review







 
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WV Mountaineer

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Well, this is going to sound stupid but, are the EXO's as comfortable as they look? They SCREAM comfort to me. I know fit is paramount but, they just look comfortable. Without a doubt, the best looking pack on the market too. Got a few things Ebay'ing and as soon as I get them sold, I'm ordering one of the frames with a 2000 bag. I just have to try one for myself
 

mtnrunner260

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Between exo which one do you find easier (less hassle) to get tripod, spotter, glass pad in and out for days with multiple glasses locations.
Then to add to that which is better for the same with a bow or shed antlers strapped on.
Thanks
 

Squirrels

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I have an EXO frame, the Kifaru is on its way, with a reckoning. For some reason I wasn't a huge fan of the EXO bag. Great product, just not for me.


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doverpack12

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I would like to hear your comments on how well the belt stays in place without suffocating yourself if that makes any sense. With my two exo packs I just felt like I really had to run the belt and shoulder straps as tight as I could get them with a load on. Currently trying a Stone Glacier and never realized the belt had some pre sag sewn in so I think that will eliminate any slipping since the belt is basically constructed in the slipped angle. Also like to hear your thoughts on usability of the bag compared to stone glacier 6900 you tested and also your kifaru of choice. I could not stand EXO 3500 or 5500 bag layout and seemed like I could not fit as much as the bag said it should be able to handle for the size using the side zip for dayhunt type outings where you are in and out of the bag frequently with layers and food etc.
 
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Justin Crossley

Justin Crossley

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Well, this is going to sound stupid but, are the EXO's as comfortable as they look? They SCREAM comfort to me. I know fit is paramount but, they just look comfortable. Without a doubt, the best looking pack on the market too. Got a few things Ebay'ing and as soon as I get them sold, I'm ordering one of the frames with a 2000 bag. I just have to try one for myself

I haven't had enough weight in the pack yet to report on heavy load packing and comfort but I put a lot of miles on last week with between 30 and 50 lbs in it and it is extremely comfortable over long distances with those weights in it.

Between exo which one do you find easier (less hassle) to get tripod, spotter, glass pad in and out for days with multiple glasses locations.
Then to add to that which is better for the same with a bow or shed antlers strapped on.
Thanks

I'm assuming you meant between Exo and other packs I've used? Overall I think the Kifaru Timberline, Mountain Rambler, and Reckoning are the easiest for me to get my spotter, tripod, and glassing pad in and out of. The Exo 3500 is also easy except the spotter pocket is actually a little deeper than needed for my 20-60x80 spotter so I have to reach into the pocket to pull it out. I think a lot of guys will like this better though because it also protects the spotter a little better than when the end of the eye piece is sticking out like with my Kifaru packs. All I did to fix it the way I like it is stick my TP roll into the pocket below the spotter to raise it up higher. As I mentioned in my review of the Stone Glacier 6900, the side pockets were too small for my spotter and I had to put it in the main bag through the center zip. That worked fine but is not my preferred method. I like to carry my glassing pad under the bottom of my pack with all the bags mentioned above. The straps that go under work perfect for this with all but when I have the Exo weapon sling attached to the back of the pack it interfered a little with the straps which made getting the pad in and out just slightly more difficult.

I would like to hear your comments on how well the belt stays in place without suffocating yourself if that makes any sense. With my two exo packs I just felt like I really had to run the belt and shoulder straps as tight as I could get them with a load on. Currently trying a Stone Glacier and never realized the belt had some pre sag sewn in so I think that will eliminate any slipping since the belt is basically constructed in the slipped angle. Also like to hear your thoughts on usability of the bag compared to stone glacier 6900 you tested and also your kifaru of choice. I could not stand EXO 3500 or 5500 bag layout and seemed like I could not fit as much as the bag said it should be able to handle for the size using the side zip for dayhunt type outings where you are in and out of the bag frequently with layers and food etc.

As mentioned above I found the pack extremely comfortable with the 30-50 lb. loads I was carrying so far. Bag design/usability is always going to be a personal preference thing in my opinion depending on how an individual likes to pack their bag. With that said, I really like the Exo 3500 for day hunting (which is all I've used it for so far) and the only thing I personally wish it had was dual pockets down the back of the pack like the Timberline series from Kifaru. The single "stretchy" pocket that goes down the back of the Exo is really nice for stuffing my puffy though. I tend to agree with you on the Exo running a little on the small side compared to the listed size when I have the top rolled down. With the roll top extended it has a ton of room in it and I don't think I would have any trouble using it for weekend trips. I think the plus side to the bag design is how slim and low profile it is.
 

Gonewest

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How do you like the weapon carrier compared to the Kifaru gun bearer?


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Justin Crossley

Justin Crossley

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How do you like the weapon carrier compared to the Kifaru gun bearer?

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They are quite a bit different since the Kifaru is meant to be run with the rifle barrel in front of you for quick deployment and the Exo is meant to be used on the back or side of the pack. If you are using the Kifaru Gun bearer in the same manner as the Exo, they work basically the same. The Exo does provide a little padding for your rifle or bow which is a plus in it's favor. Because I think the Kifaru is more versatile, I would give a slight edge to it.

If you take a look at the video toward the bottom of this page it shows how the Exo works. Weapon Carrier – Exo Mountain Gear
 

bucko

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Are you able to get into the pack with a rifle strapped to the back?? Im curious if a long range rifle with bipod will ride barrel down between the bag and frame. If you were to pack it between the bag and frame the bag would have to be in load sling mode and I wonder how that would ride??
still waiting for mine!
 
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Justin Crossley

Justin Crossley

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Are you able to get into the pack with a rifle strapped to the back?? Im curious if a long range rifle with bipod will ride barrel down between the bag and frame. If you were to pack it between the bag and frame the bag would have to be in load sling mode and I wonder how that would ride??
still waiting for mine!

Sorry I missed this.

I can get into the pack through the side zip access with the rifle strapped on but it is somewhat limited by the straps. I'll take a look at running the rifle between the bag and frame and get back to you.
 

wabowman

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Did you use the weapon carrier off the side of the bag? If so how did it carry and would it be easy to unhook the top strap and get the rifle out while having the pack on?

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Justin Crossley

Justin Crossley

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Did you use the weapon carrier off the side of the bag? If so how did it carry and would it be easy to unhook the top strap and get the rifle out while having the pack on?

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I haven't used it on the side of the pack yet. I kept it on the back because I think it balances better that way. I would not be able to reach the release buckle if strapped to the side while wearing the pack. A buddy could unclip it for me though I guess.

Below are some photos of a rifle strapped between the bag and frame. It would work fine but it's a pain in the butt and the rifle could rub against a few things common to the frame and/or buckles unless you wrapped it in something first.

I think a guy could rig up a scabbard to fit between which would work great imo. Hint hint Steve........





 
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Justin Crossley

Justin Crossley

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A couple more things I would like to see Exo add to their list of available accessories are a bigger belt pouch and a water bottle pocket for the belt.
 

bucko

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thanks for trying that Justin- when I get my EXO, something Im going to try is putting my rifle in the crib load panel,muzzle down with my bipod on, maybe even extend a leg to get it to ride at the right height. The way you tried it looks like it would be a pain to take in and out of.
thanks for taking the time to check it out!
 

hflier

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A couple more things I would like to see Exo add to their list of available accessories are a bigger belt pouch and a water bottle pocket for the belt.

My Outdoor Research water bottle pocket works great on my EXO.


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Justin Crossley

Justin Crossley

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My Outdoor Research water bottle pocket works great on my EXO.

Yeah, I have a water bottle pocket from another company attached to mine right now as well. I just think it would be a smart accessory to add.

This pack does have the built in stretchy pockets on the sides which work pretty well if I don't have a lot of stuff in the pack but I have a hard time getting my water bottle in and out of those if I have my spotter and tripod in the long side pockets.
 

Gerard Marcaurele

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Not being able to afford multiple packs, I am looking for a frame that can handle my daily training walks along with being durable while hunting. Do you think this frame could handle that without going downhill after daily use, Justin?
 
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Justin Crossley

Justin Crossley

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Not being able to afford multiple packs, I am looking for a frame that can handle my daily training walks along with being durable while hunting. Do you think this frame could handle that without going downhill after daily use, Justin?
Yes, it would be fine to train with and hunt with.
 
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