Our Favorite Hunting Gear of 2023

Our Favorite Hunting Gear of 2023

Like most backcountry hunters, all of us at Exo Mtn Gear are passionate about the hunting gear we use. At the end of each year, we like to highlight some of the favorite gear we have used for hunts throughout the year and discuss why those particular items made a difference for us personally.

Below you will find Steve & Mark's favorite gear of 2023, a podcast discussing this gear, and some of our podcast listeners' favorite gear listed at the end of this article.

Before we dive into our 2023 selections, you can look back through our picks for previous years: 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, & 2018.

Looking for a complete gear list for your backpack hunts? Download a FREE gear list template...


Our "Gear of the Year" Selections for 2023

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Steve's List

Mark's List

Bivy Camp During An Elk Packout

A late night during an elk packout with the Katabatic Bivy, Thermarest NXT Sleeping Pad, and Exo K4 Frame

Steve Glassing for Elk

Steve glasses for elk with the Aziak Backcountry Lite Tripod and the Kowa TSN-66 Spotting Scope

Mark Packing His Dall Sheep

Mark begins a 15-mile packout in Alaska with his Dall Sheep loaded on his K4 Pack System

Glassing "on the move" with the SIG Zulu6 Binos

Steve glasses "on the move" with the SIG Zulu6 Image-Stabilizing Binoculars

A bonus gear pick from Exo's own Jake Havlicek...

Jake Archery Whitetail

SEVR Titanium 1.75" Broadhead — This broadhead helped when I needed it the most. Shooting my whitetail with a 15 yard frontal shot, this broadhead punched through, broke the sternum, and penetrated the heart. The rest was history.

Your Favorite Gear

We asked the listeners of the Hunt Backcountry Podcast to share some of their "gear of the year" suggestions. Below, we'll share some of those suggestions. Please keep mind that these are listener-submitted suggestions and are not products that we (at Exo) have tried or are endorsing in any way...

  • Kestrel Rear Shooting Rest — "I find this scissor-style rest to be dead simple and intuitive to use. It weighs under 2oz and fits great in my pants pocket or in the stretch pouch on my bino harness. It creates a ton of stability for prone shooting, and I like that it allows me to make micro elevation adjustments to the crosshairs super easily. I have never found something that increased my shooting confidence and capability so quickly."
  • Crispi Lapponia II — “I really like the flexibility of this boot, but it also offers good support under load. Plus they came out looking basically new after are lot of miles, bush whacking and river crossing.”
  • Enlightened Equipment Torrid Booties — "I frequently get cold feet on my hunts, especially when sleeping. I slip these booties on at night and experience a noticeable difference in warmth. These booties are phenomenal and worth carrying the extra few ounces."
  • Durston X-Mid 1 — "I have than a dozen nights in this shelter throughout Oct and Nov. It performed flawlessly."
  • Black Diamond Access Spikes — "I found these when looking for a lighter version of MicroSpikes. These are about 100 grams lighter than the Kahtoola spikes, but work nearly the same and also have been great in quality and durability."
  • Outdoor Vitals Ventus — "This thing is way warmer and tougher than it has any right to be for the weight. I’m not a big grid fleece fan as they always feel heavy and don’t do much. The Ventus is warm, somewhat cuts the wind and doesn’t take up any space in the pack. It’s about the perfect midlayer."
  • Montana Knife Company Blackfoot Knife — "I ended up packing out 8 bulls this season, so I got a lot of use out of the knife. I wanted to really test it out and see how well it could hold an edge. I ended up doing ALL the knife work on 2 bulls in the field, skinning, quartering, everything from start to finish using that knife, after 2 bulls, it still didn’t really need sharpening, but that’s when I decided to give it a touch-up. Solid piece of gear and highly recommended to anyone who is looking for a high-quality fixed blade."
  • Gunwerks Elevation Bipod — "Solid and lightweight. Also one of the tallest lightweight bipods out there."
  • Otis Ear Shield — "It seems simple, but I'm a big fan of these earplugs. They are low-profile and I can wear them around my neck all day on a hunt to insert right before a shot. I know a lot of folks have suppressors, but if you don't, these are really nice. They are significantly more comfortable than the common orange banded earplugs that I see most hunters using."
  • Jetboil Fuel Canister Filler — "The fuel transfer device recommended on the Hunt Backcountry Podcast works great!"

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