At Exo Mtn Gear, we strive to use the best materials available in our products. If there is a material available that will increase performance, enhance durability, or help us save weight, we will source it, test it, prove it — and if all goes well, we will use it.
When we launched the company in 2014, titanium was the best material we could find. It offered a great balance of the three main characteristics we want — performance, durability, lightweight.
When we set out to design the next-generation K3 frame (releasing summer of 2019), one of our goals was to try and decrease the overall weight of the frame, while refusing to give up any strength, durability or comfort. In fact, we had the lofty goal of increasing the comfort and performance of the frame while saving the weight.
We knew an ultralight frame could be achieved without sacrificing performance — it was just going to take a lot of work. Some companies will reduce weight by cutting corners, such as using lighter-weight fabrics, sourcing hardware and buckles that are not as tough, or by reducing the thickness of the foam in the hipbelt or shoulder harness. Our goal, however, was to save weight through smarter design and higher quality materials.
In a very fortuitous event, Exo Mtn Gear Co-owner, Steve Speck, happened to sit next to an aerospace materials engineer on a random plane flight. Steve and the engineer began talking about materials and the engineer told Steve about an extremely high-strength aluminum alloy that was developed for the military and the aerospace industry. As far as the engineer knew, no one was using this specialized alloy outside of those applications, due to its high cost in relation to other common aluminums, such as 6061 and 7075. The engineer specifically mentioned that this specialized alloy had a higher strength to weight ratio than Titanium.
That material is the K794 Ultra High Strength Alloy from Kaiser Aluminum USA.
K794 is an aluminum that is unlike any other aluminum.
Fifteen months after Steve discovered the material, and after hundreds of hours of development and prototyping, we are excited to announce that K794 is the material that will comprise the heart and soul of all Exo Mtn Gear pack systems for the future.
Our new K3 Frame built with K794 will have the same yield strength as our previous titanium frame, but our new K794 frame weighs just 4.5oz — allowing us to shave over 2oz from the previous titanium frame without making any sacrifices in strength or performance.
It is an incredible feat in material engineering that a 4.5oz K794 frame can carry the extreme loads that we, as backcountry hunters, will put it through. We are extremely excited to offer this next-generation frame material in the new K3-generation products that will released this summer.