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Explore the Features of the Nemo Resolve Backpack 35L

The NEMO Resolve 35L Backpack is a mid-size technical backpack with enough volume for short backpacking trips or strenuous day hikes requiring extra gear and supplies. It’s made with durable and highly water-resistant fabric that NEMO can fully recycle at the end of its lifetime, which is itself an extraordinary commitment since most outdoor companies only make products that can be partially recycled and give that recycling phase a handwave. While the Resolves 35L has capabilities designed for hauling heavy or bulky gear, the Resolve 35L is too big for easier hikes, commuting, or more casual use. Take a look at the NEMO Resolve 25L, which is a panel-loading backpack with a clamshell-style top zipper that is more appropriate for that style of use.

  • Volume 35L
  • Weight: 2 lbs 14 oz
  • Gender: Men’s (Women’s model available)
  • Pockets: 8+ main
  • Type: Internal Frame, Spring Steel Loop
  • Adjustable Torso: Yes
  • Load Lifters: Yes
  • Hydration Ready: Yes
  • Floating Lid: Yes
  • Trekking Pole Holders: No
  • Ice Axe Loop and Shaft Holders: Yes
  • Bear Canister Compatibility: BV 450 fits horizontally; BV475 and BV500 only fit vertically
  • Waterproof: No, but highly water resistant.
  • Materials: 300D recycled polyester with a PET coating
  • Max recommended load: 30-35 lbs
  • Pros: Vest-style shoulder straps, external attachment system, water-resistant fabric, side zipper
  • Cons: Small shoulder strap and hip belt pockets, limited compression

NEMO labels the Resolve 35L as a technical backpack. Put simply, that’s a backpack designed as a gear hauler for carrying heavier, specialized equipment for hunting, climbing, rockhounding, wilderness backpacking, or trail maintenance. Technical backpacks are usually made with highly abrasion-resistant fabrics; they have multiple ways of attaching bulky gear to the outside of the backpack and often have a floating lid for securing rope or a foam pad underneath the top lid. Those functional and durability properties add considerable weight to a backpack that more casual users don’t want or need.

Loaded up for a day of trail maintenance , the NEMO Resolve 35L carries best when its fully loaded.
Loaded up for a day of trail maintenance, the NEMO Resolve 35L carries best when it’s fully loaded.

Backpack Frame and Suspension

The NEMO Resolve 35L is an adjustable-length torso with a spring steel loop for an internal frame. An adjustable torso length is a desirable feature on a backpack because it lets you dial in a personalized fit. The Resolves adjustable torso fit is lightweight, much like Osprey’s Airscape suspension system, where the shoulder straps can be raised or lowered and secured to an inner panel with Velcro. This provides a stable weight distribution that sits close to the body for anatomically efficient carry.

The internal frame is a thin steel loop that gives the pack a springy, active feel, and is flexible enough that the pack effortlessly moves with your torso. The loop also keeps the pack from collapsing when it’s empty, and you’re ready to load it. Load lifters, positioned in t

The NEMO Resolve 35L has lightly padded vest-style shoulder straps.
The NEMO Resolve 35L has lightly padded vest-style shoulder straps.

The shoulder straps are S-shaped and fit men or women. The straps are very lightly padded and well-ventilated to keep you drier. They also flare near the bottom, like vest-style shoulder straps, and help distribute the load across your chest, shoulders, and hips. The shoulder straps have two external gusseted pockets that are not sized to hold water bottles. They will fit a Garmin inReach Mini2 or an iPhone: while there is no top closure to prevent items from falling out of the pockets, the fit is tight enough that items stay in the pockets when you bend over.

The shoulder strap pockets are small and best used for holding electronics.
The shoulder strap pockets are small and best used for holding electronics.

The hipbelt is lightly padded since more load is carried on the chest with the vest-style straps, and less load-to-hip transfer is required. The padded portion is also on the short side, covering the back of the hip bones to the midline (on me) but the webbing strap connecting the two sides is long enough with slack to spare. The hip belt is also made with mesh for better breathability. It has two external mesh pockets that are open on top…and unusable for much of anything as a result.

Backpack Storage and Access

The Resolve 35L is a top-loading backpack with a drawstring closure and a floating lid. The lid can be raised or lowered to overfill the main compartment or scrunched down to hold bulky gear, like a full-sized bear canister, between the lid and the top of the pack bag. The top lid has one large exterior zippered pocket but no storage on the underside. Like the top lid on many top-loading packs, the top lid tends to flop down the front side of the pack if the main pack bag isn’t full. This can be annoying.

A long side zipper process access to contents without having to open the top lid.
A long side zipper provides access to contents without having to open the top lid.

The backpack also has a long side zipper, making it much easier to access gear inside the pack without having to pop the top lid. For that reason, side zippers are found on many climbing, ski mountaineering, alpine, and hunting packs. They are a real convenience.

There’s a hidden pocket on the front of the pack, just below the top lid. It has a key fob and is a good place to stash your keys, wallet, and sunglasses.

The side pockets are very deep and can expand to accomodate bulky objects
The side pockets are very deep and can expand to accommodate bulky objects

The Resolve 35L has two versatile side pockets that can hold water bottles or longer items lashed to the side of the pack. The pockets open at the top and through holster-style openings to pull a water bottle from the top or side. But they can also accommodate bulkier items like a rifle stock or narrow snowshoes because they have slits (backed with mesh) that let the pockets expand even further. You can also run a compression cord through the interior of the pockets or across the outside to lash items to the side of the pack.

External Attachment Points

The Resolve 35L comes with four heavy-duty elastic straps with hooks that can be used to lash gear to the sides or front of the backpack. Two additional elastic ice axe shaft holders can also serve double duty for this purpose. The pack’s exterior has eight gear loops sewn into the seams and two gear loops inside the main compartment if you need to secure items in the interior. The plastic hooks at the ends of the elastic cords hold quite securely.

It’s easy to lash gear to the outside of the Resolve 35L
It’s easy to lash gear to the outside of the Resolve 35L.

With ingenuity, you can strap a pair of snowshoes to the front of the pack, lash a rifle, axe, fishing rod, saw to the pack’s side, or a foam pad or tent body to the bottom. There are lots of possible variations. If there’s one thing I could change about the external attachment system on the Resolve 35L, though, it would be to place geat loops along the side of the pack behind the top of shoulder straps to make it easier to secure long item to the sides of the pack. I still managed to lash my Silky Katanaboy 360 Folding Saw to the Resolve 35L, but it would have been easier with some gear loops placed higher up the sides.

While the Resolve 35 is quite water-resistant, the PET coating does rub off in high abrasion areas.
While the Resolve 35 is water-resistant, the PET coating rubs off in high abrasion areas.

Water Resistant Fabric

The fabric of the Resolve 35L is water resistant, but the pack itself is not waterproof because the seams are not taped, and the zippers are not waterproof. While the pack’s fabric has an external PET (polyethylene terephthalate) coating, it rubs off in high abrasion areas, and the fabric underneath gets wet. If you need to hike in sustained rain, I’d line the pack with a garbage bag (which will render the side zipper useless), use waterproof/water-resistant stuff sacks, or use a rain cover.


The NEMO Resolve 35L Backpack is a feature-rich technical backpack that performs best when full of gear. It has an adjustable-length torso, vest-style shoulder straps, and an internal frame with a maximum recommended load of 30-35 pounds. We like the pack’s extensibility, particularly the ease with which you can carry bulky gear with it for technical adventures. Sized for overnight backpacking trips and gear-heavy day hikes, this isn’t the pack you want for more casual day hikes, school, or commuting. Check out the NEMO Resolve 25 instead, which is a better match for those activities in terms of features and volume.


Disclosure: NEMO donated a pack for review.

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