A major topic of backpack hunting the backcountry is what gear people use. I understand that no two people have the same setup, and shouldn’t because different things work for different people. Here is a list of the gear I take with me and what has worked for me.
Backpack – Kuiu Icon 6000 – I haven’t used very many backpacks in my day, but this is by far the best I have ever had. It is lightweight and will handle more weight than I want to ever carry.
Tent – Easton Mountaineering Kilo 1 – The one person model is nice to save some weight, but this model is pretty small. I am 5’9″ and am about all that will fit. I also carry a silnylon tarp from Oware to use as a vestibule since this tent doesn’t have a very big one.
Sleeping Bag – Western Mountaineering Apache MF 15 F – Can’t beat a high quality down bag for the low weight and high warmth.
Sleeping Pad – Therm-a-Rest Neo Air Trekker – Lighter weight models are available, but I don’t have any complaints about mine and I believe it is a little quieter and tougher than the lighter weight models.
Clothing – This obviously changes when hunting different places and different times of the year, but pretty much all of my hunting takes place in late summer/early fall so a lot of cold weather gear isn’t needed. On every hunt there are certain clothes I always take, those would be Kuiu Attack pants and Guide jacket, and the set of Chugach rain gear. My base layers are merino wool and I usually take three tops, varying in weight, and a set of bottoms. Two or three pair of merino boxers depending on the length of the hunt. A pair of socks for every two days of the trip. Black Diamond Arc gloves are a good all around glove to have. Gaiters, I have used OR Crocadiles for a couple of years and have really liked them, but this year I will be trying out the Kuiu Yukon gaiters.
Shoes – On my longer hunts I go with an uninsulated waterproof 6″ boot. If going on a two or three-day hunt I will usually just wear a pair of running shoes.
Cooking Stove – Jetboil - I have the older, larger model and have used it for a few years now. I love the convenience and fuel efficiency of the Jetboil. One small fuel canister, 100g, is plenty for a ten day hunt. I also carry lightweight fork and spoon.
Water – 3L Source water bladder and a water bottle – I have been lucky to hunt where I have never had to pack water since there is usually a spring or snow melting close by. I use the bladder as storage for water at camp.
Optics – Vortex Diamondback 10×42 binoculars, Vortex Nomad 20-60×60, Nikon Archers Choice rangefinder – I have never been a big fan of binoculars and mostly use my spotting scope if I use anything at all. I will never spend very much on glass and will not encourage anyone to do it, there are more important things to spend your money on.
Camera – Nikon D90 with a Nikon 18-200 lens – It is heavy and bigger than what I would like, but I am happy to pack it around for quality pictures. I carry a carbon fiber tripod from Flashpoint with me at all times. A good sturdy tripod is necessary to me for using the spotting scope and when hunting on my own I need it for the camera.
Other Stuff – My first aid kit is a roll of gauze and a roll of athletic tape. I always carry about 25 feet of para-cord for whatever. Caribou Gear game bags, deer-sized even when hunting elk. Fixed blade Buck knife, I believe it is a model 119, four inch blade seems to be just about the right size. SPOT personal locater device so the family can rest easy while I’m gone. Black Diamond headlamp and cheap light for hanging in the tent. Extra batteries for whatever needs them. Notepad and pen to keep notes to look back on later. A watch to use as an alarm clock. One or two large trash bags to use as a pack liner when packing meat, and also to use as a clean surface when boning out an animal. A couple extra arrows and broadheads are good to take along as well, as are any allen wrenches or little tools that may me used to fix a bowsight, rest, etc. Obviously I also take my bow setup and release, and also a hunting license is nice to have as well.
I believe that is most of it, except for food. That is a topic we will probably talk about in the future though.