This list and the helpful hints attached are what we use for 7-10 day pack-in hunts in the North. This would be a great reference for any sheep, goat, caribou and/or moose hunts in the world. Add or subtract one base or insulation layer and any season can be hunted with confidence.
CLOTHING & FOOTWEAR
(1) Set of Raingear. We use Sitka Stormfront Jacket and Pants. (sometimes we substitute Coldfront Jacket)
– This should be the best gear you can afford. This will be your #1 barrier for protection from the elements. If you hunt
in the mountains of Alaska or Canada in the spring or fall you will rely on good raingear.
(1) Softshell wind barrier/insulating type jacket. We use the Sitka Jetstream jacket.
– As the name implies, this jacket is designed to be worn 90% of the time. Great, tough shell that will buck the wind
keep the morning chill at bay.
(1) Hiking Pant. We use either the Sitka Ascent, Mountain or Timberline pants.
– Tough, 4 way stretch fabric. Dries extremely fast. Good pocket placement with quiet access.
(1) Medium weight wool base layer top. We use the First Lite Chama 1/4 zip.
(1) Light weight wool base layer top. We use the First Lite Llano, crew top.
– Alone this is the highest performance long sleeve t-shirt available. Layered under the Chama it becomes an
insulation layer or wear the Chama alone when it is a little cool. They work great together.
(1) Medium weight base layer bottom. We use the First Lite wool Alleghany or Sitka Traverse Bottom.
– Wear under pants on cooler days and sleep in them on cooler nights. Sleeping in the medium layers will allow
you to carry a little lighter sleeping bag. Some folks carry two sets for just this reason. One reason we are so
high on wool. You can wear the wool day and night.
(2) Medium weight wool boxer.
– Layering or base layer addition, also useful for sleeping in.
(1) Medium weight Beanie. We use the Sitka Merino and Jetstream Beanie.
– Keep you warm day and night.
(1) Lucky Ball Cap. Mine is 14 years old and I can’t read it anymore.
(1) Balaclava. We use Sitka and First Lite.
– Use for warmth and to cover that shiny face on a stalk. Also double as an insulating layer with the beanie.
(1) Pair working, hiking, shooting gloves. We use all kinds. Lots of good gloves out there.
(1) Pair weather/waterproof gloves.
– Do some research and find some gloves that can be worn together and some that can dry out fairly quickly.
(1) Pair kneepads. We use Arcteryx Knee Caps.
– We put these on first thing in the morning and take them off as we’re crawling into the bag. These are mandatory
for us. You will love them if you’ve never tried them.
(1) Heavy duty hiking boots. We use Kenetreks and Hanwags from Lathrop & Sons.
– This is a highly personal pick. Everyone has different expectations and desires in boots. Different brands
fit everyone different. Lots and lots of quality boots out there, do some research and try some on.
(2-3) Pair of hiking socks. We use First Lite, Kenetrek, Smartwool and Darn Tough.
– Wear a pair and wash a pair and rotate them. Use the third pair to sleep in and at the end of the hunt for a fresh
pair on the feet. Again, lots and lots of good socks out there.
(1-2) Pair liner socks. We use WrightSox and Smartwool.
– We use liner socks to help prevent blisters and as an additional insulating layer. Buy boots accordingly. Again,
do some research. Get some socks and put together different combos and try them out. If you’re feet can’t hunt,
YOU can’t hunt. Feet are the most neglected part of the hunt for a lot of people and they pay for it.
(1) Pair wading socks. We use Wiggy’s Light Weight Waders.
– Use these to cross rivers and swamps. We also plan to use these if/when we get stuck on the mountain. Part
of our emergency bivouac set-up. Use in combination with the raingear.
(1) Pair of Gaiters. We use Sitka.
– Gaiters are invaluable for keeping debris and moisture out of your boots. As with any gear fit is essential. Take the
time to adjust them at home on the boots you are going to hike in. Not just reserved for snow.
(1) Trekking Pole/Ice Axe. We use the Petzl Snowscopic.
– Very valuable tool even if you aren’t doing any technical climbing. Great tool for making a flat spot for camp or for
making a place to step.
(1) 20′-40′ Sleeping Bag. We use Montbell.(we also use eVent stuff sacks)
– We use down and synthetic bags. If you get a quality bag with a good shell the down won’t be an issue. Some
great synthetics out there as well. Buy your bag according to your sleep habits. If you are a cold sleeper, buy a
warmer bag. If you can wear your base layers and save ounces on the bag, do it!
(1) Sleeping pad. We use Thermarest.
– Right now I am using a Women’s Prolite 3, 66″. Too many options out there to list. I usually put my raingear on
the floor of the tent, my pad, then my pants and jacket, then anything else I’m not wearing and then I throw my bag
on top. This helps insulate from the ground, can carry less pad. And it helps dry wet clothes. I put wet socks and
base layers in the bag with me or wear them.
(1) 1 or 2 man 3/4 season tent. We use Hilleberg.
– Lots and lots of great tents out there. We are looking for lightweight, stable freestanding units. Under 4 pounds,
under 3 is better. Replace standard stakes with light stakes and only take half. Use rocks, backpack, horns etc.
(1) Cooking stove. We use Jetboil’s or an Alcohol stove.(Also lexan coffe cup, bowl and spork)
– Everything I eat or drink can be made with hot water. The Jetboil is perfect. 2 small fuel cans will get you through
10 days if you aren’t melting snow for water. Nice compact unit. Alcohol stove is lighter and more compact and
takes a little practice, but very practical and a definite option.
(1) Portable Filtered water Bottle. We use the Seychelle’s. Staying Hydrated is an absolute MUST.
– I have found that if I stay hydrated I can hunt longer and happier. Water makes it all better.
We try to take 1.25-1.50 lbs. of food per day. We strive to carry foods that offer 100 or more quality calories per
ounce. I don’t get carried away with calorie count. You can’t possibly take in what you are putting out and if you try
your body will be too busy digesting food to hike, climb and glass. For me a warm breakfast, snacking through the
day and a bigger dinner work well. Get most of your calories in the evening and your body will recover while you sleep.
I package each day individually in gallon ziploc bags, this is a lifesaver for time and efficiency.
Example of one food day:
(3) packs oatmeal
(1) pemmican meal bar
(2) fiber one granola bars
(4-6 ounces) trail mix (Kashi Crunch, peanut M&M’s and jerky)
(2) peanut butter packets (Justin’s)
(1) Mountain House Dinner (Double Serving)- I put the dried food in a sandwich size ziploc and only carry one Mtn. House
bag to cook in. This packs alot better. This year we’ll be taking Hawk Vittles instead of Mountain House. Try ’em.
(1) Snickers ( I always have this with dinner)
(2-3) Assorted Tea bags
(2) Wilderness Athlete Hydrate and Recover (take these in the evening)
(2) Wilderness Athlete Energy and Focus (take during day)
(4) FRS energy chews
(2) individual wrapped Wet Ones (for easy clean up)
There are a million different combinations that a guy could put together here. The key is packing individual days, that way in the morning you can just grab the grub for the day and go. I also supplement with quality vitamins. This is just a list I use, I’m not recommending this for anyone. It could be used as a reference or guideline.
(1) Backpack and rain cover.
– Use a good pack as your hunt will depend on it. External or internal is personal preference.
(1) Bow or Gun weapon of choice.
– Spend some time with you favorite weapon and have it ready to go. You might only get one chance. Make it count.
(1) Binoculars. We use Swarovski EL’s. (8×30, 10×40’s are plenty)
– Use the best glass you can. Take care of you glass and it will take care of you.
(1) Spotting Scope with tripod. We use Swarovski ATS 65 with a Slik tripod.
– Try to balance size and weight, 60-65mm is plenty. Tripod works great for cameras and gun rests.
(1) Each Electronics. Digital camera, GPS, Rangefinder. Don’t get to carried away
– Replace or charge all batteries before you leave. Take some replacement batteries, keep it minimal. It can be tough
to do, but try and coordinate electronics that use the same batteries.
(3) Gamebags. We use TAG Bags.
– 2 for meat and 1 for hide. These can also be used for ground blankets, first aid stuff etc.before they get filled up.
(2) Small skinning knives.
– You are more than likely only going to harvest one animal on a backpack hunt. You can skin, cape and bone out one
medium to large animal with two good skinning knives without using a sharpener. One can be used for camp.
(1) Topo map of your hunting area. Try mytopo.com.
– Even if you are going guided, try and find out where you are hunting and have a map. Know where you are, it may
save your life. But more importantly it could be the difference between a good hunt and a great hunt.
All necessary Tags, Permits and Licenses. Have your paperwork in order, it will make your life easier.
PERSONAL AND MISCELLANEOUS GEAR
(1) Each: Clip light for bill of ball cap, headlamp and small flashlight.
(1) 2 Liter Platypus for carrying water.
(2) Small Bic lighters and some waterproof matches
(1) Ultralight First-Aid Kit. Regardless of which kit you choose it can be widdled down some.
– I will add a small tube of Neosporin, some Q-tips, Carmex and Moleskin to this kit. Again, don’t get carried away
with first aid stuff. Some Quick Clot is advisable also. Tape and clothing, game bags will work to stop and control
bleeding. First Aid is more about knowledge and less about bandaids! Take a First Aid class.
(1) Small tube of Sport Shield Skin Glide. Put this on any irritated places.
– Monkey Butt or any powder can also be used for rashes, boots, etc.
(1/2) Roll of Toilet Paper in a Ziploc bag. ( I don’t add Ziplocs to this list, I will have extras from my food cache)
(1) Travel pack of Wet Wipes for keeping clean as possible.
(1) Small bottle of Purell hand sanitizer. Works great on feet and hands. Put this on your tired dogs and enjoy.
(1/2) Roll electrical tape. Black tape. Million uses.
(20) Feet Duct Tape. Million and one uses.
(25) Feet of orange surveyors tape. Mark camp. Your pack. Your sheep. Etc.
(1) Toothbrush/Toothpaste. Yes I cut the handle on my toothbrush.
(1) Compact Leatherman Tool
(2) Large Garbage bags. Super light storage and protection. These can save your life too.
(1) Small travel size liquid soap. 1-2 oz.
(1) Small weatherproof notepad and pencil/pen. Keep track of your adventures, you will love to read them in the future.
This list is not the be all, end all of gear lists. If you wear glasses/contacts, take medications or need some special food prepare accordingly. Also lots of optional gear that can be packed, such as: sunglasses, repair kits, PLB’s, crampons, solar chargers, deodorant, Epi-pens, firestarter, books, tools for weapon, lens pen/chamois for glass, bug repellant, etc., etc.
When you get home from your hunt, lay out all your stuff and figure out what you don’t need for the next hunt. Backpack preparation is a year-round endeavor. Staying in shape, researching new gear and trying to find that spot that nobody else is willing to hike too are a full-time job.
ENJOY THE PREPARATION AND REAP THE REWARDS ON THE HUNT. GOOD LUCK TO EVERYONE THIS COMING SEASON.