Gear write up
And as promised, here is my gear recap. Following is a rundown of the gear I brought, what I really had to use and any changes I made after the hunt for a future hunt. I’ll start with my hunting clothing, then move to sleep system, then pack, electronics and finish up with my bow. This hunt can be brutal on your feet, so bottom up review I guess.
Meindl Alaskan Hunter
I actually bought them marked way down while strolling thru Cabela’s last year before my elk hunt and wore them a couple days then to break them in. That combined with wearing them during my training hikes, I had them broke in well. I think the boots held up well and severed their purpose with no blisters on the entire trip. Under the boots, I wore a liner sock and the KUIU socks for the first time and had no complaints. I also didn’t tape my feet at all, but I likely will in the future if I have to make any several hour climbs as my left heal has a bump on it that rubs the back on long tough vertical climbs. I was going to bring my Meindl Perfekt 10’s as a second boot, but cut it because of weight just before I flew out. I’ve had good luck with Meindl’s and I believe the 10’s would’ve served well on this hunt just the same. If I would’ve got lots of rain, a second boot back at camp may have proved useful.
I wore these probably 50-75% of the time, but I can’t say they really did much for me since the weather was so good. They trapped a bit of heat late in the afternoon, but served their function well.
KUIU Alpine pants
I’ve worn these on my elk hunts and now this hunt and absolutely love them. They are light enough to wear in 75* weather and warm enough that I never wore a base layer under them the entire trip. The integrated knee pads were nice for the rocky terrain. I also love the leg pockets on these as I can carry my camera in my right leg pocket, phone with scope adapter in my left leg pocket and my beanie in the other left leg pocket. That left the second right leg pocket open to carry my guide gloves if I got warm.
KUIU Merino Long Sleeve
No complaints, performed well and have worn these on several other hunts in the past. I carried an extra clean one in my pack, but never needed it as we weren’t really on the mountain for any long enough stretch to worry about changing into a second shirt.
KUIU Guide Vest I’m a vest guy and this vest cuts the wind well and helps maintain my core temperature.
KUIU Bino Harness
I usually would wear my bino harness next, but sometimes I would have to put it over my next layer depending on the temps and how much hiking we would do. I would carry wind checker in one of the side pockets and then I’ve added another pocket to the right side to carry my rangefinder in. In the past, I’ve tied a 12” piece of parachord to ensure that it stays attached. However, I recently just ordered an elastic tether chord that I think will take the place of the parachord.
KUIU Peloton 240 Full Zip Fleece
I added this piece to my gear this year and I think it was one of the best pieces I had. I would put this on and off all day long depending on our hiking activities. It worked great as an outer layer for warmth when glassing early and late. I luckily had great weather, but I envisioned using this as a midlayer under my rain gear if it would’ve rained and been cooler. Great piece and I either had it on or strapped to the top of my pack at all times. If I dropped my pack, I grabbed this everytime!
KUIU merino Gloves
I wore these 95% of the time. Nothing special really, I just like wearing a light weight glove to keep my bright hands toned down while hunting.
KUIU Guide Gloves
I wore these when we were climbing thru the steep rocks and they worked pretty good keeping my hands from getting cut and scraped. Also added some nice grip when climbing up the steep rock.
KUIU P&Y Ball Cap
Just a light weight ball cap and I like representing conservation groups in the trophy photos, so it’s a good fit.
Kept in my leg pocket 95% of the time, but when the wind was blowing, cold and we were stationary, it was nice to grab and put on.
UA or Sam’s Club Underwear
I’m a synthetic underwear guy. I think it takes too long for the merino underwear to dry out and I’ve always worn a certain UA material on hunts, but the wife found some others at Sam’s club that were drastically cheaper and worked just as well for me on this trip.
I wore the above items 95% of my time on the mountain, mostly because I had great weather with little rain. I’ll go into the next layers that were in my pack at all times.
KUIU Super Down Jacket and Pants
I wore the jacket once while hunting and two nights while back at camp setting up or cooking dinner as it cooled way down the first couple nights. I never wore the pants the entire trip. The first day where I left the jacket behind when I went on a stalk, I was very glad I had it when I got back to my pack. At the time, Jack even asked me if that jacket was worth the money and I laughed with “Worth every penny right now!!”
KUIU Yukon Jacket
This was my rain jacket, but I think I only wore it for 15 minutes the entire trip. I planned the weather well!
KUIU Ultra NX Rain Pant
Never pulled these out of the pack.
KUIU Merino Side Zip Bottoms
I had other bottom base layers, but I bought these in the outlet store marked down because I was intrigued by the side leg zippers. I only wore these on the first night to sleep in, for about 20 minutes the second day and then in camp for a few minutes the third morning. If I started hiking any, I was way to warm, so I would say these would be good in sub-40* weather for hiking, any warmer and the alpine pants do just fine. I will say that the side zippers are the greatest thing ever! All you have to do to take them off or put them on is, drop your pants and pull the zippers down and they are off. Don’t have to mess with your boots!
I took a pair of Crocs with me and took them up the mountain the first time. I’ve used camp shoes in the past, but this trip I really never put them on and left them at the lodge for the second trip up. Lots of guys talked about how nice it is to take your boots of once back at camp, so I figured I’d give it a try. Not really a fan of these.
Since there were three of us, we had two tents. One was a Kelty three season that Jack slept in which was a little breazy because of the mesh sides, but it served the purpose for him. Dave and I slept in a big 4 season tent that was a bomb shelter, but heavy! Something like 12 pounds, but they were carrying camp…
I’ve had this bag for a few years (bought used for $175 online and it’s like brand new), but really haven’t spent many nights in it because I’ve mostly truck camped. But with it weighing less than 2 lbs and 15* rated, it was my bag for this trip. The first night I slept in my merino bottoms and the merino top, but I was way too hot in the bag. It probably got down to 35* or so that night as everything was frosted when we woke up at day break. After that, I just slept in my underwear and top and was warm as I ever wanted. I am a warm sleeper, but I could see me taking this bag to much colder temps with no problems.
NeoAir Xlite Sleeping Pad
I originally was going to bring my thermarest pad, but when I loaded up my gear before leaving, I didn’t like my weight, so I looked at some options to lighten the load and this pad was a good spot to start. Worked well in combination with my bag and packs down very small. My only complaint would be that it’s a bit noisy and can sound like you are sleeping on foil.
Pack, Optics and Electronics
Kifaru Bikini Frame and Timberline 2 Pack I’ve used this pack for the last three years and it performed very well again. No complaints and every time I use it, I find a new way to stash things depending on the type of hunt. In the past, I only used the standard lid because I day hunted and wasn’t carrying camp on my back, but this trip I added the Guide lid so I had some additional storage. I also have the Grab-it on this, so when we were climbing up or down the mountain, I could strap my bow to the pack for the journey. I also carried my scope and tripod for the entire hunt and the side pockets were very nice to slide them in and felt they were safe on the ride. It was a bit of a pain sometimes having to take my pack off to grab the scope, but I’m not sure there is another way to fix that. So if we thought we were going to use the scope often, Jack would just carry that in his hand since I had my bow.
In the past I’ve been a fan of using a water bladder for my drinking water, but that changed this trip. Before, I was able to use a pump to fill up the bladder and had a drink available at any time. This trip, since I didn’t have a pump, it was a pain to fill the bladder as I had to take it out of the bag to refill. So I either needed a pump or a wide mouth bottle that I could just dip in the flowing water and refill. I opted for the water bottle after we dropped off the mountain on the third day and when I got home, I ordered two water bottle holsters for my pack. Now I have one more option depending on where my next hunt takes me.
Swarovski 20-60 x 65mm Scope and Outdoorsmans Medium Tripod
This is the most I’ve actually used a scope on a hunt. We would find the goats with our binos, but then we would use the scope to see if they were nannies or billes, which was very hard to do with the binos at any distance. It was hard at times to tell in the scope. The tripod was light and is built like a rock. The build quality is top notch. Jack even commented on how smooth it was to operate.
Zeiss Victory 10x40
Have had these for several years and use them for every hunt I go on. They are very good glass and have held up well on mountain hunts as well at home chasing whitetails. I was a bit surprised that Jack’s Swarovski 10x32’s were actually a bit brighter when compared side by side to mine. It is tough to get a real life comparison of the high end glass outside of a store.
Vortex 15x56 Kaibab
Never used on the entire trip. Next time I’d leave them at home.
I bought this camera specifically to take on trips like this. It is a step up from the phone and has a bunch of real camera options that help take better photos. It’s also water proof and drop resistant. You can’t recharge it via USB, so I brought an extra battery along and never used it. I think it would’ve made the full 10 days, I know it would with the backup battery. I thought about bringing my DSLR along, because I enjoy taking the pics and as you know I like to use them to tell the story, but it weighs too much and is cumbersome to carry on a hunt. I also know if the camera isn’t immediately accessible, I’m not going to be taking many photos, so pocket size was a requirement. Overall, I’m pleased with this camera and think it will be along with me on any future hunts.
I used this mostly as my phone scope camera this trip, but did take a few other pics with it as I had Dave carry the Olympus at times for different perspective pics. I also normally use this as my GPS, but I never really used it for that purpose this trip. In airplane mode, I never had to charge the battery for the first three days and likely could’ve made 5 or 6 days without a charge this tirp. I also used it to connect to my InReach to send texts back home and to check on work.
InReach Satellite Device
This worked as advertised and was fun after I put the bear and goat down. I was able to text the wife, a few buddies and work as needed. You can’t send pics, but I think my kids liked the fact that they could see where I was on a map when I sent a text. Would be great in an emergency scenario, but my outfitter also had a satellite phone.
Goal Zero Solar Panel & Mophie Battery
Never took either one of them out of the pack. The InReach would’ve lasted the entire 10 days on a charge based on how I was using it, other than the one time I forgot to shut it off. My phone was able to be recharged when we dropped off the mountain with my bear on day three. The only other USB device I had was my headlamp and that didn’t require charging the entire trip, but we didn’t do a whole lot in the dark.
Leuopold TBR 1000i Rangefinder
Have had this for a few years now and don’t have any complaints. The battery did flash empty on me the last day, but I always carry a spare in my pack, so had the hunt lasted longer, I had one at hand.
Now on to the Bow…
Bowtech Prodigy 70#, Option 8 Sight, Hamskea Rest, Piledriver PTX Arrows, Slick Trick Mag Broadheads, TightSpot Quiver
Other than the operator, I don’t have any complaints with my setup. The Option sight is pretty cool and works great. The more I use it, the more I like it. I used the slider on the bear where I had time to dial in the yardage and used the multipin when it happened fast with the goat. Very pleased with the arrow and rest setup as both were also new for this hunt.
The one thing we did with arrows, is before we headed up, I gave Jack three arrows taped together as one to put in his pack and I put three spare broadheads in my pack, in case I were to lose any hiking up thru the brush. I did actually lose one out of the quiver on the way down with the bear. Good thing it didn’t cut my bow or Dave as we have no idea when it really fell out. I also used the Primos bow sling to cover my string when I loaded it in the pack. Once on top of the mountain, I never put it back on as the brush is almost non-existent. I also took along my old bow as a backup, but didn’t need it as I was able to fix my bent sight in camp.
After losing the one arrow, we did tape my arrows into the quiver for the climb up. The narrow shafts don’t hold quite as well as the thicker shafts and when going thru the brush they came loose a few times. I also didn’t need it, but I carry a spare release in my pack at all times. I had a buddy fall and break the trigger off his index release on a hunt once. My spare release allowed him to keep hunting and not lose any time.
Other Misc. Gear
Black Diamond Hiking Poles
These are a must when climbing up and while carrying a heavy pack down the mountain. I didn’t use them when we were on top of the mountain, but they saved my knees and butt a few times coming down thru some steep heavy timber after we got my bear. The guides used a single walking stick with hockey tape on it for the same purpose.
Cook pot, Stove, Water Filter
Jack carried the only stove we needed and he’s never filtered the water coming out of the side of the mountains, so I followed suit.
Jack and Dave did a great job on the hides using a plastic carpet knife with breakable blades. I butchered the hide with my havalon… We did use the KUIU medium game bags and they worked quite well. Two game bags held all of the meat from my bear and two worked for the goat as well. Both bags had some additional room left over and both animals were big bodied, so I suspect two bags would cover any bear or goat for the most part. I also had a Kifaru meat bag in my pack, but it doesn’t breath that well, so we opted for the KUIU first.
Other than a compass, parachord, a first aid kit, blistex, headphones and my journal, that pretty well sums up everything I had with me on the trip.
Make sure you have plenty of Deet, a mosquito net and possibly wash your clothes with that sawyer permethrin bug repellant. The bugs are thick, Plan accordingly !!!
When I take off my shirt I look like I have the measles from all of the black fly bites. I gave up on the mosquitos and just let them feed.
Good Luck !
Broadheads: Montec CS, Slick trick standard and Mag and Rage Trypans are all shooting dead on with field points. I'll likely run Montecs and Rages and which ever arrow I grab at the moment of truth I have full confidence in. I think the rages are little more forgiving and fly a little better in the wind but all are shooting unreal.
Pack: Mystery Ranch Metcalf (plus lid if I need it, game time decision)
Sleeping bag and pad: Marmot Helium and Zlite foam pad. Usually go with my thermorest but after last elk hunt where my thermorest kept loosing air I said forget it, I'm going with foam. The foam also sort of doubles as a kneel pad or sitting pad if glassing a lot.
Boots: Lowa Tibet - bought them last spring so they've been through a full year of hunting plus I've been wearing them around the farm and hiking in them all this summer as well.
Pants: Kuiu Alpine, I'm also bringing Attack pants as a back up or to swap out if we go back to main camp. I really liked the attack pants and I like the alpines better though I have not hunted in the alpines yet, they are a new pick up.
Rain Gear: First Lite - again, bought it last year so I could try it out for a year, I like. Not the lightest but does seam to breath ok and definitely keeps me dry. Also, not that noisey compared to some.
Jacket: Sitka 90% - like the name says, I use this jacket for prob 90% of my hunting, love this jacket. Debated leaving it home and going with just the rain shell and a puffy but I can't seem to part with it.
Puffy Coat: Kuiu super down- one of my favorite pieces of gear, I never leave home with out this jacket, its literally in my truck console or in my pack all fall and winter. Light, packs tiny, weighs nothing and is WARM.
Shirts: First lite merino quarter zip or Smart wool mid weight merino shirt I like both, smart wool is a bit heavier I'll take one and leave on at base camp again as a swap out or back up if we come out.
Base tshirt; First lite short sleeve merino
Socks: Smart wool wear a pair, and have a pair in my pack. Prob leave two pair at camp as well again for swap out.
Binos: Leica HD-B 10by42 Rangefinder binos
Range finder: Leupold RXII - I may or may not take a long this range finder in addition to my rangefinding liecas. Sometimes I like to throw the binos in my pack and go really light and quiet when stalking in for a shot. Also, I don't think the Leica's compensate angles at close range range. Shitty thing about the RXII though is it only ranges in archery mode to like 60 which I wouldn't likely shoot farther than that on my first shot but follow up shots I'm comfortable to 80-85.
Treking poles; Alpine carbon cork Gloves- UA and first light - Underarmor are thin and light, First light are a little heavier for scrambling in rock Gaiters : Sitka Hats: Sitka beanie and Sitka ball cap Neck Gaitor- Kuiu - again, I love this little thing, always with me.
That is most of my main gear, obviously knives, paracord, first aid, game bags, fire, water bladder, collapsible cup, spork, etc.
(Stop reading if guns offend you) I am taking a rifle along which will stay in camp until day 5, the rough plan is to give it 4 or 5 days with the bow and if I can't get it done to return to camp, re-fuel, freshen up, grab the rifle and head back out for 4 more days. Rifle is built on a Remington 700 short action, chambered in .338 RCM with a Hart barrel, gun was built by R.W. Hart and sons topped off with a Swarovski 4-12 by 50 with a custom elevation turret, it shoots lights out. Load is 200gr Nosler Accubond at 2,850 fps.
Thanks again for the responses and really all the great feedback you've all provided about Babine, I basically booked them based off of what I had read on this site over the years, can't believe I'm finally the guy going on the trip!!
Demo bowhunter, good lord, what is that $25,000 worth of gear you listed. I'd say you were well prepared!