Gear that i am looking for advice/recommendations on is as follows:
Sleeping quilt(not a mummy bag) Either the western mountaineering astralite or the enlightened equipment enigma. Both have solid reviews and are available in multiple degree levels. Im currently leaning toward the 20degree bags, but am not sure if i need one that cold.
Sleeping pad: Im pretty set on the therma rest neo air x therm max, but am open to others.
Packs: Im looking at the Exo K3. It has a load shelf and expandable bag system, but i am not sure what size would be best. The 4800 or 6400 ci?
I want to make sure i have enough room for all essential gear( clothes, tent, sleeping pad, quilt), as well as room for enough food for 7 days.
Tent: Looking at the Kuiu storm star 2 person and the Nemo kunai 2 person. Both seem to be rated for 4 seasons( again not sure if this is necessary). I am thinking the 2 person models would be adequate for leaving gear in while out hunting, and still leaving enough room for said gear and myself during inclement weather.
We will be hiring a packer to get the elk out(if successful). We dont want to be packed in with too much stuff to move if we dont land on the elk right away, so want to keep things reasonably light, but be quality gear as well. We will be able to come out and restock if necessary, but want to stay in as long as possible and hunt.
If anyone has experience with the gear in question, please let me know. If you have something that works as well or better, please let me know. Any suggestions are appreciated.
Inreach, cell with onx maps downloaded, small powerbank for charging,headlamp, flashlight, jetboil mini mo, field wipes, knives, game bags, drybag, paracord, small tarp.
I would recommend some trekking poles especially for packing quarters out. The are great for stream crossings too.
A couple of light things you might consider as “comfort level” additions. Chapstick and super glue. At altitude, my lips get chapped and the skin on my fingers dries out and splits pretty quickly.
That xthrm pad and Exo pack is excellent.
Tents; The ones you mention are good…as is The stuff from Tarp Tent and Seek Outside.
A great pack is number two. Go larger, they all pack down to nothing. I use a 5900. It is also used as my day pack.
Back to the boots. Schnees, crispi, kennetrek, etc. Fairly stiff sole and high quality leather. Great support, sidehills well and can handle the loads you will be carrying. I can't stress how important the boots are. But them now and break them in. Boots determine whether you will be miserable or happy.
PushCo exactly what i was looking for. 2 of the items im looking at you just used. That makes justifying the purchase much easier. Boots i have considered but havent gotten to. Living in ohio theres not much chance to try any of the mountain boots here.
Have you considered a heat source for your tent? If someone is packing your gear there’s no reason not to invest in a stove. You can leave it at the place the packer drops you and make that your base location. Dry clothes are imperative.
A good little saw for making some firewood.
For me if I’m carrying it all on a sept elk hunting I don’t need a chair, or a stove (heater), or hand gun (unless griz country), never needed a saw either. I have been guilty as well, but generally think a lot of guys carry too much stuff. Sometimes less is more.
A mummy bag can be unzipped and used like a blanket. It can easily get cold at night at that time/elevation. By cold I mean below 20 degrees. I would take a mummy bag.
You can email me for my word gear list and excel spreadsheet for weights.
As far as pack size, I used to run around with a Kuiu Icon pro 1800 ci bag. It was ok but just way too small. I picked up a larger bag at 5200 CI and I could pack everything I needed for 3+ days inside the bag. I had a warranty issue and the replacement is a 6000 CI bag and I'm in heaven....lol. Bigger is better. As stated you can always make it smaller.
A 4-fold section cut off a Thermarest Z-lite sleeping pad weighs 4 ounces. Its all I ever carry backpacking and with me hunting. It is the chair when glassing and around camp, the pad I take my noon nap on, and where I stand to take my boots on and off before getting into the bag at night. Lighter and more versatile than a chair in my experience.
I've never carried a handgun while bowhunting 35 yrs in CO. Obviously a personal choice but it's not grizzly country.
Never needed a 4-season tent in CO, camp in the trees, not above treeline and you should be OK, just not in the dead trees that might blow over in a windstorm. Had a pretty close call a long time ago when a huge dead spruce blew down 20' from us in a major Flattops area windstorm. Dang scary to hear it start to go and just hope it doesn't land on your tent.
It can snow and turn cold in Sept, or it maybe summer like during the day. Be prepared for either with clothes at the truck but don't overdo the backpacking clothes if the forecast is good for the week.
I like to have a saw at the truck to cut antlers off the skull unless you want a Euro. You don't need a saw to do a gutless method on the meat and take quarters off, rib and neck meat, loins, etc. Nor to remove the lower leg and hoof. You do need to know how to this...an elk is too large to handle any other way. Quick hide removal and getting the quarters hung in game bags in the shade, even on a warm day will get you fine meat. Evaporative cooling will get the temperature down on it during the day and nights are typically cold in the mountains.
Drink plenty of fluids with electrolyte replacements as it's easy to get dehydrated at elevation while working hard.
Good luck, have a great time and bring home some elk meat...best wild meat there is!
The best part about the both of them is they both don't cost anything!
How many days do you plan on going for? If it's going to be more than a long weekend, I agree a bigger pack would probably be more ideal, especially since they can be compressed fairly easily. Most people overpack with clothes, so definitely an area to watch out for.
Do you have much experience sleeping in a tent? I ask because when I started I tried to go light with my sleep system and suffered. Uncomfortable and/or cold nights really take it out of you. Since then, I take a bigger sleeping bag (both in terms of temp. rating and size) as well as a comfortable sleeping pad. I really, really like the Big Agnes system that integrates the pad in the bag. And for an early season high country hunt, I'm still probably bringing a 10-15 degree bag (perhaps even a zero degree bag) as I can be a cold sleeper. I've learned that the weight penalty for those things is well worth it to me, and I've learned to sacrifice weight elsewhere.
If you have experience with your system and have tested it in similar conditions to what you'll hunt in, you can disregard that advice. I encourage you to try and test your system out before you go if you can to see how well you sleep if you haven't.
This all works great for me from spring bear season through the end of archery elk season at the end of September.
Sleep System *Kelty2 person tent (5.5 lbs) 2 of us share/ or seek outside cimarron with stove if bad weather *Thermarest Neo Air Xlite sleep Pad *REI Sub Kilo sleeping bag *Klymit Xpillow inflatable pillow General gear *Hunting tags & ball point pen in zip lock bag with 1 extra zip lock per species if hunting multiple species on trip *Breeze squeeze wind tester *Platapus Big Zip 3 liter water bladder *Black diamond Icon headlam *1 roll toilet paper up to 7 day trips *Glen Berry Thunder Bugle reeds(1 per day) *Phelps gray Amp mouth reeds (1 per 3 days) *Wood Wise external reed cow call *Jet boil stove *Small Giga Power fuel can for jet boil *Spoon *Lighter *Coghlans Fire starter paste *Katadyn Hiker Pro Water filter or Katadyn camp bag filter depending on location *Flip flops to wear at camp *20ft paracord rope(clothes line @camp) *Mole Skin and Leukotape(for blisters) *Tooth brush & toothpaste *Qtips *Non scented deodorant *4 ibuprofen per day (2 in am-2 in pm) *2-3 field tips to shoot bow at spike camp if possible. Some of my spots I can shoot a square of toilet paper in a soft dirt bank. Others no way to do that without breaking arrows. Awesome to shoot if possible. Skinning/ meat hanging/meat care *Bahco 396-LAP 7.5 inch blade hand saw *Havalon knife with 6/8 xtra blades *Gerber Metolius EZ Open knife *6 Carabou Gear 20x38 game bags, trash bag,30ft paracord all vacuum sealed together. Clothing packed in backpack *Stocking cap *Smart wool gloves(2 pair if long trip/wet weather) *1 pair KUIU Aattack pants *1 KUIU 125 Ultra Merino LS Crew T Shirt *1 pair KUIU calf high merino socks *KUIU Ultra Merino zip off bottom *KuiU Ultra Merino 145 zip t #Kuiu gator #Kuiu chugach Nx rain pants/jacket #First lite puffy jacket #KUIU Peloton zip jacket
#items dependent on weather forecast. If doing 7-10 day trip, weather forecast not reliable for that length of time after second week of September in high country and all items are packed.
*3 packets instant oatmeal vacuum sealed *1 or 2 cliff bars *1 cups bear naked granola granola, 1/2 cup instant milk, *2 Starbucks via *2 powdered pedialyte/Gatorade packets *Mountain house meal for dinner *1 oz jerky *1/4 cup mixed nuts
Any way it's a great tool to add up what all your gear will weight and as a check list to make sure you have everything before you head out.
It's pretty old and not manufacture specific, but you can modify it to sort out your exact gear requirements.