How do they do it?

Joined
Oct 7, 2014
Messages
572
I think lots of light weights come out of early September bowhunting setups where guys save 5 lbs by leaving the spotting scope and tripod at home and have less clothing and shelter.

I think lots of guys don't weigh their packs with water, weapons or gear stuffed in a bino harness.

A cool exercise would be to pick all of the bare essential items and build a spreadsheet of the lightest available offerings and see where you could come out.
 

wllm

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 9, 2015
Messages
16,526
Location
Boston
I just finished a 5 day elk hunt and including rifle and binos I was right at 46 lbs, that doesn't include pants, boots, hat, and a merino shirt. My list is pretty close to yours but since I was going with a buddy I carried the stove, and tent and he had the spotter. The biggest difference in our gear is clothing, all I brought was a hoody, puffy, rain jacket, rain paints, 1 pair of extra socks, and gloves. We were up at 11,000+ and I definitely was cold in the mornings and evenings and did a ton of glassing in my bag. For a ten day solo I would probably have to add 15lbs for a spotter, food, another shirt, and another pair of socks. If I was going with a buddy I bet I could keep it under 55. I think it depends guys who say they can do ten days with 45 are A. hunting in September, B. Hunting with buddies and distributing heavy gear, C. not including weight of optics and weapons.
 

SnowyMountaineer

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 11, 2009
Messages
3,826
Location
WY
There are some good answers here. Something easy to gloss over is the size of your stuff. My whole outfit in size medium and a regular size sleeping bag would easily drop a couple pounds, more with a winter bag. I'm not in the business of shrinking so can't do much about either of those.
 

1_pointer

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 20, 2000
Messages
18,108
Location
Indiana
There are some good answers here. Something easy to gloss over is the size of your stuff. My whole outfit in size medium and a regular size sleeping bag would easily drop a couple pounds, more with a winter bag. I'm not in the business of shrinking so can't do much about either of those.
This!! My stuff weighs more than many others as I'm round enough that some folks here could use my belt as a jump rope...
 

trasko

Member
Joined
May 12, 2017
Messages
39
Location
Taylors, SC
"use my belt as a jump rope" Lol!

The ultra-lighters talk about SOW (Skin-out weight). They are the ones that cut their tooth-brushes in half and sleep under 2 sheets of tissue paper glued together. If you're getting picky you'll wear light-weight shoes and light fabric clothes, etc.

In the end I'm like the OP. A long hunt means 60+ lbs for me. I get on a scale about once a week butt-naked just to track my weight. Before I put my stuff in the truck sometimes I'll throw the pack/rifle on and weigh myself. That's what I count. It's 60-65lb for a full-on backpack hunt and more like 40lb for a 3-day, temperate-climate and easy-water access.

In the end, you can spend more money for lighter gear or just carry less stuff.

OP: some specific notes:
- 3lb for a solo tent is on the high side. You could probably get something ~2lb.
- a 0 degree synthetic bag will weight 1lb+ more than down. What do you have?
- traditional thermarests are great (self-inflating foam). I prefer them. However you can get big gains (like 1lb again) dropping to an inflatable (they also pack smaller). Downside is their expense and most are loud when you move around.
- Your chair is optional. I know 1lb isn't a big deal but that should account for 1lb of your "over-weight" measurement.
- Your optics are heavy. 12x50s have got to be significantly heavier than my 8x40s which are 2lb 2oz. The spotter I'm sure is similar. I'm not saying you shouldn't have these but they will also account for the weight difference.

OP: don't worry about it. If you've pared down your stuff to what you use and what you want then you're doing fine. If you've got money to burn then start with your heaviest stuff and see where you can swap it out with something lighter. Could be a different rifle, optic, backpack, tent or bag. After that your only choice is start leaving stuff behind.
 

Bigjay73

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 28, 2017
Messages
2,903
Location
Denver
Sometimes we'll carry stuff in a week ahead of time and leave it where we plan to camp. Make a scouting trip out of it. Leaves you carrying half a load in come game time.
 

Highground

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2017
Messages
190
Location
Western Montana
Im still trying to figure this out myself. Id my ebstock dragonfly is heavy, but it can haul more than I can carry. My goal is to hike in with 40lbs including spotter and rifle, and be able to fit a boned out Muley buck in the return trip. I always end up hiking in with 60-70 lbs and have to make a double trip back out. No problem but the single trip out becomes compelling when hunting solo 5 miles from the truck. I just need a llama I guess...
 

SnowyMountaineer

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 11, 2009
Messages
3,826
Location
WY
That's really the crux of it; If I can one-trip a mule deer w/ gear it allows me to go places I wouldn't have the time or energy to do two trips. If I can be ready for a single trip out, I can sit behind my glass until the last light of the last day I have to hunt. I've weighed quite a few boned out mule deer in MT and WY. They generally range from the low 50's to about 60 lbs. of boned out meat depending on age. A big buck antlered skull (minus lower jaw) is +- 8 lbs, a young 4x4 is 4-5 lbs. I cannot carry a 135-140# backpack for 4-7 miles, which is generally the range I operate in. I was carrying around 64% of my body weight last pack out as it was. So I either cut weight on the backpacking outfit down to mid 50's or under, or it doesn't work.

Sheep guys (and plenty of others) have been thinking about this stuff forever. It mostly takes attention to detail and experience. I always tell new hunter friends interested in backpack hunting the best thing you can do is get efficient at backpacking. You don't have to have a tag or rifle to go tromp around on mountain tops in the fall. That and read ultralight bp type blogs, Andrew Skurka, Roman Dial, etc. Gotta open the mind to what makes sense, not necessarily what most people do.

All that said, no shame in pack animals. Odds are good that I'll own a handful when age catches up.
 

dcestnik

Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2012
Messages
34
Location
Helena, MT
Skip chair, camp shoes and opt for lighter options on shelter, water filter, sleeping bag and possibly sleeping pad then you're likely 5# closer.
 

EYJONAS!

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 17, 2017
Messages
5,771
Thanks for all the input guys, it's all great feedback from fellow hunters and I do appreciate it. I know I have a couple extra pounds of gear in there but I like having them the chair and the heavier tent, I guess I was just tired of scratching my head on this deal after reading quite a few articles on pack weight and what not. Glad to see there was a few others as well and I will definitely take this info shared and put it into use in the future.
 
Joined
Jul 27, 2015
Messages
679
Location
Helena, MT
Meh, I like to go light but I'm not obsessing over it. I take what I need (some of what I want), count on being heavier in colder weather or during rifle season. Can't say I've ever weighed my pack. Once I've pared it down, it is what it is.
 
Top