On the cheap?

Joined
Oct 21, 2018
Messages
53
Location
NE Oklahoma
I hate cheap clients, but I am one myself sometimes 🤣

I’ve never backpacked before, know nothing about it. Honestly never had the desire to backpack, except to possibly go on a backpack hunt. Now I’m looking in to do a backpack hunt this year (likely) for.....pronghorn. I know some of you guys will laugh, but I had a dream to hunt pronghorns in WY ever since I was in college. Here it is 12 years later and I have not done it. I bought a PP last year and applied for this Fall. I expect to draw my 3rd choice, which is a very difficult access unit (according to everything I’ve read online).

I want to do everything in my power to come home successful and to have an adventure while I’m there. I feel like a 3+ mile hike/camp should achieve both of those.

Now, I really don’t want to spend then dough on a MR or SG pack, but at the same time I don’t want to be Jerry-rigging a busted pack miles from Nowhere.

I have literally nothing that is “backpack worthy” so I’m starting from scratch. I also may decide I never want to do anything like that again once it’s over. Do I go cheap, or buy quality gear and just sell it when I’m done? Any “lower-to-middle” range gear that would suffice for something like this? I’m an Oklahoma deer hunter (mostly archery) and a secondary (or eventually primary) use for a pack would be hauling deer quarters out back home.

Any thoughts?
 

Treeshark

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2014
Messages
81
Location
Wisconsin
Specifically on the pack, you could get a decent used pack and probably sell it for a wash when you’re done if you decide that this type of hunting isn’t for you in the future (or you love it and want to upgrade).

Or, you could look for packs that aren’t hunting specific and save money that way too. An antelope hunt is a pretty easy entry to this type of hunting, so you don’t necessarily need to be dialed in with the latest and greatest backpacking gear to have fun and be comfortable.

I don’t know the specifics of your unit, but one tip I would give is that you may want to truck camp the first day or two until you’re sure that the area you’re planning to pack into actually holds the animals you are looking for- I feel this is a good general rule to follow no matter what you’re hunting. Also, don’t forget water- a lot of areas where you’re going to find them don’t have a ton of water options, meaning you may have to pack that in too. That means a lot of additional weight obviously.
 

Gynaroo

Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2017
Messages
55
Black Ovis, Camofire, Mountain Archery, and Scheels will have good deals on mystery ranch packs. I’ve seen Rokslide posts with people trying to get the newest gear trying to unload their barely used gear. I bought a Tenzing pack when I first started but had a failure while packing an elk. The next MR sale I saw I bought a new bag and haven’t been disappointed. Last year packed 4 elk, 1 deer, and 1 antelope with out any failure. I may be an MR fan for life. I’ve since added a bigger bag to my frame.
 
Joined
Oct 21, 2018
Messages
53
Location
NE Oklahoma
Specifically on the pack, you could get a decent used pack and probably sell it for a wash when you’re done if you decide that this type of hunting isn’t for you in the future (or you love it and want to upgrade).

Or, you could look for packs that aren’t hunting specific and save money that way too. An antelope hunt is a pretty easy entry to this type of hunting, so you don’t necessarily need to be dialed in with the latest and greatest backpacking gear to have fun and be comfortable.

I don’t know the specifics of your unit, but one tip I would give is that you may want to truck camp the first day or two until you’re sure that the area you’re planning to pack into actually holds the animals you are looking for- I feel this is a good general rule to follow no matter what you’re hunting. Also, don’t forget water- a lot of areas where you’re going to find them don’t have a ton of water options, meaning you may have to pack that in too. That means a lot of additional weight obviously.

The initial plan is to arrive 1-2 days early to drive around and scout, then dive deeper once I get a handle on the populations and pressure. I do understand that there is a portion of the unit nearly devoid of antelope.

What would be your order of importance as far as quality is concerned? From what little I do know, I’m thinking pack and sleeping bag??
 

375H&H

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 16, 2017
Messages
1,069
Location
Northern Wyoming
I cringe when I hear people say “My dream is to go on a western hunt but I only want a cheap pack and entry level rifle.”

These things hold value and are worth every penny.
 

Treeshark

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2014
Messages
81
Location
Wisconsin
huntingsonofagun-

1. Boots
2. Decent GPS with OnX (sounds like you’re in a unit that may have some access issues).

I could deal with a Walmart backpack and sleeping bag and still have a fun hunt, but if your feet aren’t good it’s going to be hard to enjoy yourself. For an antelope hunt, any pack with a frame should work ok.
 
Joined
Oct 21, 2018
Messages
53
Location
NE Oklahoma
I cringe when I hear people say “My dream is to go on a western hunt but I only want a cheap pack and entry level rifle.”

These things hold value and are worth every penny.

I totally get where you’re coming from here! I hate to NOT get something decent, but I also hate to get something nice and not use it later.
 

Treeshark

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2014
Messages
81
Location
Wisconsin
Here is how I would outfit you if you gave me your credit card and said “here, you do it”LOL (these items could be found used in good shape relatively easily on EBay etc...)

-MR Metcalf
-North face Cats Meow bag with a pad of some sort
-2 man tent (these are perfect for one person). REI Passage 2 is nice and affordable
-Etrex 20 w OnX Chip
-Decent hiking boots that you’ve broken in and are sure won’t give blisters
-10x42 binoculars
 
Joined
Oct 21, 2018
Messages
53
Location
NE Oklahoma
Here is how I would outfit you if you gave me your credit card and said “here, you do it”LOL (these items could be found used in good shape relatively easily on EBay etc...)

-MR Metcalf
-North face Cats Meow bag with a pad of some sort
-2 man tent (these are perfect for one person). REI Passage 2 is nice and affordable
-Etrex 20 w OnX Chip
-Decent hiking boots that you’ve broken in and are sure won’t give blisters
-10x42 binoculars

Dude, you went above and beyond. Great info...seriously, I really appreciate the time you took to type that out! Thank you!
 

rmyoung1

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 12, 2010
Messages
1,094
Not to derail the thread, but are you sure you need a bunch of backpacking equipment if you’re going to be antelope hunting in a unit with access issues? That means private land, I’m assuming. And that will mean that you’re gonna be very close to roads, most likely. I’d buy a good pair of boots, but aside from that, I don’t think you need to break the bank on backpacking stuff for antelope hunt where you’re going to be hunting private land boundaries. Just my two cents...
 

Treeshark

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2014
Messages
81
Location
Wisconsin
No prob man, I hope you have a great time.

Good point rmyoung1, I kind of eluded to that as well. The list i suggested would be the same recommendation I would give for sometime just wanting to truck camp too, still need all the same stuff (unless you were staying in a hotel).
 

ElkFever2

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 4, 2019
Messages
769
Location
Iowa
Treeshark has excellent advice

If you buy a cheap new pack, (let's say $150), it's might not work so great, and if you don't like it, you won't be able to get much money back out of it. A bad idea overall
If you buy a quality used pack (let's say $250), it will work fine, and if you don't like it you can sell it for $250. Or just keep it.

Since you are new to backpacking, make sure you use a pack that fits your torso length - a friendly associate at REI or whatever can measure you and show you which packs will fit you.

I'm still not totally sold on your need for a pack for this hunt. I mean, you CAN backpack if you want to, but I'm not sure you're getting much of an advantage. I think you are better off hiking in up to 2-2.5 miles from your access points, and then let your eyes do the walking from there from a good vantage point (glassing).

If I were in your exact position, I'd get great shoes and become comfortable walking 12+ miles a day, and camp at my truck. Once I killed the buck I'd sling it over my shoulders and carry the gutted carcass out whole. Have done this with similar sized animals.
 

WapitiBob

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Joined
Oct 20, 2004
Messages
2,249
Location
Bend, Orygun
First thing you’ll discover is the pack doesn’t fit. Then, about 90 seconds after you lay down on that new pad it’ll be empty because of a cactus thorn. That’s after you drove, then walked, past bucks you’ll likely end up shooting anyway.

Buy an empty pack frame of your choice, add a small 1500ci bag for day hunt supplies, and hike in from your truck camp. When you’re done you’ll know what does and doesn’t work for you and go from there.
 

coleslaw

Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2018
Messages
81
Location
Wisconsin
Good pack, good boots and good clothing. Don't skimp on these items if you plan on hiking long distances and staying overnight(s) If you don't like the pack you can sell them pretty easily on Ebay, many of the forums or some Facebook groups. Not sure why you wouldn't like western hunting. Antelope are pretty easy and very addicting. Good luck!
 

coleslaw

Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2018
Messages
81
Location
Wisconsin
Also, I did my first antelope hunt in a tough access unit (16% public) and most of that was landlocked by private. Find the biggest chunks of public that are accessible and hike as far as you can go. Most people don't leave sight of their trucks. Not hard to have an area basically to yourself, even with limited access.
 

TerraPrey

New member
Joined
May 27, 2019
Messages
9
Location
Ireland
Hunting gear is super important and can go a long way in making your experience so much more enjoyable. Even if you are an experienced hunter, you may want to double check your pack for some of "special" items. There are tons of things to take into consideration for any particular hunt.
Another important thing that I missed when I started hunting: Nice smelling clothes are of course great to have… unless you are heading out for the hunt. While scent killing sprays are of the utmost importance, many beginner hunters fail to realize that their clothes should be washed with a scent killer clothing detergent as well. (for obvious reasons)
 
Joined
Aug 21, 2016
Messages
89
Location
NJ
Hey there,
I do love my MR Metcalf, however you do have other options before plunking down $500 on a pack.
For years I used an Alps Outdoorz EPS traverese pack and can honestly say it worked exactly as intended. I used it exclusively for hunting mule deer, whitetails and turkeys and the pack always held up great and is very comfortable for me (I'm 5'10" / 155 lbs.) In terms of space, it has more than enough for what you are looking to do. I still have the pack today and it is an excellent back up pack for me. For ~$150 you really can't go wrong with it. I know some guys may cringe at using anything but a top tier pack, but I can only tell you what I have experienced first hand. Frankly, I only bought the Metcalf because of my interest in trying out elk hunting and felt that I needed a bit more pack for that. If it wasn't for that, the EPS traverse would have been enough for me. Hope this helps.
 
Joined
Oct 21, 2018
Messages
53
Location
NE Oklahoma
Not to derail the thread, but are you sure you need a bunch of backpacking equipment if you’re going to be antelope hunting in a unit with access issues? That means private land, I’m assuming. And that will mean that you’re gonna be very close to roads, most likely. I’d buy a good pair of boots, but aside from that, I don’t think you need to break the bank on backpacking stuff for antelope hunt where you’re going to be hunting private land boundaries. Just my two cents...

I thought of this but I honestly just don’t know quite what to expect. I’d really hate to get there and regret not having gear to put me further in if needed. Totally not opposed to truck camping, but would like the ability to go deeper if required.
 

thusby

Active member
Joined
Apr 2, 2019
Messages
205
Hmmmm.... antelope terrain is generally a very easy walk. They also do not hide during the day. If they are there, they will be on the hill. I would be more inclined to start my 3 mile walk in the morning, kill an antelope and pack it back out to the truck before dark.

You also have to consider that it is going to be hot as hell during most of antelope season. If you kill something, you risk meat spoilage by not getting it out asap.
 
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