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What to pack?

Jamen

Active member
Joined
Oct 5, 2013
Messages
470
Location
North Dakota
I am sure this topic has been talked about on here several times. Next year or the following one after my friend and me possibly 2 other are wanting to do an elk hunt in CO. We are planning on hiking in and setting up a camp. We are undecided on if we want horses yet or not. The other option would be two goats. I feel goats are more resistant to things where horses may not be. They eat almost anything and they can climb in places horses cant and fit in a crate in my bed of my truck and not a giant horse trailer.

But back to my main question, I have never done a DIY hunt in the mountains I am use to being back to my truck every night. In your past experiences what are some things that you brought in for a week long trip that I may overlook. Or what are things you thought you needed with but ended up never using, and the opposite what are some things you forgot and day two was like damn I forgot that back home.

I understand I will need the basics food water shelter. We have a filtration device looking at upgrading to a smaller more efficient plus a life straw in every pack. Do you recommend those jet burners or just build a fire.

Any and all information and links are much appreciated. I am excited to start doing western hunts. Being young I feel it is a good time to start I will be done with college next fall no kids or wife it is the perfect time to get these hunts in and enjoy nature. After my 2013 ND elk hunt I am now addicted. I would give up whitetail hunting here every year to go elk hunting in a heart beat. I have been on this site for going on two years and seeing pictures and hearing stories really fuels my system to be one you guys! I would love to share my future experiences with people and one day have the knowledge to pass on like you guys do to so many new comers.

Thanks Again
Jamen
 

WestT

New member
Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
309
Location
Illinois
I'm guessing you'll get tons of good feedback but I'll put my two cents in now. I would pack a Wyoming Saw, two knives, and a sharpener. I wouldn't pack heavy wool outer garmets. The knives and saws were invaluable and I never put my heavy wool pants on and got sick of hauling the coat around. Invested a lightweight packable down coat for this year.
 

Duck-Slayer

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Joined
Oct 3, 2010
Messages
4,429
Location
great state of Idaho....
I would go with the goats.... but I am a goat guy......

I use a msr pocket rocket and its nice for coffee and soups and boiling......

I would definitely bring, water proof matches and a lighter and a flint.... light weight and you probably will always have fire.... also soak some deer droppings in some diesel and put in a ziplock baggy just in case everything is wet... a small tarp, you can set it up for glassing or shade or extra protection against the elements, a can of soup too mix up the freeze dried crap..... and a little extra food just in case.... the list can go on and on but those are a couple I like,
Matt
 

Festus

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 13, 2012
Messages
3,253
Location
Virginia
I've been on less than a dozen back country, multiple day hunts but it didn't take me long to figure out a few things that I now never leave the tent/camp/truck without (even on day hunts):
1) Rain gear. The weather can and will change quick. Wet = cold. Also serves as wind-proof layer while glassing or when walking out after dark.
2) Chap stick. The high, dry air will dry and bust your lips in no time.
3) Water filter. If you can hunt all day without this, then you're carrying too much water at one time, IMO.
4) Jet boil or small pack stove.
5) Merino wool base layers.
 

wildaggie13

Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2015
Messages
109
Multiple night trips I have learned that I am always running low in batteries for GPS. Now I always pack more than needed. Another is scent free wipes for cleaning the cracks!
A few items that I packed once and now don't carry are: soap, towel, and tootbrush.
 

Muskeez

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Joined
Aug 21, 2012
Messages
1,732
Location
NW Iowa
I have only done backpack hunts the past two years in CO for elk so I am no pro by any means. We have learned a few things we like to have and a few we could do without. Filter is a must, we stop at about every other water source throughout the day to fill up our water bladders in our packs, and slam down a Gatorade made with powder mix. We have been able to get our total pack weight down to 55-57# including our bow and 7 days of food. Multiple guys helps. One carries mini stove, fuel, and pots, one carries tent. Get a 3 man tent for 2 guys or 2 man for one guy. They are rated small. Big Agnes makes good quality tents that are UltraLite. Shop around and save some bucks. We don't eat as much food as we think we will and always carry some back out after 7 days. We eat granola and dried milk with water added for breakfast, and jerky, nuts, dried fruit, and gross protein bars throughout the day, then a Mt. House meal for supper. Cocoa packets are a nice treat some mornings and at bedtime. We need to pack more variety though, as the same nuts and jerky, etc. for daytime use gets real old by day #6. 3 pairs of smartwool socks helps in the rotation and I ran a clothes line with string around the inside ceiling of the tent, we hang up socks to dry so we have a dry set for bedtime and for the next day. A small tarp to put packs under at night keeps the dew and frost off of them. Gaiters are wonderful!! Headlamps get used A LOT. Treking poles are nice for the long walk in and out but we don't use them when hunting. Keep just enough stuff in your pack that you could survive a night out away from your tent if you absolutely had to. A check register makes a nice small lightweight journal, and is really nice to write in every night and review after the trip, and before next years trip. Weight will add up in a hurry so keep track of everything in ounces if you want to keep your weight as low as possible. I could go on forever, but those are some things that come to mind quickly. Still LOTS to learn.
 

BlakeA

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Joined
Dec 13, 2012
Messages
2,071
Location
North Dakota
Get in the best shape of your life and then work even harder. Be realistic. If you are going with 4 others and going into an OTC unit expecting to fill four tags with bulls you will be disappointed. Not saying that it can't happen just saying getting one bull DIY on public land is hard enough. Make sure you have high quality backpacks and know how to break down an animal of that size with a couple knives in an extremely uncomfortable position. Shoot your gun ALOT all season and be extremely comfortable with it and as accurate as you can get. When buying gear get the absolute best you can afford as most lightweight quality backpacking gear is expensive but well worth it. Get yourself a great pair of mountain boots and make sure they are broken in well before you leave. Pick a unit and stick with it. Each and every time you hunt it you will learn more and become a better hunter.....try to get to the point before you leave for the hunt where you feel like you did everything you absolutely could to become successful and you will have a great trip whether you tag out or not. Most of all enjoy the experience with good friends in beautiful country....Good Luck!
 

ccc23454

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 22, 2010
Messages
2,446
Location
Wyoming
quality moisture wicking clothing and rain gear, 1 spare pair of sock/liner (wool/poly), NO COTTON anything!!! game bags, 1 good knife and a small sharpener, para cord, camelbak, emer kit, small inflatable seat cushion (it allows me to spot longer and doubles as my pillow when wrapped in my primaloft vest). food wise: mountain house for dinner per day, granola/candy/drink mix and lunches (tuna salad or PBJ) along with tooth flosser or Colgate disposable tooth brush and 3 paper towels (TP) per pack/per day get vacuum sealed to minimize bulk and keep TP dry. makes it real easy, just grab a bag and 2 tortillas and set out for day. overall biggest thing is pack light, you truly don't need much so pack like it! make yourself eat and keep drinking. good luck i am sure you get a bunch of more input as we have just scratched the surface, and get in better shape...
 

James Riley

Banned
Joined
Jan 10, 2015
Messages
1,821
I wrote this up in 2006 for a buddy who asked. I did this or similar for decades but I don't do it any more and I'm softer now. And I have a family. Your mileage may vary:

I'll go out for 32 days of bow season, when the wife lets me. I usually patrol all night like we used to, and sleep during the day, hunting in the legal light of morning and evening. I don't use tents (why go inside when you are outside; can't see squat, etc.). No fire, no cooking, no artificial lights. I set up a base camp and hump all this stuff in to it, then go out on four or five day patrols in different directions, returning to base to resupply. I don't put my base camp in the middle of elk country like some folks. I find a place they don't go, like a shelf on a cliff or some impenetrable dead fall, etc.

I take 30 gs of chlorophyl per day for a month before season and suck on alfalfa tabs all the time during season. I just can't bring myself to go on a vegetarian diet but I've found that doesn't matter. I just roll in elk urine and crap every time I find it. Dig a hole when I have to crap and pee, wipe with pine scent at the end. Some people think I'm wasting time and full of it, but I've touched five bulls over the years who didn't know I was there and I could have done so on many others. I don't even remember how many cows and calves. A friend of mine made me a thrusting spear and I'd use it if it were legal to do so.

I wash (de-scent) my washer and dryer before washing (de-scenting) all my stuff. I use baking soda and (sworn to secrecy) to de-scent. I never knew about the issue of glowing cloths until I read about it on some hunting cloths detergent stuff I saw in a sporting goods store. But my failure to de-glow my cloths doesn't seem to have hurt my hunt to my knowledge. Have to ask the elk, I guess. I wear the same set of cloths for about six days and then change them.

1 set of in and out cloths/shoes (civy smell, driving, etc.);
1 large waterproof duffel bag;
2 pair boots;
5 pair socks;
5 pair underwear;
5 pair long underwear;
5 pair quiet camo pants;
1 belt;
5 quiet camo shirts;
5 pair quiet camo gloves (cheap);
1 pair quiet, warm, camo gloves;
5 quiet camo hats (cheap);
1 watch (for the calendar);
1 quiet camo day pack;
1 quiet camo ass pack;
1 large pack frame;
1 camel back water bladder;
1 bottle halazone/1 water filter
1 compass;
4 Maps and case (USGS 1:24,000);
1 warm ski mask;
1 quiet warm camo coat;
1 poncho;
1 poncho liner;
Odorless camo paint;
60 Chlorophyll tabs;
Odorless hand soap for washing in the field;
1 hunting knife;
1 bone saw;
20 feet of ¼ inch rope;
1 roll of toilet paper;
1 bottle of vegetative scent;
1 survival kit;
60 MREs (or C-Rats);
1 canteen;
1 canteen cup;
1 pair binoculars;
1 finger tab;
1 wrist guard;
1 long bow;
1 bow stringer;
2 silenced bow strings;
3 field blunt arrows (2219s?);
3 broad head arrows, Zwicky Deltas);
1 bugle;
4 diaphragms;
1 sharpening stone;
Scent killer;
Camera;
1 1991 A1 .45 ACP

I don't know how much it all weighs but it usually takes two or three trips to get it in to base camp and one trip out when the food is gone. Never had bear issues. They run when I show myself. My forays are just an ass pack, poncho and liner like back in the day.
 

hike2hunt

New member
Joined
Aug 12, 2012
Messages
10
I wrote this up in 2006 for a buddy who asked. I did this or similar for decades but I don't do it any more and I'm softer now. And I have a family. Your mileage may vary:

I'll go out for 32 days of bow season, when the wife lets me. I usually patrol all night like we used to, and sleep during the day, hunting in the legal light of morning and evening. I don't use tents (why go inside when you are outside; can't see squat, etc.). No fire, no cooking, no artificial lights. I set up a base camp and hump all this stuff in to it, then go out on four or five day patrols in different directions, returning to base to resupply. I don't put my base camp in the middle of elk country like some folks. I find a place they don't go, like a shelf on a cliff or some impenetrable dead fall, etc.

I take 30 gs of chlorophyl per day for a month before season and suck on alfalfa tabs all the time during season. I just can't bring myself to go on a vegetarian diet but I've found that doesn't matter. I just roll in elk urine and crap every time I find it. Dig a hole when I have to crap and pee, wipe with pine scent at the end. Some people think I'm wasting time and full of it, but I've touched five bulls over the years who didn't know I was there and I could have done so on many others. I don't even remember how many cows and calves. A friend of mine made me a thrusting spear and I'd use it if it were legal to do so.

I wash (de-scent) my washer and dryer before washing (de-scenting) all my stuff. I use baking soda and (sworn to secrecy) to de-scent. I never knew about the issue of glowing cloths until I read about it on some hunting cloths detergent stuff I saw in a sporting goods store. But my failure to de-glow my cloths doesn't seem to have hurt my hunt to my knowledge. Have to ask the elk, I guess. I wear the same set of cloths for about six days and then change them.



I don't know how much it all weighs but it usually takes two or three trips to get it in to base camp and one trip out when the food is gone. Never had bear issues. They run when I show myself. My forays are just an ass pack, poncho and liner like back in the day.


That is pure motivation
 

cowboystl1

New member
Joined
Mar 11, 2015
Messages
29
Location
St. Louis Missouri
Man i could go on and on here is the deal i like my pack for 7 days to weigh in under 55 lbs it is always a work in progress trading out gear for lighter gear. etc i am a pocket rocket guy but jet boil is good too. find a good hunting set thats packable a hunting set will have you from hot to cold it is a great layering system and all you should need besides some light camp clothes to where around the fire and or to sleep in. get great socks great boots a great light sleeping pad and a great but light sleeping bag and i prefer a sleeping bag liner as well. separate everything out. un pack repak unpack repack unpack repack eliminate everything you can always leave some room for that last minute item but then unpack repack remember minimalist cut your tooth brush in half squeeze out half your tooth paste. cut half your gear you think you need out.
 

TimeOnTarget

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 13, 2015
Messages
1,303
Location
SD
I am sure this topic has been talked about on here several times. Next year or the following one after my friend and me possibly 2 other are wanting to do an elk hunt in CO. We are planning on hiking in and setting up a camp. We are undecided on if we want horses yet or not. The other option would be two goats. I feel goats are more resistant to things where horses may not be. They eat almost anything and they can climb in places horses cant and fit in a crate in my bed of my truck and not a giant horse trailer.

But back to my main question, I have never done a DIY hunt in the mountains I am use to being back to my truck every night. In your past experiences what are some things that you brought in for a week long trip that I may overlook. Or what are things you thought you needed with but ended up never using, and the opposite what are some things you forgot and day two was like damn I forgot that back home.

I understand I will need the basics food water shelter. We have a filtration device looking at upgrading to a smaller more efficient plus a life straw in every pack. Do you recommend those jet burners or just build a fire.

Any and all information and links are much appreciated. I am excited to start doing western hunts. Being young I feel it is a good time to start I will be done with college next fall no kids or wife it is the perfect time to get these hunts in and enjoy nature. After my 2013 ND elk hunt I am now addicted. I would give up whitetail hunting here every year to go elk hunting in a heart beat. I have been on this site for going on two years and seeing pictures and hearing stories really fuels my system to be one you guys! I would love to share my future experiences with people and one day have the knowledge to pass on like you guys do to so many new comers.

Thanks Again
Jamen

No offense, but it sounds like you've lots of leg work to do before worry about what to pack.
 

James Riley

Banned
Joined
Jan 10, 2015
Messages
1,821
Pat McManus is about the funniest person ever and if you haven't read him then you are missing some of the best outdoor reading ever wrote. He had a great piece on old school packing versus the new modern stuff that had me rolling on the floor with tears in my eyes. Here is a small excerpt I found in a quick search on the internet. He has way more on the subject:

"Just a casual glance at a full pack sitting on the floor could give you a double hernia and fuse four vertebrae. After carrying the pack all day, you had to remember to tie one leg to a tree before you dropped it. Otherwise, you would float off into space. The pack eliminated the need for any special kind of ground-gripping shoes, because your feet would sink a foot and a half into hard-packed earth, two inches into solid rock. Some of the new breed of backpackers occasionally wonder what caused a swath of fallen trees on the side of a mountain. That is where one of the old backpackers slipped off a trail with a full pack."

Pat McManus. Anyway, old school was throw it all in, don't use most of it, and suffer. :D
 

pabearhunter

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 1, 2014
Messages
2,889
Location
Pa,
Start your own list add to it or delete as you continue through the years and different hunts. What I would take maybe you would not.
 

JT78

New member
Joined
Feb 24, 2015
Messages
6
Admittedly I have not been a DIY Elk Hunt yet myself but went on several backpack Mule Deer hunts this season in the Sierra Nevada’s and have spent a ton of time in the field with work and on my own. The gear below is my "baseline" that I augment with warming/rain layers and normal hunting equipment as needed.

-Jetboil, somebody said it above but these are worth the money and I believe the price just dropped from around $130 to $80 at most retailers.
-Good 0 degree or below sleeping bag, you’re going to pay for this one but a 3-4 pound sleeping bag is worth it, you’re going to want an associated stuff/compression sack
-Good Bivy sack and small tarp and 550 cord instead of a tent. You will save significantly in size/weight but potentially at the expense of comfort, life is all about priorities.....
-Thermarest (or similar make) ISO mat, great insulation/padding to sleep on and doubles as a seat to glass or etc.
-Cold Weather MRE's, the main meal on these is freeze dried unlike the "summer" ones and they taste significantly better with huge amounts of calories. I have been told they are made by the same manufacturer as Mountain House and could potentially be a cheaper option. Obvious downside to any MRE/Freeze Dried meal is the amount of trash they produce.
-(2) Nalgenes W/insulated pouches and a Steripen for water purification
-Good survival and basic medical kit, the added piece of mind is worth the 2-3 pounds.
-Knife, Flashlight, GPS, extra batteries, goes without saying…

This is a pretty cool website, guy documents all aspects of his hunts. His gear list is included, I believe he got his pack to around 45 lbs for a 7 day backcountry hunt which is pretty impressive.

http://soleadventure.com/2014/08/my-2014-elk-hunting-gear-list/

Hope this helps, ounces become pounds and pounds become pain!
 

nrpate05

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 5, 2015
Messages
1,386
I'm also planning a backpack CO hunt this fall and agree that the soleadventure.com site is definitely a good place to start. He has a whole spreadsheet of all the gear he used and weights for everything. I'm thinking of printing out the spreadsheet and filling it in with my own gear. Not so much to look at weights of everything but to make sure I have everything packed!
 

cowboystl1

New member
Joined
Mar 11, 2015
Messages
29
Location
St. Louis Missouri
Admittedly I have not been a DIY Elk Hunt yet myself but went on several backpack Mule Deer hunts this season in the Sierra Nevada’s and have spent a ton of time in the field with work and on my own. The gear below is my "baseline" that I augment with warming/rain layers and normal hunting equipment as needed.

-Jetboil, somebody said it above but these are worth the money and I believe the price just dropped from around $130 to $80 at most retailers.
-Good 0 degree or below sleeping bag, you’re going to pay for this one but a 3-4 pound sleeping bag is worth it, you’re going to want an associated stuff/compression sack
-Good Bivy sack and small tarp and 550 cord instead of a tent. You will save significantly in size/weight but potentially at the expense of comfort, life is all about priorities.....
-Thermarest (or similar make) ISO mat, great insulation/padding to sleep on and doubles as a seat to glass or etc.
-Cold Weather MRE's, the main meal on these is freeze dried unlike the "summer" ones and they taste significantly better with huge amounts of calories. I have been told they are made by the same manufacturer as Mountain House and could potentially be a cheaper option. Obvious downside to any MRE/Freeze Dried meal is the amount of trash they produce.
-(2) Nalgenes W/insulated pouches and a Steripen for water purification
-Good survival and basic medical kit, the added piece of mind is worth the 2-3 pounds.
-Knife, Flashlight, GPS, extra batteries, goes without saying…

This is a pretty cool website, guy documents all aspects of his hunts. His gear list is included, I believe he got his pack to around 45 lbs for a 7 day backcountry hunt which is pretty impressive.

http://soleadventure.com/2014/08/my-2014-elk-hunting-gear-list/

Hope this helps, ounces become pounds and pounds become pain!



SoleAdventure.com Is a great starting place for some of the gear you can watch camofire.com and wingsupply.com also amazon is your friend here as well great deals to be had and found. also try elk 101 there are alot of dedicated back pack diy hunters and gear there to get ideas from.
 
Last edited:

Jamen

Active member
Joined
Oct 5, 2013
Messages
470
Location
North Dakota
Thanks for all the input it is much appreciated! I understand I still have a ton of leg work yet to be done. I just wanted an idea of what are the common items people bring and those links helped out. And to answer the question if we expect to shoot 4 elk we all understand that even 1 elk on a DIY hunt is a great accomplishment we just wanted to start hunting now and learn an area well so in the future we have a place we are comfortable with and hopefully down the road we all get a chance or two at some elk.

Thanks again Jamen
 

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