Never been backpacking

Ed B.

New Member
Nov 16, 2017
27
4
Hi. This is my first post other than an introduction. I've been lurking mostly in the elk and mule deer boards. Not sure which of the two I'd rather hunt based on a few factors.
After a lot of thought and learning a bit about availability of licences and of animals, I've come to the conclusion my hunt starts here.
I have to determine whether I backpack or bring a camper.
If I bring the camper I will still bring some gear for an overnighter in the woods.
A backpacking hunt looks like an awesome experience. However, since I've never backpack camped, I don't have experience or gear. I do hunt and camp so I might have a start but often times gear is made for a specific use.
I'm wondering what are some gear essentials for a 5 night stay and how to pick a backpack?
Not sure if this matters but if I backpack it will probably be a mule deer hunt. I think an elk would be too much to handle alone miles from my truck.
Thanks in advance.
 

Micah S

Active Member
Jan 11, 2016
172
67
Sandy Oregon
My gear list changes depending of location of the hunt and time of year. My late season mule deer hunt I packed completely different then my early season elk.

What hunt state and time of year are you going?
 

Alaskabound2016

Active Member
Oct 14, 2015
483
2
30
Colorado Springs
Besides the obvious, essentials for me would be a way to purify water, extra batteries/battery bank/solar panel, fire starter, baby wipes, good sleeping bag/quilt and sleeping pad, stove and fuel...... the list goes on and on my friend!
 

Never in Doubt

Active Member
Jul 9, 2012
303
0
5 nights is a lot for first time backpack hunting. I'd suggest taking some overnight or 2 night trips in the summer and work up to 5 nights. It will give you a chance to test out your new gear too and see what works for ya and if anything fails.

I hope you DO try backpack hunting though, it's addicting and extremely worth the effort.

I'd start with the basics and unless you are rich you won't be able to afford top notch gear on everything right off the bat. Borrow what you can from friends, and buy used gear when you can.

Get shoes/boots that are comfortable and work for you. If your feet stay in good shape and you stay warm and dry, you can kick ass!
 

Ed B.

New Member
Nov 16, 2017
27
4
I haven't decided on where and when yet. I can see how that would be a factor in what gear would be needed.
At this point I really don't know. 20171125_142405.jpg
Here is a bad screenshot of where I'm considering.
 

RICMIC

Veteran member
Feb 21, 2012
1,176
213
Two Harbors, Minnesota
I suggest that you try to get some general backpacking experience before you do so while hunting. There are hiking trails everywhere, with campsites along the way. You can even just hike along an old road and bushwack camp on public land. You will quickly learn the lesson of the overloaded pack, and need to remember that the hunting pack will often be 20# heavier than that due to the firearm/bow, optics, heavier clothing and sleeping bag for the later season, etc. If you aren't comfortable with finding yourself deep in the woods, with no one else around, no road, trail, or signs of civilization, then you're not ready to wander around in the mountains. Good luck, the journey is a big part of the fun.
 

Ed B.

New Member
Nov 16, 2017
27
4
I suggest that you try to get some general backpacking experience before you do so while hunting. There are hiking trails everywhere, with campsites along the way. You can even just hike along an old road and bushwack camp on public land. You will quickly learn the lesson of the overloaded pack, and need to remember that the hunting pack will often be 20# heavier than that due to the firearm/bow, optics, heavier clothing and sleeping bag for the later season, etc. If you aren't comfortable with finding yourself deep in the woods, with no one else around, no road, trail, or signs of civilization, then you're not ready to wander around in the mountains. Good luck, the journey is a big part of the fun.
Preparing here is a good idea. Lol! It does nerve me a little though to be in the woods alone in western states. Maybe no need to be skeert. Living in southern Michigan there isn't much to fear. I've never camped with bears, wolves, lions. I hunt and camp alone here usually.
 

25contender

Veteran member
Mar 20, 2013
1,624
25
I will tell you this much... If you only do one thing do not skimp on a good pack. I wasted a lot of money and time on mediocre packs before I bought a great pack. A good pack will make life so much easier for you and you will actually enjoy backpacking and not want to throw that piece of crap pack you saved money on off a cliff!! Same holds true with boots and socks!!
 
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missjordan

Veteran member
Dec 9, 2014
1,136
22
Missoula, MT
25 contender is right, pack and good footwear is utterly important. I had a crap backpack for years and just upgraded before this season and i wondered how i dealt with it for so long! Good essential equipment can make or break your hunt if your several miles from the truck and need to get your stuff plus a downed animal back to camp. They distribute the weight very well and make it more comfortable.

There?s no shame when it comes to backpacking only being out for a few nights and being close to the truck either. A good strategy can be to pack into your first spot and if your not seeing game you can always come out and go into a different spot. Gives you lots of options to be mobile.

Bringing the camper still might be a good idea, in this country the weather can turn rather quickly and leave you in a pinch if your not paying attention. During the second week of archery this year we got over 2 feet of snow and weather got super cold in the matter of two days ( went from 75 degrees to below freezing). Returning to the camper was really nice during that time period.

This year was my first time ever backpack hunting and we had a blast, can?t wait for next season!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

tim

Veteran member
Jun 4, 2011
1,748
192
north idaho
I don't backpack like I used to, but I have gotten some bikepacking trips in and a couple of multiday raft trips in this year.

if I was you, I would bring both setups and go from there. also, try a shakedown run close to home. they help sort the gear out and what is needed. I am glad I did a couple of shakedowns with my bike and trailer set up this august. it let me figure our what was not working to my liking and get it fixed in time.

your heaviest item will be water, hopefully you don't need to pack it, but if you do. it is heavy.
 

Ed B.

New Member
Nov 16, 2017
27
4
Great ideas! Sorry to not respond sooner.
Deer camp, skinning deer, anniversary, home projects and work all kind of put this on the back burner.
Taking the camper does sound like a good idea having never done a backpack hunt. Maybe better off being more mobile like has been suggested.
As for a pack, I've been looking at a few. I'm looking at Stone Glasier. I might have to buy used though. I agree that the wrong pack and boots can ruin a trip.
I won't buy poor quality equipment but for sure will have to get some things used. Binos and pack will be at the top of the used item list.
Now that I have a little free time I think I'm going to check them off soon.
Thanks again
 

Ikeepitcold

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 22, 2011
9,015
145
Reno Nv
Take a listen to Brain Barney?s Podcast Eastmans Elevated. You can pick up a lot of great info there.
 

mallardsx2

Veteran member
Jul 8, 2015
1,933
279
Dont overthink it. Shelter, Fire, Water, Food. Keep It minimal as possible or your pack will be too heavy to carry.

Never go backpacking without a contractor grade trash bag, 25' or paracord, fire-starters, Leatherman, Electrical Tape and some zip ties.

As other have suggested I would recommend doing some overnight and maybe two days trips to help determine what you need.
 
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mcseal2

Veteran member
Mar 1, 2011
1,107
79
midwest
Lots of good advice with doing the short trips first, especially into an area you haven't personally scouted or hunted before. Lots can be different with animal movement, hunting pressure, weather, water, and other factors once you show up there in person. It can waste time and effort to carry 5 days of gear into an area just to carry it all back out the same day if the area isn't what you want.

As far as the camper or not, we do a combination approach. We take a truck, UTV in a 14ft stock trailer, and Seek 8 man tipi with wood stove. We generally day hunt from the base camp and can pack it up and move it pretty easy with the tipi set-up. Especially for short moves we can not tear down cots and such and be on the road pretty quick. If we find an area we want to hunt a good distance from base camp we can move the base camp, use the UTV to set up a small base camp, or backpack in. Especially in a new unit we like to keep our options open and be prepared to be mobile. Using the UTV to set up a small camp lets the truck and trailer stay near a good road also so we aren't worried about getting them out of a bad spot if the weather turns, just have to get the UTV out. As primarily rifle hunters we often hunt later season.

Having emergency and extra gear in the vehicle is always a good idea. This is not a replacement for emergency gear you carry, but is to supplement it without the weight penalty on your back. It is close enough to be accessed even if it does cost a day to hike out to retrieve it. I keep things like a larger repair & medical kit, spare boots, bag, and clothes, spare knife and headlamp, fire kits, etc in a tote in the vehicle. When day hunting using the UTV to access country (not to road hunt off, but to access trails without beating a big diesel truck over them) we always have a large dry bag in the bed with spike camp gear in it. It's mostly gear we have upgraded from, but that is still plenty usable. If we choose to hike into an area and spend the night we have the gear there to put in our packs to do it. We have other gear too so if we break down, have a creek flood, tree fall, or other issue with getting home we have shelter, fire, dry clothes, knife/saw/axe, light sleeping bags, and a couple days of food and water there. It buys us time to deal with issues and make good decisions instead of trying to force a situation. I like to be self reliant and that takes a bit of planning when you are in a state far from home and friends.

As far as packs I think you are on the right track. I've yet to hear anything negative I can recall about Stone Glacier. I bought an Exo 3500 last year and really like it. Those and other companies now make packs that expand to haul big loads of camp or meat, but that collapse to make a great daypack also. A pack like that fits many hunting styles and situations.

For boots I have 2 main pairs I use. For later or wetter hunts I like the Kennetrek Mountain Extreme boot and for earlier or dry hunts I like the Salomon 4D GTX boot. The Salomon breaks in fast and is extremely comfortable and light. It also is quieter for me to slip through country in because the light sole lets me feel the ground pretty well. It does not have great ankle support but it's ok for most stuff. The Kennetrek boots are very stiff, very waterproof (I use the Kennetrek wax on them regularly too), but still comfortable. If I will be walking sidehills all day, know I will be carrying a heavy load, or just want the ankle support and warmth I'll choose them. The much cheaper Salomon boot can help me make my Kennetreks last longer on trips where they aren't needed, they are expensive. The Lathrop and Sons insoles are worth every penny to put into a pair of boots like the Kennetreks also.
 
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Maxhunter

Very Active Member
Apr 10, 2011
777
91
Wyoming
A lot of good advice already given. IMO buy the best gear possible and you won't have to purchase it again. Meat hauling is a big factor once you have a animal down. I highly recommend the Kifaru or Stone Glacier. There great packs for packing out meat. Another thing I see is folks way over pack and bring unnecessary stuff.