Lightweight Backpack Hunting Gear List

Lightweight Backpack Hunting Gear Lis

Similar to recreational backpackers, hunters should have a healthy respect for nature and wildlife. However, the preparation and gear used for both activities are notably different. Backpack hunting requires more gear, additional hunter specific skills, and an increased willingness or tenacity to explore the vast off-trail wilderness in pursuit of game animals. These animals are often found in areas that are difficult to access due to either distance, change in elevation, or density of vegetation. By carrying my hunting camp on my back, I can adapt to where the game lives, or where my instincts take me. This prevents tiring hikes to and from a base camp each day and vastly improves my odds for success.

Depending on the species of game that you may be pursuing, hunting seasons typically start in August and end in December. The varying weather conditions of these months alone could easily overwhelm a backpack hunter. It is not uncommon for a relatively sunny September day to turn miserable with a mountain storm moving through and dumping snow in a matter of hours. If you are hunting for a few days, it’s not long before you can have damp boots, clothing, and sleeping bag.

One of the best ways to understand the similarities and differences between backpack hunters and backpackers is to look at the differences in the kind of gear you need to carry. What follows is a detailed list of equipment I might use on a typical fall hunt. This has been further organized around the core activities that make up a typical hunting trip. There’s a lot of information packed into this post about backpack hunting, and gear requirements that I think you’ll find interesting and useful if this concept is new to you.

This particular backpack hunting gear list is compiled for hunts occurring in September and October. At just over 26 pounds, without food, water, and fuel, it’s a good example of a lightweight backpack hunting gear list with a few tradeoffs that you can make to reduce the weight of your hunter specific gear without skimping on comfort or taking too many risks in the backcountry. Items marked with asterisks are optional depending on hunting season, terrain, and weather.

I’ve broken the gear list into the following sections:

  • Clothing for Hiking
  • Clothing for Camp
  • Clothing for Glassing/Sitting/Weather
  • Hydration
  • Cooking
  • Navigation
  • Electronics
  • First-Aid/Self Care
  • Packing
  • Shelter
  • Sleeping
  • Optics
  • Weapon of Choice
  • Harvest Kit

Clothing for Hiking

Hunting clothing has come a long way in the last 10-15 years or so. With technical fabrics in synthetic and natural materials, hunters no longer have to suffer the traditional limitations of wet cotton, heavy wool, or loud polyester clothing. Today, it’s easier than ever to build a complete clothing system that will get you comfortably through most hunts in a wide range of weather and environments.

Make/ModelDescriptionWeight/oz.
Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTXComfortable, lightweight, supportive boot for carrying heavier loads.45
Smart wool PhD hunting sockCushioned, comfortable, reliable, crew height to accommodate taller boots.2.4
Browning Hell’s Canyon Speed Javelin PantsLight-Medium weight soft shell pant.20.2
Merino T-ShirtLight weight, low odor shirt for warm weather hiking.5.8
King’s Camo Hunter Series Long Sleeve ShirtFor concealment and protection from sun or cold. A quick-dry, 100% polyester used alone, or as a base layer.10
Manzella Bow Ranger GlovesThin gloves for concealment and protecting your hands from abrasion during off-trail travel.2.8
Firstlite Brambler GaiterRugged gaiters that keep snow/water, leaves, sticks, pebbles and other debris out of your boot during off-trail travel.4.3
King's Camo ball capBreathable hat, for concealment and sunshade.2.6
King's Camo neck GaiterLightweight breathable for concealment, sun protection, or warmth.0.8

For the hike in, I focus on comfort. Depending on the distance of the hike, a sturdy boot, comfortable pants, and a breathable t-shirt make all the difference in getting your hunt off on the right foot. You don’t want to dress too warmly for the hike. If you do, it will increase the sweat that will accumulate in your clothes and increase body odors, which is a negative when trying to go undetected by game animals.

Once in the backcountry, I will wear more camouflage for concealment. Additionally, in prime hunting areas, my steps will be much quieter and calculated, with an overall goal to keep heart rate and respirations under control for a more steady and solid shot if the opportunity presents itself.

Clothing for Camp

Big game hunts tend to be broken into a morning hunt, which occurs from first light until perhaps 10 am, and an evening hunt from around 3 pm until dark. These are the best times to catch game as they are moving from feeding and watering areas to heavy cover to bed down for the day and vice versa. That being said, much of the mid-day can be a waiting game in camp, which may consist of a siesta, considering afternoon weather, or making a game plan for the evening hunt. Therefore, camp clothing would consist of clothing that would be used for sleeping or pending changes in weather. These items are as follows.

Make / ModelDescriptionWeight/oz.
Smartwool PhD hunting sockWool socks/sleeping.2.4
Under armor cold gear Long sleeveBase layer worn when sleeping.7
Cabelas ECWCS mid weight bottomsBase layer worn when sleeping.8
Mountain Hardware Dome Perignon HatWarm windproof hat.2.1
Mack’s silicone ear plugsA must for peaceful sleep.0.1

Most of the above is standard sleepwear. The sock debate will probably never be fully settled, but I don’t want cold or damp socks on my feet at night, so I take 3 pairs of socks for any hunt. One pair to hike in, one to sleep in at night, and a backup pair that is rotated with the first being either worn or washed for the duration of the trip.  As for earplugs, I prefer to be undisturbed by the things that go bump in the night and choose to have the sounds of nature fade to black, and as a bonus, they keep me from smothering a snoring tent mate.

Often times a high elevation point is sought to survey (via binocular or spotting scope) the surrounding meadows and ridgelines for game
Often times a high elevation point is sought to survey (via binocular or spotting scope) the surrounding meadows and ridgelines for game

Having clothing layers in reserve has at least two benefits. First, no matter how miserable the weather is outside, I know that I have clean, dry, and warm clothes on hand. Second, having a layering system in place can help supplement the warmth of your sleeping bag. As mentioned, unexpected weather can roll in bringing wind, snow, and plummeting temperatures. I tend to carry a lighter sleeping bag with the understanding that I can wear my layering system inside my bag in those unanticipated, semi-emergency situations. The key is to make sure each layer is dry before committing it to be worn inside your bag. Otherwise, misery awaits you.

Clothing for Layering

Depending on the time of day, elevation, or surrounding vegetation, external temperatures, and wind chill can vary widely on a hunting trip. Often times a high elevation point is sought to survey (via binocular or spotting scope) the surrounding meadows and ridgelines for game. Because of this, it’s best to carry additional layers that you hold in reserve to put on or take off as time passes and conditions change

Make/ModelDescriptionWeight/oz.
Manzella grizzly gloves*Warm, waterproof but good dexterity when using binoculars/spotting scope.3.5
Digital Camo shell*Wind/rain shell for extended cold or bad weather.26
ScentLok recon thermal jacket*For scent control, concealment, and insulation layer.28
Surplus PCU Level 7 cold weather pants*Primaloft insulation, semi compact, warm when wet.27
Cabela' space rain pants*Light weight, ultra-packable.18
Therm-a-Rest Z-pad sectionInsulation/padding for extended time sitting behind the binoculars or spotting scope, camp seat.2

A final note on clothing: As you may have already deduced, hunting occurs in different environments with a mixture of weather, terrain, and activity levels. Having a layering system that’s versatile enough to do it all is important for the overall comfort and safety of your hunt.

Hydration

The amount of water you carry on a backpack hunting trip will vary depending on the season and environment. For a fall archery hunt in the Uintah Mountains of Utah, water is ubiquitous so I carry less and filter more. In dryer regions, it may be necessary to carry most of your water depending on availability. Either way, carrying a reliable way to filter water is essential. Proper hydration is very important in maintaining muscle chemistry, digestive efficiency, and mental acuity.

Make/ModelDescriptionweight/oz.
Sawyer Squeeze filter/32oz bagLight, efficient water filtration.3
Sawyer CouplerProvides a direct connection with a standard water bottle for backwashing your water filter instead of carrying the syringe.0.6
Spotting scopes prove their worth in big landscapes with lots of visible terrain
Spotting scopes prove their worth in big landscapes with lots of visible terrain

Cooking

Just the basics for cooking: Four-season fuel seems to work best at higher elevations, no matter the temperature. As noted, my MSR pot is heavy and someday I will upgrade to titanium, but I like it because a 100gm fuel canister stores neatly inside. I want to give a huge shout out to my plasma lighter. This electric/rechargeable lighter is good for about 100, 3-second ignitions. Because it’s electric it tends to work well in all environments, as Bic and torch style lighters burn extra fuel and can have trouble igniting at high elevations. It’s great to start your camp stove and to keep with you for emergencies.

Make/ModelDescriptionWeight/oz.
MSR alpine stowaway potHeavy, but near bomb proof.9.5
lcfun waterproof, windproof dual arc electric/plasma lighterRechargeable fire starter.1.8
Snow Peak gigapower stoveCompact, reliable stove .3.1
Sea to Summit utensilsLight weight, reliable.0.6
Scotch-Brite scrub sponge
cut into 1/4
Handy for pot/dish clean up if cooking involves more than just boil water.0.5
Biodegradable camp soapPot & dish cleanser/ camp hygiene.3
My Cook Kit
My Cook Kit

Navigation

Navigation needs can vary widely while hunting. I might start in one canyon and end up in another 4-5 miles away depending on where the game animals are or where they lead me. A paper map is best for reference, but I tend to use my phone with offline maps that still update with the phone’s GPS. I always carry a compass as an analog back-up for route finding. The basic orienteering skill of being able to triangulate your position on a map is still relevant and valuable.  If you are new to navigating by map and compass, the post on Wilderness Navigation and Route Planning is a  wise starting point.

Make/ModelDescriptionWeight/oz.
Trails illustrated topographic mapHighly detailed map, UTM/compass & GPS compatible.2
Brunton true arc compassMap & user friendly.1.7

Electronics

As mentioned, I do use an iPhone for GPS navigation with offline maps, I also tend to rely on my Garmin eTrex Vista HCx Unit to establish my track because it’s waterproof and has a better battery life than my phone. Many of the mountains that I hunt in lie across state lines, which is a critical factor as hunting permits are only good for the state that they are issued in. Having accurate navigation has saved me from chasing game into the next state and invariably having unpleasant interactions with wildlife officers.

Make/ModelDescriptionWeight/oz.
Black Diamond cosmo head lamp3AAA batteries, great overall utility light source.3.5
ON-X maps appGreat for offline navigation with saved maps, also shows private/public land boundaries for hunting.0
iPhone w/Mous caseLightning-USB Rechargeable.5.9
Garmin eTrex Vista HCx 2 AA batteries.5.6
Battery pack and cords6

Typically I put fresh batteries in both my headlamp and GPS before heading out. In the future, I hope to upgrade to a rechargeable headlamp and GPS/satellite communicator that I can recharge on a battery pack as needed rather than trouble or worry about dead batteries. For now, I carry a single 8000 mAh battery pack and short cords so I can recharge my phone and lighter. I use my phone as a backup light source and navigation should my alkaline batteries fail me. Electronics increase weight but add a measure of security and peace of mind that I am willing to carry.

First Aid/Self-Care

I use a self-assembled first-aid kit for all of my outdoor adventures. Nothing too fancy: Benedryl, Tylenol, “Vitamin I” (Ibuprofen), bandages, Coban, Leukotape for blister management, and various other odds and ends specific to my needs and experience. I highly recommend assembling a first aid kit yourself. This will allow you to analyze what you may actually need/use and disregard things that you don’t. Here is a great description of how to make your own: Homemade Ultralight First Aid Kit. 

Make/ModelDescriptionWeight/oz.
First aid kitSelf-assembled.6.8
Hygiene kitDeodorant, toothbrush/paste, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, wet wipes, zinc oxide, chap stick, sunscreen, and small washcloth.6

I have also assembled a small personal hygiene kit to help keep me clean and fresh(er) than without. Odor management is paramount when pursuing any game animal. If you stink, you are going to have a hard time getting close to any critter.

Binoculars help increase your chances of finding game
Binoculars help increase your chances of finding game

Packing

A lightweight approach to wilderness travel is essential for backpack hunters. You need the ability to navigate rough country off-trail, having plenty of endurance, speed, and agility. That means carrying light, highly compressible gear and choosing a pack that can expand to accommodate game meat. The weight of your gear is important of course, but keeping the volume of your pack as small as possible is also helpful to avoid getting hung up in the heavy brush or low hanging limbs when traveling by game trail.

Make/ModelDescriptionWeight/oz.
Granite Gear 10L event sil compression drysackSil-Nylon, strong, light, for sleeping bag.2.8
Osprey pack cubesNeat and tidy way organize and pack your gear.2.2
Mystery Ranch Beartooth 80 packHunter specific pack with overload feature.97.6
Trash compactor bagPack liner, keeps gear from weather.2
Cascade Mountain trekking polesCarbon fiber, inexpensive, essential.16

My hunting backpack is a Mystery Ranch Beartooth 80 (5187cu. Inch/80L) pack. I can fit all of the gear, food, fuel, and water I need for hunting inside it with extra room to spare. This purpose-built pack has a unique 270-degree “duffle style” zipper which has proved to be handy in accessing gear from the top of the pack to the bottom. There is a breakaway overload feature built into the pack which allows the bag to expand away from the frame to carry meat, antlers, or hide. This eliminates the need to put meat inside the pack bag and makes the heaviest of loads more stable and closer to your back (same fundamentals as regular backpacking), so carrying a very heavy load becomes a lot easier. This is the heaviest piece of my gear list but pays off when it comes to hauling out heavy loads of game meat.

I line my pack with a trash compactor bag to keep its contents dry and use stuff sacks or pack cubes to organize gear. I try not to overstuff these items so that as I compress them into my pack, the air gaps and open space between other bulkier items inside my backpack can be reduced or eliminated.

When trekking poles first became popular, I really took issue with them. I couldn’t see any advantage to using them, and at the same time refused to embarrass myself on the trail to give them a try. My best friend had used them for a couple of years, and I always teased him about getting old and needing to use “sissy sticks” to hike with. I finally broke down and used some, and what can I say….I regret my mocking, they were LIFE CHANGING! In the hunting world, they are near essential, not only for helping traverse off-trail in the pursuit of game but when successful and loaded with a heavy pack of meat, they are crucial in stabilizing you while navigating through steep rocky terrain or seemingly endless deadfall back to an established trail.

Hunting in the Uintah mountains of Utah routinely puts your camp at ten thousand feet elevation
Hunting in the Uintah mountains of Utah routinely puts your camp at ten thousand feet elevation

Shelter

My go-to shelter while hunting is the freestanding Easton Kilo 3p Tent, which while discontinued, I believe that this tent may have started the carbon pole craze amongst ultralight tents. It’s cozy for 3 backpackers or adequate for 1-2 hunters with their extra gear.  Weighing just 48 ounces, it’s freestanding so you can set it up just about anywhere, it has great ventilation, good headroom, is extremely weatherproof, and has a small vestibule for boots and a pack.

Make/ModelDescriptionWeight/oz.
Easton Kilo 3p tentFreestanding, 3 season tent.48
Polycryo footprintNear weightless footprint.1.2

I know that there are many options for a shelter, yet I choose to be enclosed in a tent due to varying weather conditions encountered while hunting. While upgrading to something like the Zpacks Triplex tent (with the camouflage option) would cut my carry weight in half, I hesitate to diverge from a system that has worked for me for years.

Sleeping

Hunting is at times exhausting with long hikes, large elevation changes, and literal foot races to the next clearing to catch a glimpse of the game you are pursuing. A comfortable and warm place to collapse at night is an absolute must for any sort of recovery and hope to do it again the next day. The Big Agnes Q-core SLX pad keeps me comfortable down to freezing temperatures and a little below. A lighter sleeping bag is preferable, and if added warmth is needed, the use of clothing layers may be necessary as mentioned above. I don’t use the Sea to Summit Thermolite Reactor Compact Plus Sleeping Bag Liner very often, but include it below because I do use it during late season hunts when temperatures consistently drop below freezing at night.

Make/ModelDescriptionWeight/oz.
Sierra Designs Zissou 23 sleeping bag700-fill DriDown.42
Big Agnes Q-core SLXR value 3.2, comfortable.15
Sea to Summit Thermolite Reactor sleeping bag liner
*
Adds 20+ degrees of warmth if needed.9.3

Optics

Binoculars and/or a spotting scope are helpful in finding game that is invisible to the naked eye at further distances.

Make/ModelDescriptionWeight/oz.
Vortex Diamondback HD 10x42 binocularsInexpensive option for a relatively light, intermediate magnification of the terrain.21
Leica 900 Range Master range finderEssential for range determination and taking ethical, calculated shots.15.8
Vortex Razor HD spotting scope 20-60x85*Sharp clear image wide range of magnification allows use in varied terrain.70.5
Field Optics carbon fiber tripod*Important for supporting and stabilizing the spotting scope especially at high magnifications.62.5

If pack weight were not a factor, I would carry binoculars, as well as a spotting scope, on every trip. But backpack hunting has limitations, and for me, binoculars are the all-around better choice for much of the hunting that I do. A rangefinder is useful in determining distances between me and my intended game and helps me make more calculated and ethical decisions of when I should or should not take a shot. For archery, that means a cap of 50 yards, and with a rifle, it typically means a 300-yard limit. Each state offers state-specific mandatory hunter’s safety courses. The laws and regulations by state can be found HERE ; this is for the safety, instruction, and benefit of all hunters.

Good optics are key to increasing the success of your hunt
Good optics are key to increasing the success of your hunt

Spotting scopes prove their worth in big landscapes with lots of visible terrain, such as steep mountain passes perhaps on the lookout for mountain goats, or scanning for buffalo in the relentless terrain that makes up the Henry Mountains of South-Central Utah. In these cases, the spotting scope and a good tripod are worth carrying to let your eyes do the scouting, saving you from wearing yourself out trying to cover the same ground on foot. I have included both the spotting scope and tripod on the list even though I don’t carry them every time I hunt.

Weapon of Choice

There are many choices when it comes to selecting a hunting weapon. Just like my backpacking gear, I have strived to select the lightest, most reliable gear that I can afford. I mainly hunt early fall with a compound bow and many other times/seasons with a rifle. I have included both for reference, although please note, I only carry one of these weapons at a time depending on the game tag and season requirements.

Make/ModelHunt TypeDescriptionWeight/oz.
PSE Diablo compound bowArcheryOlder model, but accurate and reliable with site, and arrow rest.80
Arrow quiverArcheryEaston Axis arrows & G5 Montec broadheads.12
Archery releaseArcheryAids with a smooth release of the bow string.1.7
Bow extrasArcheryAllen wrenches, extra D-loop, peep tubing, knock, and string wax for field repairs.4.2
Smoke in a bottlebothUsed to visualize the wind direction when pursuing game.0.8
Forbes 20B rifleRifleConsidered Ultralight amongst its competitors.83
Leupold VX-II 3-9x33 scope/mountsRifleUltralight hunting scope.10
Rifle ammo (x5)RifleHornady .308 168gr ELD-X, an extremely accurate and reliable ammunition.4.6
Rifle slingRifleUsed to carry rifle when not strapped directly to the pack.2.5
Harvest Kit for packing out meat
Harvest Kit for packing out meat

Harvest Kit

This gear is essential to properly care for an animal after it has been harvested so that the maximum amount of meat can be preserved and responsibly handled, reducing waste and spoilage. I keep this gear in a stuff sack to ensure that it all stays together and is ready when needed.

Make/ModelDescriptionWeight/oz.
Havalon piranta knifeReplaceable blade, always sharp, blaze orange for visibility, surgeon like dissection of game.1.6
Extra blades (x2)Large game such as elk will require about 2 blades.0.2
Nitrile glovesKeep hands clean & warmer (2 pair).0.5
T.A.G. game bagsSynthetic game bag for superior protection against dirt, insects, and wasted game meat in the field. Washable/reusable.29
Mylar emergency blanketUsed as a ground cloth. Keeps meat out of dirt, leaves, and pine needles while boning out and placing in game bags.1.7
550 paracordUseful for securing game on steep slopes while processing or used to hang meat to cool and keep away from other animals while making trips out.2
Trash compactor bagsUsed while transporting meat on my pack to keep it clean. Not used for storing meat, this would lead to spoilage due to lack of cooling and air circulation.2
Quart Ziploc bagStore discarded/bloody gloves and emergency blanket for a clean pack out.4.6
Hunting license/tag and zip tiesA way to secure a punched hunting tag to the animal.0.8
Granite Gear 2L tough sackStuff sack for contents above.0.7

Wrap Up

This 26+ pound backpack hunting gear list is pretty streamlined and lightweight and is a good reference for the gear required for a backpack hunt. While adding all the gear together would prove significant, when care is taken, relatively light pack weights can be achieved. Regular backpackers aim to come out much lighter than that when they start, but as a hunter, I fully intend to come out MUCH heavier than I went in, so it’s important to keep the pack light from the beginning. My best advice would be to do your own research to figure out what is right for you to be safe and comfortable. Added hunting gear IS heavier than three-season backpacking/hiking gear, but is worth carrying especially if it will increase your chances of success. I realize that there are several areas in my gear that could be lightened or improved upon. This is just one man’s gear list. The continual improvement process in these areas is the most important part of my gear journey. I enjoy the equipment that I have and look forward to upgrading it when I can.  Happy hunting!

About the author

Sven Peery is an all-season outdoorsman who enjoys backpacking, camping, hiking, skiing, and snowshoeing. He is also an experienced hunter and fisherman who is not afraid to wander off the beaten path. His wanderings have led him to hike and explore the vast trails of the High Uinta Wilderness, Wind River Range, and the Frank Church Wilderness in Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho respectively. Sven spent 8 years with a county Search and Rescue team in Northern Utah. His training includes man tracking, wilderness survival, backcountry, cave, and high angle rescue. Whether hiking in National Parks with family, rising up to 13,527 feet elevation of Kings Peak, or dipping nearly a mile below the rim to cross the Grand Canyon, he is always ready for the next adventure!
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16 comments

  1. Great information and I really enjoy seeing this type of content on here. Now that I have moved away from the family property and don’t have a multitude of acreage out my back door, I am starting to look into other hunting options to harvest some meat. With my love of backpacking, this has been on my mind for a while now. Spent a lot of time this past weekend on the Kuiu website with their President’s Day sale spending a lot of imaginary money and considering what I might want to buy in the future or go the MYOG route.

    Happy Hunting.

    • I really enjoy off-trail hiking and backpacking. I don’t think I’ll ever hunt game, but I am an avid off-the-beaten path small stream fly fisherman which is pretty close. I can also appreciate the combination of skills required to hunt and the fact that you have to go out in any weather because the permit season is so short. That really pushes the limits of gear, skills, and judgment.

      If you’re into navigation, I’d check out the OnX GPS app that Sven uses. It is Cool!

  2. I never considered how much skill and preparation went into self supported hunting. I’m not a hunter but have gained a new perspective and appreciation for backpack hunting. Very informative.

    • Hi Scott, if you ever get interested in hunting or just learning more about it, perhaps accompanying someone on a trip, look into Back Country Hunters and Anglers. It’s a conservation and advocacy organization committed to keeping wild places wild, and public land in public hands. The local NE chapter is very active, has an annual rendezvous, many get together and has a mentorship program for those interested in learning more. Find them on the web and use the links to get hooked up with your local chapter. This organization is full of committed conservationists and outdoors people.

  3. Glad to see you publishing stuff like this Philip!

    Hunting pack weights are necessarily heavier. That said, with mostly conventional UL backpacking clothes one could cut the above weight in half with greater function and little if any decrease in durability. Ditto on cooking and sleeping gear, and the MR pack.

    I personally almost never go on a backpack hunt without both binos and a spotter, and most importantly, an adapter so I can put my binos on a tripod. Maybe the most important single piece of gear for effective hunting.

    • Hi Dave. Always happy to have you stop by. I’m intrigued by the constraints that hunting imposes on wilderness backpacking. Such as the unpredictability of weather, tracking game cross country and off-trail, efficient navigation of said terrain, and the need to haul heavier loads. Hiking triple crown trails is all well and good but seems like it’s gotten a lot less “wild” with water reports, trail angels, GPS trail guides, and instagram. While I use those things myself (although much less than most) I still long for open country without all those crutches, and this is an interesting dimension to explore.

      • Hunting provides a different lens than backpacking, even off-trail backpacking. I get a lot out of having both for the diversity of perspective, especially visiting the same places to do first one and then the other.

        There are some small game species whose hunting mimicks the exacting approach to the landscape big game hunting generally requires. Hunting certain species of birds or squirrels is more accessible, both logistically and financially, to new hunters. Especially given the increasingly sky-high prices of non-resident big game tags.

  4. Hi Phillip. Thanks for posting this content on your site. I also am an avid hiker, fisherman and hunter. Being from MA, a mountain hunt is a big investment so I can’t afford gear failure. Light in, HEAVY out does impose discipline! The only item I’d offer more information on is electronics. The iPhone is a great camera/GPS/Map/Emergency Communicator. Combined with the small InReach, you’re rescue is assured if you are conscious. I also use Petzl Zipka headlamps with rechargeable cores. Rather than carry a large battery pack, I pack a Goal Zero solar pad and a smaller batter. That stays at camp during the day recharging my spare cores, and is ready to charge my phone upon return. What you add in bulk with electronics I feel you recover in convenience and safety. If you are hunting large animals in backcountry, its nice to contract with a packer and you’ll need to be able to reach him.

    Anyone carrying broad heads should consider purchasing and learning to us an Israeli Bandage.

    I don’t know if you are heading rants against hunting off at the pass, so if you are not, I’m happy to see an appreciation of hunting’s contribution to conservation among your readers. Everyone I know who hunts does so for the adventure that goes with the pursuit of an animal. Every hunter I know who kills, does so for the food quality of wild meat, and most share that with non hunters. BTW, hunters pay for conservation. In addition to license fees ($796 million/year) there is a tax on all hunting gear that is earmarked for states to use only on conservation ($371 million a year). Hunters also donate in the neighborhood of $440 million a year to hunting conservation organizations, and probably more to other conservation organizations such as The Nature Conservancy, as I do. Total contribution by hunters? $1.6 billion every year.

    • Bendrix,
      Thanks for your comments, I agree that an InReach is one of the best tools for emergencies, I hope to add one to my arsenal soon. Having been on a Search and Rescue team, I know the importance of a timely response in an emergency. As noted having a first aid kit with which you know all the contents and how to use them is important. I tend to carry some advanced first aid items which I have been trained in for specific types of urgent first aid situations. Happy Trails!

      • Sven. I’m probably preaching to the choir, but I prefer the inreach explorer+ over the mini because the keyboard is easier to use and you can use it wearing gloves.

      • Sven, good point on the first aid training. My eyes were opened to the reality of wilderness first aid when I took a course at Wilderness Medicine. It was informative and stressful, and wow, that was just practice with people judging you. The real stress of treating a seriously injured person is magnitudes more.

        Phillip, I know its not a gear thing, but you might consider having and article here about the courses at Wilderness Medicine in NH. I think if you took one you’d be impressed, and you could write a great article. Their book is amazing and useful.

        I didn’t learn about the Israeli Bandage there, but yess, I trained and practiced with it as everyone should before loading anything into a first aid kit. That one piece of gear really impressed me. I don’t think there is a better compression bandage.

      • I forgot to include the correct information for the Wilderness Medicine school in NH. It is SOLO. I won’t put a link here, but if you search on Solo Wilderness Medicine you’ll find it. You can buy the book, which is a very good read, and find out about courses. You can go from a two day first aid course all the way to a Wilderness EMT four week course. Some day you might save a life out on the trail. Consider it.

  5. Philip. Thanks for posting a great article. Being a backpacker, hunter and fisherman it is great to read about hunting gear other people use while backpacking. I backpack hunt the Ouachita Mountains in Arkansas. And thanks for all the gear reviews and hiking info.

  6. I backpack hunt in Nevada and use 3 season gear plus warmer clothes, some of which i wear inside my 20 F. WM don sleeping bag if necessary. My REI FLSH All Season insulated mattress works just fine to -10 F.

    I absolutely never carry a spotting scope, only 10 x 42 range finding binoculars. My “shooting sticks” are my carbon fiber hiking poles with “Quick stiX” adaptor discs that make them into X’d shooting sticks in an instant.

    My butchering (“harvest”) kit is almost the same but I use a Norwegian Helle GT sheath knife and a tiny Smith’s sharpening tool.

    A Tarptent Moment DW has proven to handle any storm easily, including heavy snow.

    My “mountain rifle” is a 6 lb. 3 0z. (naked) 6.5 PRC Browning X-Bolt Pro with a 28 oz. Bushnell 4.5 – 28 x 44 scope with illuminated G3 reticle sitting in Talley aluminum rings. Light and VERY accurate.

  7. Phillip,
    Thanks for having this content on here. Hopefully people will have a new appreciation for the work and skill that it takes to harvest and transport game in the wilderness.
    Im also very impressed to see how kind and forthright your readers have been to this post.
    Well done.
    Brian Jaynes

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