Archery Elk Hunt Packing List Review
Bottom Line Up Front: I executed a DIY OTC archery elk hunt in Colorado this year. I wrote about the whole experience here. This post is a detailed look at the archery elk hunt packing list itself.
As I already wrote in my after action review about the whole hunt, gear was an important part of the hunt. I discussed my packing list in that article but not in great detail, so I will take some of that content and expand it for this post. I will repeat a lot of info I already posted for those who only read this article.
I spent hours upon hours reading posts on forums, blogs, and hunting web sites about equipment. I found that hunting in the west can differ greatly from hunting in the east in terms of equipment. Carrying your hunting pack and bow to a tree stand a few hundred meters from your truck isn’t too hard. Now take that same pack and carry it up a mountain, miles away from your truck. All of a sudden, the pack itself matters a great detail. So does the weight of everything. And, oh by the way, the things you need to bring with you increase too. Is it possible you will get stuck in the woods and need survival supplies hunting five minutes from your truck? Not likely. How about 3 miles away, in difficult terrain, at altitudes of 10,000 feet plus? Yeah, maybe.
My intent with this review is to show you what I brought, why, and how it performed.
Download the Packing List
First, I will start off with overall list itself. You can download the list in Excel (if you want to edit it for your use) or PDF (if you want to just read it): Excel Version or PDF Version. This list format is a combination of one from Sole Adventure and Brady Miller. Both very good packing list resources.
Prioritization & Cost-Benefit Analysis
I prioritized all the items in this list in this order: 1. Boots, 2. Pack, 3. Clothing, 4. Hunting gear, 5. Survival, 6. Camping.
That was how I viewed the gear I knew I would have to purchase for this hunt. I looked at what I had, did a lot of research, then weighed the cost-benefit of each item according to three factors: Quality, Weight, Cost. The lighter the gear, usually the more expensive. The higher quality, the more expensive. High quality and light = most expensive. I didn’t cut corners on any of my major items such as boots, pack or clothes. I was comfortable with a tent that was higher end but not highest end. Same with binoculars and sleeping bag for example.
Every piece of gear I took was the acceptable level of price for the relative importance I placed on it. I could have spent a lot more money than this and I could have spent a lot less. You have to determine the relative value to you. I encourage you to do this early so you don’t try to save money on something that later you wish you had just spent more on. In general, I subscribe to “buy once, cry once” which means get the right thing the first time even if it’s more expensive, especially if it is a lifetime purchase type item. Is it worth saving $50 on a tent now if you will have it for a decade and use it often? I generally find it isn’t.
Gear Purchasing Pro Tips
- PRO TIP #1: You can get gear that other people either bought but never used or barely used on hunting forum classifieds. Find out what you want, then wait for it to pop up and jump on it. I got almost all of my gear from 3 places:
- CamoFire. Daily hunting items on sale. Pay attention and check often to get the items you need. I got my Mysery Ranch Metcalf pack there.
- Rokslide Classifieds. I got most of my major gear here including Kryptek clothes here, new with tags or new without tags. 50% off usually.
- Archery Talk Clothing, Packs, Footwear, and Bow Cases Forum.
- PRO TIP #2: Use CamelCamelCamel to alert you to Amazon price reductions for other gear you want to/need to buy new.
Full pack weight = 57.1 pounds. This is walking into my first campsite on Day 1 with all my food and gear for a 7-day hunt.
Daypack weight = 24.3 pounds. This is the gear I took on my back to hunt when I left camp each morning by the end of the trip. The majority of time I hunted this was the weight. Initially I had my rain pants, tripod, and seat cushion on me, so it was in the high 20s. This weight was very easy to carry for an entire day in mountain terrain. I think 30 lbs is probably the barrier for a good daypack weight.
If you have any questions or comments, please post them to the comments section of this article for collaboration purposes. Here we go.
|Boots||Salomon X Ultra Mid 2 GTX||39.0||oz|
|Base LS Top||Kryptek Hyperion||6.3||oz|
|Mid Top||Kryptek Helios LS Zip||10.3||oz|
|Pants||Prana Stretch Zion||13.8||oz|
|Belt||Military web belt||3.6||oz|
|Hat||Condor Mesh Cap||2.72||oz|
|Gloves||Mechanix Wear Tactical MultiCam M-Pact||4.88||oz|
- Boots: The Salomons performed great! Only some minor irritation and blistering due to wet socks and hills, but not show stoppers. I didn’t feel like I needed more ankle support or a stiffer shank, which is what most people say the need in mountain boots. They are water proof (GTX = GoreTex) and performed as such. Only potential issue is due to the lack of height, it is easier to get water in them walking across streams. This happened to me a few times, where the water was just above the boot. A taller boot would have stopped it probably. Socks stayed dry easily during rain and walking in the wet woods though. The lightness versus a clunky leather boot was totally worth it. Improve is the insole. Should have gotten something like Super Feet that are so popular. I initially got some Lowa Tibets after hours upon hours researching boots. I got them slightly too small but I figured this out after 20 miles of hiking in them, so I as I relooked my options and instead of another pair or a similar full leather boot, I chose a lighter boot, almost a water proof hiking shoe really. The Lowas are awesome boots, but the X Ultras were about half as heavy. I saw another experienced hunter do a gear layout and he was wearing them, so I felt better with my choice. Since I got back, I traded my slightly small Tibets for a pair of Crispi Idaho GTXs. I have to say, these boots are awesome. They are much higher on the ankle than the Salomons obviously, but since they are only partially leather, they feel about half as heavy as the Lowa Tibets. If I went today, it would be a game-time decision between the Salomons X Ultra Mids and the Crispi Idahos.
- Socks: The Fox River socks were good. I had them already for work. I wore these at Ranger School so I knew they could take a beating and be worn for many days in a row. In retrospect I should have gotten a pair or two of Darn Tough socks that everyone recommends.
- Base & Mid Tops: The Kryptek tops were perfect. The Hyperion is a moisture-wicking long sleeve shirt and the Helios is just a thicker shirt with a zip up collar. Perfect for layer. Wore these two every day.
- Pants: I initially was going to wear my Kryptek Alaios pants to hunt but I wore the Prana Stretch Zions to hike into camp and they were so light and comfortable I hunted in them for the next four days. Huge sustain on these pants. They perform at a very high level. Not that expensive either. My favorite surprise piece of gear for the whole trip.
- Belt: Should have gotten a better belt. It was OK. Not great, but it costs $5.
- Hat: Decent hat and great for the price. Wanted a Kryptek pattern to match. Did its job.
- Gloves: Happy I went with these Mechanix. Not too much, durable as hell. Don’t go great resisting water though as they aren’t made for it. I don’t wear gloves unless I have to (cold or grip), so I am OK not investing too much money in them.
|Socks||4x pairs (Fox River, 5.11, People Socks Merino Wool)||12.6||oz|
|Shorts||GoRuck Ranger Panties||2.8||oz|
|Insulating Bottom||Military GEN III silkweight polyester||5.6||oz|
|Insulating Top||Military GEN III silkweight polyester||6.5||oz|
|Vest||Kryptek Kratos Vest||11.3||oz|
|Softshell Jacket||Kryptek Cadog Jacket||26.9||oz|
|Rain Jacket||Kryptek Posiedon Jacket||11.7||oz|
|Rain Pants||Kryptek Poseidon Pants||12.8||oz|
|Neck Gaiter||Military ECWCS||2.4||oz|
- Socks: I packed two more sock options, but the Fox River ones were best. The 5.11 ones are OK but not as durable. The People Socks merino wool were fine. Nothing amazing.
- Shorts: I never ended up wearing these even once. I thought I would sleep in them but just kept on my pants.
- Insulating Bottom & Top: Never had to put these on. Never got cold enough during the day and I was worn enough with basic clothing in my sleeping bag at night. Got into the mid-30s at the coldest.
- Pants: I wore the Kryptek Alaios for two days. They are great pants but heavier than the Pranas, which were enough for that time of year and weather. The Alaios are tougher though, much less likely to get damaged. Since my Colorado trip, I have been whitetail hunting in Missouri. The thick underbrush and pricker bushes ripped up the Pranas nicely. They Alaios stand up much better.
- Vest: This is one of the best things I brought. It is so light and compressible yet so warm. Huge asset.
- Softshell Jacket: I almost didn’t bring this as it was relatively heavy but in the cold mornings I needed it. It is a great jacket. Very warm and comfortable.
- Rain Jacket & Pants. I was going to bring a much heavier rain jacket (Kryptek Koldo) and a few days before I left I opted to pick up a Poseidon jacket. I already was planning on bringing the pants. I ended up bringing the Poseidon in the bag the whole time with me. I had to wear it a few times. It was great. Kept me dry and was very light and packable. Same with the pants. I wore them only once in a moderate rain through tall grass. Kept my pants completely dry. If I had to pick between light or heavy raingear, I would choose light. Ideally you have both, but if you are packing in, the light ones are worth it.
- Beanie: Very light and warm. Total sustain.
- Neck Gaiter: Never used it. Not cold enough.
|Pack||Mystery Ranch Metcalf w/NICE Frame & lid||127.2||oz|
|Water Bladder||Platypus Big Zip 3L||8.9||oz|
|Pack Cover||Mountainsmith Backpack Rain Cover||4.0||oz|
- Pack: This was something I agonized over. I decided to go with Mystery Ranch. I liked the brand in terms of their philosopy. I also saw a lot of great recommendations for them. The only downside was they are a bit heavier than most other similar packs that have meat shelves for western hunting. Their thought at MR was that they don’t want to sacrifice any quality and durability for less weight. I tend to agree. I then first purchased the Marshal, which is 6500 cu in. It is for 7-10 day expeditions. I opted for larger than I thought I would need. I then second guessed myself and wondered if I went too big once I saw it in person. It ended up being too large to compress to a useful daypack. I also figured a bigger pack would just make me pack more crap because I could. I sold it and then got a Metcalf. It ended up being right at the top end of what I needed in terms of packing in 7 days food and full camping gear. It compresses really really well into a daypack. The thing is comfortable and highly durable. I think it was perfect. I also have the Longbow bag, which I can use on the same frame as my Metcalf. I used that for small game and whitetail back east. The Metcalf is too much for deer hunting with your car not more than a few miles away. These packs are lifetime purchases.
- Water Bladder: Very strong and well made bladder. 3L is the right amount to last a full day without issue. The Platypus bag is much more durable than my CamelBak bladder.
- Pack Cover: This is a great cover. Comes out and on fast. Totally water proof. I wore it on my pack in pouring rain with the bag being totally dry when I pulled it off. Packs really small and can adjust to many sizes.
|Bino Harness||Alaska Guide Creations Kodiak C.U.B. MAX Bino Harness||14.5||oz|
|Trekking Poles||Black Diamond Alpine Ergo Cork Trekking Poles||20.8||oz|
|Binoculars||Vortex Diamondback 10×42||24.7||oz|
|Range Finder||Simmons 801600 Volt 600 Laser Rangefinder||6.3||oz|
|Watch||Garmin Fenix 3||2.96||oz|
|Wind Checker||Dead Down Wind Wind Checker||1.4||oz|
|Cell Phone||LG G5 w/case||7.5||oz|
- Bino Harness: This is almost a necessity hunting out west. I opted for the largest one ACG makes. It held a lot of useful gear at my chest, which is how I like to carry things. I had my binos (10×42), rangefinder, wind checker, calls, and multi-tool all in this. It fit pretty well, but I really couldn’t get it to stay as high on my chest as I wanted. The straps wouldn’t let me adjust it any higher. It is a very good quality item. A lot of guys use the FHF gear harness. Some will use the straight chest straps only like these. I purchased these too but opted for the full ACG harness. In retrospect, I would wear a chest harness for binos for sure. I am 50/50 on if I’d use the ACG CUB Max again or if it was too big. It annoyed me just enough when it would ride low on my upper abs versus mid-chest where I wanted it.
- Trekking Poles: These are a great item, but I only really used them once. I opted every day to leave them at camp to keep my pack lighter and my hands were too occupied to be holding them. I was saving them to help me carry out elk meat downhill, where I heard they are essential. I didn’t get a chance to test that out… I would bring them again probably but leave them at camp and use if I had to walk out heavy packs of meat.
- Binos: The Vortex brand is highly trusted. The warranties are unreal. I never got a chance to try out multiple kinds of optics and placed a moderate importance on them, so I opted for a lower end of a more expensive brand. I didn’t need to do a lot of glassing where I was since it was so thick, so I think I could have left them at home and been OK. The few times I used them they were effective though, so while they were low end for Vortex they are very good.
- Rangefinder: This is a very low end one, with no lighted display and no ARC. I got it last year for whitetail and it was OK. Once I got to Colorado I wished I had a better one. I have since purchased the Vortex Ranger 1000. I was in positions to shoot far up or downhill and lack of ARC would have mattered. The Ranger is much smaller and obviously higher quality, but it is 5 times as expensive so I guess that is fair. With the cheaper rangefinder, I was constantly thinking how if my cheap rangefinder kept me from getting the right shot I would be so aggravated.
- Watch: This is an expensive watch ($500), but it is of such quality that it’s worth every penny. In sum, I was able to use it to navigate easily, maintain awareness of my direction, and know my elevation at all times with this. I quickly added a new marked location with one button, renamed it, and was off. I could then go wherever I wanted, then navigate back to the place I started all with the watch. It loaded it up with waypoints, locations, and routes before I left through the Garmin software and my computer. I downloaded locations and routes I saved when I got home for next year. This thing does running, hiking, swimming, walking pace and distance, tracks sleep and steps, and all the other outdoor features on top of it. It is like combining 3 devices into one: GPS, FitBit, and watch. Very happy with it every day and especially for this trip.
- Multi-tool: No real comments. Have to have one. I trust Leatherman. I also have a larger Gerber with more options that I left at home. I didn’t bring a larger knife and never needed it.
- Windchecker: Never even used it, but probably have to have it. I was able to tell wind pretty easily without having to use this.
- Cell Phone: I put it on airplane mode since I had no reception. Used offline Google maps and OnX Hunt app with the phone’s GPS to tell where I was on a map. Only limitation of my watch, but with the phone and watch, I was good to go. I also used this for my camera. The G5 has a great camera so I took some high quality shots. Battery life was many days with the airplane mode on.
|Bow||Mathews No Cam HTR||98.6||oz|
|Sight||Trophy Ridge React 5 Pin (weight included with bow)||0.0||oz|
|Arrows||6x Easton FMJ 5mm 340 28.5″||6.6||oz|
|Broadheads||6 x Muzzy Trocar (100 grain)||1.3||oz|
|Release||Trufire Hardcore Max||4.2||oz|
- Bow: This bow is large but it’s great quality and easy to shoot. Got it from a friend who got a new bow. Mathews is a great company. Used to have a much lower quality Bowtech, which got the job done last year, but once I committed to hunting, I upgraded rapidly. Kind of a pain to carry this thing around with it being so large, but I get over it easily.
- Sight: This sight adjusts the pins from 20 to 60 yards by tens automatically once you sight in your 20 yard and another pin. The rest of the pins adjust automatically. I was surprised at first, but it worked like a charm. Shot at 60 without issue for the first time once my 20 and 40 yard pins were set up.
- Quiver: Small quiver. Gets the job done.
- Arrows: I shot Easton Axis last year and upgraded to the FMJs. I wanted a heavier and thinner arrow and these fit the bill at 5mm and 11.3 GPI. I crush targets with them…
- Broadheads: I went with Muzzy MX-3 last year, so I remained brand loyal and went with the Trocars. I got a set of DRTs too and the Muzzys were almost perfectly tuned like my field tips right out of the package. Not too expensive either. Again, haven’t shot at an animal yet, but they fly true.
- Release: I had a Trufire last year but a much cheaper caliper one. With my bow upgrade I went with a significant release upgrade too. I am very happy with this release. Only issue was it was eating up D loops. Tried to sand down the tips, but I couldn’t find any burs. Sent it back to Trufire, the replaced the tip and returned it. Their customer service was disorganized and hard to get in touch with. Once I got the right guy on the third try, it went down easily.
|Shelter & Sleeping||Description||9.8||lbs|
|Tent||Big Agnes Seedhouse SL2 Tent||71.7||oz|
|Sleeping Bag||Big Agnes Encampment 15F Synthetic Sleeping Bag||59.9||oz|
|Sleeping Pad||Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core, Regular||25.4||oz|
- Tent: I was waiting for something light but not crazy light. I was ready to pay a few hundred for something quality but not much more. I settled on Big Agnes as a brand. Eventually found the Seedhouse SL2 up on Rokslide. It is very easy to set up. Kept out all the bugs and weather with ease. Didn’t experience any snow. Packs up pretty fast and is in the top third of lightness in its peer group. I wish the vestibule was a little larger. Had a rough time fitting my pack and bow underneath it every night. Not that bad. I will be happy to use it in the future if I go full tent. Although it is a 2-person, it is the right size for one person who packs in all their gear. You could probably fit another person in there, but it was have no room for anything else and be tight I think. If I go super light, I will do a one-man bivy and forego a tent altogether. This is a keeper though. I initially wanted a Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 or a MSR Hubba Hubba but a used one never popped up in time.
- Sleeping Bag: Packed down well and very warm. Had to put on socks though for the bottom of the bag at low 30s, which surprised me. I would have been OK in this into the 20s and teens with some clothes on for sure. Again, went with Big Agnes. No complaints. This bag requires a pad for the most part and the pad actually connects to the bag so it stays on it. That definitely worked.
- Sleeping Pad: Sticking with Big Agnes, this was a popular pad. Very comfortable. Pushing the limits of one man my size (185lbs), but I don’t move much so I was OK. I was surprised how narrow the standard size is. This pad fits into the sleeping bag. Definitely better than sleeping on the ground. Blew up quickly with just my lungs and deflates easily as well.
|Food & Water Items||Description||17.7||lbs|
|Food (All)||7x days worth (2470 cals/day, 18 oz/day) – See Food tab||131.1||oz|
|Stove Fuel||Jetboil Jetpower 4-Season Fuel Blend, 100 Gram||7.0||oz|
|Water Filter||Platypus Gravityworks, 4L||13.0||oz|
|Water Tablets||Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets||1.1||oz|
|Water Bottle||Platypus 2L Bottle||1.3||oz|
|Trash Bags||2x contractor bags||9.8||oz|
- No major comments on food and water here. Already covered food in great detail in the AAR. Long story short, do the math on your calories per gram, then find good quality food to fuel you. You also don’t need as much food as you think, especially if you are going in light.
- Stove: Jetboil is a classic and favorite of most outdoorsmen from what I could tell. It is easy to use and effective. Have to have one.
- Fuel: Went with the smaller 100 gram. Should boil water 22 or so times from what I read. More than enough for a 7-day trip. Never ran out.
- Utensil: I have been using a titanium spork for a few years to eat lunch at work since it’s so versatile. Did its job again in the field. No brainer. The titanium isn’t overkill if you were wondering.
- Filter: This system is such an easy thing to use. Very effective. Take the dirty bag (which is labeled in large letters) to the water source, bring it back to a tree or rock elevated over the clean bag, hook it up and let it go. Takes probably 15 minutes to filter 4 liters, which is a good amount. I did this every night. Filled up the bladder in the pack, then filled up a water bottle for camp use. Condenses really small too and light.
- Tablets: Never used them. Put them in my pack for emergency water needs if I got stuck away from my filter or if my filter broke. Gotta have these as a back-up. Nothing more important than water.
- Bottle: The Platypus bottles are super tough and fold into basically nothing. Kept my camp water in it. You could do a lot with this anywhere, but when going light and when space matters, this is a great tool to supplement a bladder.
- Trash Bags: I brought these contractor bags in case I had to put some meat in the river to cool or for miscellaneous tarp-like uses. Never used them. Little heavy too. Not sure I’d take them again.
|Toothbrush & Paste||Dead Down Wind Toothpaste||4.0||oz|
|Baby Wipes & TP||9.7||oz|
|Lip Balm||Dead Down Wind Lip Balm||0.3||oz|
|Backpacking Towel||Fox Outfitters MicroDry Towel (16×32 inches)||2.3||oz|
- No significant comments here other than baby wipes are the way to go (get unscented). Probably need lip balm. Didn’t use the backpacking towel. Probably would still bring it again though.
|Safety & Essentials||Description||2.6||lbs|
|Maps||Paper Print-outs (topo & Google Earth)||2.5||oz|
|Lighter||Bic wrapped w/gorilla tape||1.2||oz|
|Fire Starter & Whistle||Survival Spark Magnesium Survival Fire Starter with Compass and Whistle||1.7||oz|
|Shovel||Coghlan’s Backpackers Trowel||1.8||oz|
|Saw||Primose Folding Saw||7.9||oz|
|First Aid Kit||Tourniquet, HemCon, Bandage, Tylenol, Advil, Moleskin, Bandaids||6.7||oz|
|Emergency Blanket||Mylar Thermal Blanket||1.7||oz|
|Pen & Notebook||3.1||oz|
|Electrical tape||1x roll||1.8||oz|
- All of this stuff is needed. All performed well and will be part of my hunting/camping kit for sure. Shovel was a great asset for latrine use. The folding saw is unbelievably effective on trees way larger than you’d think too.
|Knife||Havalon Piranta Torch w/Sheath & 10x 60a blades||4.0||oz|
|Tags & License||0.2||oz|
|Gloves||3x pair latex||2.8||oz|
|Plastic tarp||5 ft x 3 ft||1.5||oz|
|Game Bags||Alaska Game Bags||25.4||oz|
|Game Bags||Ovis Sacks Game Bags (2x large bags – 24″ x 16″)||4.9||oz|
- Knife: Very happy with the Havalon. I prefer to use something surgical like this that you can replace the blades on. Gerber has a similar one that seems easier to change the blades on and they appear a bit more robust. I used my Havalon on three deer and some squirrels with no broken blades though. Will keep using this versus sharpening a normal knife for sure.
- Latex Gloves: I resisted getting latex gloves initially, but after I used them on a deer I realized they were worth it. Almost no weight, makes cleanup easier.
- Game Bags: I brought all four of the Alaska bags and a few of the large Ovis sacks, which are meant for deer. Overall the Alaska bags seem good quality but they were very big and bulky. I think the TAG bags, which are pretty popular weigh half as much and condense down. They are much more expensive though. I would buy the TAG bags if I did it again. The space these took up was way more than I was into. If I were truck camping and wasn’t as concerned with weight, I think the Alaskas would work fine. The Ovis sacks were much smaller and lighter, but they are not meant for elk so they are a smaller bag anyway. Almost all of the stuff in this kill kit came with the Ovis Sacks game bags too.
|Headlamp w/batteries||Black Diamond Spot||3.3||oz|
|Extra headlamp w/batteries||Petzl||2.8||oz|
|USB battery pack||Anker 20000mAh Portable Charger PowerCore 20100||12.9||oz|
|Solar charger||Instapark® Mercury 4S Ultra-slim Portable Solar Charger||7.5||oz|
|Charging cables||Garmin cable & USB type C cable||2.5||oz|
|GPS w/batteries||Garmin Foretrex 401||3.0||oz|
- Headlamp: The Black Diamond Spot seemed to be everyone’s favorite. It is very good. Lot of options for lights and very bright. Does well with batteries. Only issue I found was the locking feature wasn’t so great. You hold down the main button for 5 seconds and that then prevents it from being turned on unless the button is held down for another five seconds. Twice this thing somehow got turned on in my bag, killing three AAA batteries. It seems almost impossible. I started to pay more attention to where it was in my bag and it didn’t happen again. My old Petzl back up is far inferior, but it is old, and it is a backup.
- USB Battery Pack: I agonized over this one. I ended up bringing it although it was overkill and heavy. It worked very well. In retrospect, I would bring a smaller one, like half the size, which would be enough for a week. I didn’t want to run out of power for my watch and phone.
- Solar Charger: In theory a great idea. Not as effective as I would like. Older model though that I had squirreled away in my bug out bag. Never used it.
- GPS: I have had the Forerex for a while. It is very useful at the basics – distance, direction, navigation to a way point, etc. I didn’t use it at all since my Garmin watch did all the same things. I left it in the pack for emergencies. It was worth three ounces.
|Cow Elk Urine Wafers||Hunters Specialties Carlton’s Calls Cow Elk Urine Cover Scent Wafers||1.6||oz|
|Seat rest||Therm-a-Rest Z-Seat Cushion||1.9||oz|
|Bino Adapter||Vortex Universal Binocular Tripod Adapter – VT400||4.6||oz|
|Tripod||Vanguard Alta 233AO Aluminum Alloy Tripod||55.1||oz|
|Bow Repair||D-loop, peep, 2x field tips, Allen wrenches||2.4||oz|
|Extra Release||Trufire Hurricane||3.1||oz|
- Calls & Bugle Tube: I got a deal on some diaphragm calls and a basic bugle tube. I wasn’t sure I’d call much since I didn’t know how to do it well and knew I wouldn’t. Figured it was a waste of money to spend too much on them. I ended up watching some videos and getting pretty good with the diaphragms. I used them more than I thought. While I was good at making the noises, I wasn’t clear when to use which noise. I did a lot more cow calling than bugling. Seemed like that was the consensus recommendation at that time of year. Next hunt I’d get a better bugle tube and stick to the diaphragm calls.
- Elk Urine Wafers: I got these with my calls and tube for free. Ended up breaking them out not to attract bulls but to mask my odor. Unbelievably strong. Definitely masked my odor. I touched one and it was on my hands for 3 days. My food tasted like elk urine, all of it. I got more of these wafers in dirt odor for deer hunting. One of these disks with my hunting clothes makes them all smell like the outdoors. Huge asset. You could wear one pinned to your pack to cover odor as well.
- Seat Rest: Light and packs down well. Seemed like everyone who was glassing a lot had one of these. Didn’t do a lot of glassing so I never really used it. If I were sitting on rocks a lot though, this is what I would bring.
- Bino Adapter: Solid tool. Have to have one of these obviously if you are using binos and a tripod. This one had to be screwed to the front of the binos. I have seen others that had a piece that stays permanently attached to the binos and then rests on a piece on the tripod for quicker removal. If I had to buy again, I’d get one like this. This one I have is enough that it isn’t worth the money to buy a new one.
- Tripod: I am happy with the quality of this tripod and head. I wasn’t committed to spending a lot of money on this item. Good thing because I never really used it. I left it at camp every day after the first one. Not worth the weight at all. If I went on a trip that I knew I would need to glass a lot on, I’d probably sell this and buy a smaller, lighter one though. This one is definitely quality. Just on the heavier side I think.
- Bow repair & extra release: Brought this along with me every day. If you have a minor malfunction out there, you could lose a day or more getting something fixed if you had to drive into town (after walking for two hours to your car). Extra release may seem silly, but, again, primary release goes down or gets lost, you are done. I left mine on a rock somewhere and was able to find it within 15 minutes. Good thing I noticed it and could backtrack. But I had my extra anyway so I was covered (if I got to shoot at anything, which I didn’t anyway).
Gear Left in Vehicle at Trailhead
|Scent Control Spray||Hunter’s Specialties Scent Away Max||14.8||oz|
|Axe||11-inch Camping Axe||25||oz|
|Rain Jacket||Kryptek Koldo Jacket||26.8||oz|
|Cookware||Camping Cookware Mess Kit||18.6||oz|
|Fuel||Optimus Gas Fuel (220g/8oz)||12.9||oz|
- All of these things were items I wanted but just couldn’t justify the need enough for the weight they would bring. I didn’t want to leave them at home though in case I was wrong about not needing them. Never ended up using any of this stuff, but it was worth bringing in the vehicle just in case.
Cut List (Removed from original packing list)
- This is the only item I wanted to bring that I just couldn’t fit. The weight wasn’t an issue, but I couldn’t really get it compressed enough to be worth it. It is a nice camping pillow, but I just used my jacket and was fine. In retrospect, I would only bring this on a short trip where space is not an issue or if I were camping near my vehicle. It is a total luxury item.
I spent a lot of time researching all these stuff and making decisions. I hope it was of use to you in the refinement of your gear. Again, if you have any questions or thoughts, please post them to the comments section for archiving and collaboration. Thanks and happy hunting.
QUESTION: What piece of gear did I not bring that I should have? What was not worth the weight? Post thoughts to comments?