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wapiti whacker's picture
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Location: Couer d'alene Idaho
Joined: 08/15/2009
Posts: 96
Backpacking for elk

i hunt by myself in a wilderness area for elk and have am need of some ways to lighten up on my gear so i can easily back away from the rest of the hunters. anyone have any tips or lightweight gear that would lighten the load? i have a lightweight kifaru tent already.

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Location: California's Gold Country
Joined: 08/22/2007
Posts: 9
Backpacking for elk

Hey WW,

Try the lightweight back packing sites like: http://www.backpacking.net/ and search Field & Stream for Keith McCaferty's piece on what to pack for Elk and last Dwight Schuh's books. You can lose the most weight in your sleeping bag, pack and tent. I like things that have 2 or more uses. I have a Poncho that can be used for rain gear, tent, tarp, etc.
HTH
Dave

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Location: IDAHO
Joined: 05/04/2007
Posts: 66
Backpacking for elk

Love the name wish I would have thought of it! LOL!

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Location: Colorado
Joined: 08/03/2009
Posts: 30
Backpacking for elk

I do a lot of backpacking and work with a lot of boy scouts on the subject. Things that I have found over the years to help lighten the load are...

1. Use a poly fill sleeping bag and a lite weight thermarest pad. Down weighs too much, dries too slowly and loses insulation when wet. I carry a 2 lb, zero degree bag. The cost is higher, but an ounce feels like a pound at the end of the day.

2. Save weight on food and fuel by using logan bread or hudson bay bread. Search google for either name to come up with some great recipes. Made properly you can get around 500 calories from a 3" by 3" square. Add some PB&J in a squeeze tube and you can put 6-800 calories into less than 4 or 5 ozs of food. Most people will burn around 3000-4000 calories a day hiking with a heavy pack over rough terrain so getting the most out of every ounce of food is important. Also, this does not require cooking so you save on fuel weight.

3. Get a one quart nalgene (2-3 if water is scarce in your hunting area) and some Potable Aqua tablets for water purification. Filters are great, such as the katadyn hiker pro, but add more weight.

4. Lay everything out that you think you want or need, put it in your pack, weigh it, then go back through everything with a very critical eye on its weight and purpose. Take only what you NEED, leaving comforts and the like at home. I try to keep my pack below 25 pounds, leaving me plenty of weight for my rifle, ammo and game bags.

5. If you haven't already, start hiking several miles a day, every day, with your pack on. Start with a light weight (10 lbs or so) and add 1-3 lbs each day until you are hiking around town with 20 pounds more than you expect to carry on your hunt. This will make your hunting pack feel light and help you in the long run.

6. Don't skimp on essentials such as a first aid kit, emergency shelter (space blanket or two) and dry socks.

As said above, try to get more than one use out of everything in your pack.

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Location: Albuquerque, NM
Joined: 08/29/2005
Posts: 30
Backpacking for elk

Wings, what 2-lb zero degree bag do you have? Most synthetic bags are bulky and generally heavier. Kifaru looks good?

Don't cut weight with food! You need to eat and keep fueled! As said cut weight on bag, pad and pack, but also look at your footwear. I think it is a fine line between weight savings and being safe and as comftorble as possible.

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Location: Colorado
Joined: 08/03/2009
Posts: 30
Backpacking for elk

I carry a marmot bag that weighs in at 2 pounds 5 ounces. Unfortunately, mine is down and after sleeping in it once when it became wet I now recommend the synthetics. I looked up Kifaru and they look rather impressive. I wish they had a retail outlet where I could see them before buying though.

Don't get me wrong about the food, I'm not suggesting to cut out food to drop weight. Rather that light weight food options do exist (like the bread recipes I mentioned, which also have all the protein, carbs and ) that also taste great. Getting enough calories into you is important, I just prefer to get my calories condensed as much as possible.

tim
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Location: north idaho
Joined: 06/11/2004
Posts: 601
Backpacking for elk

a good rule of thumb for backpacking with regards to food.

1 ounce of food = 100 calories.

HAve a sleeping system not a bunch of separte items.

I see you are in cda, what wilderness areas are you packing into?

thanks
tim

Location: Utah
Joined: 02/24/2003
Posts: 596
Backpacking for elk

As far as the foods go for me you can't beat the dehydrated stuff. They are pricey but you can get a good water filter and boil water and have a harty meal 2 or 3 times a day with different foods so they don't get too bland. Works great for me and I try and take a few of the little condiment packages that you get from fast food joints like salt, pepper, ketchup, or what ever else you like.

For me I don't have to spend much time prepping food and you save weight cause you get the water where you end up camping. They do take up a bit of space the weight is very minimal.

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Location: IDAHO
Joined: 05/04/2007
Posts: 66
Backpacking for elk

I'm with rather be huntin I take the freeze dried stuff and try to supplement with trout or chicken(grouse) on a stick over a small campfire when ever possible. I have bought a dehydrater and plan on trying to put together some of my own meals to cut down on cost.
I have that same 2.5lb marmot down bag and just got one of the recycled material models, it is a little heavier we'll have to see how it all works out.

hawkeye270's picture
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Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Fort Collins, CO
Joined: 06/15/2008
Posts: 1862
Backpacking for elk

As my brother works for Kifaru, I can vouch for all their products. If any of you have any questions on any of their stuff I will see if I can get it answered for you.

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Joined: 09/04/2008
Posts: 8
Backpacking for elk

Wapiti Wacker,

Your on the right track to make your own dehydrated meals. I started a few years ago. Can't beat the money saved and actually knowing what your eating. Check out the Backpackers Pantry cookbook. I made some meals from it this summer and enjoyed every one.

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