Is it possible to bivy out at 10,000-12,000ft in mid october in central Colorado. I know the weather can change and I need to be prepared for anything. Will I be ok with 20 degree bags and 3 season backpack tents or bivy?
To decide on the weather at that altitude you need to take a dozen pieces of paper. Then on a single piece of paper write snow, rain, hot, cold, hail, rain/hot, snow/hot, snow/very cold, rain/very hot, and any other type of weather you can think of. Then put them all in a box and shake them up and then for each day that you plan on camping pull one out. That is what you should plan on. It is no joke when they tell you that if you don't like the weather here to wait 10 minutes and it will change and when you are between 10,000 and 12,000 feet elevation you can change that to every minute.
But if I was you I would be finding out where the cows hang out at that time of year in the unit you plan on hunting. You find the cows and you'll find the bulls and they won't be at 10,000-12,000 feet.
I wouldn't have just a 20 degree bag. There are packable 0 degree bags out there. Nothing much worse than being cold and miserable on hunt while you're sleeping. You can pretty well assure yourself of mid 20s temps at night near timberline in mid October. Also fair to assume it can get even colder than that.
I agree with getting the warmest bag you can easily carry. It's a lot easier to cool off if it happens to be warm out but really hard to get warm if the temps drop. At that time of year it could rain or snow at any elevation.
And at least for me a bag rarely works to as low of a temperature as it's rated for.
Being that I was camped at 10500 feet last year while elk hunting. I was bivy hunted but had a base camp. I would say it is possible but I would make sure to be ready for anything. We got 24 inches of snow in one in half days. Firts time that has happedned in a long time. I took thnk I would go with at least a 0 degree bag and make sure you have some good waterproof clothing and then make sure your base layer clothing is some thing that dries quicky as most likely all your clothes are gonna get wet or damp and will need to be dried every night. I think it would be a great challenge and I would be up for it. My main concern would be weatrher I could have a fire or not because of how close I could be to the animals.
I just got back from my elk trip to Colorado and must say that I learned quite a bit about hiking in that one trip. I researched all I could on the internet and thought I was prepared going out. For the most part I was but I want to pass on a few major things I learned that helped me drastically!
1. Pack light. I know this may sound like common sense but believe me. After reading everyone's advice on what you need to pack, chances are your pack will end up weighing more...