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What Gear for CO Backpacking Elk hunt?

So my buddy and I are going to hunt Elk in CO during 1st rifle season this year. We are going to do a backpacking trip which we are already training for. The things we are trying to gather right now are the supplies for camping. We both have packs already. I have a pair of 600 or 800 gram Danner Pronghorn boots. Will these work?

Basically wondering what tent, sleeping bag, stove, utensils, etc are best for a backpacking trip.

I thoguht there was a thread of 25 things to take elk hunting, but I couldnt find it.

Any help appreciated. Thanks

MC

exbiologist's picture
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Re: What Gear for CO Backpacking Elk hunt?

Your boots are good. Basically the lightestweight gear you can afford is what you want. You'll need to have a little extra food just in case. I've always used screw top stoves, but there are smaller and fancier ones. Figure on a bag that is rated for 10-20 degrees less than you're likely to experience. A spork and a knife is all you need. Tents can be anything from stringing a tarp between some trees, to single man bivy tents to two or three man dome tents. Last time I did a dome tent we had rotate who carried it between us.
On my muzzleloader hunt this year, we'll string a tarp over our campsite a week ahead of time, so that everything will be dry. Also clear some space to high line the horses, and chop wood. When we go in for real, we'll have several small one and two man tents for the four or five of us who are going (depends on the draw). Plan on two days extra food and plenty of snacks. Food adds up in a hurry. You'll also want something for water storage so you don't always have to hike to the stream. Unless you camp near one. But don't camp next to a large meadow you intend to hunt.

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Re: What Gear for CO Backpacking Elk hunt?

WOW! Where to begin? As Ex stated, weight means everything! Weigh every last piece of anything you will carry! EVERYTHING! Climbing the first steep grade is no time to figure out you have too much on your back.

Ensure that during your training you are wearing a pack, and gradually work up to heavier and heavier weight.

Yes, share the weight of all common items. eg...if someone is carrying the tent, then someone else carries the stove and fuel, and so on.

There are many, many lists floating around the internet. Find one that is close to your needs and modify for yourself.'

I cannot stress enough to look for the lightest backpacking equipment that you can afford. Some of the titanium stuff can get crazy expensive, but can really save you some pounds in the long run and will also last forever. Same goes for a quality sleeping bag. As Ex stated, get one that is rated well below the coldest temp that you are expecting. eg... I have two different -30 bags. One weighs 12 pounds and the other 5#s, pretty obvious which on goes on the back and which one comes in the truck Thumbs up

A pad of some type is a very nice thing to have! You can sit on it as well as sleep on it.
Dried food goods are much lighter than moist food.
Water filter or at least a treatment system, instead of water(assuming that you will have a water source)
Think about a good 3 or 4 season Backpacking tent if you can afford one. You can easily cut several more pounds by spending some added duckets on a quality tent and not some Coleman from Wally World.

I guess we could go on and on, but just keep reading around the net and articles about backcountry hunts and you'll likely keep finding little tidbits of info to help ya out.

Good luck, and keep on asking questions, you will get lots of different answers neener!

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Re: What Gear for CO Backpacking Elk hunt?

Actually, what is your experience level? Hunting? Hiking? Backcountry camping? Winter conditions camping? Would really aid us in determining what we need to cmoe up with. Are you local and familiar with the high country? Or, are you from Florida and never been past 400foot above sea level? Whistling

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Re: What Gear for CO Backpacking Elk hunt?

Hunting experience is deep as far as TX goes. Have backpacked in to the CO mountains twice before on fishing trips during summer. Have not spent any time up high during fall winter seasons. We will be carrying more than enough firepower, (338 win mag & .375 H&H), both are what we feel comfortbale with up to 400 yards. Bought a Katadyn (Vario) water filtration on advice so far. My friend has a Just One Eberlestock pack and I have a Blacks Creek Canadian. The sleeping bag is the next purchase for both of us. I was thinking a Marmot Trestle at 0 degree rating. About $120. Not as light as some, but I cant afford a $500 bag. The tent is the following purchase. I ahve been looking at sleeping pads as well.

So, my danner pronghorns are great, but I am a little worried with the 600 grams thinsulate they amy be too warm if the weather isnt cold. ANy reccomendations for an uninsulated good hunting boot?

Thanks for all the input so far. Keep em coming!

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Re: What Gear for CO Backpacking Elk hunt?

Good stuff to know.

I wouldn't worry about the boots. The thinsulate is pretty good and dries fairly quickly if you happen to sweat a bit.

Marmots are good bags. Some other decently priced brands to look at are, Trekker & Alps Engineering. They both have the highend bags too, but both of mine are in the $120-$150 range as well.

Katadyn is a good brand, bet you're fine there. Not familiar with that model, but I have the Katadyn Pro-guide model and love it!

Some good layers of lightweight cloths are essential. Some good light choices are silk and UnderArmour for your base layers, and then wool and Gortex or similar stuff for your outer layers. AVOID COTTON at all costs. Not only is it heavier to begin with, but once it is wet it is worthless! Gets way heavy, looses all its heat retentions qualities and takes too long to dry. Wool will also get heavy as heck when wet, but it looses very little of its heat retentions ability.

A small, well equiped first aid kit is a good safety related item to have along as well.

Compass, GPS, extra batteries (lithium preferred), maps, SPOT transmitter, firestarter/striking stick, headlamps...those are few other items off of the top of my head.

I like to get equipment that all uses the same batteries. Like my GPS and headlamp and flashlight all use AA batteries. This way I do not have to carry multiple tyopes and can interchange in a pinch

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Re: What Gear for CO Backpacking Elk hunt?

My most recent backpacking tent is a Eureka, and no issues to date. I have the two man, for just me. I have only used it twice though, so full judgement is still out. I have actually heard good things on the cabela's XPG series of tents, and you might want to look around abit since you have time. Look at as many reviews as you can.

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Re: What Gear for CO Backpacking Elk hunt?

Thanks for the info. I do have a GPS which I will makes ure to bring as well as headlamps and flashlights, all with extra batteries. Am I okay with just one pair of boots? I got the Danner's new last year, so they are worn in, but still in perfect condition. They are super comfortable by the way.

I looked a little bit at the Cabelas tents and the ratings for them are great. Price is good too. Maybe thats the one.

Thanks again

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Re: What Gear for CO Backpacking Elk hunt?

Yeah when I pack I only bring one pair of boots, with a pair of sandels or slip-ons for around camp so you can let your boots air out each night.

Now my buddy always brings two pair. One a good boot, and the other a lighter weight hiking boot. Now if I was camping any later than 2nd season I def would like two pair of boots.

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Re: What Gear for CO Backpacking Elk hunt?

Things I would add. I have a pair of Asolo gortex,hiking boots I used during the first season last year in Co. They worked well as there was up to a foot of snow on the ground and temps didn't get above 35 degrees. I had brought a pair of insulated boots to hunt in but never used them. A little about my hunt, I was still hunting the entire time, not any stationary hunting at all. Constantly moving, looking for elk so no need for insulated boots.

Bags and tents: I upgraded last summer before my trip to Marmot 20 degree bad and a two-person Marmot tent. If I were to do it over, I would get a 0 degree bag instead of a 20 degree bag. When I arrived in Co I bought one of those fleece liners from Wally World to go inside the bag. I was toasty warm with this setup even down to 12 degree @ night. I picked out a two-person tent b/c I wanted extra room to store my gear so it would be out of the weather. My tent weights in around 5 lbs. Glad I did that. If two of you are going, I would consider a three-person tent for this reason. You can split up the weight between both of you.

Something else to consider are light-weight, waterproof compression sacks. I bought some at the local camping store. I have 1 for my sleeping bag, 1 for dehydrated food, 1 for clothes and 1 for odds/ends. They add an extra layer of protection against the elements, they have D-rings to provide a place to attach a rope for hanging, and can double as a pillow. I have a water-proof pack but I like the extra protection provided by the sacks.

One note about buying new gear. I have always had the belief, you need to the buy the best rated gear for your needs. I shopped around for months before buying any of my gear. Decide what you want first, then go looking for the sales. Places to check out are Cabelas bargain cave, Ebay, Amazon.com, Campmor and REI to name a few. Campmor and REI usually have sales around Memorial Day, July 4 and Labor Day. Once you decide what you want, you can keep track of prices and usually get a good deal if you are patient. I rarely pay full price for anything anymore. I'll decide what piece of gear I would like to upgrade and start looking for the deals. You have plenty of time to shop around. Last year I bought a new tent, sleeping bag, boots and GPS. While I did spend alot of money on these items, I was able to save over $400. Take your time.

One thing I'm looking for is a light-weight, waterproof tarp to use as a cover for my tent or gear. I took one of those vinyl tarps last year but it was just too noisy. Anybody have any suggestions?

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Re: What Gear for CO Backpacking Elk hunt?

I don't mean to throw a pipe wrench into what seems like an otherwise well intended plan, but have you considered how you will be packing out your elk once you've each downed one? I mean elk are pretty heavy and large game. You will likely be needing some type of pack animals, ATV's, or a few more guys to help. I also think that for an average elk hunt you'll need better and heavier equipment that you can backpack in with. Not saying it can't be done, but you're in for a real chore doing it the way you describe, and that's without the weather extreams. There's a reason why elk hunters own and drive large pick-up trucks. Elk hunting during rifle season in the high country is a lot different than a weekend summer backpacking trip here in the Rockies. I've seen over 3 feet of snow fall in a 24hr period in mid to late October in the Rockies, not usually the norm, but it can and has happened to me. Just thought I'd throw it out there so that you can give it some thought. I only say this stuff based on 26+ years of elk hunting in the Colorado high country.

I know it's not backpackable but I would add the following to your camp list:
-wall tent (doesn't have to be big)
-portable/collapsable wood stove for warmth in the tent
-splitting axe
-large bow saw
-durable cooking gear i.e. cast iron dutch oven, skillet.
-gas stove for cooking
-wood or plastic cutting board
-lanterns
-3 gallon water jug
-emergency radio (battery powered)
-packable camp chairs
-sleeping cot
-some type of collapsable table
-extra pairs of wool socks, no matter what boots you end up wearing
-block & tackle or durable rope.

I would not go out on an elk hunt in the Rockies without any of the above mensioned. Seasons vary in Colorado from year to year, but one thing is generally true, starting in late September and early October it starts getting fairly chilly in the high country, especially once that sun goes down. Not sure what you guys plan on eating, but you'll need more food than you usually eat. In colder weather you will burn a lot more calories and you will need a lot more calorie requirments while hunting in the rockies anyway.

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