Backpack hunters

Discussion in 'Big Game Hunting' started by Cledus, Jan 18, 2016.

  1. Cledus

    Cledus Die Hard Bowhunter

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    I am really looking into doing more DIY backpacking trips, both elk and muley for the most part. I've done a little bit of research, but I am looking for some first hand experience on what is a necessity, and how everyone packs everything into those sweet backpacks. Which packs are better? I want to be able to pack all my hunting and camp gear in and not be dead afterward.
     
  2. wl704

    wl704 Legendary Woodsman

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    I've also been doing some research, I'll follow this thread and if there isn't much traffic, we can compare notes.
     
  3. Cledus

    Cledus Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Awesome, thanks man!
     
  4. elkguide

    elkguide Grizzled Veteran

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    First....... get in shape and then work harder.

    (I'll try and write more later. Have to go to work now)
     
  5. wl704

    wl704 Legendary Woodsman

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    I will say backpack/backpacking aside for a minute getting in shape has been one of the most common themes around preparing for an elk hunt. I use the hunt as my motivation for getting in shape. Well that, and I think my weight around Christmas, contributed to a slipped disc. My company offering rewards (so I can buy more hunting gear) to get in better shape is gravy.

    If you're not used to altitudes where most elk live you're in for a special kind of hell. Your body just doesn't get the same oxygen absorbtion which just robs you of your strength and endurance-to the effect of about 25% per 8500'. And when you throw throw additional weight on your back (packing in or the weight from a hopefully successful hunt coming out) and expecting your body to work harder, it compounds the problem...oh and if that wasn't enough, throw a couple of thousand foot elevation changes from drainages/ridges/mountains into the equation and you're quickly out of gas...
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2016
  6. sethallphin

    sethallphin Newb

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    I suddenly have the inclination to go elk hunting.
     
  7. Jake/PA

    Jake/PA Grizzled Veteran

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    First thing I will suggest is to subscribe and listen to the Gritty Bowmen podcast. Start at episode one and listen to all of them. Those guys break down a lot of things you're asking about. Soleadventure.com also has a good breakdown of gear lists throughout the years.

    As for products - last spring I went crazy and just bought quality from headlamps all the way to tent. I understand most aren't willing to do that so the two main things to focus on are the boots and pack.

    I'd start keeping an eye out for trade shows in your area and checking to see if some of the companies will be there. Some packs to focus on would be Kifaru, Mystery Ranch and Stone Glacier. All of those companies have been in the pack designing game for quite awhile. I went with Kifaru and don't regret it. The initial cost is tough to swallow but the packs are well built and makes 70lbs feel a lot more comfortable than it should.

    As for boots, I didn't go as far down into that rabbit hole. There are a ton of boots to check out but the most important thing is to wear them a lot before you head out.

    Be prepared to spend a good bit if you're trying to save weight. But I'm a firm believer in buy once, cry once.
     
  8. sethallphin

    sethallphin Newb

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    Are the irish setter 16" boots good for this or do you want more of a hiking boot?
     
  9. Jake/PA

    Jake/PA Grizzled Veteran

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    My friend went elk hunting with Carolina steel toe boots. He was also hunting private land where he didn't have to backpack in or carry out the elk. My point is that anything will work, it just depends on why type of hunting and how willing you are to destroy your feet.
     
  10. wl704

    wl704 Legendary Woodsman

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    Boot recommendations often align to terrain expectations. Hard and loose terrain (e.g. shale) generally a stiffer boot sole--these also often have a longer brake in, something you'll want to consider in training/planning. Considering elevation changes/steepness may add additional evaluation criteria for boot selection (i.e. flexibility and support). I'll steer away from brand recommendations to keep the thread on point.

    Fwiw, I've also found therichoutdoors.net podcasts to also be pretty good (and downloadable without a podcatcher app or a need to stream). There is a part of an episode with Remi Warren where they're talking about boots...
     
  11. wl704

    wl704 Legendary Woodsman

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    Jake can you elaborate on any of your thinking, criteria and experiences with the Kifaru and which model you went with (I assume one of the ones in the 3400 or 5200 ci range, but would really like to hear experience if you went with one around 7k ci.

    To a lessor degree, the light/tent...we're you aiming for ultralight or more of a reasoned compromise?
     
  12. wl704

    wl704 Legendary Woodsman

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    Eberlestock and Exo Mountain Gear are two more companies whose packs I've been looking over...
     
  13. Jake/PA

    Jake/PA Grizzled Veteran

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    With the packs, I spent a lot of time searching the forums to read what people had to say about certain brands. After some time spent reading up on different features, etc - I came to the conclusion that I wanted a frame pack that can be switched out if more CI was required. Great thing about Kifaru is that all of their bags fit on their frame options.

    My purchase was for the bikini frame and Highcamp 4000 with the guide lid to add an additional 1,000 (I think). The bikini was the lighter frame and the highcamp was your basic one compartment bag. This allowed me to add side pockets wherever needed.

    Going through the training and hunting, I would've done a few things differently.
    1. The bikini frame worked fine but I still want to test out the duplex (heavier, more padded frame) to give me a good comparison.
    2. Wouldn't have ordered the guide lid and just add more exterior pockets.

    Tents are heavy compared to the tarp/bivy systems out there. Having said that, I still like the false sense of protection that tents provide, so I went with a one man tent and just dealt with the additional weight.

    There's smarter people on this forum when it comes to western hunting, just sharing my experiences. If you can, I strongly urge you to take some time and listen to those Gritty Bowmen podcasts. Especially the ones with Aaron Snyder.
     
  14. trial153

    trial153 Grizzled Veteran

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    Packs: Stone Glacier, Seekoutside, Exo, Kifaru

    I am really loving my Jimmy tarp for a one person floorless shelters.
     
  15. wl704

    wl704 Legendary Woodsman

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    With or without a bivy bag? Any condensation concerns/learnings?
     
  16. trial153

    trial153 Grizzled Veteran

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    I hate bivy bags, they're more trouble then they are worth so no none for me. I change pads depending on the temps expected. Condensation you deal with any shelter. For a tarp I found the side height off the ground matters a bit, and playing with the angles and guys to get good run off.
     
  17. scarps23

    scarps23 Die Hard Bowhunter

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    How long you plan on being out will determine what size of pack you will need. If you are talking 2-3 days at a time or 7-8 will make a big difference. Also, are you hunting with someone else who can share some of the equipment with? Biggest thing I would say is every ounce counts and if you have to spend more money to get less weight/space then do it. If you plan on doing this more than once buy good quality stuff. If you decide it isn't for you....the quality gear will resell better. Make sure the pack you buy is able to fit your torso also. I'm 6'4" and had to make sure I could get a pack that was big enough to have the load ride on my hips.

    In regards to boots. Fit of the boot and breaking in is more important than anything. I have good pair of danners and my feet were still torn up after I got an elk this year. We probably put on 18-20 miles that day. Figure out ahead of time if you have any hot spots in boots or slippage. Buy moleskin and cover the area before blisters happen. (I had easily put over a 100 miles in with my boots and still had problems. I believe I didn't tie laces tight enough...In the future I'll just put moleskin on my heels because they were rubbed raw and I didn't even know it)
     
  18. Cledus

    Cledus Die Hard Bowhunter

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    realistically all i'd ever do is probably 2-3 days, and will almost always have a hunting partner. Is the Kuiu tents/sleeping bags/etc. a good option?

    Thanks everyone for the tips, I really appreciate it!
     
  19. Cledus

    Cledus Die Hard Bowhunter

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    What is a bevy bag?
     
  20. Cledus

    Cledus Die Hard Bowhunter

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    what is a bivy bag?
     

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