backcountry hunting backpack

Backcountry Hunting Gear List – by Justin Nelson

backcountry gear layed out

Backcountry Hunting Gear List

When it comes to the backcountry, having a simple yet effective backcountry hunting gear list can greatly increase your productivity. Too much gear and fatigue from extra weight starts to set in after a few days. Not enough gear creates frustration along with an uncomfortable experience. Finding the right balance can be overwhelming and can even take multiple years to figure out. Hunting scenarios are always changing, from different weather conditions, different terrain, or even as simple as adding an extra day or two. Let’s be real, hunting season is only here for a short period of time each year. So evaluating prior experiences and learning from others can save you a lot of hassle when it comes to selecting the right gear to take on your hunt. 

Fact: backcountry hunting gear can be expensive and take several years to acquire. Ultimately going in light and coming out heavy is the motto but can be a challenge if your pocket book doesn’t allow for all the top of the line gear. Finding what works for you and your financial state is important when planning your backcountry experience. Remember, you have to start somewhere. It can take some time to obtain all the necessary gear, so be patient and figure out where you want to start. 

Now it’s time to start sorting and planning what to take. We’ve used our past experiences to come up with a Backcountry Gear List that we feel will be beneficial to anyone getting ready for their next hunting trip. These items are brand specific but can be changed out depending on what you have. All of the items listed are what I currently have and use. As I continue to test gear throughout the year, my list might change and I’ll re-address what I might be taking next season.

Gear List

When starting my backcountry hunting gear list I always start at the pack and work from there. As I go through my checklist, the items I pull go directly into the pack. I put the items in order as I might need them during the hunt. The benefit of having a checklist is simple, you won’t be forgetting that one item that could potentially ruin your hunt. After I’ve gone through each system from, sleep, miscellaneous camp items, water and filtration, clothing, kill kit and food I move onto weapons, optics, etc. Organization is important and can create an efficient hunt. I generally pack for “Normal” weather conditions first. This is my base list where my hunt won’t be affected by severe temperatures, rain or snow. This list is also based on 3-4 days of elk hunting. Extended days usually just result in more food.

My Backcountry Gear List

backcountry hunting backpack

Pack:

backcountry sleep system

Sleep System:

  • Big Agnes AXL Insulated Pad – 12.9oz.
  • Exped Mega Pillow – 6.5oz.
  • Western Mountaineering TerraLite Sleeping Bag 25°F Degree – 1lb. 13oz.
  • Kelty Trailogic TN2 Footprint – 7oz.
  • Seek Outside Cimarron – 2lb. 12oz.
  • Carbon Pole – 12.2oz.
  • Canopy Stakes – 7oz.

backcountry camp gear

Miscellanies and Camp:

  • Phelps Bugle – 12.1oz.
  • Phelps Reeds – .9oz.
  • First Aid Kit – 2.9oz.
  • Camo Paint – 1.5oz.
  • Black Diamond Headlamp – 3.1oz.
  • Garmin Mini – 3.7oz.
  • Pyro Putty – .2oz.
  • Breeze Squeeze – .5oz.
  • Tooth Brush – .2oz.
  • AA Batteries – 3.2oz.
  • AAA Batteries – 1.12oz.
  • Thermarest Z seat – 1.6oz.
  • S&S Backcountry Trekking Poles – 12.6oz.
  • Last Light Solar Charger and Rope Light – 1lb. 6oz.
  • 2x lighters – 4.6oz.

backcountry kill kit

Kill Kit:

  • TUR Carbon Pro knife – 2.6oz.
  • Capra Hunter Ti – 1.8oz.
  • 3x 60A Extra Blades – .6oz .
  • 1/4 Platform Bits – 1.3oz.
  • Game Bags – 14.7oz.
  • Latex Gloves – .8oz.
  • Flagging Tape – 1.1oz.
  • Electrical Tape – .5oz.
  • Plastic Tarp – 1.8oz.
  • Trash Bag – .7oz.
  • 3mm Paracord 25ft. – 1.7oz.
  • Hunting License and Tags – .5oz.

backcountry water filter kit

Water and Filtration:

  • Platypus Water Bladder 3 Liter – 4lb. 10oz. (Filled up to 2 Liters)
  • Sawyer Squeeze Filter – 3.2oz.
  • 2x Sawyer 1 Liter Refill Bags – 3.8oz.
  • Platypus 1 Liter Flexible Bottle – .9oz.

backcountry hunting food

Food:

  • Peak Refuel 1x Dinner Daily – 7.3oz.
  • Peak Refuel 1x Breakfast Daily – 5.9oz.
  • JetBoil Fuel 100 Grams – 7oz.
  • JetBoil – 10oz.
  • MSR Spoon – .3oz.
  • Daily snacks not included – 1-2lbs. approx.

backcountry hunting clothing

Clothing:

  • Crispi Guide GTX – 4.2lbs
  • 1x Extra Socks – 2.2oz.
  • Kiln Zip Off Long John – 9oz.
  • Traverse Hunting Gaiters – 3oz.
  • Aerowools Neck Gaiter – 2.5oz.
  • Wick Short Sleeve Crew – 6oz.
  • Wick Hoody – 9oz.
  • Klamath Hoody – 15.7oz.
  • Obsidian Merino Pants – 22oz.
  • Talus Merino Glove – 2oz.
  • Brooks Down Glassing Mitt – 3.8oz.
  • Brooks Down Sweater – 11.5oz.
  • Beanie – 1.5oz.

backcountry optics

Optics:

backcountry bow hunting tackle

Weapon:

Harsh Weather and Rifle Hunts

After the archery season comes to a close and temperatures start to drop its time to adjust my setup. Most all of my items stay the same and small alterations are made in my sleep, clothing, and weapon systems.

late season sleep system

Sleep System (Harsh Weather)

  • Big Agnes BlackBurn UL 0°F Degree Sleeping Bag – 2 lb. 14oz.
  • Seek Outside Large Titanium Wood Stove & Stove Pipe – 56oz.

Late season clothing

Clothing (Harsh Weather)

  • Stormlight Ultralight Rain Jacket – 12oz.
  • Boundary Stormtight Rain Pant – 19oz.
  • Uncompahgre Puffy Pant – 17.5oz.

backcountry hunting rifle

Weapon (Rifle Hunts)

  • RMP 28 Nosler (Complete Gun Weight 10.6 lbs.)
  • Vortex AMG Scope
  • StHealthy Rifle Cover

backcountry gear list weight

How Much Does It Weigh?

My Setup comes in right at 43 lbs. The only thing I don’t have listed is my snacks for each day. Knowing what I usually take, I can add an additional 1-3 lbs. This setup might seem heavy for some guys but with my bow in hand, my pack weight drops to 35 lbs. In my opinion 30 -35 lbs. is perfect for a three to four day hunt. Although some of the items that I have listed won’t be on my pack the entire time, (bow, trekking poles, etc.) I always try to weigh my setup as a complete package. This helps me determine just how much weight I’ll be carrying at any given time.

Prior experiences of backcountry hunting is where you really learn your body and what weight you’re comfortable with. Keeping records of what you take, what you don’t use, how many days hunted, and the weather conditions will help you fine tune your own gear list. The more records you take the easier packing is for your next trip. Ultimately keeping your setup light and effective is the key. 

For more information or questions you can email us –

rob@sandsarchery.com

-Robs 2016 gear list can be found here

Justin@sandsarchery.com

backcountry pack packed up