Gear Checklist for Backcountry Bowhunts

Question for Bowhunter:

My group has been hunting elk in Colorado in an area accessible by quads. In 2011, we are looking at backpacking into a wilderness area. We’re thinking we would hike in three to four miles and set up camp for seven to nine days. Can Bowhunter help me create a list of items for backpacking on an early archery hunt?

With the quads we could take “extra stuff.” Hauling everything on our backs, we need to refine our “actual needs.” We would also appreciate any tips on physical training for this trip.
— J. Hasse, via e-mail

A Backpacking can be very rewarding if you go about it right, or very defeating if you go about it wrong. With some thought and planning, you’ll have a great experience. Below is my standard list of backpacking gear for elk.

General Thoughts: Overall, think light.

If one ounce of toothpaste will do, don’t carry a six-ounce tube. In place of a fork and spoon, carry a plastic spork. Rather than steel pots, use titanium. Try to keep your total load in the 50-60 pound range.

I put a lot of value on a good tent and sleeping bag. You can tolerate a lot of misery during a long hunting day if you know you have a secure shelter and a warm sleeping bag waiting for you in camp. I often set up a lightweight tarp next to the tent for storing extra gear, especially with two or three guys because their gear will fill the tent.


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