As some of you head out for your elk hunt this year or begin packing for your upcoming backcountry hunts, hopefully you use a checklist of some sort. I have a spreadsheet with all of my gear on it with multiple columns. The columns dictate the type of hunt, then all I need to do check the items as I pack them and as a bonus, it spits out the total weight of what my pack should weigh.
My favorite style of hunt is a 10 day bivy backcountry hunt for Mulies or Elk. For those that don’t know what bivy means, it’s short for the word bivouac and means you will carry your camp, food, clothes, hunting gear, everything we need to survive those 10 days in the backcountry on your backs. You will not master the bivy style the first time out. This takes time, some thought and a lot of gear testing, which I truly enjoy. Then, over time you find the gear that can be utilized for at least 2 functions, that packs small, lightweight and durable. This is the gear that you will build you bivy camp with. I recommend trying a few test nights in the backyard, then you try a few weekender trips and then on what I call Bonsai Trips. These are the “semi-unplanned” trips, when you get home from work, grab your pack and gear and head out for the night or weekend. For me this verifies how organized I am on getting my gear together, to test setting up camp in the dark and sometimes freezing temps on top of that. This type of trip/test helps me lighten my pack of tchotchke and find the gear that works best for me.
For me it’s about learning to do more with less and live better!
I have read where some say there most important piece of gear may be their sleeping bag or tent. I find it hard to say what my “most important” piece is as it all works as domino display. But, I would put my body, pack and footwear at the top of the list. If your body bonks, you’re dead where you fell! If you pack doesn’t distribute the weight correctly, you might be susceptible to injury or prolonged pain. If your feet hurt, you’re done!!!
Here is some of my favorite gear:
Asolo Power Matic boots
Exped Packsacks, Trekking Poles
Mountain House Freeze Dried Meals
Mystery Ranch Crew Cab
Mystery Ranch Dragon Slayer
Outdoor Edge Swingblaze
Salomon XA Pro 3D
Sitka Gear clothing (too many items to list)
You can get some of this best of breed gear at Winded Bowhunter. http://www.windedbowhunter.com/