Going deep in the back country, in September, chasing bugling bulls is one of the most fun hunts anyone can do. There is nothing like being in the mountains in the fall, watching the leaves change colors, experiencing the cooler mornings and hearing the elk during the peak of the rut.
When packing in for a few days, it does take some planning and preparation. This is not something you can just last minute. The last thing you want to do is get back in 4+ miles with all of your gear, and then realize you forgot something. It might be something small that isn’t that big of a deal, but it might be something that could be dangerous to be without.
Joey and I have been lucky enough to do many DIY back country archery elk hunts and now have a pretty good system in place and know the gear that we need and what works for us. Below is a simple layout of what we take. Keep in mind, different areas might require different things. This is just what works for us in the mountains we hunt, but it’s a pretty good starting point. The pack we use is the Eberlestock transformer day pack combined with the Mainframe pack. This combination works incredible!
-Lightweight back packing tent. A 3 season tent works just fine
-Sleeping bag. Down to zero is plenty where we hunt.
-Back packing pillow
You want to take food that is lightweight, but higher in calories and fat. This will keep your energy up as you will be more than likely walking a lot of miles in tough terrain. We put all our food for each day in a zip lock bag. Here is what we have in a standard bag.
-2 oatmeal packets or protein bar
-Mountain House or similar freeze dried food
-Peanut butter crackers or protein bar.
-Plastic bowl and silverware.
This combination will get us through the day with enough calories to keep us going. We might substitute some things from day to day, but this is basically what we take as none of it will go bad in a week in the mountains. We use our camelback’s for water, and will also carry a nalgene bottle with water for cooking. We also pack in very light weight plastic coffee cups for our coffee each morning.
-Quiver with 5-6 arrows, tipped with broad heads(we use Magnus broadheads).
-Release (extra in backpack)
-Couple judo points in backpack for shooting grouse, etc.
You can also take is some extra items, like a portable bow press, extra strings, etc. But we don’t, as we like to go in a light as we can.
-Jetboil, or something similar to boil water
-Water purification or water filtration system
-Knife and saw combination
-Headlamp and/or small flashlight
-Lightweight sandals-this sounds funny, but it’s nice to be back at spike camp and wear these around camp.
-Scent free body wipes
-Waterproof matches and/or lighter
-Maps and compass if not familiar with the area
-Portable phone charges and charging cord
-Toothbrush and toothpaste
-First aid kit-
Super Glue (for big cuts)
Chapstick and sunscreen
You will want a good pair of boots for sure, some that are waterproof. We prefer the Kenetrek Mountain Extreme boots.
Good socks and a layering system so you can take off layers as the temperature rises during the day. Early season it gets warm, so we wear a moisture wicking t shirt or long sleeve shirt, with a small jacket over that.
We don’t take a lot of extra clothes in. Again, we like to go in light. But we do try and take a few extra items in, usually in a zip lock bag, in case of rain.
-Extra T-shirt or long sleeve shirt (check the weather forecast)
-Extra pair of underwear and socks
-Pair of long underwear (again, check the weather).
-Stocking cap and gloves
So if you are thinking of going into the back country for 4+ days, we hope this will help and be a starting point for what you need. DIY back country hunts are some of the most fun, and fulfilling hunts you will ever do. Plan accordingly, take in what you need, and have the time of your life!