Sunday, July 6, 2008

Daypack for elk

Whats in your backpack? On the various archery forums, this question comes up several times a year. Everyone is different. Every hunted area is different as well, slowly going from vast expanses here in the west to small woodlots in the east. Some like a buttpack, others a backpack. Some like branch clippers, others a saw, and some, none at all. There are those who strap their knife on the belt, grab the bow and go, maybe stuffing a granola bar in a pocket. Then there are those who bring everything possible to the tree stand, hauling up a monster sized backpack that weighs as much as they do. It all depends on the area you are going to hunt and your level of woodsmanship and comfort.

Here's what I take, give or remove an item here and there as it is forgotten or not needed.

Starting with the backpack and going clockwise:

The backpack is a Kelty Cougar. Great daypack. Comfy straps, just enough organizing pockets, hydration bladder compatible, it's the right size for me, and it has quiet fabric.

I carry some camo blind material, a couple legths of rope and two cloths pins. Obviously to set up a quick blind when there isn't brush to utilize or to augment what is available. Weights about 8 oz.

I also sometimes have an inflatable cushion. It is rolled up just below the blind material. Weighs less than a pound.

Binoculars and a bino harness. Currently it's either some smallish 8 power Bruntons or (shown) a set of 10x42 Leopolds.

Hat. Depends on the day, but shown is an oilcloth pack hat.

Enzo trapper knife (on belt).

Matches in a waterproof case. It also has a backup compass. This is in a pocket, dummy corded to my belt.

Map and compass. In a pocket and again dummy corded.

Toilet paper. Self explanatory, but also serves as a fire starter and trail marker (which, unlike surveyor's tape, decomposes quickly). In a ziplock.

The five small articles are duct tape (blister prevention, gear repair, etc.), burnt cork (face camo that comes off when its time to) and a bic lighter. Some bullion packs to make some hot drinks if need be. Good stew base as well. Water pure pills. Potable aqua.

A small pot for boiling water, drinking, etc. It doesn't have a lid, I wish it did, and the handles flap, so they are rubber banded down.

A small water bottle. I also carry a hydration bladder. That's a lot of water, but in the high back country, you can get dehydrated fast. If I'm not peeing a lot, I'm not drinking enough. I carry the small bottle so I can throw in some electrolyte drink mix.

First aid kit (already went over this in another post)

Bandanna. Besides a knife, possibly the most useful item to carry.

Brush clippers. For making shooting lanes and blinds.

Small, lightweight Gerber axe. Quite a few uses. Shelter, firewood, etc, etc. Heavier than a folding saw, but quicker and uses less energy when you are in a pinch.

Headlamp. (pretty much in the center of the gear). LEDs "never" burn out, use battery power by sipping rather than gulping.... really, LEDs don't have a downsize other than not throwing a huge swath of light. They are visible a long way off though. I also have a one LED bulb watch battery flashlight on the strap as well. Doesn't weight anything and is a nice backup.

The little camo bag has my skinning and caping knives, a sharpener and a pair of medical gloves. For when the work begins after an animal is down.

The green stuff sack has some lightweight mesh game bags. Also for when the work begins.

Not shown:
I almost always have my little GPS unit with me. It's a Garmin Geko and it is great. I carry a couple extra batteries, AAA, with it, which also fit the headlamp.

Some food. Trail mix, granola bars, fruit.... jolly ranchers to suck on in the blind so my throat doesn't parch.

Not much, really. With a full supply of water, it probably weighs less than 15#, but with this gear I am comfortable and confident I can weather a storm, survive an injury, take apart an elk or deer, and find my way back to camp, truck or home.


The Rabid Outdoorsman said...

In Maine where the weather can change in an instant, I never go anywhere (even in Summer) without a winter hat. It weights nothing and considering most of your body temperature is lost off your noggin it can be a lifesaver.

backcountrybowhunter said...

Good consideration! I guess I left out that during elk season I typically will have a warm hat (and wool gloves) on in the AM and swap it out for something cooler when body temperature begins to climb.

The Rabid Outdoorsman said...

Ahh, Elk on my hunting wish list right up there with the Woodland Caribou . . . someday!

Food Food Food said...

Instead of the Gerber hatchet, I chose to go with a slightly bigger 7.5" knife as well as the Cold Steel Special Forces Shovel. It acts well enough as a hatchet, as all sides can be sharpened, and is very lightweight. Not to mention the usefulness of an entrenching tool.