A Backpack Hunter’s Must-Have Equipment List

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posted on April 23, 2015
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Senior Editor Karen Mehall Phillips had the chance to train for a grueling backcountry hunt at Magpul's inaugural Backcountry Hunter's Course. More details on that can be found right here. One of the first things she learned, though, was precisely what kind of gear any backpacking hunter will want on hand at all times. Check out what she learned in the report below.

I sported Cabela’s women’s moisture-wicking XPG clothing. In warm climates, don’t overlook Duckworth’s Vapor Wool. Arcteryx’s insulated, high-performance Atom hoody is lightweight, packable warmth and ideal as both a mid-layer or stand-alone piece in warmer temps. I packed my Huntworth Ladies Stealth series gloves with high-tack palms. Needing serious ankle support, I was thankful for my Kenetrek Mountain boots.

I was in great company with my Stone Glacier Sky 5100 pack as Luke and three other students also toted one. That spoke volumes! The 5,100-cubic-inch pack with a KRuX frame converts to a 3,500 cubic-incher. A center zipper offers access to four internal pockets. Accessories include a rifle sling, spotting scope pocket and dry pack for hauling meat.

Carry at least 3 liters of water. I used a basic water pump with a nylon wrap. Pumping from fast-flowing water is best, though in an emergency you can’t overlook the elk wallow.

When the backcountry zaps you mentally and physically, a lightweight canister of O2 Unleashed with 95 percent pure oxygen beats back fatigue and altitude and saves the day.

I used my lightweight, stable Easton Kilo Carbon three-season tent with carbon fiber frame. For cold weather, four-season options weigh 2.5-plus pounds but hold heat. Temperature ratings for synthetic sleeping bags can be off, so I prefer Therm-A-Rest’s Mira women’s down with heat-capturing ThermaCapture lining. A lightweight 2.5-inch Therm-A-Rest pad offers ample width for a better rest. Tip: Pack a patch kit. You’ll glass for hours so protect your lower back with 21/2-inch-thick pad. For more tips on clothing and gear selection for a backcountry trip, see my “American Bowhunter” blogs posted in July and August 2014.

My Pelican LED light provided multi-beam functionality and a super-bright 133 lumens on high.

The new, compact Jetboil Flash Camo Backpacking Stove is a burner and cooking vessel in one. Everything stores in the 1-liter cooking cup, and the unit lights with the click of a button.

Also pack a compass, GPS, Thermacell unit, titanium drinking cup, rain gear, camp shoes and a first-aid kit. Carry a mirror, compass, whistle, glow sticks, firestarter, wet wipes and rope all in one pouch. Brownells has plenty of survival gear.

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