Quality Over Quantity: Packing for a Mountain Hunt in Alaska

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If you hunt in the mountains for game such as sheep or mountain goats, you are probably a little bit of a fanatic.

Hunting in the mountains is not for everyone. You must be able to take a certain perverse pleasure in feeling a pair of pack straps dig into your shoulders, welcome the cold, clingy embrace of rain gear that has not dried out for the third day in a row and relish the feeling of aching muscles, dry lips, sore feet, cold nights, and long, long days.

If this sounds like you, then you also probably are the type of hunter who is constantly going over gear lists and watching the market for new products to help improve your performance or experience in the field. In that spirit, let me share with you my current load-out for hunting in Alaska.

Gear Goals

A: Fit everything you need to live and hunt for 10 days into a backpack, and still have room to fit a sheep or goat in the pack on the return trip.

B: Still be able to enjoy the experience.

To achieve these goals, equipment must be carefully chosen. Only vitally important items make the cut, and those items must be light-weight and durable. Over the last 24 years of living and hunting in Alaska, I have come up with a gear system that serves me well in the mountains. Here is my current load-out for early- to mid-season sheep, goat, bear, deer, and caribou in the high country.

Backcountry Hunting Gear List

HUNTING EQUIPMENT:

  • Rifle - Kimber Mtn Ascent .308 Win w/Vortex Razor HD LH 3-15x42 Scope                 6 lb
  • Scope Caps - Vortex Defender Caps
  • Ammunition - 20 rounds Nosler Hornady 178 gr ELD-X.                                                    1 lb
  • Binoculars - Vortex Razor HD 10x42 w/Vortex Chest Harness.                                1 lb 14 oz
  • Spotting Scope - Vortex Razor HD 22-48x65 w/neoprene cover.                             3 lb 12 oz
  • Tripod - Suiri T-024-X with ball head.                                                                                      -
  • Range Finder - Vortex Ranger 1000.                                                                               8.9 oz
  • Pack - Barney’s Frontier Gear of Alaska Pinnacle Pack                                           8 lb 05 oz
  • Pack RainCover - Frontier Gear of Alaska Pack Cover.                                                  11 oz
  • Ammo Pouch - Uncle Mike’s Cordura Wallet - Capacity 10.                                            3 oz
  • Tags/Licenses - GSI waterproof case w/tags, hunter ed card, money.                            3 oz
  • Electrical Tape - wrapped around barrel for several muzzle re-tapes.                                  -

Hunting in Alaska

MEAT CARE EQUIPMENT:

  • Skinning Knife - Cold Steel Finn Bear.                                                                                4 oz
  • Pocket Knife - Schrade COM6CP Lock Back w/ 2 3/4” blade.                                          1 oz
  • Knife Sharpener - DMT Folding Diamond Sharpener Medium Coarse.                             1 oz
  • Bone Saw (optional) - Outdoor Edge Flip N Lock Saw.                                                      3 oz
  • Surgical Gloves - Grease Monkey. 2 Pair per anticipated kill.                                           .3 oz
  • Game Bags - Caribou Gear Carnivore III High Country Predator Pack.                           14 oz
  • Large Trash Bag - 6mm Heavy Duty 55 gal Contractor bag (for meat in pack).              4.5 oz
  • Medium Trash Bag - 1 3mm 35 Gallon (for personal items while packing meat).           1.5 oz
  • Small Trash Bag - 10 gallon (for skull)
  • P-550  Cord - 50’ (useful for hanging meat, tying meat/horns to pack, etc)

CAMPING GEAR:

  • Tent - Hilleberg Niak 2 man                                                                                        3 lb12 oz
  • Sleeping Bag - Western Mountaineering Alpinelight 20                                              2 lb 7 oz
  • Sleeping Bag Stuff Sack - eVent waterproof Compression sack (weight included above)
  • Sleeping Pad - Thermarest Neo Air Large                                                                   1 lb 4oz   
  • Pillow - Sea to Summit Aeros Inflatable Pillow                                                                        3 oz     
Mountain Hunting in Alaska

ELECTRONIC GEAR

  • Satellite Communication - Delorme Texting Device                                                           8 oz
  • Spare GPS Batteries - AA Lithium batteries                                                              each 1 oz
  • Iphone - Waterproof case, earbuds, download ibooks, podcasts.                                    6 oz
  • Power Supply - small power cell and cords for electronics                                            2.5 oz
  • Headlamp - Black Diamond Storm                                                                                     4 oz
  • Spare Headlamp Batteries - AAA Lithium                                                                 each .4 oz

MISC GEAR

  • Trekking Poles - MSR Sure Lock UL-3                                                                          15.8 oz
  • Dry Bag for Clothes - OR lightweight dry bag for extra clothing, layers                            3 oz
  • Bug Net                                                                                                                              1 oz
  • Toiletry Kit - Toothbrush, toothpaste, wet wipes, toilet paper, lip balm, camp soap       11 oz
  • Microfiber towel - hand towel for drying gear etc                                                          1.5 oz
  • First Aid Kit - Bandages, athletic tape, Leuko tape, iodine, alcohol pads, ibuprofren, super glue, neosporin, cotton pads, ankle wrap, quick-clot                                                       7 oz
  • Survival Kit - Trioxane fire starter, emergency blanket, matches, lighter, needle and thread, candle, small Swiss army knife, spare pack buckle, wire, zip ties.                                    9 oz 

Hunting Gear List

CLOTHING

  • Underwear - Minus 33 merino wool boxer brief x3                                                each 3.7 oz
  • Boot Socks - Darn Tough Hiker Synthetic x3                                                         each 3.7 oz
  • Liner Socks - REI synthetic liner for sleeping and around camp                                     1.3 oz
  • Undershirt - Icebreaker merino wool short sleeve henley                                               6.4 oz
  • Shirt - Sitka Merino Wool Long Sleeve Zip T                                                                 11.6 oz
  • Overshirt - Sitka Heavyweight Hoody                                                                                 1 lb
  • Pant - Sitka Timberline                                                                                              1 lb 15 oz
  • Insulated Jacket - Sitka Kelvin Lite                                                                                  15 oz
  • Insulated Pant - Sitka Kelvin Lite                                                                                1 lb 4 oz
  • Rain Coat - Sitka Dewpoint                                                                                             15 oz
  • Rain Pant - Sitka Dewpoint                                                                                           11.6 oz
  • Hat - Sitka Synthetic Ball Cap                                                                                         2.2 oz
  • Warm Hat - Sitka Merino Beanie                                                                                     1.6 oz
  • Neck Gaiter - Merino wool buff                                                                                       1.6 oz
  • Bandanna - Classic cotton bandana                                                                               1.4 oz
  • Light Gloves - Sitka Merino w/ fingers cut off                                                                 1.3 oz
  • Heavy Gloves - Sitka Mountain Glove (may not take on warmer hunts)                          10 oz
  • Hiking Boots - Koflach Degre                                                                                      5 lb 8 oz
  • Camp Shoe - Crocks (classic design with heel stirrup and vent holes)                        12.5 oz

Backcountry Cooking

COOKING GEAR

  • Water Filter - Katadyn Hiker Pro                                                                                       14 oz
  • Spork - Sea to Summit titanium                                                                                        .4 oz
  • Water Bladder w/Hose - Platypus 2 liter                                                                            4 oz
  • Water Bladder - 1 liter w/ cap                                                                                         1.3 oz
  • Stove - MSR Windburner                                                                                                    1 lb
  • Stove Fuel - One 110 gram Butane canister for 2 men every 3-4 days                          7.5 oz
  • Dry Bag for Food - Heavy Duty rubber dry bags, 1 for base camp, 1 for spike  each      7 oz 

FOOD: (per day)

  • Breakfast - 3/4 cup quick-cut oats, 1 scoop protein powder, dried fruit, brown sugar     8 oz
  • Lunch - One each of Premiere Protein bar, Wilderness Athlete Rebar, Snicker Bar       5.5 oz
  • Snack - Heather’s Choice Packaroons 2 pack                                                                   2 oz
  • Dinner - Heather’s Choice Dehydrated Dinner                                                                4.6 oz
  • Beverages - One packet each of tea, EmergenC.                                                  each .25 oz
Click here to download 60th Parallel's COMPLETE backcountry hunting gear list and menu.
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