View Full Version : Going Light!
01-20-2006, 08:03 PM
I'm thinking about doing a backpack hunting trip this year (my first). I was wondering if anyone packs really light - no sleeping bag or tent. Essentially I want to carry gear for killing and boning an animal, survival gear and maybe a poncho and liner for sleeping plus water and enough food to keep my energy up. This way I can move fast and carry a lot out.
Has anyone tried this? What was your packing list? Was it worth the discomfort? The last time I abused myself like this was many years ago in the Army...
01-20-2006, 08:35 PM
Sandwedge, welcome to the forum.
I advise you to be carefull out in the backcountry.Going light is great but dont skimp on safety, Im not afraid of animals in the backcountry http://www.jesseshunting.com/forums/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smiley-cool-shades-down.gif but what I am afraid of is weather,especially lightning, a friend and I spent 2 hours last year on the balls of our feet in a thunder/hail/wind storm we were just plain lucky.
The gear that I carry are usually for 3-5 days.
Packframe with attatched pack
5 degree bag
1" thermarest pad
Freeze dried food
MSR whisperlite stove
Pur-hiker water filter
Nikon spotting scope/tripod
Knife and sharpener
Survival/first aid kit
Toilet paper and hygene kit
Bow or rifle with arrows and ammo
Tags and pen
50' of parachute cord
All weather lighter
Vitamins and Advil
I will on occasion use Diamox for high altitude sickness prior and during trip.
My pack usually weighs in excess of 50lbs but can be adjusted for duration of hunt.
I usually set up a base camp and hunt within a few miles.
01-20-2006, 10:59 PM
I don't backpack but I've done a lot of packing in the mountains and gong in without a sleeping bag and some kind of shelter is not a good idea. I've seen snow at 4500' in July, and I've seen a lot of sub 0 nights at 7000' in Nov, and many sub freezing nights at 6000' in Oct. If you can't sleep warm and dry you are in trouble and you won’t last long out there. Food is important, but I would shed a meal or two in favor of a good sleeping bag and tarp. Plan your meals and always pack more than you think you will eat. Carry calorie dense snacks that are high in protein. Just don’t take Mother Nature for granted. She can and will mess you up.
01-21-2006, 06:38 AM
I go w/out a tent, but like the guys said above......take your sleeping bag!
01-21-2006, 09:08 AM
I'd say it depends on what time of year you hunt, your experience, your IQ, how wise you are, how mature you are, your tolerance for pain, and whether or not you know your limits and will stick to them with a storm rolling in from one direction and a 190" mule deer on the ridge in the other direction.
I've been in the Sierras in August and seen it snow several inches... I've seen it snow 20 inches in the first week of September. You've got to ask yourself if you think you've got the skills to deal with that type of weather, 5-10 miles from the trailhead, with no shelter. If you don't you're not only putting your life at risk, but also the volunteers that will be out S&R'ing for you.
In August I will hunt and backpack without a tent or bivy bag, provided I check the short- and long-range weather forecasts and provided someone responsible has my itinerary. In September, no way. Maybe if I was just going for 3 days and two nights and I knew the weather was a lock, but probably not because I normally go for at least 4 days and 3 nights, and a shelter of some sort does wonders to keep the crisp autumn wind from sucking heat off the outside of your sleeping bag.
Would I go without a sleeping bag, and pad or some sort in any season? No way… but that’s me… those items are relatively light and offer me supreme comfort and a good night’s sleep, so I can get the hard work done during the day, and I won’t skimp there.
01-21-2006, 09:23 PM
If you don't get a good night's sleep, you will be falling apart by the third day. Backcountry is right! Gotta have a good bag, shelter and a thermarest pad. Get Cameron Hanes' book.
01-22-2006, 12:01 PM
Sandwedge, I've done what you're asking a couple of years ago. It makes for a very fast mobile set-up. BUT, I was very beat up by the third day. The most important consideration is clothing. It's gotta be warm, a jacket with a hood helps a lot along with very warm thermals and gloves. When you wake, that's if you can sleep and I didn't get much, all you need to do is toss your poncho liner--the thinsulate model is the best, into your pack. I also used a thermarest Z-rest, it doubles as a shooting pad for prone shots and as a butt pad for glassing. Since it's foam, it won't get leaks. I did this in the SanG wilderness for 2 nights,and when I came out on the 3rd day I was beat. The overnight lows were either in the low 30's or high 20's. Most of my sleeping was in the afternoon on a rock, sunning myself like a lizard. I now carry the extra 6 or 7lbs for the sleeping bag and shelter(which I rarely use). I don't recommend this method unless you have good outdoor skills and a high tolerance for discomfort. I didn't get my deer, and had tag soup for that season.
01-22-2006, 08:51 PM
I'm with backcountry and onetrack on this one.
You can do without a tent by using a tarp or bivy, but a good bag and pad are a must for a good nights rest. I carry a thermarest and a Mt hardware down bag inside a bivy sack. You can always cut weight by using freezedry food, water filter, alcohol stove, and layer your clothes.
The way I always look at how I judge items I pack(or not) is if I can survive if I don't bring them. I'd rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have brought it...
01-22-2006, 09:29 PM
Like other folks have said SW, get to know yourself, your gear and the different environments you'll hunt first. Give yourself a few trips to start widdling down your gear. You'll learn a great deal in just the first couple of weekender trips. Read some and start applying it. Just don't write checks your butt can't cash out there. Don on the valley floor, you can predict weather a bit better. If you're heading into the high country, it can be beautiful and sunny one minute and blistering cold the next. Not the place to go minimalist on your first trip.
Gear - I like the combination of a Gore-Tex bivy shell (over the sleeping bag) and a Sil-tarp (silicone impregnated nylon tarp) for shelter. The 8'x10' Sil-tarp and Sil-backpack cover way less than a pound together and work well. That takes care of the dry shelter part. The bag/bivy combo provides another water and weather barrier and helps to keep everything cozy.
I'd like to add a Kifaru tipi style tent to my outfit. It looks like it might do a better job at keeping wind and sideways rain out.
Here is a decent general pack check list I put together for most trips. Take or leave out as necessary. Backpack Check List (http://www.computingimage.com/misc_images/hunt-n-fish_pics/Shanes_Backpack_Check_List.pdf)
Stay warm, dry and hydrated. Be safe and good luck.
01-22-2006, 10:20 PM
Originally posted by Shane@Jan 22 2006, 10:29 PM
I like the combination of a Gore-Tex bivy shell (over the sleeping bag) and a Sil-tarp (silicone impregnated nylon tarp) for shelter. The 8'x10' Sil-tarp and Sil-backpack cover way less than a pound together and work well. That takes care of the dry shelter part. The bag/bivy combo provides another water and weather barrier and helps to keep everything cozy.
You just decribed my camp (see below)! http://www.jesseshunting.com/forums/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smiley-dancin-red.gif I go to great lengths to make sure that no matter what, my bag stays dry... a dry bag will save your life... a wet bag if worthless.
I use an Outdoor Research Adavanced Bivy, Marmot 20F 700 fill down bag (in the summer), and ultralight Thermarest.
When I upgrade this year or next (the current bag is about 10 years old and ready to retire to car camping only) I'm positively going with the Big Agnes sleep-system (725 fill bag with integral inserted sleeping pad)... they are new on the scene, but pretty much the lightest and most compact sleep system out there, and far from the most expensive (i.e., Feathered Friends, the Rolls Royce of down bags).
01-23-2006, 05:53 AM
Thanks for the tip on that new bag BC. Looking forward to checking it out closer.
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div>
You can do without a tent by using a tarp or bivy, but a good bag and pad are a must for a good nights rest.[/b]I am with all the previous comments regarding, bring shelter. Stay dry..
I remember our trip BC , high altitude, setting up our bivies next to large snow drifts on the mountain side, it get cold. It gets so cold I remember I could barely tolerate one spotting scope session in the morning dressed warm in layers.. this all took place in California's bowhunting season, considered warm months. http://www.jesseshunting.com/forums/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/afraid_face.gif
Even reading Cam's book or any other Backpacking book. Great primers, but there are allways things you miss or forget. Thankfully for me, BC was there to even further my backpacking education in the field. Every trip I learned something. Some minor things and some life saving things.
Use this forum to the max and get everything lifesaving tip you can from these guys.
01-23-2006, 04:50 PM
You don't want to get wet nor cold, period...
There are many good one and two man tents out there and there are great lightweight tarp/tents that will suffice in 3 seasons. It all boils down to using your head and not getting in a situation that could cost your life...
01-23-2006, 08:09 PM
Hi All -
Thanks for the great tips. Just to alleviate your fears, I have no intentions of making the 11:00 news - "Lost Hunter, story after these messages..." I don't think I'd survive the ridicule from my friends assuming I survived the event.
I have been in the woods quite a bit and am fairly familiar with my abilities. It's just that the operational parameters are quite a bit different. One big difference that I notice is that I won't have anyone with me with a PRC-77 and a medevac on a pad waiting for a call.
Ok, so I'll bring my Northface bag and a bivy. So on that note, how light (heavy) are your packs and how much additional weight can you pack out if you are successful in your hunt? Do you go alone?
01-23-2006, 09:02 PM
My pack weight varies for the duration of the hunt. There is a basic weight that I just cant get under,around 30 lbs. Now include food, water, rain gear if theres a possiblility of rain, extra fuel for a stove( usually one bottle is fine for 2 guys at 5 days)
It can and does go above 55 lbs.
Now for pacxki8ng a deer or other game out, all I can say is bone it out, dont take the hide sometime skull plate the deer or if mounting is need skin the skull.
The hide alone can weigh 30 lbs on a deer.
01-24-2006, 08:00 AM
I too like to get the weight down, but can't seem to drop below 30lbs for the must haves, including bags and meat processing gear. I usually carry around 65-70 lbs for a week of packing. Down bag with bivy sack, single man tent or tarp, dry food, water filter and alcohol stove to keep the weight down.
When I get an animal down, I bone out everything, leaving anything I'm not going to eat. I then make a waypoint in my GPS of the cache site and hang my food in a bearproof tree, sack up all my non essentials not needed to make it back to the truck, load as much I can carry, and shuttle it back to the rig at trailhead. Making as many trips as it takes.
I make one exception to my above rule, if it's a really good buck, I do take out the antlers first trip out. Otherwise I take just the cajones attached to a small portion of of skin attached to one of the rear legs for sex ID...
Sandwedge: I had similar questions a couple years ago, and the guys on this board explained how they were doing it and it solved my problems, maybe what they said will help you too.
They said you will hike back further than a day hunter can get before setting up base camp. Then you will hopefully kill a deer, so bring the tarp that Backcountry has in his picture, even if you have a tent. I always have a 1 person tent and a sleeping bag. The tarp is good for laying out and butchering on even if you don't need the added rain protection.
Take apart your pack down to the frame and put all the boned out meat in a game bag and pack that out, leaving your camp.
Sleep in the truck (gotta leave a few MRE's and old sleeping bags/pillows in the truck) with your game in the coolers full of frozen bottles.
Go back and hike camp out.
Now hopefully you don't have to worry about going so light. Does that help? It sure helped me.
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