A few photos from a recent multi-day backcountry deer hunting trip where lightweight gear made it possible to have an enjoyable backcountry experience where we saw no other hunters and some amazing wildlife, despite it being less than ten miles from a trailhead and 30 miles from a metropolitan area.
Here’s a partial listing of the lightweight backpacking gear that helped offset the “heavy” hunting gear, including a nearly 10-pound rifle.
Badlands 2200 (modified, including removing zipper garages, pocket lining, and some excess straps). Though this is a heavy pack compared to current LW offerings, its ability to pack very heavy loads (i.e., 75 pounds of meat plus gear) made it a logical choice.
Black Diamond Oneshot. The temps on this trip were chilly, with overnight temps in the mid 20s with some wind. This little tent did an admirable job of keeping me warm and comfortable. With darkness falling early, I felt especially bad for my pal, whose bivy sack was covered with frost within minutes of rolling it out. The roof of the Oneshot did collect some condensation overnight, but it stayed put on the roof.
Big Agnes Insulated Air Core pad, wide and long. At 6 ft 2” and over 200 pounds, I have found this pad to be one luxury item I don’t leave home without when the temperature drops. Whatever weight penalty it brings is offset by a sound night’s sleep. In contrast, my pal brought a trimmed z-rest, and was quick to say in the morning that he would have welcomed the extra weight (and comfort!).
Nunatak Arc Alpinist quilt. Kept my warm all night, thought I probably would have benefitted from my Thermawrap pants sometime after about 3:00 am.
BPL Trappers Mug. Perfect!
Gram Weenie alcohol stove. Ditto
BPL folding titanium spoon. The third piece in a near-perfect lightweight cooking system.
BPL Beartooth merino hoody. I have pretty much lived in this piece this fall.
Manzella liner glove w/grip dot palm. Great liner, especially helpful with trapper mug.
Cloudveil simple shell gloves. For bushwhacking and early morning chill-fending duty.
Patagonia micro puff vest. An oldie but a goodie.
Under Armor Blaze Orange fleece beanie. Combined with a lightweight blaze orange vest for maximum visibility.
Patagonia Houdini – probably the most versatile piece of equipment I own. Mine is patched and stained, but continues to perform flawlessly.
Patagonia Specter Pullover. I am hopeful someone will come out with something soon that weighs as little, fits as well, and performs like this one does…mine is starting to show its age!
Travelsmith supplex pants. Comfortable and tough. Paired with a pair of Capilene or R1 bottoms when needed, these pants have seen duty from desert backpacking to winter snowshoeing.
Patagonia midweight Capilene bottoms --for sleeping and early morning hiking (under supplex pants).
InoV8 Rolite 390 GTX boots. Happily into my second pair of these remarkably sturdy, warm, and light boots.
Leupold and Stevens 10x28 compact “gold ring” binoculars. These aren’t the lightest backcountry optics out there, but they are dead reliable and I rarely hike without them.
North American Arms PUG .22 Magnum pistol. At just over 6 oz, this little sidearm accompanies me on most trips, It is a fun plinker, an able noise maker, and for some reason, I always sleep better in the backcountry with it near me.
Ipod Nano (video) – Increases the enjoyment of the Oneshot tent, especially when it is dark at 6:00 pm. I don’t do it often, but when the winds are howling, and the temperature drops, I have found it supremely satisfying to be wrapped up inside a quilt in a small tent watching a feature movie.
Gossamear Gear Lighttrek 4 Pole (1 ) – Light, comfortable grip, and very helpful on steep traverses with a loaded pack. It also stores nicely in the back pocket of my pack. I only brought one since I carried a rifle in my other hand much of the time.