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Hunting pack weights aka backpacking heavy- justified.
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Brian Mix
(Aggro) - MLife

Locale: Western slope, Sierra Nevada
Hunting pack weights aka backpacking heavy- justified. on 09/20/2013 19:17:02 MDT Print View

It's almost that time of year around here. I keep paring down my gear and it appears this year will be the first year I can fit my entire hunting kit onto my arc blast. It's sitting right at 29 pounds right now, just need to add my bladder and water. Zpacks says the pack is good up to 30 pounds and when I add water I'll be over that but at 29 it's quite comfortable. I normally can't use my arc blast because it's too big for my normal gear but it fits my normal kit, a take down rifle and the additional gear I need to take large game just right. I will gut skin and field dress when I take the game, hang in pillow cases until I return with my heavy hauler pack.
What's your normal routine for hunting gear and technique?

Trace Richardson
(tracedef) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Arc on 09/20/2013 20:51:58 MDT Print View

I usually have to give the carbon fiber braces a push when getting up to that weight to get the arc back in them, may want to pay attention to that, if you haven't used your arc that eight before ..... carried 35 due to 7 liters of water once with no problem......

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Hunting pack weights aka backpacking heavy- justified. on 09/20/2013 23:45:48 MDT Print View

I've been pretty traditional in pack usage - an external frame, preferably with a yoke suspension system - and a single, large pack bag with a few side pockets. Maybe 4-1/2 pounds empty. Sure, I've got 1-pound packs, but by state law and for ethical reasons, we need to pack out all edible meat and the meat of two caribou or 2-3 bears is a fair bit for 2 or 3 guys to carry so I want a good frame and suspension system.

My UL mods have been in the tent, sleeping bag, clothing and cooking gear - all that stuff you carry BEFORE you make the shot. BEFORE you make the shot, you're humping all over the place - for us, either roadless bays off of Cook Inlet or a grass volcanic island in the North Pacific. AFTER you make the shot, you pick the most direct route back to the truck/boat/four-wheeler trail. with 30-40-50-60 pounds of meat per person.

My usual role is "sherpa" - for reasons of marital harmony, I don't pull the trigger. My hunting buddies are really happy to have someone along who like to hike. Very first thing, they'll carve off a quarter and give it to me to carry back. I've done as many as 3 round trips while they are butchering and deboning, so by the time the animal is all dressed out, we each take one last load and we're done.

Advantages to that system are that I get the miles I like, and no one leaves the carcass to the wolves/bears/foxes/eagles. Everyone is busy, being productive at all times. Standing around is for afterwards around the campfire, not while a carcass is still warm.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Hunting pack weights aka backpacking heavy- justified. on 09/20/2013 23:56:56 MDT Print View

Don't you have to refrigerate the meat pretty quickly? Do you have an ice chest back at car?

Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Re: Hunting pack weights aka backpacking heavy- justified. on 09/21/2013 09:26:00 MDT Print View

Last week my wife and I were backpacking near Glacier Peak a day before the high buck season started. We ran into a middle age guy on his way up the trail with a huge pack. He was leaned over and resting. He said the pack weighed a little over 80 lbs and my guess it would have been too hard to get up if he sat down and rested..

It was in the upper 80s F and he was at the bottom of a 3 mile waterless section of trail with 3000 feet of elevation gain ahead of him. He already looked exhausted. I have no idea how he could have packed out any meat.

On the positive side his stuff sure looked cool. His clothing, rifle and pack all had matching camo patterns on them. I recall seeing Cabellas written somewhere.

Desert Dweller

Locale: Wild Wild West
Hunting pack etc. on 09/21/2013 12:03:31 MDT Print View

Since my Dad and I hunt together, he's 83, I do all the dressing out, skinning and packing, he does most of the shooting since he's a deadeye Marine. I use Eberlestock packs to bring in all the butchering gear Dad doesn't want to carry, ie more knives, spreaders sharpeners meat bags rubber gloves, wipes etc. including all my day gear and my 30 ott six . Hunting is done from a base camp which we either both pack in or use my four wheel drive. We used to go farther on foot but he can't do as much as he used to or carry the loads he used to so I got into the Eberlestock packs for carrying weight, they seem to be the best I've found for that. The rest of the year I'm UL. Thank goodness, cause if we both get our elk I'm in for a workout in ten days of hunting that most don't see in a year....but the food is worth it.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: Hunting pack weights aka backpacking heavy- justified. on 09/21/2013 12:27:43 MDT Print View

+1 for an external frame.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Hunting Pack Weights on 09/21/2013 12:46:50 MDT Print View

"But the food is worth it"

+1 on that! You don't know what good meat is till you've had venison.

One way to make backpack hunting a bit easier would be to hunt with a doe/cow tag. You'd have less meat to haul out and no heavy antlers to mess with. Old bucks tend to be a bit tougher in my experience anyway (although still good).

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
carrying meat on 09/21/2013 12:54:14 MDT Print View

if there is a chance of humping meat out, then an external frame is just about mandatory imo. For a larger mule deer buck you're looking at 40-ish # of boned meat, add more weight if you're going to be packing the head/cape out (15-20-ish #)- then add all of the overnight gear, including food & water, optics, etc and you see that an external frame pack makes the most sense

if you're hunting relatively close to your vehicle, you could make multiple trips w/ a lighter internal frame pack, but multi-day trips in the backcountry I think the frame pack clearly gets the nod

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re Hunting Pack Weights on 09/21/2013 16:13:06 MDT Print View

Luke: +1 on doe/cow hunts. You can't eat antlers. And males can be less tasty during the rut.

Guys who need to brag about how big their rack is . . . .

For moose, Alaska tries to maintain 5:1 female:male so anterless hunts are uncommon. But in areas infested in caribou, it's wide open - 2 per day or 5 any sex per season depending on location.