Alaska Arctic Caribou Hunting

Alaska DIY Caribou Hunting Gear List

By Brad Brooks

I put off hunting in Alaska for most of my life. It seemed too theoretical. Too expensive. Too complicated logistically. And then, something changed and I realized that at some point I either needed to make it happen or be the person two decades from now talking about unrealized dreams. I didn't want that to be me.

This was my first caribou trip, and we went to the Brooks Range in Alaska. One of the biggest issues we confronted was gear and gear logistics. We were limited to 125 pounds of gear each for our bush flight into the field, which for a backpack hunter like me seemed generous. But, hunting in the Arctic for caribou is different than backpacking out from a trailhead in the lower 48.

I talked to a number of people who had been about gear, trying to figure out what we needed to take without anything superfluous. I spent a lot of time thinking and planning for gear, to put it mildly. And since we were bringing all of our gear and not having an outfitter supply any, there was a fair bit work to figure out what gear to bring to be prepared to walk on the tundra, live with grizzlies, protect meat without being able to hang it, and much more.

Below is my complete gear list, which may be helpful for anyone planning their first trip. This gear list worked out really well for our group, and there really isn't anything I would change after having gone. I hope this saves all of you some of the trouble of sorting out gear. We went in late August, and if we had gone later, really the only thing I would have changed was an additional layer of clothing or two more.  

If you have any questions shoot them to me below in the comments. 

caribou hunting

Alaska Caribou Gear List

Backpack/Camp Gear

  • Exo Mountain Gear K4 pack
  • Argali Absaroka 4P Tent with Insert
  • 100 ft. 2.5mm paracord
  • Thermarest pillow
  • Duct Tape (for packing meat boxes)
  • Electric tape
  • Phone scope
  • ThermaRest 0 degree Sleeping Bag
  • ThermaRest UL cot
  • Exped Synmat sleeping pad
  • MSR Windburner stove
  • 8 oz gas canister (had to buy this in Alaska since you can't fly it commercially)
  • 4 oz gas canister (had to buy this in Alaska since you can't fly it commercially)
  • 1L Nalgene bottle (2x)
  • 2L Platypus water bag (2x) 
  • Butt pad for glassing
  • Small medical kit (gauze, aleve, super glue, athletic tape, vicadin)
  • Light trash bag (3x)
  • Lighter wrapped in gorilla tape (2x)
  • TP-2 rolls in gallon ziplock bag
  • Bandana
  • Chapstick
  • Garmin InReach
  • Black Diamond Spot Headlamp (never used this in August)
  • 3 AAA batteries
  • Goal Zero recharger + solar panel (this was for my camera)
  • Cameras
  • Small grill grate for cooking (optional)
  • Sunglasses
  • Long-handled spoon
  • Collapsible bowl/plate
  • Small lightweight titanium cup
  • Allen wrench set

Hunting Gear

  • Slik carbon fiber tripod w/ Outdoorsman's pan head
  • FHF binocular harness
  • Vortex Razor UHD 10x42 binos
  • Vortex Razor 65x Spotting Scope
  • Outdoorsman's binocular tripod adapter
  • Vortext Ranger 1800 Range Finder
  • 1 pair 5 mil textured nitrile gloves
  • Argali M.O.B Game Bags (this was ideal for taking out rib racks with meat on bone, which was required by Alaska law where we were at)
  • Argali Carbon Knife 
  • Small multi-tool
  • Spartan bipod (rifle hunting)
  • Bear spray holster 
  • Bear Spray (Could not fly with, so had to purchase in Alaska. Alternatively, you could buy in advance and ship to wherever you are leaving from in AK)
  • Nosler 28 Rifle
  • 15 Nosler e-tip bullets
  • Hard gun case for airline travel
  • Gun sock
  • Dope chart

DIY Alaska Caribou

Clothing (FL = First Lite)

  • FL boxers (2x)
  • FL socks (3x)
  • FL Tag Cuff beanie + baseball hat
  • FL Wick short sleeve baselayer (x2)
  • FL Fuse long sleeve baselayer (x2)
  • FL Kiln mid weight hoody
  • FL Sawtooth jacket
  • FL Sawtooth vest
  • FL Chamberlin Puffy
  • FL Obsidian Pants (x2)
  • FL Fuse 200 long underwear
  • FL Uncompahgre pants 
  • FL Neck gaiter
  • FL Brambler gaiters
  • FL SEAK rain jacket
  • FL SEAK rain pants
  • FL Aerowool liner gloves
  • FL Shale Hybrid gloves
  • Patagonia Middle Fork Packable waders (used these to get out of the float plane and cross rivers)
  • old sneakers for wading shoes w/ waders
  • Patagonia Black Hole duffel bag
  • Lowa Tibet GTX boots
  • Camp slippers


  • Breakfast: 9 Peak Refuel dehydrated granola, 24 Via's
  • Lunch: 1 Pro Bar meal, 1 Pro Bar base, 1 Clif protein bar, 2 fig bars, almonds, dehydrated mangos and apricots (x9)
  • Dinner: 9 Peak Refuel dinners
  • Beverages: 20 tea packets, 24 Starbucks Via