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Backpack Hunting Gear List-The Essentials

By Brad Brooks

Everyone wants to only pack the essential gear items when they are packing for a hunting trip, but it can be difficult to know exactly what you should take to have an enjoyable backpack hunting experience vs. what you want to bring. My gear list is constantly evolving, but most of what is listed below remains constant with the addition or subtraction of clothing and food depending on weather and number of days I’ll be out.

The list of clothes below is what I just took on a recent rifle elk hunt where temperatures were sub-freezing and cold most of the day with wind, snow and some rain.

If you prefer the to see the gear rather than read about it you can check out the video we made going over all of my gear below (Admittedly, I neglected to include a couple of items in the video that are in my gear list below).

New Gear for 2017

Every year I ad and subtract gear from my kit.  There are three new items I started using this year that I am really impressed with.

  1. First Lite Uncompahgre Insulated Pants. Most people will think they are unnecessary or that they wouldn’t want them. They. Are. Amazing. With a full length zipper, I can put the Uncompahgre Pants on quickly when glassing to stay warm, they are comfortable to wear around camp at night and if it gets really cold I can wear them in my sleeping bag and add another 20 degrees of comfort to my quilt. They aren’t necessary for early season archery hunts when it is still summer conditions, but I started using them in early September and I won’t leave them at home again. Ever.
  2. Garmin InReach. I tried out three separate GPS devices this year, including a traditional GPS with an OnX map chip, OnX map app on my phone, and the Garmin InReach.  OnX maps still makes a great product, but the Inreach, especially when paired withe the Earthmate phone app, is a great gps device with a long battery life plus the added bonus of being an emergency locator and being able to text family and friends.  I’m a luddite at heart, but this GPS device is fantastic.  Downside is that you have to buy a data plan to use it, but for me it was worth it.
  3. First Lite Dobson Aerowool Boxer Briefs. I honestly didn’t think boxers could be such a game changer.  But these boxer briefs are incredible. They wick moisture well, prevent chaffing and importantly I can wear them for a week and they honestly don’t smell that bad (too much information?). I’ve been impressed. You’ll be glad you have these once you have worn them for a few days in the field.

2017 Gear List

In no particular order, here is my current backcountry hunting gear and equipment list by category.



Camp/Hiking Gear

Hunting Gear

backpack hunting gear

Dumping gear and trying to get the tent up before the storm rolls in.

Miscellaneous Gear

elk hunting gear

3mm PMI brand paracord is amazing stuff and can hold hundreds of pounds of weight and is easily re-used (knot tying tip: Use two half hitches to easily undo your knot under weight). Here you can see how I use it to hang elk quarters to skin and butcher.


Go here to see how to make your own backountry meals.  Below is what I eat each day for breakfast lunch and dinner.

I’m always revising my gear list and would love to hear what other people are packing around, any particular piece of equipment you never leave home without, or your favorite new gear for 2017. If you have something you think I should try out, let me know if the comments below.