Backpack capacity for 5 day elk hunt?

ahatclif

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I'm sure this question has be posed a thousand times...

I've never hunted elk or in the mountains. I am planning an early-September DIY archery elk hunt in Colorado. I have a tendency to overpack for any event but I am really trying to fight it.

I picked up a used 2015 Exo 3500. Will this pack and the additional side pocket storage be enough for what I need to carry? It seems most people say that as rookies they packed way too much stuff and subsequently lighten the load and decrease pack size.

My plan was to keep looking for a 5500 bag-only and buy it for insurance but if I cannot do you think the 3500 will cut it.

Thanks.
 

Trial153

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I think you can do 5 days no problem out of the EXO 3500, they are way generous with their capacity figures.
 

Cant hit em

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It depends on the volume of your other gear.


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mrbillbrown

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A lot will depend on the size of your gear and the amount your packing. Small, early season, or UL stuff takes up less space than XL (man size ;^), late season bulky items, and less expensive bulkier gear.

About the only thing that changes for me is 1 vs 2 - 3L water bladders and the amount of food I carry. Everything else is pretty much "set". No way can I get by with 3500ci's for 5 days. Even the DT2 at 5200ci was barely big enough when I packed 5 days worth of stuff. That's why I prefer to run the AMR :)
 
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ahatclif

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I'm still gathering gear. I am new at this so I am buying stuff that looks good with a budget in mind. I currently have it loaded with a tent, sleeping mat and some misc other gear. There is still quite a bit of space but I haven't figured out a complete gear list so who know how much stuff I haven't even considered yet.

My brother will probably be carrying a larger pack so I am hoping that between the two of us we can work out an even volume vs weight distribution of supplies.
 

ColoradoHunterHiker

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I'd bet the 3500 will be fine. As pointed out above, lots will depend on the size of your gear and how many "lightweight" items you take and how many "non-essentials" you leave at home. The problem might become what to do when/if, (but hopefully "when") you get something down and have meat to pack out....

I've done 5+ days in a Kuiu Icon Pro 3200 - even with a few non-essential items. Video here:Bag Dump: 5-day Backcountry Elk Archery Hunt Gear in a Kuiu Icon Pro 3200 - YouTube
 

Lawnboi

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A lot depends on you, how you pack and how comfortable you want to be.

If I were you, since you've got the pack, I'd take it on a weekend trip around home, see how everything fits, and go from there.
 
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ahatclif

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Thanks for all the advice. I probably won't be testing it out in the near future but I am planning a June/July trip to Colorado for leisure and I will do my best to test it out then. That will give me a month to figure something out if it goes bad.

I feel like I can get all my gear in the main compartment/side pockets. Do I need to reserve space for meat or can that be mostly managed between the frame/pack? I am not the biggest or strongest so I will probably be making multiple trips if we have to haul meat anyway.
 

Xtreme007

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That's one of the great things about the exo packs. If you do kill use the load shelf area between the bag and frame to carry your meat.

I think you will be fine. Last year I did 7 days with my 5500 and had plenty of room. This year I will taking a 3500.
 

mrbillbrown

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Bet I mock tested my load and packing plan 10 million times before actually heading out for my first trip. The joke was....."you're gonna wear that stuff out packing and re packing before you even leave the house."

I knew early on how much room I needed for all my gear and used that as a starting point to decide how I wanted to upgrade gear because of weight or space.
 

coachjdub

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I'm sure this question has be posed a thousand times...

I've never hunted elk or in the mountains. I am planning an early-September DIY archery elk hunt in Colorado. I have a tendency to overpack for any event but I am really trying to fight it.

I picked up a used 2015 Exo 3500. Will this pack and the additional side pocket storage be enough for what I need to carry? It seems most people say that as rookies they packed way too much stuff and subsequently lighten the load and decrease pack size.

My plan was to keep looking for a 5500 bag-only and buy it for insurance but if I cannot do you think the 3500 will cut it.

Thanks.

I just bought a new Exo 3500 and am planning on a 7 day hunt with it. It will keep me honest as far as what to leave behind.
 

oldgoat

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You can always Jed Clampett stuff to the top and bottom of the pack. I'm not that familiar with your pack, but last year we just couldn't make my wife's 35L dry bag work on the meat shelf on her bag so I sandwiched it between the lid and pack on my setup, if you have a lid you could do similar. Just try to keep the heavier stuff up top and near your back and light stuff on the bottom. I like a comfortable camp, I don't go in super far to set up camp and will make a second trip if need be.
 

ColoradoHunterHiker

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A lot depends on you, how you pack and how comfortable you want to be.

If I were you, since you've got the pack, I'd take it on a weekend trip around home, see how everything fits, and go from there.

Bet I mock tested my load and packing plan 10 million times before actually heading out for my first trip. The joke was....."you're gonna wear that stuff out packing and re packing before you even leave the house."

I knew early on how much room I needed for all my gear and used that as a starting point to decide how I wanted to upgrade gear because of weight or space.

This is sound advice!! There's no replacement for field time.

Thanks for all the advice. I probably won't be testing it out in the near future but I am planning a June/July trip to Colorado for leisure and I will do my best to test it out then. That will give me a month to figure something out if it goes bad.

I feel like I can get all my gear in the main compartment/side pockets. Do I need to reserve space for meat or can that be mostly managed between the frame/pack? I am not the biggest or strongest so I will probably be making multiple trips if we have to haul meat anyway.

The ability to take several trips is usually limited by time (do you have that much and will the meat not spoil in that time) depending on how far back you go (ie. how far from the truck/cooler you are). A test trip is a great idea.
 

texans42

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I have an over packing issue. Did 5plus days last year in a EXO 2000. Ran all food, tut and sleeping bag in load hauling self. Worked perfect

By not using my EXO 3500 I bet I saved 10 lbs
 

Gehri1tm

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Field time will be important to refine your list. Plus, after each trip out, make a note of items that you never used - consider dropping them all together in the future. Also, pay special attention to items that have more than one use and try to get multiple uses on fewer items. I did 5 days no problem in the 3500 and I plan to cut more items from my list.
 

wyelkhunter

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3500 should work. Don't pack to much extra clothing. You can wash them in a creek. Take plenty of food. Pack everything in your pack. If it doesnt fit figure out what to not take.

Get a waterproof stuff sack for your sleeping bag, pack it and your sleeping pad outside the pack if you need more space.

Best way to save weight is to not start with a pack to big.

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aion2come

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I'll disagree to some degree with the majority here only because this is your first trip and most guys for their first trip don't have light weight gear and pack too much of everything. If you utilize the space between the bag and the frame - or attach extra to the outside, you'll probably be okay. If not, my guess is you'll be stretching the limits with the 3500. Here is the pic of the first time I tried to load my 3500 for 5 days.

Exo 3500.jpg

Just be sure to load and reload your pack a bunch before the trip to be sure you are okay.
 
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zman

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Five days is no problem with my exo. And that is with nothing strapped to the outside.
 

E in CO

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You didn't mention if you are going solo or with other people. If you are going with other people, it should be more than fine. Plan your redundancies carefully and split the other gear equitably (that means the dude full of piss and vinegar carries the most to help settle 'em down). I still think a solo trip is fine too since you need to make sure you aren't overloaded/overworked to the point that you start missing the truck and comfort of the cooler full of beer. Light and fast is the best in my opinion for solo trips - keep moving and you'll stay on the hunt. There is a good article on the Good Idea Fairy (GIF) on here - read it, re-read it and then read it some more. Extra clothes are usually a waste unless your outer shell layers aren't reliable. Two weeks before my hunt I lay out all my gear, then keep reducing items and quantities up to the day before I leave. Then, at the trail head I empty my pack again and discard more stuff. sometimes it isn't much but it is always something. After all that, I still have never run out of gear on a backpack trip or hunt. We really don't need that much to get by. My $0.02. Everybody has their own way though. Good luck!
 
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