California specific backcountry pack list

Blacktail_Packer

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Dec 10, 2018
Messages
199
Location
Santa Rosa Ca
So let’s see em.

I’m not new to hunting but, I had some work done this year that’s got me wanting to push for things I’ve wanted to do for a long time but, pain has had me more than a little hesitant.

I’m trying to glean as much info as possible from whatever western hunting stuff I can. I watch a lot of stuff on Prime/Netflix/YouTube and there is a lot of good gear info but, almost all of that stuff doesn’t happen here in CA.

I’d like to hear from blacktail chasers like myself, I don’t care if your coastal or damn near an Oregonian. Hopefully someone that’s starting out that hunts in your area can save some time on that stuff that just doesn’t cut it.

Also things that you found to be absolute garbage.

I’m hopeful that by the time I hit the trail head next year I’ll have check most of the boxes on the want list in addition to all the needs list items.
 
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Blacktail_Packer

Blacktail_Packer

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Dec 10, 2018
Messages
199
Location
Santa Rosa Ca
No takers huh,

Ok how about this, is any of the gear I’ve got so far good enough.
Rei polar pod 20*
Coldpruf poly base layer ls and bottom
Old school UA ColdGear compression base layer ls and bottom
And a couple of random Walmart clearance moisture wicking ls
Msr burner not sure of the model I’ll post as soon as I’m able to locate it
Cheap set of trekking poles
New to me MR Metcalf in the mail
Rei camp Dome 2 tent 5lbs, heavy but probably use it for now
Smartwool liner socks and either mid or heavyweight hiker socks (this is pretty much my every day combo)
Cabelas lookout fleece, I like the jacket but the pants would be too hot and would not survive the bzone brush. They’re winter lounge wear.
Cabelas space rain jacket
Irish setter vaprtreks I would not trust these to survive a multi day hunt, no complaints so far. Soles are soft and I’ve read of failures...

Most of my hunting has been truck camping so weight/efficiency haven’t been a big concern
I usually wear cotton T-shirt’s surplus pants or my carhartts because durability in the brush is more of an issue than rain most years

So of the list what do I need to replace immediately and what’s good enough or better?
 

Cahunter805

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Oct 8, 2012
Messages
628
Seems like you’ve got a good start. I would probably recommend a good set of boots since you aren’t very confident in your current ones. Also a thermarest pad and a set of kuiu attack pants.
 

CaseyU

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Joined
Jan 23, 2013
Messages
488
Location
Reno, NV
Hey there blacktail. I'd be more than happy to send you my list if you'd like. Off yours I think your off to a great start. If your truck camping I wouldn't worry a whole lot on the weight and to be honest I would probably go bigger on some things like tent and cots and bedding just because you have the room. But a couple things I would highly recommend are switching to merino base layers. Way more efficient and will last a whole lot longer. Next, I would switch your fleece to a puffy style layer. extremely lightweight and packable. lastly Depending on what your miles and elevation are looking like but I would encourage you to invest in a nice sturdy set of backpacking boots. Obviously all of these are luxuries but sure make for a more comfortable trip.
 

steelheadmike

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Joined
Jul 6, 2017
Messages
266
Location
California
What makes you think CA is so different from other western states? We still have mountains and unpredictable weather, at times. Water is still wet and the wind blows. Any gear list you find on the net will apply in CA.

As far as your list, get your clothes dialed in. You dont need duplicates. Baselayer (merino is your friend), midlayer (fleece), puffy, rain shell. Ditch every single strand of cotton. Get some poly/nylon pants (the Wrangler Outdoor pants from Walmart are AMAZING at under $25).

Good boots are your single most important piece of gear.

Your sleep system will be fine if you add an insulated pad.

What water filtration? Kill kit? First aid?

Binos? Spotter? Tripod? Glassing pad?
 
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Blacktail_Packer

Blacktail_Packer

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Dec 10, 2018
Messages
199
Location
Santa Rosa Ca
Steelhead you definitely hit a couple thing I left out and Casey, please send me your list, I’m getting this gear compiled to shy as much away from the truck as possible, in truth it’s not truck camping we have some property in the family and that’s where I’ve done 90% of my hunting.
A buddy and I are shooting for at least 1 3-5 day pack in a season going forward and even on the family piece I’m going to be leaving the roads further behind.

Mike the main difference as far as I see it most other states have more wet and less hot. B zone rifle triple digest doesn’t surprise me and the family piece I mentioned is that nasty thick brushy kind. I know the east side of both Wa and Or get hot but are they contending with brush?
So my biggest concern is that I’ll either be too hot or I’ll come out of the brush naked and bleeding. Do the wranglers, zions etc hold up in brush?

I don’t intend to carry duplicates like base layers, and I actually have another lighter fleece. Single layer blaze orange Winchester $12 Walmart special a lot lighter than the Cabela’s one.
Katadyn filter I forgot to list and a life straw.
I’ve got a bunch of knives but, again I show up at camp and drop a diffle bag and Rubbermaid tub full of heavy redundant at times gear.
Alaskan guide game bags I think. I’ll be replacing those with synthetic
I have first aid but again I need to trim some fat.
I’ve got a good set of Leupold glasses, an old bushnell spotting scope (somewhere I really don’t use it, I can see the distances I’m dealing with just fine with glasses and scope) if I can even find it I’ll probably use the spotting scope until most everything else is covered, unless I find one of those deals I can’t pass up...
I had a tripod for it but I let my dad use it and I’ve needed a new one ever since.
And surprisingly as much as I’ve rarely been able to find a comfortable place to sit and glass I’d never given thought to a pad... I can’t remember the brand butive seen some glassing pads made by one of the company’s who’s sleeping pad seems well liked on here.
GPS and maps I need.
I had a pair of garmonts but they were pretty hot, I bought the best fitting boot I could find which happened to be insulated...
 

CaliWoodsman

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2016
Messages
47
Location
California
For boots, especially if you're hunting in dry country, I love the Salomon Quest 4d GTX. Most comfortable boot I've worn so far.

Other than that, I agree with some of the other comments here. If you're in the high country, California isn't a whole lot different than other states. Maybe a touch warmer or dryer at times, but I got snowed on on the middle of September this year.


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steelheadmike

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Joined
Jul 6, 2017
Messages
266
Location
California
I agree on the heat and the brush in A/B zones. We have timing of seasons that are different from other places but, as stated above, when you get in to the high country especially during the X zone rifle hunts, its not too different from anywhere else.

I think you'd be nicely surprised by the wranglers. I have worn them on almost every hunt I've been on in the last three years and I can't tell which pair Ive hunted in and which ones Ive only worn to work. Their lightweight, breathable, and dry out if you get sweaty. I couldn't imagine wearing Carhartts hunting now.
 

JNDEER

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Joined
May 2, 2012
Messages
735
what pack are you using?

ditch the poly and buy some wool. You can get by with poly, but even the new stuff doesn't work as well as wool. By this i mean wool will wick the sweat away much, much faster. With the poly if there isn't a breeze then the sweat sticks to it and you and you can get over heated.

no liner- just a good wool sock is all you need.
no life straw

check camofire as they have been having their synthetic game bags (Ovis) on sale almost weekly. They will work just fine.

5lb tent isn't horrible, but that is heavy. I like BA tents and can get them to around 2.5-3lb.

my typical 3-5 day pack usually has:
depending on temp- 1 pair of lightweight basketball shorts
1 extra wool briefs
pair of wool socks for each day. my sacrifice, but that is what i prefer.
1 extra LS wool shirt
1 short sleeve wool shirt if i don't wear it in
1 medium weight wool shirt
rain gear depends on weather. horrible i go with kuiu chugach if not than BPS packable rain set
kuiu vest or puffy depends on temps
may bring extra pair of pant either kuiu Tiburon or kuiu alpine. opposite of whatever i wear on the hike in, usually only for a 5 day hunt.
BA lost ranger bag
therma rest pad (think it was called the trekker) little heavier but thicker and more coushion
therma rest pillow
BA fly creek tent (2 or 4 man depending on who is going)
havalon knife extra blades
outdoor edge knife extra blades
bone saw
synthetic game bags (2)
first aid kit-leuko tape, blister bandaid, vitamin I
headlamp
rangefinder
ext. headlamp
ext batteries for electronic devices
(small bag of ext knocks, broadheads, allen wrench) etc.
spotter (razor 65) and tripod depending on location
katadyn filter
aqua tabs
empty 2L bladder for camp water
camp stove and pot- optimus or pocket rocket set. i have both
waterproof matches
coffee cup (rei plastic one)
spork
 
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Blacktail_Packer

Blacktail_Packer

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Dec 10, 2018
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199
Location
Santa Rosa Ca
Forgot some stuff got a vortex range finder
OR gators
And it’s a Mystery Ranch Metcalf that should be on my porch today 🤞🏼
I was thinking iodine pills rather than the straw also
I’ve got a couple of headlamps but they are just white light, I want to get a good one.

Jndeer what’s your pack weigh like that with 2 man tent?
Not criticizing but it sounds heavy from what I’ve seen in other pack lists.
 
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JNDEER

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May 2, 2012
Messages
735
Every spot requires different gear. A zone i just use a filter as there is no clean water. B/D zone i may take both or just pills. I am usually not solo- so i split gear up with brother or cousin or both if we are all going. The times i have gone solo i may not take a spotter and tripod unless i am hunting larger country where it may really be needed.

Honestly- i have never weighed the finished product as it is never the same depending on who is going with me and where we are going. Over the years i have tailored my gear down to what i use regularly and some stuff for what i would need. I don't saw my toothbrush in half or cut the edges off my maps or bring just 4 waterproof matches. I suppose if i hunted 8+ miles just to get into a camp then hunt out from there i may think more about ounces.

you can remove stoves, pans, fuel, etc. etc. to save weight. Give and take with everything. When i hunt A zone i use some old school military pop up single sleeping thing that uses spring loaded wire for the frame and is mesh for the bugs on top and tub style floor, think it weighs like 2lb. sleeping bag is some cheap china made thing that weighs like 1.2lb and keeps me warm enough for A zone with a full size pad. B zone i usually use what i posted above. I have ran a 50mm spotter to save weight and that cost me a buck-so if and when i can I ALWAYS bring my 65.

do some overnight scouting trips with the gear you think you will bring for a 3-5 nighter and give it a whirl. Do this 2-3 times before the season and dial down what you want, need and have to have and go from there. Only difference between an overnighter (assuming you bring the stove) is food for each day.


as far as your headlamp. great reviews on here that go into great depth.. lately i have actually really been liking the two pack from Costco. The zoom for the white beam is really nice and it seems to run about as long as my others on high. The red/green light is very bright too.
 
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Blacktail_Packer

Blacktail_Packer

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Santa Rosa Ca
jndeer thanks for that.
What kind of pack do you use?
I’m sure I’ll do plenty of changing and replacing of gear before I’m “happy” with what I’ve got but, it wouldn’t be as much fun if it didn’t take a little work.

Do you have an alternative shelter if there’s a higher chance of weather? Sounds like I need to get a Costco card again, I’ve read pants, base layers, mid layers, and headlamps today...

I don’t intend to be a weight junkie either, I’d rather be comfortable then ok.
 

JNDEER

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May 2, 2012
Messages
735
Mostly i use an Exo but sometimes through in the Kifaru as well.

the BA fly creek tents are weather enough proof for me. I have not backpack hunted in any crazy storms we sometimes see like in Jan or Feb. If i am hunting in crazy weather i hunt out from a car camp either using my trailer or my cabelas Alaskan guide tent. Although last year when we had that crazy snow storm in Feb i was out hunting using the kuiu shelter tent. Not the 4 season stand alone but the other one you use trekking poles to hold it up. It worked ok, but was very tight for two guys and gear.

toying around with this and that to find what works for you on your back is the fun part, you are correct about that. Save the Costco card, you can probably find them on ebay or amazon. If not, i ran for years the Walmart energizer headlamp and my brother still uses his. Never had an issue with it and the only reason i don't still have mine is because it fell out of my bag somewhere on a mountain in B zone.

comfort will come 100% in a properly fitted GOOD pack... than you need to be in a physical condition to handle what it takes to do backpack hunt... you don't need to be beast mode, but know if you just get off the couch and think you will only pack in 2 miles with 40lb and you should be fine, that won't happen!
 
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Blacktail_Packer

Blacktail_Packer

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Santa Rosa Ca
I’m no crossfitter but aside from the shoulder I just had repaired I’m in pretty good shape. As soon as my bag gets here I intend to start messing with it, get it fitting good then start hiking with weight in it. Hopefully by the time I’m headed out scouting I’ll have the pack dialed in.
 

eLightfoot

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Oct 1, 2013
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316
Location
Northern California
One good pair of Pants, Kuiu attacks and pro pant have been good in the brush. two good long sleeve merino shirts. One synth puffy, light rain jacket, good socks/boots. other than that pack Whiskey. If you get uncomfortable drink some, if you miss a buck drink some, if you tag out drink some, can't sleep drink some, get hurt drink some. Kinda important stuff
 

Beendare

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May 6, 2014
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In Traffic
About the only thing I can think of that's been different for me on Ca packing vs the Rockies and other places is the Granite. There are some really cool camping spots where you will be on a solid slab of rock...or its just under the surface. The Trinities, Marbles, Sierras...places like that.

Tent pegs are worthless in those spots. And that Granite will tear up a UL pad in one trip without a footprint under it.

Sure you can avoid spots like this....but having a footprint and freestanding tent gives you some really cool options for campsites.
 
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Blacktail_Packer

Blacktail_Packer

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Dec 10, 2018
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199
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Santa Rosa Ca
The inception of this whole adventure was on the rubicon. That’s a different ball of wax though, it’s usually the clampits rides again when we hit the trail, but we’ve usually slept out in the open, cots or air mats on the granite, waking up to that really is something else and we weren’t even away from the trail. I imagine packing into somewhere and picking a spot where you wake up and your the only biped around would be an even more pristine experience
 

rbkelley89

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Sep 12, 2018
Messages
13
It really depends on the units you are hunting. Sometime in July and august its 100 out but then in september october the temps raise and drop a lot so much more gear is needed. In July ive gotten aways with bare essentials but i wouldn't last long like that in later september.
 

brushape

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Nov 13, 2013
Messages
450
Location
rohnert park, Ca
90% of people you’re going to run into hunting in ca will have at best a badlands internal frame pack, Walmart sleeping bags and some random shit that’s it. It’s usually hot and dry here you don’t need to get crazy with your pack


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Blacktail_Packer

Blacktail_Packer

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Dec 10, 2018
Messages
199
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Santa Rosa Ca
Howdy neighbor, I’m just nextdoor in Santa Rosa, I agree that most of the people in this state are not toating the latest and greatest and I don’t intend to have all the fancy stuff either.

But, I’m already to demanding of my gear to waste money on cheap stuff. That said I only intend to ask more of myself and my gear. And I’ve done the impromptu backpacking trip (Kalalaw trail in Kawaii, with a Walmart sleeping bag tied onto my day pack that I took on the trip with me) and while yes it can be done I’d rather have good gear be as comfortable as possible and enjoy myself a little more.
 
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