Final Gear List for Colorado

CJohnson

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Mar 28, 2019
Messages
239
Location
SC
All the elk will be blown out from wherever they are about 30 mins into legal shooting light on opening morning. I would use your days prior to season to find the places that they will go, not the place they currently are. My experience in that area is that hunter pressure is extremely heavy the first two days and then everyone seems to thin out.

60 lbs seems like a lot to me. My pack is usually around 45lbs with similar stuff. That said, it’s better to be comfortable and get a good night’s sleep to me than worry about 4/5 lbs of pack weight, YMMV.
 

LuvsFixedBlades

Junior Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2022
Messages
32
Location
Colorado
Hey John, I'm a Colorado native, live in the central mountains and have been backpacking, mountaineering and bowhunting for all of my adult life. I'm not going to tell you what gear I would use unless you want my opinion, but....here are a few things I would suggest changing. Assuming your spreadsheet is current and you are going for a total of 10 days (5 scouting, 5 hunting).

1) A single 8oz fuel canister will not be enough, especially if you're planning a hot breakfast (like oatmeal) and coffee in addition to your freeze dried dinners. I'd take 2.
2) I would not take the camp shoes, towel, soap, chair, flashlight- that's 2.5lbs
3) I would add a Therma-Rest Z-seat, closed cell foam pad for glassing and as a camp chair + 2oz.
4) You are light on food at 20oz a day. Even for experienced backpackers who know their food, that's light. I'd go for around 30oz+ a day, and >100 calories/oz., or it doesn't go. Daily output will likely be high.
5) Add a few extra AAA batteries and a backup headlamp in lieu of the flashlight.
6) I don't care what anyone says on here, 60lbs pack is light for a 10 day backpack hunt when that total includes your rifle, ammo, boots and optics. Whoever said 45lbs has probably never done 10 days. You should have close to 20lbs of food alone for that duration.

Another tip about food...if you plan to eat freeze dried, they are not all created equal. Test the meals you plan to eat at home first before you go and see how your system reacts. Most Mountain House, for example, are at least 1,500mg of sodium per package. Try eating one 15 minutes before you go to bed at home one night like you will do on a hunt and see how you do. Adjust your food choices accordingly.
 

isocyanate

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Aug 20, 2020
Messages
255
We typically pack in to a base camp, so I will suffer the weight of a little Gucci gear on the way in. With that in mind, Heres a few of my perspectives:

1) I like having crocs for camp shoes, especially when packing in to a base camp.
2) I like having a water bladder to combat the dry mouth from sucking wind while on the move.
3) I bring a nalgene too. Connects to my MSR filter and is handy for mixing up a nuun or as a hot water bottle for the sleeping bag.
4) No way I’d pack that chair past base camp, but I would sure pack it that far.
5) I pack a little whiskey. YMMV.
 

fatlander

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Feb 11, 2016
Messages
1,381
The Sawyer bags that come with their filters are notorious for failing. Get you a platypus bag or two. As you get later into the fall, water, filter (because of the water in it), and bladder accessories have a high likelihood of freezing at night. Plan accordingly.


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SoloWilderness

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Apr 5, 2013
Messages
226
Location
Pine, CO
ok 1) if you're use to the smokies you should be ok with the Rockies, I've seen plenty of people give up halfway because they're from flat lands and not use to carrying 60 lbs up and down mountains. the only thing Colorado has is elevation and dryness, the terrain is similar. I'm in the Appalachians so I find it to be easier in colorado.
2) I'm guessing you're looking at the flat tops, if that's the case expect a lot of blowdowns. you may want to lighten the pack up a little to make it easier to get over and around everything. me personally I leave the walking sticks at home because they get in the way and I don't need the extra weight. you will run into a lot of "hunters" out there my best advice is don't scout for elk, scout for hunters. there are plenty of elk there, just find the spot that no one else will go and you're good.
3) 5 people scouting an area before opener is not a good idea, it's hard enough with one person. learn the roads, find camp spots do a count on people in the area, after that scouting should be on an arial so you can have a plan of entry and exit. spend a day or 2 in your base camp getting acclimated and going through gear.
There are many ways to hunt, if you just base camp then it doesn't matter what your pack weight is because it will be left at base except your kill kit of course. if you base/spike then you can drop a bit of weight by leaving some at base and coming back if needed. also you will have 4 other people so you will not need as much as a solo hunt.
as for what's in your pack, there are things I leave off or substitute such as bino and harness, pillow, heavy water filter, puffy pants and gaiters. why? well you have a range finder and a scope so a 10x bino isn't going to make the hunt, its 3 lbs. pillow is personal but your puffy jacket can double as pillow to save weight. a sawyer mini filter is more than enough for a week in the woods and a lot lighter. I don't use puffy pants as my legs don't get cold with all the walking that gets done but again personal choice, and gaiters I don't think are needed because there really aren't many snakes or briars.
no matter what you bring or forget just have a good time, make friends, don't get discouraged or upset and never give up.
No offense intended, and everyone has their own way of hunting, but there is no way in hell I would ditch my Binos, you'll spend 1/2 the day or more behind them sometimes. Your harness is a great place to re-distribute a little weight from your back, if you set it up well your rangefinder, headlamp, knife, lighter, fire-starter, emergency blanket, quik-clot and extra batteries for the headlamp can all live there (check out a KUIU pro pouch, it attaches to the bottom of your harness, and can carry enough emergency stuff to save your life if you get in a pinch). These are all essentials, that honestly should never leave your person, and your bino harness is on close to 100% of the time, so the chances of getting caught out without it is slim. Glassing all day with a rangefinder sounds like a nightmare, and you shouldn't be using a rifle scope as a substitute for glass. This is dangerous, and extremely cumbersome.

Last year 1st rifle, we camped at 11,000 to glass our canyons. It snowed 18" the day before the opener, and I was damn glad I had my puffy pants, and a 5 degree bag. Your 45 degree bag makes me nervous, I wouldn't take anything less than a 20 degree for first rifle, I've had snow at least 2 nights for the last several seasons. You are going to be camping at high altitude, far in the back country, so you need to be prepared for nasty weather. Colorado can swing from 80 degree days to subzero nights easily, and quickly.
 
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John87

John87

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jul 16, 2019
Messages
157
No offense intended, and everyone has their own way of hunting, but there is no way in hell I would ditch my Binos, you'll spend 1/2 the day or more behind them sometimes. Your harness is a great place to re-distribute a little weight from your back, if you set it up well your rangefinder, headlamp, knife, lighter, fire-starter, emergency blanket, quik-clot and extra batteries for the headlamp can all live there (check out a KUIU pro pouch, it attaches to the bottom of your harness, and can carry enough emergency stuff to save your life if you get in a pinch). These are all essentials, that honestly should never leave your person, and your bino harness is on close to 100% of the time, so the chances of getting caught out without it is slim. Glassing all day with a rangefinder sounds like a nightmare, and you shouldn't be using a rifle scope as a substitute for glass. This is dangerous, and extremely cumbersome.

Last year 1st rifle, we camped at 11,000 to glass our canyons. It snowed 18" the day before the opener, and I was damn glad I had my puffy pants, and a 5 degree bag. Your 45 degree bag makes me nervous, I wouldn't take anything less than a 20 degree for first rifle, I've had snow at least 2 nights for the last several seasons. You are going to be camping at high altitude, far in the back country, so you need to be prepared for nasty weather. Colorado can swing from 80 degree days to subzero nights easily, and quickly.
Yeah, I’m not ditching my bino harness, will have it with me most of the time. I ordered a 20 degree Chugach bag from black ovis, and will have puffy pants I will wear with it if needed. Hoping that saves me some weight.
 
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John87

John87

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Joined
Jul 16, 2019
Messages
157
4) No way I’d pack that chair past base camp, but I would sure pack it that far.
I’m taking the chair with me, but it will just be to camp, and not packing it throughout the day. We’re not planning on breaking down camp and moving every day, will keep camp in the same location, and hunt different areas, unless circumstances make us.
 

stanginthe11s

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2022
Messages
59
I take no offense nor mean any by anything here, 100% any gear anyone brings is subjective. As for the rifle scope, I assume everyone looks through the scope and verifies before taking the shot although last year proved to not always be the case. I didn't mean to run around looking at everything with your gun, my mistake if some thought I meant that. for me I actually prefer the range finder over 10x binos but everyones vision is different.
at the end of the day, whether your pack is 30 or 70 lbs, as long as you're happy that's all that matters. all we can do here is give our opinion based on each individual and hopefully we all learn something, just keep an open mind. I hope to hear about your first time experience after you get back.
 
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John87

John87

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jul 16, 2019
Messages
157
So, I ended up swapping out a few items, ditched the 9.5 lb tent that I was splitting with a buddy for the Mountainsmith mountain shelter Lt, we each got one. Swapped out the slumberjack sleeping bag, almost 5 lbs, for Black Ovis 20* Chugach, at a little over 3 lbs. Also, sold my Kuiu pack and just got in my Exo 4800, not much lighter, but I can already tell it’s more comfortable, just doesn’t have as much room.
I’m sitting right around 40lbs in my pack, skin out total of 54 lbs. We decided to make 2 trips up to camp, so only packing 5 days of food each trip. Now, need to pick up a lightweight fishing pole and some lures, and some spare batteries, and should ( hopefully ) be good to go. Thank all of you for your help and advise.
 
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MountainMan83

Junior Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2022
Messages
23
Layers using merino wool or high quality synthetics. Rain or snow gear. Merino socks and quality boots. Be ready for rain, hail, snow, or dry and sunny weather. Quality synthetic game bags and a plan to get your meat out if successful
 
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John87

John87

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jul 16, 2019
Messages
157
We worked all day clearing roads, and it was heartbreaking to see what these people have lost.
 

grizzlyshark

Newbie
Joined
Jul 9, 2022
Messages
7
I did a cold weather hunt with the sawyer filter, and found myself putting my hands in ice cold water to collect. changed to aquatabs. weight is barely difference, not a dealbreaker but I always second guess the sawyer in colder weather.

I love those foundry pants
 

Missahba

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Oct 6, 2019
Messages
280
Location
Michigan
I did a cold weather hunt with the sawyer filter, and found myself putting my hands in ice cold water to collect. changed to aquatabs. weight is barely difference, not a dealbreaker but I always second guess the sawyer in colder weather.

I love those foundry pants
Good point Grizzly. Interesting though, and somewhat of a dilemma. Cold apparently slows down the process of tabs too. Rinella had John Barklow from Sitka on a podcast and he got granular about this. Worth looking up if you want to wonk out on safe wilderness hydration.
 

kybowmang

Newbie
Joined
Oct 18, 2021
Messages
4
Location
Colorado
Is this weight something similar to what you guys are carrying? 66 lbs is what the spreadsheet is showing, but completely loaded and ready to go my scale is showing 60.6 lbs. I know there are much lighter gear out there, but I’ve about tapped out my spending on gear this year, just gonna try cutting weight from around my waist from here on, lol!
I would say 60 lbs is a lot, but like you said, the lighter stuff is expensive.

One mistake I made years ago was brining too many clothing items...than can weigh you down.

-Elk pants and shirt (name your favorite Merino or synthetic western gears)
-Rain jacket
-Puffy down jacket
-1 pair of extra socks
 

sneaky

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Feb 1, 2014
Messages
9,057
Location
ID
Dont forget chap stick. After 24 hours in Colorado you will get into the chapped/lick lips death cycle and it will get grim fast. I also recommend an emergency whistle, topo maps and compass and emergency blankets. Its personal preference but I like stainless steel water bottles over Nalgene. If its cold at camp you can throw them on a stove and warm the water then stick the bottle in your jacket or sleeping bag and it will keep you nice and toasty all night. I have a collection of Kleen Kanteen and really like them.
You should never throw a vacuum insulated bottle on a stove. A single wall steel is no worries, but those vacuum insulated bottles are a no go for heating.
 

ksaubier

Junior Member
Joined
May 20, 2018
Messages
10
Location
Pennsylvania
The Sawyer bags that come with their filters are notorious for failing. Get you a platypus bag or two. As you get later into the fall, water, filter (because of the water in it), and bladder accessories have a high likelihood of freezing at night. Plan accordingly.


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I do this too, the Platypus bags seem more durable to me. Or at least more flexible, and I just mark one clearly as a dirty bag.
 

Rainman89

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2022
Messages
12
Personally I think 5 days like that would have a huge mental fatigue and a lot of wear and tear come opening day you’d already be wore down. Going early to scout yes but I would personally look at maybe a quick flight and check the area out prior and then go back to hunt to use the same vacation


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This. I would think a quick in/out on a morning or evening a week in advance would be fine to finalize your list of where to hunt week of.
 
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