First Idaho Elk Hunt

Joined
Oct 25, 2019
Messages
63
Before we hiked in, I checked the weather on my inreach, and it said there was a 10% chance of precipitation, with 0.04" of possible rain. Because we weren't setting up the stove, we never collected firewood. Big mistake
If you ever come back to Idaho again, remember this statement. Live by this statement. Idaho weather is...uhm well.. Just be prepared for anything😂

Checking the weather in Idaho is useless.
 

Idaho_Potato

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2019
Messages
159
Location
Idaho
Seconded on the weather. I lived in Oklahoma until I was around 28, and I guess I really took it for granted that the weather guys could tell you the weather pretty accurately. Idaho? Not so much....it will come a big snow when the weather says clear. 6 inches of snow predicted? Nah, here's some clouds and warm weather. I feel like the weather guys in Idaho just say **** it and throw their hands in the air most days.
 

JS-flatlander

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2020
Messages
10
As for my gear, for the entire trip, I wore a Sitka lightweight merino long sleeve top as my base layer, and added a Jetstream, and a kelvin down jacket when it got cold and windy while glassing. Pants were Sitka timberline, with just merino boxers underneath. I probably could've got away with a lighter pant, like maybe the mountain pants, as my legs rarely ever get cold. Socks were Kenetrek liner socks and I swapped them in and out with Kenetrek Canada socks on the colder days. Boots were uninsulated Kenetrek mountain extremes, and while they were great, I feel like they're on the heavy side. I packed in a midweight top, a mountain vest, heavyweight base layer pants, lightweight merino base layer pants, kelvin active jacket, and probably 5 other pair of socks. All of that never got worn the entire trip. My gloves were a wool/thinsulate flip mitt style I've had for several years. I really wish I would've had better gloves, maybe some that were windproof. More than a few times, my fingers were numb from the cold. While it was fairly cold at times, one thing I didn't expect, was how strong and relentless the wind was. While the inreach said expect gentle breeze, it was a steady 35-40mph.

In a tipi style tent, I'd say definitely use a liner. While the stove was burning, there'd be little to no condensation, but once it went out, by the morning, it was pretty bad, and we would've been soaked without the liner.

Another must, would be trekking poles. While I didn't use them much hiking, they were gold when crossing creeks with heavy packs. I used the breakdown style Cascade poles that were about $30 from Academy Sports, and my buddy used the same ones that were the collapsible style. I couldn't see where you'd need super expensive trekking poles, but some of you more experienced guys can correct me if I'm wrong. Gaiters are another thing that I didn't use much, but I wouldn't been in trouble without them when I needed them. They're not enough of a weight penalty to justify leaving them.

Once you get camp set up, no matter if you're using a base camp, or you've hiked in somewhere like we did, I'd recommend gathering some firewood, and put it inside so you'll at least have a small emergency stash that's dry in the event that it rains. Pack a good fire starter. I recommend Pyro Putty. Its lightweight, and burns great.

Take a good pillow. Just because you inflate it at home, and you think it'll be great, that's not always the case. I used a Sea to Summit inflatable pillow, and while I thought it'd be great, that wasn't the case. I continuously woke up with my face sweating and it just felt very hot. My buddy had a small pillow that looked like a tiny version of a regular pillow. he loved it. I think the brand may have been Teton. He got it from sportsman's warehouse. My sleeping bag was a Big Agnes Spike Lake 15*. No complaints with it. Stayed warm the whole time, even when the stove was out. I like the long bags, because even though I'm kind of tall 6'2, I still have some room in the bottom to put socks and other garments to use body heat to dry them out, and then you don't feel cramped in your bag. Getting enough sleep in the backcountry, IMO, is one of the most important things to keeping your head in the game and to stay hunting hard.

Another thing I packed in, that I never used was a Goalzero Nomad 7 solar panel. I used a Dark Energy Poseidon battery pack, and it kept my phone and InReach Mini charged the whole time. Just more weight I didn't need to carry.

Food - Mountain House does NOT come close IMO to the Peak meals. I had the Peak breakfast skillet, Chicken Pesto Pasta, Chicken Alfredo, and beef pasta marinara. All of those were really good with the exception of the skillet and it was ok. As far as mountain House..... man, some of those I wouldn't feed to my dog. The Chili mac, and the chicken and dumplings weren't bad, but the rest were horrible. I also think I packed too much food. I had food separated into Ziplocs for each day, and I brought a lot of it back home. I just didn't eat as much as I thought I would. I had a dehydrated meal for breakfast, and one for dinner, with a mix of protein bars, a bagel with peanut butter, some Frito Twist, and some candy bars for a day.

DO NOT TRY THE HONEY STINGER WAFFLES, I think they put some kind of crack cocaine in them, because I'm now addicted to them. =)

For water, I used a 3L platypus bladder, a Nalgene bottle, a small squeeze bag/bottle, and used the Katadyn Hiker Pro pump as a filter. The pump is good for getting a lot of water fast. But the pain came from using the Jetboil to boil it only a couple cups at a time, then waiting for it to cool to drink. That aggravation, I think caused us to drink less water, and by day 5, I felt we were slightly dehydrated. What would've been nice, was one of those large water bladders that we could've used just for storage after filtering and boiling, and after filling it up, sat it in the creek to get it cold for when we needed to refill the bladders in our packs.

Take extra fuel for the Jetboil. I wasn't sure how long the can would last, and that also affected how much water we boiled as we didn't want to use it all, and have to hike out to get another canister.

I'm sure I'm forgetting some things, so feel free to add any tips that some of you more experienced guys have figured out over the years. During my planning, this site was invaluable in helping me, and I wanted to share my experience in hopes that I can help someone that planning their hunt.
Great info, awesome pictures and better luck next time. Sometimes you just have to learn the hard way.
 

sneaky

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2014
Messages
6,825
Location
ID
Agree with above, you're just wasting stove fuel boiling water after you've already filtered it. You have to trust your filter, or take tablets or drops as backup.

Go to Costco and get some Stroopwaffels. Caramel filled and come 40 to a box for $8.99 or so. Way cheaper than buying honey stingers. That way you can eat more of them!

Nice hiking around and there's not 10,000% humidity and a bunch of skeeters or chiggers huh?

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Woodmo

Junior Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2020
Messages
12
Thanks for the info. We are in the beginning stages of planning our first Idaho elk hunt in 2021.
 

JoshB94

Junior Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2020
Messages
21
Thanks for sharing. Great write up I'll take note as I chase the veteran discounted Idaho tag next year coming from SC too.
 

Huntnnw

Senior Member
Joined
May 25, 2015
Messages
180
If you ever come back to Idaho again, remember this statement. Live by this statement. Idaho weather is...uhm well.. Just be prepared for anything😂

Checking the weather in Idaho is useless.
well my inreach has been spot on for weather. And if you have service radar apps work and accurate
 

fireman9500

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2013
Messages
10
Good write-up and tips.

Did you feel like the stove was really necessary? I’ve always thought a fire was a luxury and typically go without.

Also, we’re you filtering and boiling all of your drinking water?

Like mentioned above, I use a Katadyn Hiker Pro or Sawyer inline and never boil my drinking water unless I’m making coffee or rehydrating meals.


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I have hunted Idaho for quite a few years without a stove in my tent and it wasent too bad. The last couple years it has been around 0 at night during rifle elk season. Don’t depend on your
Stove keeping you warm. You need a quality bag or down pants and a down jacket. The stove is super nice to have but it’s not part of your sleeping setup.
 
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