Long Post Alert! First Wyoming Mule Deer Hunt: Full Gear Writeup

Flowryda

Newbie
Joined
Aug 22, 2017
Messages
7
Location
FL
As a follow up to my first ever western Mule Deer Hunt in Wyoming I figured I would do a full write up/review of everything I took with me. Pros & cons of all the gear on, and around my person during eight days in and out of the mountains. Getting everything together prior to the trip was pretty daunting, and Rokslide and it’s contributors were insanely helpful in the lead up to my trip. This is the least I could do to return the favor. Hopefully, it helps someone out….

I will post pictures of the hunt as soon as I transfer over to the computer.

Clothing/Footwear:

- Kryptek Lightweight Merino Bottoms Long & Short –
- Midweight QZ Top
- Heavyweight QZ Top

All base layers worked as advertised, temps ranging from -5 to the mid 40’s. Everything you would expect from a quality merino base layer. Made it about 5 days between washes with no complaints from my hunting partners.


- Kryptek Sherpa Hoodie: I really want to make this a staple in my lineup. However, it just never found a sweet spot in my system. Didn’t provide enough additional insulation to replace the heavy QZ base layer. Not enough additional warmth to use as a standalone. And the arms were a bit too short to comfortably utilize the thumb- holes.

- Kryptek Softshell Vest: See above minus the thumb-hole comment.

- Vertx Integrity Base Jacket: This jacket is great. The insulation is Primaloft so it breathes pretty well when hiking, and enough coating to provide some wind resistance. Weighs nothing, and was a great alternative when a full puffy coat was too much.

- Vertx Downrange Softshell: I keep finding pieces I really like, but just don’t fit into my layering. Maybe if it was a bit warmer I could have used this as my sole outer layer, but just was not the case on this trip.

- Kryptek Down Puffy: Never went into the mountains without it, and I do not plan on starting next year. Weighs next to nothing, and absolutely imperative when sitting on a windy glassing tit.

- Vertx Integrity Waterproof Shell: Breathes well, kept me dry, packs up small enough.

- Kryptek Lightweight Rain Pants: Wish they had pockets.


- Kryptek Alaios Pants: Comfortable, stretchy, plenty of pockets. Cons: No substantial water-repellent finish, so sitting/kneeling on the snow ended up with a pretty chilly backside.

- Eddie Bauer Guide Pants: Pretty lightweight, and really stretchy. Never really wore them into the field. Brought them assuming I would need a supplement to my Krypteks, but just never happened.

- Smartwool Socks: Cycled two pairs throughout the trip. No complaints whatsoever.

- Salomon X Alps: Ok so I have a love/hate relationship with these boots. I loved how comfortable and lightweight they were. Break-in was virtually non-existent. No blisters, hotspots, or sore feet throughout the entire trip. Which included multiple pack-outs, and miles and miles in some pretty nasty country. Great support. Never felt like I needed more boot.

Now for the hate: I had wet feet nearly the entire trip. They leaked through the toe box from day one. I read some other reviews on here prior to purchasing stating the waterproofing on some pairs wasn’t up to snuff, and this was certainly my experience. That being said, the majority of our time in the field was spent in approximately calf-deep snow, so maybe I was expecting too much? Planning on sending them back to Salomon. Definitely in the market for a new pair of boots.

- Kryptek Gaiters: These things are hot hot hot. I don’t even know if they kept my pants dry due to the amount of sweat I built up during the hikes. These are my first gaiters, so let me know if this is normal?

- Kryptek Softshell Gloves: Super warm, but not enough dexterity for my liking. I will be sure to bring some sort of base layer glove next go around.

Glass:

- Trijicon HD 10x42 Binoculars: Great clarity in all light conditions. Not too heavy. Everything I was looking for in a pair of nockers.

- Zeiss Gavia 85: This is an amazing spotter for the money. Extremely clear from edge to edge. Robust adjustments. The downside is the weight, I will most likely be bringing a 65mm next year.

- Zeiss Conquest 3-15x42 Riflescope: I am pretty much a fan of everything Zeiss does, and this scope is no exception. The Rapid Z 800 reticle is extremely intuitive. In conjunction with the Zeiss app, I have complete confidence that rounds will end up where they should. This thing took a beating during it’s time on the mountain, and still performed flawlessly when the time came to harvest my deer.

- Leupold RX 1000 TBR: Fast readings, no issues whatsoever.


- Slik Sprint Pro EZ Tripod: Overall a great little tripod. Steady enough to run the 85mm, and great for the binos. Had a little issue with the pan head not locking in on the extremely cold mornings, but once temps warmed up everything was gravy.

- Field Optics Research Bino Mount: This little guy just barely misses the mark for me. It is lightweight and quick & easy to use. The downside is that the mounting does not provide a completely steady platform. When locked on, the binos still have some lateral “play” in them. This is not a huge inconvenience but is slightly annoying when sitting behind glass for a while. Will most likely be searching for another option for next season.

- Marsupial Gear Bino Harness: There are plenty of reviews on this product. I am a fan. The adjustments for fit are great when re-sizing on the fly. I am interested in the Outdoor Vision, due to the additional pockets, and total coverage of the optics.


Misc. Equipment

- Cascade Mountain Trekking Poles: I honestly cannot think of anything more I would want out of a set of trekking poles. I do not have a lot of experience with other manufacturer’s offerings, but these took everything I threw at them. And for the price….can not be beaten in my eyes.

- Boyt H51 Double Rifle Hardcase: Prior to leaving I removed all the foam from the case, placed my rifle in a soft case, and packed this thing with as much gear as possible. Extra clothing, tripod, trekking poles, ammo, etc. it was all in there (52lbs on the nose). I placed my glass in my “regular” backpack, and my Eberlestock in a large duffle with one set of hunting clothes, and boots. I utilized the backpack and the duffle as the carry-on. The return flight, I used a soft-sided cooler to carry on the meat and checked the large duffle along with the rifle. All in all, I got out of this trip with merely $35.00 in baggage fees (Gold Delta Amex checked the first bag free.)

- Christensen Arms Ridgeline 300WM: I love this rifle and the cartridge, but it is a bit heavy. Might be searching for another, lighter option next season. Additionally, using a sling to carry my rifle was a pain in the you-know-what. Kifaru Universal Gun Bearer is definitely on the “definitely buying” list.

- Hornady 200 ELDX: Turned a Mule Deer’s heart into grape jelly, blew lung tissue out of the backside of another. Cannot say enough good things about this specific round. Just for reference, it grouped 1 ¼ in lower than Hornady 180gr.

- Eberlestock F1 Mainframe with Eberlestock F2 Transformer: There seem to be a lot of mixed reviews of Eberlestock packs. I really liked this setup. The ability to clip the pack to the frame, and quickly pack meat between the frame and the pack was awesome. Packing meat out wasn’t fun by any means, but I have no complaints whatsoever.

- GAIA GPS Premium: Worked great everywhere. Loaded fast, stored waypoints, clear and concise layering. Seemed to be a little more precise than my buddies with OnX.

So that was it. If you have any questions or comments post em up. I would love to hear opinions on either the gear I brought, what y'all feel I should have brought etc. Again, I just want to thank the forum for helping me get ready for what I hope will be the first of many trips west.
 
Last edited:

Ashy Larry

Senior Member
Joined
May 17, 2017
Messages
648
Location
Mount Airy, NC
If the ridgeline is too heavy you may be in trouble. The ones I've fondled were very lightweight. Wonder if that changes with the long actions.
 
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