Need help prioritizing purchases...

SquidHC

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Mar 10, 2017
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Portland, Oregon
I need some help prioritizing gear purchases, as the options are overwhelming. My current hunting situation is hunting from a basecamp, which consists of everthing including the kitchen sink inside my wall tent. It's insane how much gear I bring to camp. I'm interested in getting away from truck camping/hunting and getting into the backcountry. I am an archery hunter who hunts pretty much all the terrain Oregon has to offer.

I'm going to try and list what I think my priorities are in order, and you guys tell me how far off I am:

1. Exo 3500/5500 bag. (I bought a K2 frame already, just need the bag. Currently using a frameless daypack and packing meat sucks. Also doesn't carry my gear in the backcountry).

2. Warmer sleeping bag (considering Hammock Gear Econ Quilt or EE Revelation 20) . I have an older 32 degree synthetic bag that's big and heavy and frankly not that warm. I sleep cold, and have made this bag work by bringing an extra fleece blanket and also the stove in our wall tent.

3. Pad. Currently using a cheap coleman 3/4 pad that sucks and looses air.

4. Tarp of some sort. I have a OR 4 season bivy, but it's a tight squeeze and sucks if you need so hunker down for a few days due to weather and your gear isn't covered. Plus being zipped up in a bivy sucks when you can hear wolves howlin' around you. Considering a Jimmy Tarp

5. Water filter. I have one, but it's big and bulky and seems like it would break easily. Never used it.

6. Spotting Scope. I have a large 80mm scope that is great. Would like to replace with a smaller 50mm spotter and also light weight tripod. Also open to just skipping a spotter all together.

7. One or two more wool baselayers. I have two, but one is too small.

8. A puffy. I get cold, and typically wear a heavy fleece for warmth. Would like something more compressible.

9. A better stove. I have a tiny portable one I got from REI that screws to the top of a bottle. Doesn't seem very efficient, but maybe I'm wrong.

10. Boots. I've got some good danner 8" boots that are super comfy but I wouldn't mind something lighter.

Thanks for your thoughts!
 

ljalberta

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Almost identical as above, except I'd upgrade the pad before the tarp, simply because I hate sleeping cold. Also there's some great deals to be had on many items. For a tarp, I just picked up a MountainSmith LT for $99 @ 2 lbs. Every year Costco will do a run of down jackets and 100% merino long sleeves for bargain prices. Also, even if you decide to ditch the spotter, get a nice tripod for your binos. It was a game changer for me.
 

Dameon

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Mar 30, 2016
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St. Louis, MO
By the best boots and pack you can afford. Take whatever is left in your budget after that and then buy the best sleeping kit you can afford. Camofire, MassDrop, Sierra Trading Post have regularly occurring deals on most of the other gear that is on your list and just get the rest as time and money allows. Now would be a good time to pick up a high quality puffy on sale from places like REI, Eddie Baur, Sierra, Camofire, etc due to the change in season, but get your boots and pack taken care of first.
 

Where's Bruce?

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Sep 22, 2013
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Are you hunting the coastal rainforest or the eastern side? Budget constraints? Weight constraints? Will be using after archery season as well? Temps, bugs and pack weight considerations come to mind. Hunted ALSEA 18 and got schooled hard.
 
Joined
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1. pack bag: get the 5500 bag. you won't regret the bigger bag.
3. pad: The better pad makes heat and comfort using the sleeping bag you have.
4. tarp / tarptent: Shelter is the most important thing to have.
5. water filter: $25 for a Sawyer Mini
8. puffy: Dual purpose. You can sleep with this or make it a pillow.
2. sleeping bag: If you do it make it worth it. get a nice down bag.
9. better stove: Stove works now, so I don't put as much value here.
7. wool base layers: get one change of boxers, and call it good.
10. boots: You say these are comfortable now, so why piss away $300-400 that can be better spent for this year.
6. spotting scope: If you shave some nice weight and have a quality frame, not as bad to carry this fatty. I agree on the bino adapter.
 

missjordan

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Jan 22, 2016
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Missoula, MT
I think your list all comes down to what you want vs. what you really need. Sounds like if you are happy with your boots hunt with them this year but if your sleeping situation, shelter, and pack are in need of an upgrade I would focus your efforts there. I'd probably do the pack first then the sleeping bag/pad, then shelter


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SquidHC

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Mar 10, 2017
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130
Location
Portland, Oregon
Are you hunting the coastal rainforest or the eastern side? Budget constraints? Weight constraints? Will be using after archery season as well? Temps, bugs and pack weight considerations come to mind. Hunted ALSEA 18 and got schooled hard.
I hunt the far eastern edge in steep/deep country when I draw the tags I want for elk. Often hunt Cascade/coastal blacktail. If I don't draw, I'll be chasing Rosies on the coast.

Budget constraints are minimal, but within reason. I try not to throw away my money.

Not likely to use other than for hunting.

No specific weight constraints, but part of the point is to cut weight.

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SquidHC

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Joined
Mar 10, 2017
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130
Location
Portland, Oregon
I think your list all comes down to what you want vs. what you really need. Sounds like if you are happy with your boots hunt with them this year but if your sleeping situation, shelter, and pack are in need of an upgrade I would focus your efforts there. I'd probably do the pack first then the sleeping bag/pad, then shelter


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Yeah boots aren't high on my list. Having what I need to be away from camp for 3-4 days is.

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Where's Bruce?

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Sep 22, 2013
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Okay, now that i understand your needs better, here's my thoughts...do with them what you will..

1. Exo 3500/5500 bag. (I bought a K2 frame already, just need the bag. Currently using a frameless daypack and packing meat sucks. Also doesn't carry my gear in the backcountry). Weather can be a big factor a big bag or lashing kit that'll carry meat and a 55L dry bag might be ideal. My kifaru frame has a cargo panel with pockets, my gear fits in an OR 55L dry bag...enough stuff for a week. It won't stain if blood gets on it. It cuts weight and is good in all conditions. Pretty cheap too.

2. Warmer sleeping bag (considering Hammock Gear Econ Quilt or EE Revelation 20) . I have an older 32 degree synthetic bag that's big and heavy and frankly not that warm. I sleep cold, and have made this bag work by bringing an extra fleece blanket and also the stove in our wall tent. Get a 0* Revelation, not just cuz you are a cold sleeper but because sleeping warmer prevents cramping and leads to a deeper sleep. The quilt is ventable in numerous ways, you won't cook. I have a 0*, 10*, 20* & 30* EE quilt and now only pack the 0* with the thicker Hoodlum. Trust me on this one.

3. Pad. Currently using a cheap coleman 3/4 pad that sucks and looses air. With a quilt a great pad is essential. Look at the EXPED UL9. Tough as nails and worth the weight penalty. You'll never feel a root or rock again. There is nothing more important than a good night's sleep.

4. Tarp of some sort. I have a OR 4 season bivy, but it's a tight squeeze and sucks if you need so hunker down for a few days due to weather and your gear isn't covered. Plus being zipped up in a bivy sucks when you can hear wolves howlin' around you. Considering a Jimmy Tarp. With the bugs and weather and chance of being couped up consider a Henry Shires SS2 tarptent. Two walls will keep you dry, it's taller than the other tents, the nest is great and for a 2-3 man tent, the weight is 3.5lbs. You can keep all your gear in the nest in wet weather and it has large vestibules. If you're stuck in there you won't hate it. Mine held up great in 40mph wind. Check em out.

5. Water filter. I have one, but it's big and bulky and seems like it would break easily. Never used it. This one's easy...Katadyne Hiker Pro. Can pump directly into your bladder hose.

6. Spotting Scope. I have a large 80mm scope that is great. Would like to replace with a smaller 50mm spotter and also light weight tripod. Also open to just skipping a spotter all together. Lots of great spotter options but go look through em before buying. Frankly I don't think you need em, good binos are enough. Hardly need those in the rainforest...that stuff gets thick.

7. One or two more wool baselayers. I have two, but one is too small. Minus 33, Kuiu, Firstlite, and comparable brands (not C4) are all quite comfortable. Kuiu's blend holds up best IMHO.

8. A puffy. I get cold, and typically wear a heavy fleece for warmth. Would like something more compressible. Get a synthetic jacket with a hood and/or vest. Will keep you warmer, especially if you get wet. Worth the weight penalty and a good back-up if your quilt accidentally gets wet.

9. A better stove. I have a tiny portable one I got from REI that screws to the top of a bottle. Doesn't seem very efficient, but maybe I'm wrong. Jetboil SOL or MiniMo will do.

10. Boots. I've got some good danner 8" boots that are super comfy but I wouldn't mind something lighter. You have this covered...if your dawgs are happy in em then this is your last priority.

Hope I've helped. Rosies are huge creatures with a cloak of invisibility. Go gettum!
 
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blackpowderhunter

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Jun 15, 2015
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364
Location
Washington
Instead of putting them in order, I am going to just add my comments. You are so far getting great advice though.

1. Exo 3500/5500 bag. - I run a 3500, love it, but think you should get the 5500, as they compress to the same size. only reason i would do the 3500...is so you dont fully pack the 5500, more room sometimes means the ability to pack more crap you dont need unless you've already weaned out the gear you dont use.
2. Warmer sleeping bag - whatever you do, go lay in bags at an REI or similar store. reading specs all day long only gets you so far, but you are going to SLEEP in it, so make sure it's comfy. i went with an REI brand radiant 20 degree bag, it's a big roomier as I am a fairly broad shouldered guy, and it's worked great for me in some pretty cold temps.

3. Pad - I have a big agnes q core or something, as well as a z lite closed cell foam pad. while the inflatable is more comfortable, the closed cell is more dependable. i would say own one of each, and at the very least if it's not a crazy pack in, i love using both. a good pad adds a TON of insulation factor to your bag if the ground is cold, something to keep in mind. If it is SUPER cold, i pack both pads, i feel it adds 5 degrees to my bag easily.

4. Tarp of some sort. - you're a braver man than I. there is zero chance you catch me chasing black tails on the western side of this state and only a tarp haha. Love my MSR hubba hubba nx tent. a lot heavier than a tarp obviously, but I backpack with my girlfriend and it works for that, so it seems like a palace when i take it solo for hunting. I have weathered out some BRUTAL summer rain storms through utah which make washington winter rains seem like childs play and the tent has stayed bone dry. I am tempted to buy the one man version just to have, because I love gear.. forgot to add. the MSR hubba hubba nx can be set up with just the rainfly and ground cloth if you wanted to go superlight and the bugs werent bad. makes it a little bit more versatile than a normal tent

5. Water filter. - sawyer mini is what I run, and love. just get used to it before getting after it in the field. i have mine set up where i can hang it for gravity feed if need be. if it's freezing at night, put it in your sleeping bag overnight. freezing can crack those types of filters and render them useless.

6. Spotting Scope - for western oregon (i hunt western wa) you could probably get away with just a tripod and putting your bino's on the tripod. i RARELY take my minox md50 out, but bring the tripod for the binos.
7. wool base layers - look at stuff at REI and steep and cheap and backcountry and sierra trading post on sale. it's a base layer, doesnt need to be camo.. i get earth tone merino tops from ice breaker or smartwool for under 50 bucks. long underwear FOR SURE does not need to be camo. I have some merino/poly blend paradox brand from costco that i LOVE.
8. A puffy- everyone should own a puffy. also check out REI brand stuff, and the stuff on close out from the sites I listed above. puffy doesnt need to be camo, puffies are usually kinda loud, so they are more of just an insulation, not something necessary for when you're stalking or trying to get close. get a light weight grid fleece for early season. fleece and a puffy are both things you should always own. not necessarily carry at the same time, but own. they are both great in different situations or even paired together.

9. A better stove. - i might have missed it but which stove is it? I run an MSR micro rocket to rehydrate meals I dehydrate myself and it works great for the sole purpose of boiling water. if you actually want to cook, the isobutane type stoves suck. i also have a white gas stove, an MSR dragonfly that is perfect for actually cooking. it's bigger, bulkier, and heavier. but i carry it for overnight's where i might want to fry a fish, or make pancakes for breakfast. white gas also outperforms iso stoves in extreme cold.

10. Boots - boots are so subjective. if they don't limit how far you can hike, and they are comfortable. rock them till the soles fall off. some guys backpack hunt in trail running shoes. the extremes i see some people go to on boots blows my mind. i get it, feet are important, that's why i spent probably 4 hours trying on boots until i found what worked for ME. find what works for you, and wear them, not what works for some guy on the internet.
 
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Ndbowhunter

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May 24, 2016
Messages
1,727
The two guys above really nailed it

Don't worry about the spotter

Thermarest xlite large with a 10degree quilt is the bees knees.

I run a kovea ti stove and it works great and cheap too

Sawyer filter is awesome.

As for tent I'd go with a decent double wall 2 person tent that weighs 2.5 pounds or so. Big Agnes has a few good ones. I think mines the fly creek 2
 
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