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Ryan Clairmont – Logistics of a Backcountry Hunt



Preparing for a multi-day backpack style hunt is a logistical challenge if you’ve never done it before. But if you follow some basic guidelines you will find it very feasible and not so overwhelming. I am going to discuss my most recent backcountry elk hunt as a case sample and explain the logistics of spending 8 days in the wilderness and getting an elk killed in Idaho and back to my home in Arizona.

Now let’s assume you have collected all of the gear you need for an adventure of this magnitude. First thing I recommend is making a list of everything you plan on taking and laying it out a minimum of one month prior to your departure date. I break my list into 7 categories: Shooting, Clothing, Optics, Kill Kit, Sleeping, Food/Cooking, and Misc/Comfort Items. Shooting needs no explanation, consisting only of your weapon and everything you need for that weapon to hunt. The area people will differ, besides brand of bow or caliber of rifle, is number of arrows or number of bullets. I personally take 8 arrows when archery hunting and 10 bullets when rifle hunting. If it’s a multi-species hunt up in Alaska then I may take more.

Clothing is a personal preference but I have been using Kryptek clothing for many years and it has never let me down. For my recent elk hunt my kit consisted of Hoplite merino wool base-layer, Ragnar Pants, Sherpa Hoodie mid-layer, Vellus Vest, Aquillo Down Puffy Jacket, Poseidon Rain Top/Bottom, Kiska Beanie, ball cap, and Krypton Gloves. This system worked great for an early season hunt. The merino wool base-layer is a must and the new standard for base-layers. The Ragnar Pants are a new pant for Kryptek that takes their proven Valhalla pant and adds reinforced knees and a pocket to place their kneepads. I love this pant and is my go to for early season. The Sherpa Hoodie is quickly becoming my favorite piece. It is warm and extremely comfortable. It has a hood to keep the wind off your neck and added thumbholes in the sleeves. I wear the Sherpa Hoodie on all my hunts. The Vellus Vest is a great addition to keep the core warm and is perfect for archery hunting. The Aquillo Down Puffy is extremely lightweight and warm. I put this on in the morning when it’s cold and keep it in my pack while I’m hiking. The warmth to weight ratio is second to none. The Poseidon Rain Top and Bottom is perfect for backpacking as it is lightweight and functions flawlessly to keep you dry. The Kiska Beanie and Krypton Gloves are just that added layer to keep you warm but aren’t too bulky when that extra warmth is needed. I take 4 pairs of socks and 3 pair of underwear, Lowa Renegade Boots, and Crocs for camp shoes. The advantage of great clothing like Kryptek is its durability, lightweight, dries quick, and the camo is undeniably the best on the market. You only have to bring one set and you wear most of it, which saves weight in the pack.

My kill kit consisted of Outdoor Edge Razor pro knife, TAG Bags, 3 pair of latex gloves, 50ft. of 550 cord, and 2 contractor bags. This kit is pretty consistent in all of my hunts no matter the destination or critter I’m hunting.

Optics on this hunt consisted of Swarovski EL 10×42 binos, SOG Kilo 2000 range finder, AGC bino harness, and lens wipes. I will occasionally bring a video camera and tripod but decided not to bring it on this hunt which in hindsight I wish I would have… next time.

Sleeping should consist of shelter, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and pillow as an option. I use a Golite 20 degree down bag, Thermarest Neoair lite pad, and Sea to Summit regular size pillow. My shelter was a 3 person Nemo Equipment Losi Tent that I shared with my dad. All worked well and I love my pillow, highly recommend it!!

Misc/Comfort Items for me consist of hygiene kit, toilet paper, wipes, bugle tube, diaphrams, cow call, wind detector, allen wrench/ serving/ extra bow string/ d loop cord, headlamp, Kifaru AMR pack, platypus water bladder, 6L MSR dromedary for camp water, Nalgene water bottle, and handkerchief. I also have a first aid kit I put together myself with everything from hemorrhage control items to Ibuprofen.

Finally food/cooking items. This could be an entire article all by itself as food is a very logistically challenging item to prepare. I have done a ton of research and experimenting and I believe this hunt proved to have the best food items I have ever had. My energy levels were high, the food was filling, and all of the food was delicious!! Every backcountry hunter wants to get the most out of their food without having to carry a bunch of weight, so aiming for the highest calorie per ounce is the goal. This hunt I was able to get 3,470 calories per day in just 25oz of food, which equated to 138 calories per ounce. A days food was Heather’s Choice Buckwheat breakfast and Starbucks Via packet in the morning. For daily snacks I had 4.5oz Trail butter packet, Cinnamon Raisin Bagel, Heather’s Choice Packaroons, Probar meal bar, and a DNX bison bar. For dinner I had a Heather’s Choice dehydrated meal. This was my first trip using Heather’s Choice meals and I am sold on them. They are lightweight at 4.5oz, take less water than other choices out there, and are as clean as you can get for backpacking food. Oh yeah, and did I mention they are delicious!! Click Here….

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