Gear for an Alaska Hunt
Clothes – Having the right clothing is very important. The struggle is that it can be 75 degrees one day, raining the next and snowing with wind chills below freezing a day or two later. Having the right gear is important and when you are limited to 50 lbs. of total weight, it makes it even more challenging. (50 lbs. is the maximum most charter plane companies will allow.)
Sitka Clothing – I looked like the Sitka poster child when I stepped off the bush plane. I was “all in” with Sitka clothing and gear. With a name like Sitka, how could I go wrong, right? I can say I didn’t have any regrets and changed little from my first hunt to my second. The great thing about Sitka gear is its versatility. I was equipped to handle the 75–degree day and the 10-degree day all with the layering system they provide. Sitka has a Core (base) layer, a Traverse (mid) layer and an Outer layer. These three layers would get me through all the different scenarios I would encounter. For example, it may be 30 degrees when we leave camp, but I have to hike two miles to the base of our glassing mountain then another ¼ mile up the mountain. What started out cold quickly turned into sweat and heat. Then mid-day we would leave the mountain and it could be 60 degrees and sunny, only to cool down before the sun went down. The feature that makes it all work is the zippers each layer has. You can zip down or up to allow more or less ventilation. I was adjusting on the fly. I carried a backpack to take off and add layers as needed. I am a huge fan of wearing a vest. I used Sitka’s Kelvin vest everyday in Alaska. It keeps your core warm but also gives you the flexibility with your arms. Lastly, when I knew we would be glassing on top of the mountain, I would pack my lightweight Kelvin pants and coat. They are so light you don’t know they are there but are very warm to put over the top of your other clothes. Here is my Sitka clothing list:
______Two base layer pants and shirts
______Two Traverse pants and shirts
______Two pairs of 90-degree pants with suspenders
______One 90-degree coat
______One Kelvin vest
______One pair of Kelvin pants and coat
Having two pairs of pants is important as they get wet crossing streams and you need them to dry out. I also like two pairs of base and traverse layers so they can also dry out.
Boots – I wore Kenetrek Mountain Boots both trips and I could not be any happier. The first year I didn’t seal them and never wore gaters, and my feet never got wet. This last trip I did seal them and had gaters on and never felt a drop. Make sure you purchase boot wax to treat your boots though!
Rain Gear – Good rain gear is a must in Alaska. I am not sure you could find better rain gear than Sitka’s.
Gloves – I used an Under Armour liner glove along with Stika’s Jetstream glove. I loved the combination. For extreme weather when glassing I brought along Sitka’s Stormfront glove. These gloves are warm and waterproof.
Beanie/Stocking Hats – I liked having two hats. I had a heavier one for cold weather and a lighter on for warmer, but not hot, weather.
Socks – I purchased the Kenetrek Liner socks and Alaska sock. Based on an 8-day hunt, I would recommend bringing eight pairs of liner socks and four outer socks. If you can afford the weight then bring eight pairs of each. If you are over on weight, just bring four pairs of each. Make sure when you order to get over the calf or boot high socks. If you are not use to over the calf socks, they may not be comfortable to you. The liner sock will not only help keep you warm but will also help prevent blisters.
Gaiters – I used Sitka gaiters and they worked great. All the guides swore by Outdoor Research gaiters and they seemed to work well too.
Wiggys – These lightweight portable waders are a must when crossing the many streams you will encounter. Wiggys
Pack – For a moose hunt, Sitka’s Bivy pack was the perfect size for me.
Camp Shoes – I like flip-flops. They are easy to get in and out of. Also, they are light for weight.
Camp Clothes – I wore my Sitka Kelvin pants and coat in camp.
Sleeping Bag – I purchased a Wiggy “Two Bag Sleeping” system and could not have been more pleased. In fact, I think I slept better in it than I do at home in my own bed. Sleeping in tents in below freezing weather does not sound like fun, but if you are in a Wiggy Sleeping bag, you will be toasty all night. The only disadvantage of the Wiggy Sleeping bag is the weight. But in my opinion it’s well worth it. Regardless of the brand, purchase a synthetic sleeping bag. If they get wet, they will dry out.
NO DOWN! – (goose down) don’t use anything with down in it. (Cloths, sleeping bag, etc.) When down gets wet it has no insulating qualities. Everything gets wet in Alaska!
Thermarest – These are great to have if you are going to be sleeping on the ground. Some outfitters have cots in the tents. If so this may be something you can leave behind to help save on weight. Thermarest
Binoculars – I used Swarovski.
Binocular Chest Strap – I used one from Dead Down Wind.
Ankle-fit hip boots – Many guides prefer these types of boots instead of using Wiggys. Hang them upside down in camp to dry.
Headlamp – Great in the field and in camp. Also acts as a reading light. I purchased Cabela’s Alaskan Guide headlamp.
Two Water Bottles – Nalgene one liter big mouth bottle. (Measurements on it can come in handy.)
Zip Lock Bags – Put all clothes and gear in a zip lock bag.
Towel, Light-Weight – In two years I have yet to take mine out. Next time it won’t make the trip.
Knife – With a 5-inch straight blade. Havalon knives are perfect for skinning.
Rangefinder and Spare Batteries – If archery hunting, make sure you use one without any zoom. It’s way too thick to have any magnification on your rangefinder. You won’t be able to see landmarks. I used a Nikon rangefinder.
Rangefinder Tether – This tool is a must! I clipped it on my pocket zipper and could point, click and drop in seconds. Purchase with your rangefinder from Nikon.
Camp Cup – This may sound trivial but a good cup in camp is a nice thing to have.
Camp Spoon/Fork – Again it may sound trivial but important. (They make a plastic one that is a spoon on one end and fork on the other.)
Thermometer – It’s nice to know the temperature.
Alarm – You don’t want to oversleep, every hunt is important. My Ironman watch never let me down.
GPS and Spare Batteries – Mark camp and also points along the way. Remember to mark where you shot your moose. I used the Garmin eTrex Venture HC
Camera with Spare Batteries. Click Here…