Backcountry Hunting Gear List

Backcountry Hunting Gear List

The Complete Backcountry Hunting Gear List for 2023

As the thrill of backcountry hunting beckons, it's essential to equip yourself with the right gear to ensure a successful and memorable experience. But with countless gear options and ever-evolving technology, how can you be sure you're prepared for the challenges that lie ahead? This comprehensive guide will walk you through every aspect of assembling the perfect backcountry hunting gear list for 2023, from essential clothing systems and shelter options to cutting-edge hunting apps and technology. Get ready to embark on the adventure of a lifetime with confidence and ease.

Short Summary

  • Essential backcountry hunting gear includes clothing systems, shelter options, sleeping gear essentials and hunting-specific equipment.
  • Backpacking for hunters should include navigation tools, cooking & food preparation supplies and hydration solutions.
  • Preparation for a successful hunt involves physical fitness training as well as mental preparedness with the help of experienced hunters and apps/technology.

The Essentials of a Backcountry Hunting Gear List

A well-thought-out gear list is the foundation of any successful backcountry hunt. To ensure that you have everything you need for your adventure, it's crucial to focus on three main components: clothing systems, shelter options, and sleeping gear essentials.

By prioritizing these three areas, you'll be well-equipped to handle whatever Mother Nature throws your way and can focus on the hunt itself.

Clothing Systems

When it comes to backcountry hunting, lightweight and versatile clothing systems are key. Layering is essential for temperature regulation and scent control, as it allows you to easily adapt to changing weather conditions and remain undetected by game. Sturdy boots, comfortable pants, and a breathable t-shirt form the foundation, while additional layers like insulation and waterproofing keep you protected from the elements.

Camouflage is also crucial for optimal concealment in prime hunting areas. And don't forget the importance of extra layers – they provide much needed warmth and comfort, especially when combined with your sleeping bag. Investing in a quality clothing system will not only enhance your hunting experience, but also improve your chances of success.


Shelter Options

Shelter is another critical aspect of a well-rounded backcountry gear list. Options include tents, tarps, hammocks, and bivy sacks, each offering unique advantages depending on your specific hunting situation and environment. When selecting a shelter, it's essential to consider factors such as the season, weather conditions, and the terrain you'll be navigating.

For example, tarps are a lightweight and adaptable option that can be easily configured to suit various landscapes and weather conditions. Hammocks and bivy sacks, on the other hand, offer quick and convenient setup options for hunters on the move, without sacrificing comfort or protection from the elements.

Carefully consider your shelter needs and choose the option that best fits your hunting style and environment.

Sleeping Gear Essentials

A good night's sleep is crucial for maintaining the energy and focus needed during a backcountry hunt. Essential sleeping gear includes a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and pillow. When selecting a sleeping bag, consider its weight and temperature rating – for example, the Kuiu Super Down 30 Degree is a lightweight option designed for temperatures down to 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

For added comfort on colder hunts, a sleeping bag liner, such as the Sea to Summit Thermolite Reactor Compact Plus, can provide extra warmth when temperatures drop below freezing. Your choice of sleeping pad is also critical, as it provides insulation and cushioning from the ground. The Klymit Inertia X Lite, for instance, offers a lightweight option at just 6.1 oz.

By carefully selecting your sleeping gear, you'll be well-rested and prepared for the challenges of the hunt.

Hunting-Specific Equipment

In addition to essential clothing, shelter, and sleeping gear, there's a range of hunting-specific equipment that is vital for a successful backcountry hunt during the hunting season, especially when embarking on a hunting trip. This includes weapons and ammunition, optics, and game processing and meat care tools, such as a kill kit.

By ensuring you have the right equipment for your chosen game and hunting environment, you'll be better prepared for the challenges that lie ahead and increase your chances of success.

Weapons and Ammunition

Choosing the appropriate weapons and ammunition for your backcountry hunt is of paramount importance, as it can mean the difference between success and failure. Factors such as the type of game being hunted and the terrain you'll be navigating should be considered when making your selection.

Whether you prefer a compound bow, a rifle, or another weapon, ensuring that it is lightweight and reliable will enhance your hunting experience and improve your chances of success.


Optics play a crucial role in backcountry hunting, allowing you to spot game from a distance and identify your target more accurately. Lightweight and durable optics, such as binoculars and spotting scopes, are essential for long-range shooting and surveying vast landscapes. For example, 10x42 binoculars are an excellent choice for stalking bucks and offer an enhanced field of view when surveying a basin for the first time in the morning.

In addition to binoculars and spotting scopes, a rangefinder can be a valuable tool for accurately measuring distances between you and your intended game. By investing in quality optics, you'll be better equipped to make informed decisions during your hunt and increase your chances of success.

Game Processing and Meat Care

Once you've successfully harvested an animal, it's essential to have the right tools for game processing and meat care. This includes a game bag, knife, saw, and tarp. Brands such as TAG Game Bags and KUIU Quarter Game Bags offer top-tier options for meat handling during your hunt.

Proper game processing is crucial for preserving the integrity and quality of the meat, as well as ensuring compliance with local hunting regulations. By having the right tools and knowledge for game processing and meat care, you'll be able to make the most of your successful hunt and enjoy the fruits of your labor long after you've returned home.

Backpacking Gear for Hunters

Backpacking gear, including trekking poles, is another essential component of a successful backcountry hunt, especially for backpack hunters who are into backpack hunting. This backpack hunting gear list includes navigation tools, cooking and food preparation equipment, hydration solutions, and first aid and emergency supplies.

By carefully considering and selecting the appropriate backpacking gear for your hunt, you'll be better equipped to handle the challenges of the backcountry and increase your chances of success.

Navigation Tools

In the backcountry, reliable navigation tools are a must. GPS devices, maps, and compasses are essential for navigating unfamiliar terrain and staying on course. When selecting a GPS device, consider factors such as waterproof capabilities, battery life, and user-friendliness. Maps should be waterproof, detailed, and easy to read, while compasses should be waterproof, feature a clear baseplate, and be easy to use.

It's also important to bring extra batteries and ensure familiarity with your navigation tools before embarking on your hunt. By being well-prepared with reliable navigation tools, you'll be better equipped to navigate the backcountry and focus on the hunt itself.

Cooking and Food Preparation

Proper cooking and food preparation are crucial for maintaining energy levels during a backcountry hunt. Essential items include a cook system, fuel, and utensils. A cook kit, such as a customized JetBoil cup with a BRS-3000T stove, is a lightweight and efficient option for backcountry cooking.

When planning meals, consider quick-cooking, just-add-water options for breakfast and dinner to save time and energy. High-calorie nuts, such as roasted Macadamia and pili nuts, also make excellent snacks for on-the-go energy.

By planning and preparing your meals efficiently, you'll be fueled and ready for the demands of backcountry hunting.

Hydration Solutions

Staying hydrated is crucial during a backcountry hunt, even more so than food. Therefore, it's essential to have reliable hydration solutions, such as water filters and purifiers. The Sawyer Squeeze filter is a great choice for lightweight, reliable water filtration. It can be used both inline with a water bladder or connected directly to a threaded bottle.

When selecting hydration solutions, avoid low-cost options, as it's inevitable that a bladder will fail at some point. A collapsible water container, like the CNOC Outdoors VECTO 2L Water Container, offers a lightweight and versatile option for storing and transporting water.

By prioritizing hydration solutions, you'll be better prepared for the challenges of the backcountry.

First Aid and Emergency Supplies

In the backcountry, being prepared for emergencies is critical. A well-stocked first aid kit, fire starter, and signaling devices are all essential items for backcountry hunting. Your first aid kit should include items such as Benedryl, Tylenol, Ibuprofen, bandages, Coban, and Leukotape for blister management, as well as any other items specific to your personal needs and experience.

Other safety equipment, such as a flashlight, electrical tape, and Gorilla Tape, should also be included in your gear list. By packing the necessary first aid and emergency supplies, you'll be better equipped to handle unexpected situations and stay safe in the backcountry.

Tips for Reducing Pack Weight

Minimizing pack weight is crucial for making backcountry hunting more comfortable and efficient. There are five primary areas to focus on when looking to reduce weight in your gear list: rain gear, backpack, camp gear, optics, and body. By employing ultralight gear and packing only essential items, you can significantly reduce your pack weight and increase your comfort during the hunt.

Using a scale to weigh your gear can also help you accurately assess the weight of your hunting equipment. By meticulously evaluating each item in your gear list and looking for ways to reduce weight, you'll be better prepared to handle the challenges of backcountry hunting while carrying a lighter pack.

Customizing Your Gear List for Specific Hunts

Every hunt is unique, and it's important to tailor your gear list to fit the specific needs of your hunting environment. To do this, research the area, climate, and terrain to determine the best approach. Adjust your gear accordingly, taking into account factors such as weather conditions, game species, and the duration of your hunt.

Checklists and clear storage containers can help you stay organized and ensure you have all the necessary gear for your specific hunt. By customizing your gear list to fit the unique requirements of your hunting environment, you'll be better prepared for success and able to enjoy your backcountry experience to the fullest.

Essential Hunting Apps and Technology

In today's digital age, hunting apps and technology can greatly enhance your backcountry hunting experience. Essential hunting apps and technology include mapping and weather monitoring resources such as GoHunt Insider, GoWild, and HuntStand.

These apps can help you plan and execute successful hunts by providing access to valuable information on the go, such as detailed maps, weather forecasts, and other essential hunting resources. By incorporating these cutting-edge tools into your hunting arsenal, you'll be better equipped to navigate the backcountry and maximize your chances of success. All that being said, it's best to preserve battery life so you can use these apps in the field. We recommend our West Slope Case for that. 

Clothing and Gear Maintenance

Proper clothing and gear maintenance is essential for ensuring the longevity and effectiveness of your backcountry hunting equipment. It's important to clean and waterproof your gear using specialized cleaning solutions and waterproofing sprays. Additionally, storing your gear in a cool, dry environment and away from direct sunlight can help prevent damage and prolong its lifespan.

By taking the time to properly maintain your clothing and gear, you'll not only prolong its life, but also ensure that it remains in optimal condition for your backcountry hunts. This will ultimately lead to a more enjoyable and successful hunting experience.

Preparing Physically and Mentally for Backcountry Hunts

preparing for a backcountry hunt can be difficult

The challenges of backcountry hunting demand both physical and mental preparation. Physical conditioning should begin at least 4 to 6 months before your hunt, incorporating exercises such as jogging, bicycling, swimming, or weightlifting into your routine. It's also essential to practice carrying a pack and hiking to simulate the demands of a backcountry hunt.

Mental resilience is just as crucial, as it helps you maintain focus and determination in the face of adversity. Gaining insight from experienced hunters can also be invaluable, providing you with firsthand knowledge of the landscape, wildlife, and hunting tactics.

By preparing physically and mentally, you'll be ready to face the challenges of backcountry hunting head-on.


In conclusion, assembling the perfect backcountry hunting gear list for 2023 requires careful consideration of essentials such as clothing systems, shelter options, and sleeping gear, as well as hunting-specific equipment, backpacking gear, and the latest hunting apps and technology. By focusing on these crucial components and customizing your gear list for your specific hunt, you'll be well-equipped to face the challenges of the backcountry and increase your chances of success. So gear up and let the adventure begin!

Frequently Asked Questions

What size pack for back country hunting?

Based on the advice given by many seasoned backpack hunters, a good size to start out with is 3500-4200 cubic inches (60-70L). This size will give you plenty of space for the necessary items without going overboard.

Additionally, you can easily add accessories and extra gear as you get more comfortable in the backcountry.

What should I pack in my elk hunt backpack?

As an elk hunter, it's important to make sure you pack all the necessary items for a successful hunt. To help, I'd suggest packing a knife or multitool, compass, binoculars, rangefinder, snacks and water, extra layers of clothing, fire starting materials, first aid kit, GPS device, flashlight, and a map.

By making sure to bring these items along, you'll be fully prepared to tackle any unexpected situation that may arise on your journey!

How much should a 5 day hunting pack weigh?

Given the recommended 4000 cubic inches for a 5 day stay, a hunting pack should weigh between 4-7 pounds. This is to ensure a comfortable and effective hunt while maintaining optimum weight balance.

What do hunters carry in their backpacks?

Hunters need to be prepared with the right gear when they head into the field, which typically includes items such as binoculars, first aid supplies, extra ammunition and other essential equipment carried in a backpack.

In addition, hunters should remember to bring water, food, extra clothing, navigation aids and other safety items.

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