Did you recently draw a western United States hunting tag? Whether you knew you were going to draw or not you are probably now looking for a few extra pieces of gear to throw into your kit or build a kit entirely. We have put some suggestions together that will help both a beginner or expert achieve success in the western states!
If you are a first time out of state hunter looking at your first hunt in Colorado this fall and want to hear some advice from a peer who has had great success, then here is your chance. Nathan works for SO and lives in Tennessee. When he comes out for an elk or mule deer hunt he wants to have the best bang for his buck. Here are some of his top suggestions for your first Colorado backcountry hunt:
- Nathan's sleep kit involves one of our Mountain Mats. It's a multi-purpose ground pad with exponentially increasing R Value as you fold it. It'll keep you warm and comfy at night while blocking ground moisture. It also doubles as a great sit pad for those long hours of glassing.
- Part two of his sleep kit is the Western Mountaineering sleeping bag. The model of bag varies depending on the season or weather, but as a reference the Astralite Quilt or the Alpinlite Bag make a great early season choice for variable weather conditions.
- As Nathan moves into late September and continues on into the late seasons he suggests the Patagonia Down Sweater Hoodie or Micro Puff Vest. In his words "I love em" plain and simple.
- The Bail Handled Titanium Mug is one of the newest additions to SO's stove accessories line and Nathan couldn't be more excited. He loves the ability to ditch the propane powered stove and move into totally natural fire to boil water for drinking purposes, or for food, or coffee. He loves the bail as it allows for easy pothook use.
Kevin has hunted in Colorado as a resident for some time now after moving to Ouray from Texas. He has also been to many other western states and Alaska chasing game. With all that experience he has dialed his kit and is now sharing his knowledge with you. Here are Kevin's picks:
- As far as footwear goes Kevin suggests trail runners in early season. More specifically La Sportiva's. Then some heavier, more stiff leather boots or Scarpa boots moving into mid and late season. Kevin's experience as an ultra-runner allowed him to gather tons of field testing on different types of trail runners and boots. His feet have probably seen more types and brands of footwear than the entire SO HQ combined.
- When it comes to shelters Kevin breaks it up into three categories. Early, Mid, and Late season.
- Knives are an incredibly important piece of your kit. Almost just as important as bringing your weapon along. Kevin suggests the Outdoor Edge RazorLite. He likes to be able to replace the lightweight blades and not have to carry an additional knife sharpener.
- When it comes to the backcountry one must always know where the water is. Kevin likes the Platypus GravityWorks 2 Liter Complete Kit to filter water when he can't find a fresh spring. It's easy to filter lots of water as you just fill up the dirty water bag hang it in a tree with the filtration hose running into your clean bladder. No pumping or squeezing is required and you can work on other camp tasks while your water is filtering.
Angie is the fearless leader of Seek Outside Headquarters. She has hunted for years both solo and with her kids. She has gone through gear as much as the rest of us, trying stuff out and refining her gear bag contents. Here are her suggestions:
- Angie's first item on her list is the First Lite Aurora Puffy Jacket. Angie has 2 of these, one for the backcountry and one for the streets! It'll keep you warm and fit you well. What more would you need.
- On to binoculars. Angie loves her Maven B2 11x45's. Whether you're trying to glass early in the morning with little light, score a bull, or just determine legality of an animal Angie will swear by her Mavens to get the job done!
- The steep mountain faces of Colorado can take a lot out of a person. Angie relies on Heather's Choice Packaroons as a healthy performance snack while chasing game in the backcountry.
- Angie uses the Havalon Piranta-Edge knife for breaking down her game. Similar to the Outdoor Edge RazorLite you can replace the blades. Angie boasts that the Havalon is more precise, but also more dangerous. She did want to be a surgeon as a child, so it suits her.
Lee has grown up in Colorado hunting and fishing. He comes from a background of minimalist hunting gear, buying camo on sale at big box stores during the summer and just putting up with being a little wet and cold throughout hunting season. After going to college and researching and purchasing his own equipment Lee has come to appreciate fine gear. Lee suggests the following for mountain hunting:
- Lee has used many backpacks to pack gear in and animals out. He's even gone in with a Camelbak and hauled elk quarters and heads out with no pack. However, after wising up to how a body breaks down from stress associated with all of that Lee started using packs with frames. Now during late August and early September he uses the Peregrine 3500 Backpack. He loves the side pockets for his optics and bugle tube. He adds the Top Lid to store camera lenses and biodegradable baby wipes for when nature calls. He then moves into the Goshawk 4800 Backpack as the later seasons require larger items like puffy jackets.
- One of Lee's biggest dilemmas on gear was a good pair of pants that allowed him to move, were breathable, not too baggy, and resisted water while moving through wet brush. Many pairs of pants later Lee landed on the First Lite Obsidian pant. They are what he wears from early season to late season, just adding some long underwear underneath to keep warm when it cools off.
- Lee also refrained from using trekking poles for some time but after falling off a cliff on a hunt in 2017 and messing up a knee Lee picked up a pair of Black Diamond Alpine Ergo Cork's. Don't worry he did all the research for you. Aside from saving his joints from a ton of damage Lee also uses his trekking poles as the center pole to his LBO using the Trekking Pole Hitch.
- Camp shoes are a luxury that Lee is happy to pack in. There is nothing better after a long day of hoofing it all over the mountain side than to throw on a nice pair of comfy shoes and relax by the fire. Lee's camp slipper of choice? A pair of leather moccasins. A lot of people use Crocs which Lee is a fan of too but nothing can beat his pair of well broken in mocs. You'll be surprised how good it makes you feel to be able to walk around camp and not slip back into wet stinky boots.