In this guide, we'll walk you through what to expect, the essential gear you'll need, and Seek Outside's staff picks for the upcoming archery season.
The Rocky Mountains: What to Expect:
Elevation Challenge: Depending on the unit, elk can be as high as 11,000 feet or as low as 6,000. Generally speaking, many find elk in steep or rugged terrain this time of year. Prepare for thinner air and potential altitude-related challenges. For high altitude hunts, you will need to bring a lot of water. We recommend carrying a pack with a water bladder port like the Peregrine 3500.
Changing Weather: Mountain weather can be unpredictable, and storms can move in incredibly fast at high altitude. Layering is your best friend here—think moisture-wicking base layers, insulating mid-layers, and packing a waterproof outer shell to keep you dry in storms. Try to keep your layers as quiet as possible. Many Archery hunters look for wool or fleece base and mid layers to minimize any fabric noise. Night time in early September can dip to the low 40’s, so It would not be a bad idea to opt for a hot tent.
Seek Outside's Staff Picks for Archery Gear:
The Peregrine 3500 is built on our breakaway carry system. This allows for using the frame and suspension as a load hauler. We like the peregrine because of the many attachment points, smaller and lightweight design, and ability to run a water bladder from inside. The peregrine is a great 1 to 2 night pack, and is recommended if you are hunting from a base camp.
If you plan on backpacking multiple nights, the Goshawk 6300 is a game-changer. With its huge capacity, especially with a talon, and ability to carry heavy loads, it's an essential pick for extended hunts.
We like the cimarron light tipi (mid) because it is adaptable to a stove or two nest variations. Archery season can experience different weather patterns at different altitudes, so we like to stay prepared with the Cimarron light. The single door Cimarron light sheds a few ounces, puts the stove jack position in the center, and easily fits in tight woodland areas.
We added a Bow Hitch from Simply Savage Solutions to our catalog because we feel it is the best way to carry a bow . Designed to securely transport your bow on the exterior of your pack, it ensures quick access without sacrificing comfort. It's a staff favorite for its convenience and functionality.
Now that you know what to expect and have Seek Outside's staff picks in mind, let's dive into the rest of the gear that is essential for a successful archery season.
- Optics: A good pair of binoculars and a spotting scope are essential for glassing distant hillsides and identifying targets. High-quality optics can mean the difference between a successful hunt and a missed opportunity.
- Clothing Layers: As mentioned earlier, layering is key. Look for moisture-wicking base layers, insulating mid-layers, and a waterproof and windproof outer shell. Look for noise minimizing fabrics as much as possible, like wools and fleeces. We don’t recommend wearing a windbreaker during your hunt, but it is a good idea to keep one packed away with you for storm protection.
- Backpack: Invest in a comfortable and functional backpack with enough space to carry your essentials, such as water, snacks, first aid supplies, game bags, and extra clothing layers. Look for a pack that's designed for long heavy treks and is equipped with modular attachment points for awkward loads
- Tent: Depending on your space needs and the expected temperature, you can look for a tent with or without a stove jack. The most common archery set up that we see is the Cimarron Light 4p with a large standard stove. If you don’t need a stove, the cimarron can be paired with a half nest or a full nest for dirt, debris and bug protection. We like the Cimarron light for 2 person hunts because of this adaptability and stove jack location.
- Navigation Tools: GPS apps or maps are beneficial for navigating unmarked terrain of the Rockies. Familiarize yourself with the area before heading out and always have reliable navigation tools at hand.
- Safety Gear: Prioritize safety by packing essentials like a first aid kit, fire-starting tools, a multi-tool, and a headlamp with extra batteries. These items can be lifesavers in unexpected situations.