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Updated: Aug 11, 2020

Figuring out what gear you need for a Do-It-Yourself backpack style backcountry hunt can be overwhelming! There's so many items that you need and they are typically high priced. I want to preface this prior to you reading the list. I didn't start with all of this high quality gear. It's been accumulated over the last 4 years and was built almost entirely from extra money I made working an extra part-time job. My reasoning for saying this is, you can find a way to get the necessary gear that you need with a little hard work and outside of the box thinking. In addition, you just need to make the hunt happen. Buy tags first and worry about the gear later. With that being said, good gear is expensive for a reason and can be more crucial on a backpack hunt, more so than a hunt where you are camping at the truck. It greatly enhances your comfort on the trip and can make you stay out longer. As I talked about in the recent podcast with Mark Huelsing, I would not cheap out on your boots or pack! Those two items (followed by a proper clothing layering system) in my opinion, can make or break a hunt.

Here's my list for a 7 day September backpack elk hunt in the Rocky Mountains. Use it for your reference, but you will need to figure out what works best for you. Get out there in the summer and use your gear on weekend overnight trips with family and friends to get used to how it works. The brands and products that you are using won't matter if you aren't familiar with how they work!



Sleeping Bag

Sleeping Pad

Cooking Kit:

Water Filtration & Storage





Hunting/Kill Kit:

Camera Gear (I will be upgrading my setup soon, but this is what I’ve used)




This list is always changing as I'm tweaking and finding out what works best for me and my style of hunting. I've cut out a lot of the "nice to haves" over the last few years and focused on the necessities. That's true for everything except sleeping. I will NOT cut out my pillow... If you noticed, I didn't include the total weight of my pack. I don't have all of the items currently to weigh the kit, but plan on updating this post once I get that information. If you have any questions on any gear I use, feel free to comment below!

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Beau Martonik
Beau Martonik
May 23, 2019

As far as sticks go, I’ve found that most can be broken over your knee since it’s so dry in a lot of the Rocky Mountains at that time of year. I carried a lightweight axe one year. Definitely overkill there...


Beau Martonik
Beau Martonik
May 23, 2019

Michael - I have carried a KaBar fixed blade in the past but am thinking I’m removing it from my kit. My havalon did fine with joints on a Whitetail, not sure about an elk yet. That’s a great point though.


Do you find yourself in need of a fixed blade knife or leatherman? (popping joints/sockets, survival purposes, cutting sticks, etc.)

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