Backcountry Bowhunting Gear

Backcountry Bowhunting Gear

I live in the world of whitetails most of the year, so gear planning for deer is natural to the point where I don't really have to think too hard about it. If I'm loading up the truck and driving 19 hours to Southern Colorado for an elk trip, that's a different situation. I agonize over my gear choices then.

Backcountry-Bowhunting-Gear

What I always find interesting is that no matter how much mind-grinding and equipment planning I do, I get some things right and some things plain wrong. For instance, last fall I started my elk hunt with a brand new, 5000-cubic-inch pack. By day three, that pack didn't have a functioning zipper left on it. It was junk, so I had to go to a backup. Lesson learned.

If you're thinking velvet mulies in a timberline bowl or perhaps bugling mid-September elk are in your future, listen up. The following products will be well worth their weight once you set boots down at the trailhead and crane your neck to see your 11,000-foot camping spot.


KUIU Mountain Star 2P Tent


KUIU is churning out some killer clothing and camping gear these days. This includes the Mountain Star 2P Tent, which tips the scales at a shade over three pounds (carbon-pole option).


Backcountry-Bowhunting-Gear

It boasts a dual vestibule with side access for easy entry, an ergonomic design that allows for more comfort while sitting up or laying down, and internal storage pockets. This is the ideal tent for one hunter who likes to sleep in peace and heat up a cup of coffee or a round of Mountain House in his mobile shelter.

Cabela's Instinct Scout 2-Person Tent


This all-season tent from Cabela's utilizes the Frame Tensioning System for easy setup and added stability, which is always appreciated in the mountains when weather is rarely consistent. Or kind. The floor measures 87x52 inches, with a center height of 40 inches and an overall weight of about 5.5 pounds.

Backcountry-Bowhunting-Gear

The Instinct Scout was tested extensively in wind tunnels and through load-bearing exercises to ensure that it'll remain standing even if Mother Nature decides to dump a foot-and-a-half of snow on you overnight.


ALPS OutdoorZ Commander X + Pack

Alps OutdoorZ is making some of my favorite packs, and their Commander X + Pack is an excellent choice for serious backpacking hunts. This is because of the design, which incorporates an internal frame meat hauling pack with a detachable, 4000-cubic inch pack bag.

Backcountry-Bowhunting-Gear

To ensure the Commander X + Pack can handle the rigors of the backcountry, it is built with 1680D Nylon Ballistic and Robic Nylon Fabrics, which in layman's terms, mean it is a crazy strong and durable material that will withstand years of serious use.

Browning Crossfire 1AA USB Rechargeable Flashlight

Nothing sucks more than trying to quarter an elk in the dark with inadequate lights, except for maybe having to pack those quarters out with inadequate lights. I'm somewhat of a flashlight junkie, and have two types on me at all times — a small, bright flashlight and a headlamp.

Backcountry-Bowhunting-Gear

For the former, Browning's latest is a great choice with its 100- to 260-lumen output, and ability to function off of a single battery. It's completely waterproof and measures less than 5.5 inches long.

Black Diamond Storm Headlamp

Black Diamond produces some of the best climbing, skiing and hiking gear out there. While most of that stuff has little bearing on an elk hunter's life, their headlamps are definitely worthy of a bowhunter's consideration.

Backcountry-Bowhunting-Gear

I've used the Storm Headlamp a lot in the last year and am seriously hooked on it. It's fully waterproof, utilizes PowerTap Technology and Brightness Memory, and features three-color RGB night vision (awesome for whitetail hunting or sneaking into an antelope blind well before dawn).

Gerber Gear Vital Pocket Folder

As hooked as I am on lights, I'm equally as addicted to quality blades like the Vital Pocket Folder from Gerber. A lot of companies have produced a replaceable blade knife over the years, but Gerber has created one that is extremely easy to use and best of all, safe.

BackcountryGerber

Slicing your thumb up while trying to swap a dull blade for a sharper one when you're seven miles deep is a bad deal, which is one of the reasons the rubber-handled, 1.3-ounce Vital Pocket Folder is a mainstay on my hunts.

Mountain Ops Ignite

Here's the thing about a backcountry hunt — your best piece of equipment is your body. That's no joke. If you're not in shape, getting a decent amount of rest, and allowing your body to recover, you're not going to find a whole lot of success.

Backcountry-Bowhunting-Gear

There is no way to shortcut the in-shape part, but you can offer your body something to aid in recovery and maintaining energy levels. Mix up some Ignite from Mountain Ops, which is offered in a few different flavors, is formulated to improve cognitive function, increase mental focus, and provide sustained, jittery-free energy without the crash.

This stuff has become a pre-workout supplement for me, a coffee replacement, and during all of my hunts - a can't-live-without-it-reality. Mountain Ops produces some of the best hunter-friendly workout supplements you'll find anywhere. Try them, you won't be disappointed.

Wildlife Research Center Scent Killer Gold Field Wipes

This may seem like an odd addition to a backcountry list, but follow along. It's inevitable that after four or five days of hiking up and down mountains that you're probably going to smell less than ideal.

Backcountry-Bowhunting-Gear

Couple that with the fact that Mountain House meals have a tendency to move through most of us pretty quickly, and having a package of scent-eliminating field wipes doesn't seem like such a bad idea. Discomfort is the name of the backcountry game, but you don't have to smell worse than a pile of used gym towels that have been baking in the sun to prove your worth in elk territory.

Recommended for You

This Venison and Cabbage Stew Recipe is meaty, easy to make in a slow cooker, and exactly what you'll want to come home to on a chilly weeknight Recipes

Slow Cooker Venison and Cabbage Stew Recipe

Jessyca Sortillon

This Venison and Cabbage Stew Recipe is meaty, easy to make in a slow cooker, and exactly what...

In the market for a new traditional bow? Here are our top picks from the 2019 ATA Show! ATA Show

New Recurve Bows for 2019

Brian Strickland - January 11, 2019

In the market for a new traditional bow? Here are our top picks from the 2019 ATA Show!

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Texas Hog and Whitetail Hunt

Texas Hog and Whitetail Hunt

Bowhunter TV Editor Derek Mleynek sets up for some hog and whitetail hunting at Canyon Ranch in Texas.

Mountain Caribou Hunt

Mountain Caribou Hunt

Curt Wells can't pass up this opportunity to hunt mountain caribou in the Northwest Territories.

Spot-and-Stalk Texas Hog Bowhunt

Spot-and-Stalk Texas Hog Bowhunt

Bowhunter Equipment Editor Tony J. Peterson spot-and-stalks hogs and whitetails in Texas.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

With May comes an opportunity to re-think turkey bowhunting strategies. Turkeys

Spring Gobbler Reset: How to Bowhunt Turkeys in May

Tony J. Peterson

With May comes an opportunity to re-think turkey bowhunting strategies.

Black bear meat is dark and rich, and delicious ground up in this Pâté chaud recipe. Recipes

Vietnamese Black Bear Pâté Chaud (Meat Pie) Recipe

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

Black bear meat is dark and rich, and delicious ground up in this Pâté chaud recipe.

This past fall my twin daughters started kindergarten, which meant that I stopped paying for Bows

9 Top Budget Bows for 2018

Tony J. Peterson - February 20, 2018

This past fall my twin daughters started kindergarten, which meant that I stopped paying for

See More Stories

More Field Tools

Binoculars and rangefinders at the 2020 ATA Show!

New Optics for 2020

Brian K. Strickland - January 10, 2020

Binoculars and rangefinders at the 2020 ATA Show!

After factoring in turkey season, western bowhunts, and a couple of states for public-land Field Tools

Deer Camp Done Right

Tony J. Peterson - October 19, 2017

After factoring in turkey season, western bowhunts, and a couple of states for public-land


When I daydream, I go big. It's that way for bucket-list hunts as well as a truly huge backyard Field Tools

Budget Backstops: 6 Affordable Archery Targets

Tony J. Peterson - March 22, 2016

When I daydream, I go big. It's that way for bucket-list hunts as well as a truly huge...

See More Field Tools

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.