DIY Gear List Must Have's!

by Craig

Here are some of the items I use on my DIY hunts in the CO backcountry. I don't get any kickbacks from any of these companies, just my recommendations from being a successful hunter. Last year I harvested a 300" class bull in southwest CO on the second day of first rifle season. In no particular order:

GI Issue GoreTex bivvy system: Heavy, but waterproof and warm. My buddy had a high dollar lightweight bag. It sucked up moisture wherever it touched the ground (on the sides off the sleep pad). I like this because it works.

Socks: Wool hunting socks by FITS. They are expensive, but worth it. I've tried all the other stuff: Cabelas, BassPro, etc. These are BY FAR the best. They keep you warm and dry, don't stink, and provide compression to your feet. BTW, cut your toenails before you go! I take 2 extra pairs for a 5 day hunt. That's 3 pairs total, including the ones I wear up to camp. I change every other day.

GoreTex Rain Gear: Again, I use the GI issue stuff. Cheap on eBay and it works. At times, when I was sitting in the wind, I took off my outer layers (coat/bibs) and put on the GoreTex, then put the outer layers back on. The GoreTex is breathable and windproof and traps a warm dead air layer against your body. It's also lightweight enough to put in your day pack.

Gaiters: Get some. Nylon or GoreTex, whatever you can afford. They are great, and keep moisture and muck off your boots. A MUST HAVE for snow.

Undergarmets: WOOL!!! Listen, I've tried all the Under Armour and ECWCS synthetic stuff, they don't compare to wool. Wool doesn't stink like synthetics, it still works when wet and is the BEST first layer you can have. I got some Expedition Weight tops and bottoms from MINUS 33. When I get back to camp, I change out of them into my sleep gear. I hang them a few feet away from the campfire and let them air out. I put them on in the morning-I hunt in them for all 5 days. They don't itch and they are WARM.

Outer Layer: This year I'm trying the ECWCS Gen III system to save on weight. Last year I used Colombia Gallatin Wool Bibs and Jacket. Very warm, just bulky. If the forecast calls for snow, I'm wearing the Colombia again.

Boots: GoreTex! Nothing works as well, just find a brand that fits. Bring some moleskin. No matter what, you'll get a least one blister. Duct tape works in a pinch.

Water: I use a Katadyn, backed up by iodine pills. This is a lightweight piece of gear and worth the expense. I fill up my Camelback whenever I need water, which is ALL THE TIME. Up high you need to hydrate. If you cant' sleep at night, get headaches, or are extremely tired, drink some water. I also bring a box of flavor packs 'cause I like some flavor from time to time.
Well, this will get you started in the right direction. More to follow. Hunt hard, stay safe, God bless.


Comments for DIY Gear List Must Have's!

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Aug 07, 2018
Good Boots a Must!
by: CO Hunter

IMHO get the bets boots and best socks. It will save you pain and misery; and it will allow you to hunt longer and farther. Avoid cheap brands and mass produced boots (I personally don't like Danner, Cabelas boots or Meindl even I tried them). I now splurge on Crispi, Lowa, Kenetre or Zamberlan, or Solomn. They are worth the $. It took me 15 years of hunting to finally decided to spend the $ on good boots instead of a new rifle, and for the last 10 years I mountain hunt with one rifle and spend the money on boots.

Sep 26, 2017
Boots and thermal stuff
by: james

I spent money for the LOWA mountain hiker with the Lathrop insoles. These are a life saver, no blisters and they fit. Darn tough wool socks, Your money is not wasted. Thermal gear, Is Wiggy's out of grand junction,col, bags,socks,long johns the best, light weight,warm no stink. I bet with all the warm gear i have I can sleep in the snow. Its is all about weight and fit. I will use this gear as long as I'm around,it will wear out but its the last set you will ever buy.

Jul 24, 2016
by: spatin

It's been a while since comments on this thread, but I'll start because elk season is coming up. On boots, I have some Danner insulated goretex boots that are about mid calf length and I just love them. I have used them in Colorado in all kinds of snow, ice, and slosh, and my feet stay cozy through it all. If I ever wear these out, I'm going to find some more just like those.

Oct 01, 2013
butcher kit
by: Just John in Colorado

Carry a butcher kit in your day pack, so you can start breaking the elk down as soon as it's on the ground.

Two sharp knives, one w/ a gut-hook (I like fixed blades for the strength, but that's just a preference.)

A small diamond sharpening stone.

A collapsible Wyoming Saw (brand name), and/or a hatchet.

A Garbage sack.

A couple of good quality game bags.

Some 550 (parachute) cord. At least 25'.

Use a good daypack that you can strap a hindquarter to or carry that first sack of meat (tenderloins, heart, liver, backstraps) with. Something with a metal frame, like the Badlands Super Daypack that's recommended elsewhere on here (or the Badlands 2200 if you like something bigger.) Eberlestock packs are excellent too. Don't waste your money on a crappy little day pack with no frame or real belt.

Jul 22, 2012
Boot Tread
by: DyeF15

Yep, I couldn't agree more-tread is important. I wear the GI issue Belleville GoreTex boot. It's an 8 inch lace up with a deep tread, very light, but not insulated. In my experience, it's a hard trade off between high vs low boots and insulated vs uninsulated. The tall boots that are insulated are just too heavy for me and too rigid. The lighter boots aren't warm enough. I've never found the perfect pair. In a perfect world I would wear boots that are waterproof, warm, light, flexible in all conditions. The steep grades of the Colorado Rockies demand at least a semi-rigid boot for ankle support. I might try the Belleville 950 boots this year. If not, I'll take foot warmers and soldier on.

Jul 20, 2012
by: Jarrod

Just wanted to agree with you on a couple of points, Dave. First of all, I could not agree more on the gators. They keep the snow off your boots and they keep it from melting on your pants and wicking down inside your boots. Ditto on the GoreTex boots except I would add that depending on the terrain, you may want to consider boots with some decent tread. I have upland bird hunting boots that are GoreTex but they are designed with little or no traction to reduce mud and snow tracking. The mountains we hunt in Montana require some pretty durable tread and that requirement doubles when there is snow on the ground.

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