Art of The Pursuit Part 1: Backcountry Essentials

September is right around the corner, and we’re excited to cash in our vacation time in hopes of filling the freezer and finding adventure. To kick things off, this piece will highlight our favorite gear picks for the backcountry hunter. Given the warmer weather and relatively predictable conditions of early season hunting, many outdoorsmen and women are looking to rack up numbers on the altimeter as they pursue game at higher elevation. Over the years, innovations in technical clothing and equipment has made backcountry hunting more accessible for those looking to push their limits on hunts ranging from 5-10 days.

Photo Courtesy of Wilderness Athlete

Supplements

Despite these technological advancements, there’s simply no substitute for physical fitness when it comes to backcountry hunting. Off season strength and cardio training allow backcountry hunters to endure the grueling demands of rough terrain, well above sea-level. To keep your body running like a well-oiled machine, supplements are an easy way to ensure that you stay sharp and effective throughout the hunt.

Wilderness Athlete’s Wild C8 MCT Powder is a convenient addition to your morning coffee or beverage of choice, supplying a variety of healthy fats that can be converted into a more sustainable caloric energy as opposed to the short bursts of energy derived from carbohydrates.

For us flatlanders, hunting at high elevations can pose serious limitations when the majority of training has taken place right around sea-level with ample oxygen for your body to circulate. Wilderness Athlete’s Altitude Advantage improves this circulation, helping your system deliver oxygen to the organs that need it most (brain, lungs, etc).

Photo Courtesy of Camp Chef

Stove

If you’re willing to get creative, a stove isn’t always necessary. Stoveless meals are becoming increasingly popular in backcountry hunting (cough, cough Ryan Callaghan), but for those that prefer a warm meal or cup of coffee during their forays in the wilderness, you’ll need a stove that can bring water to a boil without weighing your pack down. The Camp Chef Stryker 100 Isobutane Stove is a versatile option that will heat up quickly and efficiently, leaving you plenty of fuel for a long trip. Each of the components to this stove can be stored conveniently within the insulated pot to conserve space in your pack.  

Photo Courtesy of Steve Speck

Trekking Poles

Trekking poles aren’t just for sheep and goat hunters. They can reduce strain and impact on your legs, knees, and hips when packing heavy loads off the mountain no matter what species you find yourself hunting. Carbon fiber trekking poles are often times wildly expensive in comparison to aluminum, but S&S Archery’s CL Backcountry Trekking Poles are a rock solid option that won’t lay waste to your bank account. Pro-Tip: Wrap a couple feet of electrical tape around one or both of your trekking poles to store for fixing your tag to antlers, holding gauze in place, or repairing broken gear.

Photo Courtesy of Seek Outside

Shelter

After long days in the field, there’s nothing worse than a shelter that can’t withstand the elements. Seek Outside’s Silex 1.5 trekking pole tent is an ultralight shelter that can be set up quickly using two trekking poles to provide the structure for your shelter. A perfect option for the backcountry minimalist. If you prefer a little more protection, you can throw in their Silex Nest for a bathtub floor and noseeum mesh enclosure to help you enjoy a well-deserved night of uninterrupted rest. (No, this shelter is not bear-proof…)  

Photo Courtesy of Sawyer Products/Allie D’Andrea

Water Filtration

Water is a necessity, but it can weigh you down quickly if you’re trying to carry too much. It can be tough to find water at higher elevations, forcing you to refill when your hunt brings you low enough to find a stream or spring. Sawyer’s Squeeze Water Filtration System allows you to fill multiple collapsible pouches at a water source, and purifying the contents through their Squeeze Filter as you fill up your water bottle. If you’re looking to fill up your hydration bladder without removing the reservoir from your pack, the Fast Fill Adapter will give you the ability to squeeze the filtered water directly into your reservoir through the drinking tube.

Over the course of the next 2 months, we will be releasing a series of gear guides for the varying stages of a hunter throughout their season. Each of the items covered in these articles will be compiled in a random grand prize drawing on October 11th, for one lucky winner. Stay tuned over the next few days for your chance to enter!

Staff Pick: 15200ORG Altitude

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