2021 spring black bear hunting gear list — everything for a backpack hunt

Brady Miller 2021 spring black bear gear list

Photo credit: Chris Neville

It's hard to believe that spring bear season is already here! Hands down a spring bear hunt is my second favorite hunt right behind mule deer.

What's truly great about bear hunting, you can honestly use whatever gear you have available. Especially when it comes to the plethora of different hunting options for spring bear. You don't need a super heavy weapon, you don't need a ton of weight in optics, but for me, it's just something that works well. Spring bear is just a fun, fun hunt!

You can watch the video below for a look at my 2021 spring bear gear list, or jump further down this article to see an item by item list. This year Chris Neville and I are doing a full backpack hunt so this is everything I'm carrying in my pack. Some of the items for this hunt Neville and myself are splitting up. For instance, I'm having him carry my solar panel (but I haven't told him that yet). While I love the challenge of a solo hunt, being able to split gear when hunting with someone is a huge advantage.

I haven't put everything in my backpack yet to get an exact weight yet. We are going to do another video shortly where we have everything in our packs before we go on our hunt and hang the packs on a scale. For people who are curious, currently, my full backpack weighs around 54 pounds based on my excel sheet when I weighed each piece of gear the other week. And that weight includes 2 liters of water. The 54 pounds I mentioned does not include food as I'll be honest, I just haven't had time to put together my food list yet for this hunt, so that is why you don't see it in the video or this article. This will be a roughly 8-day bear hunt and is pretty much the exact gear I will be using. I'm going to go through my gear again several times and see if I can toss anything out. That's why I like doing these gear list videos/articles as it gives me a great way to check and plan everything as well as ensure I don't forget anything. Which I why I always try to tell people to take all their gear and place it on your floor and run through it several times to ensure you have everything and to see what you could live without. I keep my gear lists in both a Google Sheet that I can access from my phone and I also have a custom excel spreadsheet I built several years ago that I linked in some previous articles for people to download and work off of.

Gear list video

Check out the video above for a complete overview of the gear for this hunt.

Gear list breakdown for a backpack spring bear hunt

Clothes Packed In Backpack (Extra layers)

Item Model Weight
Rain Jacket Sitka Dewpoint Jacket - Pyrite - (LT) 12.10
Rain Pant Sitka Dewpoint Pant - Pyrite - (LT) 11.10
Mid Layer Sitka Heavyweight Hoody - Subalpine - (XL) 15.40
Softshell Jacket Sitka Jetstream Jacket - Subalpine - (XL) 27.00
Insulation Top Sitka Kelvin Lite Down Jacket Subalpine - (XL) 18.60
Insulation Bottom Sitka Kelvin Lite Down 3/4 Pant Subalpine - (L) 13.60
Beanie goHUNT Orange Beanie 2.70
Gloves Sitka Blizzard GTX Mitten - Open Country (XL) 8.40

Clothes Worn (Items I always wear each day)

Item Model Weight
Top (Wicking) Sitka Core Lightweight Hoody - Subalpine - (XL) 7.70
Bottoms (Outer) Sitka Mountain Pant - Subalpine - (34T) 24.30
Belt Sitka Stealth Belt 2.50
Gloves Sitka Gunner WS Glove 4.40
Blaze Orange Sitka Ballistic Blaze Orange Vest 14.40
Hat (Hiking) goHUNT The Blaze Trucker 2.80
Underwear Sitka Core Silk Boxer (Large) 2.80
Watch Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar 3.0
Socks (Hiking) Darn Tough Merino Hunter Boot Full Cushion 2012 - (XL) 3.10
Leg Gaiter Sitka Stormfront Gaiter - Subalpine - (L/XL) 11.30


Item Model Weight
Boots Hanwag Alverstone II GTX - Size: 12.5 64.0
Insoles SheepFeet Full-Length Custom Orthotic Insole (Heel Stabilizer & Double Cushioning)


Item Model Weight
Backpack Stone Glacier Sky Guide 7900 w/ XCurve frame 96.0
Pack Rain Cover Stone Glacier Pack Rain Cover 3.50
Weapon Holder Stone Glacier Quick Release Sling 1.40
Camera Holder Cotton Carrier Strapshot  


Item Model Weight
Spotting Scope Eyepiece Swarovski BTX Eyepiece 50.0
Spotting Scope Objective Swarovski 95 mm Modular Objective 47.3
Tripod Plate Sirui TY-70A Quick Release Plate 1.90
Digiscope Setup BTX Phone Skope Eyepiece Adapter 0.30
Scope Case Marsupial Gear BTX Spotting Scope Case 10.50
Binoculars Vortex Razor UHD 12x50 36.90
Harness Marsupial Gear Enclosed Bino Harness (L) 15.10
Rangefinder Sig Kilo 2400 ABS 9.20
Bino Adapter Vortex Pro Binocular Adapter w/Arca Swiss Plate 2.80
Tripod Sirui T-1204XL Carbon Fiber 31.90
Pan Head Sirui VA-5 Ultra-Compact Fluid Head 20.00
Digiscope Setup iPhone 12 Pro Max with Phoneskope **

Sleep System

Item Model Weight
Shelter Stone Glacier SkyAir ULT Tarp 27.0
Shelter Mesh Stone Glacier SkyAir ULT Mesh Insert
Shelter Vestibule Stone Glacier SkyAir ULT Vestibule
Shelter Footprint Stone Glacier SkyAir ULT Footprint
Compression Sack Sea To Summit Ultra-Sil Compression Sack - Size: XS
Shelter Stakes 13 stakes 5.00
Sleeping Bag Stone Glacier Chilkoot 15 Degree Sleeping Bag 34.70
Compression Sack Sea To Summit Ultra-Sil Compression Sack - Size: S 2.20
Pillow Klymit Pillow XL 3.60
Sleeping Pad Thermarest NeoAir UberLite 11.40


Item Model Weight
Wind Check Smoke In A Bottle 0.70
Trekking Poles For Shelter Black Diamond Ergo Cork 20.10
Glassing Chair Hillsound BTR Glassing Stool 17" 14.10
Glassing Pad Z Rest Cut Into Small Section 2.00
Wind Check Kestrel 5700 Elite Meter with Applied Ballistics LiNK 6.00
Ear Protection Orange Wrap Around Head Ear Protection 0.60
Battery Pack goHUNT Dark Energy Poseidon 8.87
Solar Panel Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Panel 15.00
Food Hanging Z Packs Z Line Slick Cord 2.00
Ammo Holder Old Ammo Holder Kept In Top Lid Of Pack 2.40
Camp Shoes Crocs - Size: 13 15.7

Optics Accessories Bag

Item Model Weight
Gear Bag Stone Glacier Swing Out Pocket 1.00
Dust Blower Optics Dust Blower 1.60
Lens Wipes Zeiss Lens Wipes 1.20
Lens Pen Vortex Lens Cleaning Pen 0.50
Lens Cloth Random Lens Cloth 0.40
Bluetooth Remote Phone Skope Bluetooth Remote 0.70
Charge Cord iPhone Charge Cord 0.65
Charge Cord Cord For Headlamp & Sat Messenger 0.20

Kill Kit

Item Model Weight
Gear Bag Stone Glacier Camp Pocket 1.8
Knife Goat Knives Capra Hunter Ti 1.30
Replaceable Blades 60A Replaceable Blades x 5 0.50
Knife Goat Knives TUR Carbon Pro 2.40
Knife Sharpener Work Sharp Pocket Knife Sharpener 1.60
Stuff Sack Mini ZPacks Cuben Fiber W/Rangefinder Battery & Rubber Bands 0.60
Hunting License License 0.28
Lighter Large Bic Lighter W/Lukotape 0.70
Lighter Small Bic Lighter (Backup) 0.40
Tape Small Roll Of Electrical Tape 0.80
Pills Electrolyte, Advil 1.50
Game Bags Caribou Gear Carnivore III (Four Bags) 9.80

Safety Gear

Item Model Weight
Satellite Messenger Garmin inReach Mini W/Carabiner 3.90
Headlamp Petzl Reactik+ 3.97
Headlamp (Spare) Petzl Actik 2.80
Tooth Brush & Paste Z Packs Ultralight Travel Tooth Brush & Paste 0.70
First Aid Assorted First Aid Kit in aLOKSAK bag 1.40
Toilet Paper Toilet Paper in ZipLoc Bag 0.99
Bear Spray Counter Assault Bear Spray 11.50


Item Model Weight
Rifle Browning X-Bolt Max Varmint/Target 300 Win Mag 240
Muzzle Brake Area 419 Sidewinder Muzzle Brake
Riflescope Vortex Razor HD Gen II 4.5-27 FFP
Scope Level Flatline Ops Patriot Plus Level (34mm)
Two round holder Short Action Precision Two Round Ammo Holder
Bipod Rugged Ridge Outdoor Gear Extreme Bipod Gen 1
Bipod Feet Rugged Ridge Claw Feet
Sling Quake Original Claw Rifle Sling
Ammo Personal Handloads = 215 Berger Hybrids, Norma Brass, Federal Match 215 Primers, H1000 Powder = 10 total rounds  
Rear Support Rugged Ridge Outdoor Gear Rear Support System 4.37
Rifle Cover goHUNT Gunslicker Rifle Protective Cover 4.83

Cook Kit

Item Model Weight
Stove MSR Windburner Stove System 14.80
Fuel MSR Fuel Canister 6.20
Spork Sea to Summit Alpha Light Long Spork 0.30


Item Model Weight
Water Platypus Big Zip EVO Hydration Bladder (filled with 2 liters of water) 78.0
Water Bottle goHUNT Nalgene (empty) 6.2
Water Purification Aquamira in UL Mini Dropper 1.10
Water Purification Sawyer Micro Squeeze Water Filter 3.10
Water Container MSR DromLite 6L 4.80

** Waiting until the new Phone Skope case arrives so I can purchase one and weigh it.

There will be another video that will follow up this article where I will take all my gear and place it in my backpack and show you all the true weight. I did my best to weigh out every piece of gear individually in the table above, but a good reference will be the full pack weight video.

A few different categories of gear I'd like to talk about

Camp gear

This year's camp setup is fairly trimmed down. The beauty in this system lies in the packability of Stone Glacier's Sky AirULT tarp, vestibule, and mesh system. It's worth mentioning that I've done the whole floorless shelter thing enough times in the spring that I'll admit it's no longer fun to sleep with ticks at night. Dealing with ticks all day, and then have to deal with ticks that crawl into your shelter at night and then in the morning you find them on you or worse... starting to dig at your skin. So we stopped using floorless shelters in the spring a few years ago and this year that will continue.

I consider this a fairly light sleeping setup that is barely over 5 pounds.


To be successful at spring bear hunting, in my opinion, you need a ton of patience, determination and you need quality optics. My optics setup weight increased a bunch this year by purchasing a Swarovski BTX setup. I'm excited to see how it performs on this spring bear hunt!


In the video, I totally spaced out and forgot that last year on our spring bear hunt was when I initially used the Hanwag Alverstone II GTX boots. These boots are so comfortable and at a Flex 3 rating, they are a great do-it-all boot.


There's no denying that I love quality hunting clothing. Each year I appreciate the quality and the full layering system that Sitka offers. They have everything I need when it comes to clothing that can hold up to any hunt I go on.

In conclusion

Best of luck to everyone headed out after spring bear this spring. Have fun and enjoy the time on the mountain. There's no better way to kick off the dust and experiment with gear, food choices, and hone your glassing techniques than on a spring bear hunt.



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