Alaska barren-ground caribou hunting gear list
Weight is the number one concern when it comes to backpack hunting. Some hunters will sacrifice comfort, hygiene and, even, necessities in order to shed weight in their packs. Every hunt is unique and requires different gear. In addition, some hunts may also require more gear than others depending on the length of the hunt and potential weather.
My wife, Kayt, and I just returned from a do-it-yourself (DIY) Alaska barren-ground caribou hunt for our one-year anniversary that was at the end of August. We landed in Alaska with our hunting gear and rented our camping equipment (which makes it easier to travel). We then caught a bush plane flight into caribou country. We are each limited to 80 lbs of hunting equipment, including our rifles.
I like to break my packing list down to three categories: essentials, hunt-specific gear and extras. My essentials will go with me on every hunt no matter the species or time of year. The hunt specific items are dependent on the terrain of the hunt, species of animal and type of weapon I am using on the hunt. The extras are typically photography equipment and comfort items. My list is built around the style of hunting I do, so your list may change based upon your style.
My packing list
Knowing your backpack’s ability and utilizing all aspects of your pack is the most important part to backpack hunting. If your pack cannot handle the gear you will need and keep you comfortable with all the gear for your hunt, you are setting yourself up for failure. The pack I use is the Sitka Mountain Hauler 6200 for most of my backpack hunts because of the large amount of storage and ease of access to the many different compartments within the pack. Another thing to keep in mind when selecting the right pack for your hunt is getting your harvested animal meat out of the field in the most efficient way possible.
|Backpack||Sitka Mountain Hauler 6200|
|Base Layer||Sitka Core Lightweight Bottoms|
|Underwear||Sitka Core Silk Boxer|
|Wool Socks||Darn Tough Hunter|
|Toothbrush||Toothbrush and Toothpaste|
|Multi-Tool||Leatherman Signal Multi-Tool|
|Skinning Knife||Gerber Vital Pocket Folder|
|Bone Saw||Gerber Freescape|
|Game Bags||Caribou Gear Wapiti Meat On Bone|
|Headlamp||Black Diamond Storm|
|Shoe Waterproofing||Shoe Goo|
|Lighter||Standard Bic Lighter|
|Paracord||Black Diamond Storm|
|Binoculars||Swarovski 10x42 EL|
|Bino Harness||Badlands Binos Case Mag|
|First Aid Kit||Adventure Medical Kit|
|GPS||Garmin InReach Explorer Plus|
|Hydration||Platypus Big Zip 3L Water Bladder|
|Rifle||Savage 110 Long Range Hunter 6.5 Creedmoor|
|Ammo||Hornady Precision Hunter 143 Grain ELD-X|
|Rifle Case||Soft-Sided Case|
|Range Finder||Sig Sauer Kilo 1400 BDX|
|Spotting Scope||Bushnell Forged Angled 20-60x80 Spotting Scope|
|Tripod||Outdoorsman Medium Tripod With Pistol Grip|
|Pants||Sitka Timberline Pants|
|Sitka Core Lightweight Short Sleeve|
|Sitka Core Lightweight Long Sleeve|
|Hooded Jacket||Sitka Jetstream Jacket|
|Outer Shell||Sitka Kelvin Light Hoodie|
|Sitka Cloudburst Jacket|
|Sitka Cloudburst Pants|
|Gloves||Sitka Mountain Glove|
|Hat||Sitka Trucker Hat|
|Under Armour CH1 Gore-Tex|
|Sleeping Pad||Klymit Inertia 0|
|Pillow||Klymit Pillow X Large|
|Waders||Redington Palix River Waders|
|Wading Boots||Cabelas Ultralight Wading Boots|
|Camera||Sony A7rii w/|
There are a few items on my list that I want to emphasize the importance of when deciding if you should bring it on the hunt or not. Darn Tough wool socks are my favorite for hunting because of their durability and their amazing lifetime warranty. If you own a pair and you get a hole in them—or they fail in any way—you can send the socks back to Darn Tough and they will send you a replacement pair.
I believe that a hunter is only as good as his glass is when it comes to hunts that require long sits behind your binoculars or spotting scope. I have always gone by the motto of “good glass ain’t cheap and cheap glass ain’t good” so keep that in mind when purchasing your optics. I have found one loophole in that motto and that item is the Bushnell Forged spotting scope. I was skeptical when I received my first Bushnell spotting scope; however, after a few long days of glassing, I realized it held up just as well in low light conditions and clarity as my older Swarovski spotting scope. Bushnell repairs and their service department has been excellent from my experience for those times you need to service your optics.
Knowing where you are in the woods as well as being able to communicate with the home base has become very important to me. I purchased my Garmin InReach two years ago and it has helped me become a more knowledgeable and safer outdoorsman.
A good sleeping bag can go along way on cold nights in the backcountry. I would suggest getting a zero-degree sleeping bag to prepare for colder temperatures and shed layers or use the bag half-zipped when temperatures are hotter.
Camp shoes are a must for me when I go on hunts longer than overnight. The feeling of taking off your boots and slipping into camp shoes after a 12-mile day is almost as great as the feeling of the harvest on the hunt. I wear Crocs around camp because they are extremely lightweight, can attach/pack just about anywhere in my bag and are breathable.
I hope this list helps you keep organized and pack more effectively for your upcoming hunts, especially when planning for a caribou hunt in Alaska down the road. It was a fantastic hunt. We didn't have the huge caribou migration we were hoping for as there wasn't any snow on the nearby mountains to push them down.
We saw roughly 200 caribou in five days of hunting, then got stuck out there for five extra days because the weather didn't allow a floatplane to pick us up. We caught a ton of fish and everyone in the group tagged out on caribou and we got a bunch of awesome meat from the trip!
Good luck and happy hunting!