How to Plan and Test Gear for Your Backcountry Hunt?

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People who hunt quite often already know how adventurous it can be, however, hunting in the mountains away from the crowd can be even more daring. Backcountry hunting requires a lot of strength and patience in order to bag your dream game. Additionally, it also requires the hunter to decide whether they want to backpack, go with a mule or horse or even move their camp from one place to another. Although it all may sound daunting, it can give you plenty of unforgettable experiences and memories to cherish. Therefore, this comprehensive guide will explain to you how to plan and test your backcountry hunting equipment. Keep reading!

Planning Your Backcountry Hunting Gear

You may be feeling overwhelmed right now and may think you need to get every single item with you to the mountains. That’s really not the case. There are a few things that are essential to make your trip a success. Take notes of the following gear required:


When going for backcountry hunting, your backpack will be your best friend but it can also be the opposite if you don’t pick the right one for you. You need to buy a super lightweight backpack to prevent strain in your back or shoulders.

The lighter the backpacks, the more expensive they are. But if you think of it as a one-off investment, it will be worth the money. You must make sure that it can carry all your items easily, therefore, you must confirm its capacity before purchasing.

It’s ideal to get a backpack with multiple compartments and zippers to ensure you can take out any item you want easily and quickly while you’re hunting.


Daytime and nighttime temperature can vary in the mountains and you need to pack your clothes accordingly. It’s also best to check the weather of the region you’ll be going to as it will help you plan more wisely.

Generally, you should keep in mind that your clothing shouldn’t be made of cotton, as it absorbs sweat and moisture. As you will be sweating a lot while hiking, it’s better to get polyester or any other fabric with moisture-wicking properties.  

You should keep additional layers of clothing with you as it can get freezing at night. For footwear, you must invest in durable yet comfortable and lightweight boots, as you don’t want blisters on your feet from walking miles on uneven terrain.

Again, such footwear may cost you more than $200, but it will be worth it. You should also avoid snug toe boxes as they will restrict blood flow.

Sleeping Bags

Your sleeping environment needs to be as comfortable as possible in order for you to recharge your body and be able to hunt for hours the other day in strenuous conditions.

When you will be planning to buy a sleeping bag, you also need to take into account the material that it will be made of, as it should be able to withstand the rough surface of the mountains.

In addition to this, it’s better to get a water-repellent bag with a premium lightweight pad for maximum comfort and longevity.


When hunting in the Rocky Mountains, you certainly don’t want to climb for another two hours on the basis of your rough “guess” that you have spotted a huge elk. That’s why you need to plan your optics as well for backcountry hunting.

You should definitely invest in top-notch quality binoculars, as they will allow you to see up close without wasting your time and effort. Along with this, investing in a rangefinder can also help you calculate distance, so you can plan your travel accordingly.

Both of these items won’t take much space in your bag, and they aren’t too heavy as well. However, if you think taking a scope with you is necessary, you should keep in mind that it can be quite heavy. Therefore, if you’re going in a group or with a hunting partner, sharing it would be a more convenient option.  

Testing Your Backcountry Hunting Gear

There have been many experiences with hunters when they get all the first-class equipment for their big adventure and end up with broken gear while hunting. It can be quite an unpleasant experience, therefore, you must test all your gear properly before leaving for hunting.

You must check if the battery of your flashlight needs to be replaced or your GPS is working properly. You should also test your backpack and assess if it fits everything the right way, and you are able to carry the weight comfortably. Likewise, you must thoroughly inspect your other gear as well.

Moreover, you must also ensure your camping tent is in ideal condition, and you can test it by setting it up in your backyard or going on a short camping trip on the weekend with your friends. This will allow you to check if it requires replacement or repairing, rather than ruining your backcountry hunting trip.

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About the author


Editor in chief is Linda Hohnholz.

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