With our last post recapping our backpack hunting adventure in the Victorian Alpine National Park we have received two main queries, what gear do you run and what are the rifle specifications. So without further delay we took some time to get lists compiled between myself and Brooky from underwear to rifles, here are our gear lists!
Its at this point that we receive questions about pack weight, we’ve chosen not to include that here as its not a competition on who can carry the least or who can carry the most. For approximate reference, the gear lists total approx 22kg with food and enough water for a few days, but excludes the packraft, rifles, bino harness’ and binoculars. Once successful, as seen here, peak pack weight was 36.5kg for Brooky and 36.1kg for me, both of us are in the 80-90kg weight class. Again, this peak weight excludes the binoculars, harness and rifles
Backpack hunting requires a Backpack!
|Pack Brand||Stone Glacier||Stone Glacier|
|Frame||X Curve||X Curve|
|Bag||Sky Talus 6900||Solo 3600|
Both Brooky and I now run Stone Glacier setups, with Brooky preferring a bag that is just big enough for a 5 day hunt when you already own newer and more packable gear. I went with the, ‘can always cinch it down’ theory and went for the second largest bag Stone Glacier made as I prefer to have extra capacity for luxury additions like a packraft. The beauty of the Stone Glacier frame design is that they have exceptional meat hauling ability and a dedicated load shelf to do it with, keeping gear and meat separate unlike traditional hiking pack setups. When we go backpack hunting for Sambar the meat load shelf makes a big difference with getting as much venison off the mountain as possible!
|Tent||Stone Glacier Skyscraper 2P||Kuiu Mountain Star 2p|
|Sleeping Pad||Sea to Summit Comfort Light Regular||Sea to Summit Ether Light XT|
|Sleeping Bag||Sea to Summit Talus II long (-10C)||PhD Lightweight Custom (-6C)|
|Sleeping Bag Liner||Sea to Summit Coolmax insect shield liner||Sea to Summit Thermolite Reactor Extreme|
The big take away here is the strong similarities and to note we both run two person tents for ourselves as individuals with the Stone Glacier being slightly larger, a four season and a touch heavier than the three plus season Kuiu. The main advantage of two person tents when backpack hunting is simply the extra space! If we were to tackle a more extreme climb and spike camp with just two of us then we can also make the call to leave one tent at the base camp gear share more effectively and carry one two person tent to save weight.
|Underwear||Merino Country ‘Wundies’||Icebreaker|
|Underwear (spare)||Kuiu Peloton||Icebreaker|
|Socks 1||Injinji Toe socks||Kuiu midweight mountain|
|Socks 2||Kuiu midweight mountain||Kuiu Ultra Merino|
|Socks 3||Merino Explorer|
|Thermal Pants||Kathmandu thermal (synthetic)||Icebreaker 200 leggings|
|Thermal Pants (spare)||Kathmandu thermal (synthetic)||Kathmandu thermal (synthetic)|
|Thermal Top||Kathmandu thermal long sleeve merino||Icebreaker GT 150|
Merino, with some more merino and synthetic leggings. There are a myriad of advantages when it comes to choosing Merino for base layers and they are best understood with a google search on the topic as its extensive. We would like to point out one main advantage specific to backpack hunting though, odour control. Merino underwear and a baselayer top do an exceptional job of containing body odour and wicking away moisture which in turn enables you to wear the same clothes day and night for 5 days straight without stinking out camp or feeling completely gross in your own skin. If there is 2 areas paying extra for merino is worth it, in our experience, underwear and top base layer.
I should mention here that the toe socks were an experiment that I wont repeat, I wont take them backpack hunting again.
|T Shirt||Kuiu 130 Merino||–|
|Long Sleeve||–||Kuiu 200 Merino|
|Jumper||Peloton 200 Zip-T Hoodie||–|
|Shorts||Swazi Micro Driback||Swazi Micro Driback|
|Soft Shell Jacket||Kuiu Guide DCS||Stone Glacier DeHavilland|
|Insulation||–||Patagonia recycled down jacket|
Mid layers can overlap with base layers a bit which can get a touch confusing, but basically they are used for layering to ensure enough insulation is achieved for the current weather and exertion. They are best easily taken on and off as exertion levels and weather shift, eg softshell jackets can be ventilated and provide brush protection for the base layers when hiking but can be insufficient when parked on a glassing knoll, so adding a merino long sleeve or jumper can bump the warmth levels up considerably and can be done quickly. for reference, everyday I wore my base layers, Swazi Micro Driback shorts and the Soft Shell jacket with other gear being added or removed depending on conditions.
|Rain Jacket||Moroka30 packjacket||Swazi Tahr Anorak|
|Rain Pants||First Lite Boundary Stormtight||First Lite Boundary Stormtight|
|Gaitors||First Lite Brambler||Cactus dupergaiter|
|Boots||Scarpa Kinesis GTX||Scarpa R-Evolution Trek GTX|
|Beanie||Some old Thinsulate||Swazi Clansman Beanie|
|Hat||Blaze orange Baseball Cap||Blaze orange Baseball cap|
|Gloves||Gill fingerless gloves and first lite fingerless merino||First Lite Catalyst Soft Shell|
The main difference here is I had the light Moroka30 Packjacket while everyone else around me had a Swazi Tahr Anorak and frankly the Swazi Tahr Anarok is awesome, warm and actually waterproof, while the Packjacket did eventually soak through on the last trip. The Swazi Tahr Anorak is however a touch on the heavy side and is warm, which contrary to most situations, for me its a negative, I prefer rain gear that cuts out the wind and rain but is a bit cooler as I generally ‘run hot’ and seem to have a higher cold tolerance than my compatriots.
Now after a few outings I’ve determined that the fit of the Moroka30 packjacket just isn’t as good as all my other bits of gear. When it comes to gear the best compliment is generally that you don’t notice it, it simply does its intended job and you forget about it and focus on the task at hand. For me, I notice the packjacket and it comes down to not quite being a good fit for me plus while waterproof, it does soak through in extended wet weather. So i’m certainly comfortably in the market for a new rain jacket, but still doing my research on that one.
All of the things
|Binocular||Swarovski EL 10×50||Leice HD-B 10×42|
|Binocular Harness||Marsupial gear||Marsupial Gear|
|Rangefinder||TerrapinX||Leica H-DB Binos|
|Kestrel/Ballistics||5700 Elite||5700 Elite|
|Hearing Protection||Howard leight banded plugs (+ backup foam plugs)||Howard leight banded plugs (+ backup foam plugs)|
|GPS||iPhone with Avenza||Android smartphone w Backcountry Navigator|
|Spotting Scope||—||Vortex Razor 16-48×65|
|Tripod||—||Vortex Summit, Outdoorsmans Micro Pan Head|
|Shooting Cradle||—||PRS SSP1|
|Knife||R and N blades Helium 1||Kestrel EDC, Leatherman skeletool|
|Sharpener||Lansky pocket sharpener||—|
|Game Bags||Kuiu||Kuiu quarter|
|Head torch||Ledlenser H7R.2 Rechargeable Headlamp||Led Lenser SEO7, Black Diamond ReVolt|
|Water bladder||MSR Dromedary 10L||Osprey Hydraulics 2.5L, MSR Dromlite 4L|
|Water Nalgene||Stone glacier wide mouth||—|
|total water capacity||11 litres||6.5L|
|Preferred meals||Homemade brekki bars, salami and cheese, BackCountry Cuisine||Homemade brekki bars, salami and cheese, BackCountry Cuisine|
|Spork||Sea to summit alloy long handle||Spork|
|Firestarters||Vaseline cotton balls||—|
|Medical Kit||Sea to summit 1L dry bag with extensive First aid||Basic First Aid kit|
|Parachord||Lots of bright coloured 3mm||—|
|Battery pack||—||Xiaomi 10000mAh|
|Camera||—||Olympus OMD EM5 MachII|
|Pack raft||Caribou Alpackaraft||—|
|Fly||Moroka30 gear Fly||—|
Not much to say here as we have probably forgotten the odd item, eg matches and spare batteries! Also the gear sharing is obvious, the beauty of not hunting solo is the ability to share and save on individual overall weight. It should also be noted that due to some last minute decisions, the packraft stayed behind, but was left on the list because if there is opportunity to use it, it can dramatically increase the carry out capacity.
Backpack Hunting Rifles
|Action||Tikka T3||Tikka T3|
|Stock||Bolly UPH Gen3||Bolly UPH Gen3|
|Trigger||Bix ‘n’ Andy||Factory|
|Bolt Handle||Lumley Arms Titanium with CF knob||Factory|
|Rail||Area 419 20MOA||Area 419 20MOA|
|Rings||Porter Machine Works 30mm Low||Porter Machine Works 30mm Medium|
|Scope||Tangent Theta 315M Gen2 XR||Tangent Theta 315M Gen2 XR|
|Stock Pack||Triad tactical||Beartooth|
|Barrel||Carbon Proof Sendero 284 1:8 26”||Carbon Proof Sendero 284 1:8 24”|
|Chambering||284 Shehane||7mm SAW|
|Muzzle Brake||APA Little Bastard||APA Little Bastard|
|Trigger Guard||Atlasworxs OTM alloy guard||Atlasworxs CTR to AI Guard|
|Magazine||Factory 3 round||MDT Short Action no binder 5 round|
The 284 Shehane is a dedicated mountain hunting rifle and has been covered extensively. Only change of late being it is no longer fire forming, it is running at ‘full strength’ driving the 168gr Berger VLD at approx 2950fps (actual mv varies with powder temperature), which dropped a Sambar stag on the spot last hunt from 634m.
Trollhammer on the other hand has been only mentioned by name a couple times, it was devastating on the Sambar it shot on the last trip, plus with it stacking rounds and being competitive at PRS as well it certainly deserves its own post….