1 Pair Light Quick Dry Pants –
I wear them all the time when hiking to protect my legs from minor scrapes and the sun. There are a lot of different types and styles out there but I don’t know that there is much difference between them because it’s a pretty basic piece of kit. One thing I do like are ones with belt loops so I can have my leatherman on my hip instead of in my pocket
1 Light Long Sleeve Shirt –
I wear this all the time for the same reasons as the quick dry pants. I like merino wool or a synthetic that won’t stink too bad after a few days.
Good Quality, Broke-in, Waterproof Hiking Boots –
Boots are probably the most important piece of kit, and the most personal. There are a lot of well made boots out there so you just need to find the ones that fit you the best. Make sure they are waterproof, not water resistant or water repellant or breathable; water proof. The higher the ankle the better as well. Be sure to break them in before the hunt
1 Pair Long Johns/Thermal Underwear –
These are my luxury item. They usually stay at camp as something dry to sleep or an extra if things aren’t going quite as planned. This counts as your change of clothing. Wool or a synthetic work well.
1 Mid Layer Shirt –
Same as the long johns.
1 Insulated Top –
I carry this every day for when we stop to glass and in case we have to spend the night out on the mountain. I have used the old school polyester sweater and the fancy, superlight, waterproof down. The poly sweater is bulletproof but heavier and bulkier. The down jacket is incredibly light and warm but does not hold up very well to all the abuse it receives. If it’s one hunt and you’re careful, the down is probably the way to go.
1 Pair Insulated Pants –
This is the same as the insulated top except the waterproof down pants are much easier to get into and out of so I think they are the move. They get torn to hell if you do anything without your rain pants overtop, but they are awfully warm and light. I have not tried any other synthetic pants so I can’t speak to them.
1 Toque/Hat – A wool or synthetic.
1 Neck Warmer/Dickie –
synthetic is best because of the moisture build up if it covers your mouth. I think this is the most underappreciated piece of kit to keep your neck, face and your whole body warm.
1 Pair of Gloves –
good, warm when wet gloves are key. Fleece has been my favorite as they dry much faster than wool and it’s hard to find straight wool gloves, but they both work. Do not get neoprene gloves. They look like a wet suit so you think they would be good in the rain but they are terrible. They keep your hands wet which can be a serious problem.
4 Pairs of Socks –
I still don’t know what socks are best, but they should be wool or synthetic. I cycle through 3 pairs of socks and keep 1 clean dry pair in a Ziploc bag in my pack in case I really need them.
1 Set of 100% Waterproof Rain Jacket and Pants –
This stuff will get tested big time. Water resistant, water repellant and breathable all mean that they are not completely waterproof. You need waterproof. After a few days of steady rain, gore tex is not a lot of fun. If it is raining and you’re climbing you are going to get wet from sweat regardless of how ‘breathable’ your gear claims to be. I wear Helly Hansen Impertech and have for years. It’s relatively cheap, light, pretty tough, and legitimately waterproof. I have watched many hunters with fancy rain gear get soaked while I was relatively dry. However, I have never tried the fancy stuff so I can’t say for sure.
A 6000” or Better Pack –
A good big pack is key. I have only every used Mystery Ranch packs and they have been great. They are not the lightest but they handle big loads well and stand up to all the abuse I have subjected them to. I’m sure there are other good packs out there but I have seen and heard too many stories of the fancy, super lightweight packs failing miserably and would suggest you stay away from them.
Cosco’s Yukon Outfitters Baseball Cap.
This should always be on your body, I prefer the Leatherman Wave.
Again always on your body.
8-10 power with a 42mm objective are the most common. Go for waterproof and good quality.
I always have mine around my neck so it’s always with you when you need it. There are a lot out there that will work, but I think the Fenix hl50 is as good as they get.
I usually get made fun of a lot for wearing them around camp right until people buy their own pair. Regardless of how they look, they don’t absorb water, are lightweight, and let your feet breath after a long day on the trail.
0F Sleeping Bag –
I prefer synthetics because wet down scares me. I have heard very mixed reviews of the super lightweight bags so it may be worth trying it out before your trip if that’s what you plan to use. No matter how light the bag is, it’s no good if you can’t sleep comfortably in it. I am on my 3rd Mountain Hardware Lamina 0F and love it. They start losing their warmth after 5 years of heavy use but they don’t owe me anything by then.
Sleeping Pad –
There are a ton of different ones out there but they are not all created equal. The fancy, super light, super compact ones have failed me very early on and then you are basically sleeping on 2 pieces of saran wrap. Some people have had better luck with them but the 2 different ones I tried didn’t last the first hunt. I like the thermarest trail pro. It is not the lightest or thickest or anything special but it is adequate for everything and even if it loses air there is still something more than 2 sheets of plastic between you and the elements.
as little as possible. Tooth brush and paste, pain killers, medication.