Everytime we plan a vacation or business trip we run the risk of forgetting something. A hunting trip can be no different in fact here at nonresident elk hunter we know that a wilderness hunting adventure is even more important. Gear lists are living ever evolving entities that differ from hunt to hunt. Today we are going to focus on our archery elk hunting checklist.


Your backpack is the foundation you are going to be building your system on, so it is important to have one that is comfortable and versatile. A good frame pack is essential and should be able to carry loads up to 80 or 100 pounds. A good set of trekking poles go hand in hand with your frame pack and on back country hunts, they really help support heavy loads. I also have a day pack to carry all my daily hunting gear, clothing and accessories. Over the years I’ ve used many packs ranging in price from $80 to over $400. Many of the more expensive ones were ones with large bags to keep your gear clean and dry. I have found myself using my bare frame on more hunts than the heavier more expensive packs that I have. Since we started using heavy cotton military laundry bags for game bags, we found that they work really well for separating items according to weight or category when loading your frame. The drawstrings on these bags makes it easy to secure the bags to the frame without fear of losing small items. My day pack is smaller and has one main compartment with one smaller pocket. In this I keep a small first aid kit, a butcher kit rain gear, food for the day and spare items.



This is not the section to cut down to a minimum because most of these items are going to be geared towards comfort There’s nothing worse than putting in a long hard day of elk hunting and crawling in to a cold and uncomfortable bed. Start with a good quality tent with a large tarp covering the tent and big enough to have an outside dry storage area Then for my bed I like to have an air mattress and a sleeping bag rated for the season I’m hunting. But if I’m packing light I’ll use a lightweight folding cot. I like to use a small butane stove to boil water for dehydrated meals and coffee. We got used to taking a small tarp along to make a shower stall with a solar shower hanging in. A lot of the time we heat water on our stove to have a hot shower every day. This section is about comfort so when possible I take a lawn chair. I say when possible because sometimes we use an outfitter to take us into the wilderness and there is little weight restrictions when we do.

CLOTHING                                               Legendary Whitetails

This section is relatively straight forward. I like to have three sets of hunting clothes, that includes socks underwear tee shirts scent control tops and bottoms camo pants long sleeve shirt and jackets. I carry lightweight rain gear in my day pack. When backpack hunting I wear a set of hunting clothes for the pack in then wash them for hunting. We use a garbage bag to wash our clothes in at a nearby stream. I like to have a wool beanie with me to sleep in when the nights are cold in September. I have a down vest that compresses to a very small package but is great for adding a warm layer. Elk hunting requires a lot of walking so comfortable and well-made boots are a must. We always take at least two pairs of boots, your feet will thank you for the change. It’s a good idea to compliment your boots with a pair of gators that will help keep out the morning dew and debris.


There are too many ways to eat on a hunt to mention here so we’re going to keep it broad and you can tune it to your liking. When you’re hiking in the high country you will be burning a lot of calories so you must keep your intake between two and three thousand calories per day. In our early days of elk hunting we relied on MRE’s . Although the calories were there the food was horrible to eat, but they were self-contained with everything you needed for a day. Now we eat mostly dehydrated food either store bought or self-made. Another great option we found is hamburger and tuna helper meals. I recommend using venison burger for dehydrating due to lower fat content. I like to have oatmeal for breakfast and snacks on hand while hunting. We usually hunt from sunrise till late morning then head back to camp for a good lunch and a shower. While in camp we do any necessary chores such as dishes and laundry.



  • License/Hunter Ed card
  • Bow/Arrows/Broadheads
  • Quiver/Bowsling
  • Rangefinder
  • Binoculars
  • GPS/Map/Compass
  • Game Camera
  • Fishing Rod/Spinners
  • Day pack/Framepack
  • First Aid Kit
  • Headlamp
  • Camera
  • Alarm Clock
  • Water Bladder
  • Bugle tube/Cow calls
  • Wind Checker
  • Cell Phone/Satellite communicator
  • Power bank/Solar charger
  • Filter straw
  • Fire starter
  • Multi tool
  • Spare batteries
  • Four meat bags
  • Knife/Spare blades
  • 100 feet para chord
  • 8X8 poly tarp
  • Survey Tape/Briteyes

CAMPING GEAR                                                                                                      

  • Tent (four man four season)
  • Cover tarp(12×20)
  • Air Mattress/Pump
  • Sleeping Bag/Pillow
  • Toilet Paper
  • Solar Shower Bag
  • 5 gallon water bag/Water Filter
  • 150 feet of rope
  • Tent Lantern
  • Stove/cooking pot
  • Coffee Pot
  • Soap/Shampoo
  • Deodorant/Personal Hygiene Items
  • Towel/Washcloth
  • Mess Kit/Utensils


  • 3 Pair Socks
  • 3 Pair Underwear
  • 3 Tee Shirts
  • 3 Pair Camo Pants
  • 3 Long Sleeve Como Shirts
  • 2 Pair Camo Gloves
  • 2 Baseball style Camo Hats
  • Wool Beanie
  • Camo Scent control Beanie
  • 3 Scent control Tops
  • 3 Scent control Bottoms
  • 2 Pair Boots/Gators
  • Rain Gear
  • Sweat Pants
  • 2 Sweatshirts
  • Cold Weather Tops and Bottoms


  • Dehydrated Meals(chili Mac, spaghetti, etc.)
  • Mixed Nuts
  • Dried Fruit
  • Coffee
  • Drink Mix Powder
  • Meal Replacement Bars
  • Oatmeal
  • Protein Bars
  • Fiber Bars
  • Energy Bars
  • Hamburger Helper
  • Tuna Helper
  • Snacks

Like I said in the beginning of this article lists are ever evolving so don’t let this list be your end list for every hunt. You will learn how to pack for each trip correctly if you use this as a guide. If, you use pack animals your list will be different from a backpack trip. Whether hunting the wilderness or camping at a campground try to be as prepared as possible for any circumstance possible including the weather which can change suddenly.



Happy Hunting                                                                                                      

The Nonresident Hunter

Feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comment box below and I will answer all in a timely manner.







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