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Ranchhand02
01-16-2012, 03:17 PM
I am currently doing research and starting to purchase some gear to go on my first DIY public land hunt in colorado. I am wanting to do a mule deer hunt in the 2nd or 3rd season. I am a whitetail hunter from western oklahoma. I do not have any backpacking or camping gear. What would you recomend for a sleeping setup? Thanks

Bitterroot Bulls
01-16-2012, 03:54 PM
Solo or partner?

Ranchhand02
01-16-2012, 07:00 PM
I will probably have a friend with me, but I am going to gear up as if I was going by myself just in case I end up going by myself.

Bitterroot Bulls
01-16-2012, 08:16 PM
Here is some of my tried-and-true solo backpacking shelter gear:

Tent: Tarptent Contrail
Sleeping Bag: Big Agnes Zirkel SL
Pad: Thermarest Neoair

The good stuff ain't cheap. I love the Tarptent, because I always take trekking poles as well, and its nice to get dual use out of your gear. A good ultralight traditional tent is the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1. However, it is heavier, more expensive, and less roomy than the Tarptent.

T43
01-17-2012, 08:50 AM
I use a big Agnes storm king long bag. My tent is a eureka tetragon that I got as a budget tent but it works well enough I'm not ready to upgrade yet. My pad is a thermarest I think it's called the scout or something like that. I have a closed cell pad I can use as an extra pad but I usually use my crazy creek lounger as a 3/4 pad instead. I also have a fleece liner to make the bag warmer but I haven't needed it yet.

Kevin Root
01-17-2012, 09:56 AM
When I was first getting into backpacking, I got whatever was cheap that I could afford. I was younger, and did not have much money so weight did not seem to matter. As I've gotten older I've learned that I'll enjoy my time outdoors in the backcountry the lighter I can make my pack. It's kind of been a work in progress as equipment continually evolves and gets better too. I look for a combination of good performance, comfort with weight in mind especially if I'm hunting and I'm packing out an animal on my back that I killed. :D

If you have a place in your area that you can rent gear that could be something to look into so you can try backpacking out. There are a lot of good options and ideas here on the forum, "Lightweight" and this one, "Everything Backcountry". I'd also recommend perhaps getting some of the hunting books here on Eastman's, Hunting High Country Mule Deer by Mike Eastman and Public Land Mulies by David W. Long. There is also another one by Cameron Haynes, Backcountry Bowhunting. http://www.cameronhanes.com/store/backcountry-bowhunting-a-guide-to-the-wild-side/

All the books are all jam packed with great information on hunting the backcountry. Each of the books have sections about backpacking and equipment too. They are all well worth the time in reading.

Ranchhand02
01-17-2012, 01:32 PM
I was thinking of ordereing both of those mule deer books. I seen on eastmans website that they have a combo pack with both books and a DVD for $40 or $50. I think it will be money well spent. There is really no place that rents gear aroud where I am at. There is little public land and not any good places to go backpacking. I am trying to do most of my research on the internet as well as check out the limited selection of gear in the local sporting goods stores.

Kevin Root
01-17-2012, 02:14 PM
I was thinking of ordereing both of those mule deer books. I seen on eastmans website that they have a combo pack with both books and a DVD for $40 or $50. I think it will be money well spent. There is really no place that rents gear aroud where I am at. There is little public land and not any good places to go backpacking. I am trying to do most of my research on the internet as well as check out the limited selection of gear in the local sporting goods stores.

I've found the books were very informative and it will be good reading to help you prepare. Best wishes to you Ranchhand02 on your future hunt and adventure into the backcountry. There is plenty good public land out in CO where you are heading to explore!

Bitterroot Bulls
01-17-2012, 02:33 PM
I think those books are a great start. Public Land Mulies is required reading for the DIY Mulie hunter, for a lot of reasons.

However, I have found forums, and none are better than Eastmans for this, are the best places to find good info on ultralight backpack hunting gear, because it is constantly improving and evolving. A thread like this one can help a lot. Just try to recognize the "honeymoon" reviews from folks with their brand new gear. The best info comes when the shine wears off.

I know that David Long's gear has changed a lot since he wrote his book.

Kevin Root
01-17-2012, 04:33 PM
I think those books are a great start. Public Land Mulies is required reading for the DIY Mulie hunter, for a lot of reasons.

However, I have found forums, and none are better than Eastmans for this, are the best places to find good info on ultralight backpack hunting gear, because it is constantly improving and evolving. A thread like this one can help a lot. Just try to recognize the "honeymoon" reviews from folks with their brand new gear. The best info comes when the shine wears off.

I know that David Long's gear has changed a lot since he wrote his book.

All the Eastmans' forums have been very helpful in gaining information, feedback and encouragement. I've found the Eastmans' forum somewhat addicting in finding gems of information. Over the years I've upgraded half a dozen stoves and other various pieces of equipment. The book revisions can't keep up near fast enough for equipment innovation. Now my bigger obstacle, explaining to my wife why I need/want yet another hunting pack and new scope for my gun :D.

I'll add my bag to the thread, Marmont, Plasma 15, 1 lb 14 oz. I like the bag but the material is so ultra lightweight I'm concerned how durable it will be over time. I'll be upgrading my pad to one Bitteroot Bulls has listed in another thread from a Thermarest Zlite to a Neoair. I use a Outdoor Research Alpine bivy as a solo tent, 1.9 lb. I don't like not having the room to put much in the bivy with me though but it's been a durable tent.

Bitterroot Bulls
01-17-2012, 04:42 PM
All the Eastmans' forums have been very helpful in gaining information, feedback and encouragement. I've found the Eastmans' forum somewhat addicting in finding gems of information. Over the years I've upgraded half a dozen stoves and other various pieces of equipment. The book revisions can't keep up near fast enough for equipment innovation. Now my bigger obstacle, explaining to my wife why I need/want yet another hunting pack and new scope for my gun :D.

I'll add my bag to the thread, Marmont, Plasma 15, 1 lb 14 oz. I like the bag but the material is so ultra lightweight I worry how durable it will be over time. I'll be upgrading my pad to one Bitteroot Bulls has listed in another thread from a Thermarest Zlite to a Neoair. I use a Outdoor Research Alpine bivy as a solo tent, 1.9 lb. I don't like not having the room to put much in the bivy with me though but it's been a durable tent.

I very nearly bought that Plasma bag. I ended up with the BA Zirkel SL because I love the pad sleeve feature. Check out those Tarptents ... Bivy weights, but with more room.

hardcore09
01-17-2012, 04:43 PM
Hey bitterroot, Where's the best place to buy one of those tarptents, they look like the way to go! Ive been looking at getting the Fly Creek UL1 but after you've mentioned the Contrail I'm really liking the looks of it! How long have you been using one and hows it holding up? Thanks for the great Info.

Bitterroot Bulls
01-17-2012, 05:04 PM
I purchased mine directly from Tarptent:

http://www.tarptent.com

The only durability issue I have had was I punched a hole through the top of mine through user error. I did not get my trekking pole seated in the grommet before cranking the guy lines down. I fixed it with silicone sealant and spare material from Tarptent. I have used it for three seasons, and it is otherwise like new.

One caveat with Tarptent is you seam seal it yourself with silicone and mineral spirits. It is easy to do, but takes a little time. Instructions on seam sealing are included. I was able to do it myself without trouble. You can also pay Tarptent to do it for you.

You can also buy an inexpensive center pole to use instead of a trekking pole, and it works OK, but the trekking pole is the way to go. I have also used sticks (worked surprisingly well) and just guyed out to an overhead branch. Tarptents are very versatile.

Kevin Root
01-17-2012, 05:09 PM
I very nearly bought that Plasma bag. I ended up with the BA Zirkel SL because I love the pad sleeve feature. Check out those Tarptents ... Bivy weights, but with more room.

I did actually check out the Tarptent you have and watched a video on it being setup. It looked like a slick tent. I liked the sleeve option on your bag and looked at getting that actually too. My bivy has a tie for the pad. I change positions a bit at night and did not know if I'd like having the pad in the bag or not. I went with Marmont pretty much having liked their stuff in the past for the most part.

I look out for your posts Bitterroot Bulls. When I see your name on the forum I make sure I look at what you've said. You have some good posts on here! Thanks :)

Bitterroot Bulls
01-17-2012, 05:11 PM
I forgot to mention the one (minor) thing I don't like about the Contrail. The front vestibule closes with Velcro. It is kind of annoying compared to a zipper, but it actually holds better than I thought. I have been in some pretty good winds in that thing without it coming open.

hardcore09
01-17-2012, 05:14 PM
Great it sounds like a good system for the backcountry type hunting! Thanks a lot for the info. I think ill be purchasing one soon!

Bitterroot Bulls
01-17-2012, 05:28 PM
I did actually check out the Tarptent you have and watched a video on it being setup. It looked like a slick tent. I liked the sleeve option on your bag and looked at getting that actually too. My bivy has a tie for the pad. I change positions a bit at night and did not know if I'd like having the pad in the bag or not. I went with Marmont pretty much having liked their stuff in the past for the most part.

I look out for your posts Bitterroot Bulls. When I see your name on the forum I make sure I look at what you've said. You have some good posts on here! Thanks :)

Thanks for the kind words, Kevin. Thanks for all you have shared as well. I don't mean to get all sappy, but I think this forum has a real community feel.

As far as the pad sleeve goes, it is really nice when you change positions a lot: I do too. I always ended up off my pad and with my bag twisted around me before I switched to Big Agnes.

Jon Boy
01-17-2012, 06:45 PM
How late in the season have you used that tarp tent BB?

Bitterroot Bulls
01-17-2012, 07:26 PM
How late in the season have you used that tarp tent BB?

I set it up on a foot of snow once.

BigSurArcher
01-17-2012, 09:17 PM
I have an REI sub-kilo that I really enjoy. It's so light and packable, yet warm and cozy down to about 15 degrees. Weight is 1.8 lbs. They are pricey at about $360, but I got mine for about $100 at one of those awesome REI blowout sales. I got it in 2009, and it's held up great (although I use it in a bivy sack much of the time).

I suggest getting a compression sack for whatever you buy if it doesn't come with one. You don't want to store your bag in the compression sack, but when you hit the hills the extra compactness is really nice. Forgive me for stating the obvious here!

sjsmallfield
01-18-2012, 01:47 PM
Hey everyone. New for 2012 Sierra Designs is coming out with a new series of bags. They have come up with a new treated Water Resistant Down. My boss took the new catalog home so I will try to post more info when he brings it back. Just thought you all might be intrested. Good luck!

Kevin Root
01-18-2012, 01:58 PM
Hey everyone. New for 2012 Sierra Designs is coming out with a new series of bags. They have come up with a new treated Water Resistant Down. My boss took the new catalog home so I will try to post more info when he brings it back. Just thought you all might be intrested. Good luck!

Very cool. Water resistant down would be a huge innovation in the outdoor industry if the weight and heat retention properties are not affected much. Let us know more when you get some. Yes, very interested on my end.

sjsmallfield
01-18-2012, 02:04 PM
Very cool. Water resistant down would be a huge innovation in the outdoor industry if the weight and heat retention properties are not affected much. Let us know more when you get some. Yes, very interested on my end.

From what I know so far the weight and heat retention poperties aren't affected at all and just as appealling the PRICE won't be affected much either. I will keep you posted.

Jon Boy
01-18-2012, 07:36 PM
I set it up on a foot of snow once.

I think I might have to get one myself then haha I have a tendency to head into the back country when theres a good bit of snow and temps are low :D

Bitterroot Bulls
01-18-2012, 08:07 PM
Jon Boy,

I am NOT recommending the Tarptent as a four season tent, it has very little insulating value, and is not designed to carry a bunch of snow.

I much prefer a wall tent, myself.

Jon Boy
01-18-2012, 09:37 PM
Gotcha BB. It looked a little thin to do much insulating. I usually do a 24 hour bonzai trip that late in the season where I go in at nite get a few hours of rest (usually just bring my bag, pad, handwarmers and tarp and build a fire) and come out the following evening. This looks like it could be a little nicer than that while being really light and easy to set up.

Jon Boy
01-18-2012, 09:41 PM
Ive also been looking at this for summer and early archery trips
http://www.bargainoutfitters.com/net/cb/cb.aspx?a=328267

Highcountry Dreams
01-18-2012, 09:48 PM
I have been using a Kifaru SuperTarp for several years and love it. By itself it works great for early season hunts and once winter sets in I add the Annex and Wood Stove. It weighs a pound by itself and about 4 lbs for the winter set up. For sleep system I use a Jacks-R-Better quilt and 2 pads (a foam base and inflatable top pad). Overall camp weighs around 3-6 lbs (depending on season) and I am able to use the same gear year-round (which saves money... to use on more tags!).

IL Hntr
01-18-2012, 09:55 PM
I have upgraded my shelter to a Lightheart Gear SoLong 6. I currently have a Western Mountaineering Badger 15 bag but thinking about buying a Marmot Plasma 30 or Montbell UL Super Spiral Down #3 for early season hunts to save over a pound. I currently use a Nemo Astro Air Insulated Pad but am considering a Neoair Xlite in a Large which will save me some weight too. As you can see after only one 7 day backcountry hunt for elk in Colorado I'm trying to shave as much weight as I can.

Ranchhand02
01-19-2012, 09:18 AM
Hey everyone. New for 2012 Sierra Designs is coming out with a new series of bags. They have come up with a new treated Water Resistant Down. My boss took the new catalog home so I will try to post more info when he brings it back. Just thought you all might be intrested. Good luck!

I would like to see that. Keep us posted.

Ranchhand02
01-19-2012, 09:19 AM
What sleeping bags would you recomend. I have about narrowed down my choice on sleeping pads and tents. I need to find me a sleeping bag now.

Graylight
01-20-2012, 03:01 PM
You cannot get a better bag IMO than a Western Mountaineering bag... They are down bags, superlite and very compressable... Not very easy on the wallet but... You get what you pay for!

Elk Hunter
01-22-2012, 01:58 PM
I agree Western Mountaineering bags are the best I know of. Its the best I have tried. My gear has changed a lot since I first backpacked in for elk about 9 years ago. I would recommend taking a 4-season tent just in case. It could be t-shirt weather or you could be tracking in snow, and occasionally you get to do both in the same day. Beating snow off your tent all night to keep it from collapsing is not the most fun. The 4-season tents I have used you sometimes don't even know it is snowing until you hear it slide off the tent. They do tend to be heavier. A two man Sierra Designs I used in the past weighs around 11 lbs. I currently use a Hilleberg Soulo, which is about 5.5 lbs including footprint. This is the best tent I have ever used. Expensive, but I would have saved money if I had just started out with this one. Several options to save weight, but being able to set up in the rain without getting the inside wet is a big plus.

Brocka
02-22-2012, 03:04 PM
Anybody have any experience with the Kelty Cosmic Down 20 degree bag?

http://www.kelty.com/p-457-cosmic-down-20.aspx

labman
02-22-2012, 08:22 PM
Ranchhand I am an Okie as well doing my first DIY hunt this year. I have started putting together my gear as well and I have a western mountaineering badger bag and a 4 man seek outside tipi with a stove. I am hunting with my brother so we can split the weight.

tommyp
02-22-2012, 08:28 PM
I use a Marmot Helium 15 degree for my pack in adventures from mid sept through early winter. I use a kelty lightyear 25 degree down for August high country.