Hunting the remote wilderness of northern British Columbia is taxing on your body and equipment. Outside of training and preparing physically for your hunt, you can save energy and strain by reducing pack weight. A few pounds of shaved weight is noticeable with every step on a steep mountainside. Sheep hunts, mountain caribou and mountain goat hunts often require hiking and scrambling over difficult terrain. Throw in long days on the mountain and you are in for a workout.
While shaving pounds is important, some things are too important to leave behind. Purchasing high end, lightweight rain gear will save weight without sacrificing your ability to stay dry. You also need sharp knives and game bags for processing. Good optics including binoculars, rangefinder and spotting scope are critical. Dress in layers and use modern, lightweight materials that insulate well without weighing you down. To reduce your gear weight even further, consider spending the extra money on a quality sleeping bag that compresses well.
Beyond processing knives/bags, optics, weapon and clothes, you do not require much on a guided trip. Food and water are the next big items and are very important, but your guide will have you covered in that department.
Reducing weight requires parting with some of your creature comforts. Chairs, oversized sleeping pads, and gadgets can all stay behind. Wear your primary set of clothes and skip the backups. You may stink but a single set of clothes saves weight in the long run. Pack everything into stuff sacks or compression sacks to reduce their size and the need for a larger pack.
The one place hunters shouldn’t skimp is the pack itself. An ultralight backpack might feel fine with a little bit of day hunting gear. But how comfortable will it be if you need to pack for a few days in a spike camp? If you end up needing to load meat or antlers, even for a short distance, a quality pack can be worth its weight. Look for quality packs that are hunting specific and have the straps and reinforced designs necessary to haul heavier loads.
Written by Zach Lazzari
Zach Lazzari is a fly fishing guide and freelance writer. When he’s not fishing, Zach is chasing big game, upland birds and waterfowl in the Rocky Mountains and Northwest.