Always carry the meat processing tools you need, after all, the entire plan is to harvest game. There is not much need in this regard. A good hunting knife will do everything. I carry plastic garbage bags, some light rope and a knife sharpener. I usually quarter up the critter I get and let it hang over night to cool out, then bone out all the meat and put it in the bags before packing.....your average sized elk in the Rockies is gonna be between 3 and 5 hundred lbs, but after boning you will have approximately 150 pounds. Two guys can manage this easily carrying a boned out ham, shoulder and back strap each, with a trip back to bring out camp and maybe the cape and horns, if you intend to have him mounted. Several times I have carried an entire boned-out deer in one trip, and once did it with a bighorn ram. If you are not exactly sure how to do this there is an excellent DVD on the CDOW website that you can purchase to show you how. It should also be noted that Colorado has an excellent website with many other tips and ways to help plan your hunt.
I also carry a good quality, but lightweight nylon rain suit on all my backpack hunting trips. I tend to like wool clothing from my head to my toes, even wool/poly blend long johns and good wool socks, camera with self timer, note pad and pencil for keeping a journal, a small pillow, some add-water type refreshments like cool aid, Gatorade and some instant coffee and teabags in whatever flavor you like, and of course snacks of the lightweight variety, maybe jerky from the elk you got last year. All this stuff is very lightweight and doesn't take up much room.
One other thing I recommend doing is to go out and test your gear before you are actually on your dream backpack hunt. If something does not work well I would rather find it out while on a camping trip in the summer time, when mistakes might not be as costly.
Backpack hunting is not for everyone I understand, but if you are physically up for the challenges, it can be a very rewarding and sometimes successful hunting experience.
Post Script.....pics are all from several different backpack hunts......dall ram was from the Alaska Range on the Kuskoquim River, Bighorn Sheep at beginning of article was right out my back window in the Sangre De Cristo Mountains.
Allen is a water well contractor in central Colo. He has lived and hunted with gun and bow in Colorado since moving there in 1975. He is a former state champion and all-American trapshooter and also loves long range shooting, varmint hunting and Texas holdem poker.Join the discussion of this article with the author HERE at the Article Discussion Forum.