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Packing in ..... insanity

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Old 03-16-2014, 09:23 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Fairview Alfa, Louisiana
Posts: 193
Packing in ..... insanity

Well Fellas I am considering returning to the CO. Rockies after being unsuccessful this past year due to a combination of factors in the second rifle season.

In the past two years I have camped where the truck could go and strike out on foot from there. The elevation is around 10K and the terrain steep steep steep , long story short after 2hrs reaching the areas I hunt I am ringing wet , half naked in 12F weather so misery is quick to come .
I have always wanted to spike camp in and had planed to but something sways me from the Idea, this past year I let some first timers in camp talk me out of spending a few days on the mountain alone . Safety being their main concern.

Ultimately I only make a hunt or 2 in the areas that have appreciable elk and lite hunting pressure simply because I am not willing or able to make that trip every morning of the season and end up hunting near camp.

This year I plan to spike in to those areas , my concerns are staying warm over night , staying dry in the event of snow .

I have a super large spike pack , micro stove, 3man 4 season tent (though it is a little heavy ). I have a 0F Browning sleeping that I have froze my ass off in 15f temps while trying to sleep (on a cot and a foam mat in a tent) .

I guess What I need to know is what is a sleeping bag/ mat combo that will keep me warm!!!!!
Also what about tarps ? I am not sure I understand the concept. I am not planning on moving camp daily but I am not ruling out moving a time or to while spiking
Finally I am 6' 1" 270lb and am willing to pack some extra weight to ensure comfort at night .
Any and all suggestions are Welcome
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Old 03-16-2014, 12:27 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Washington State
Posts: 2,459
Re: Packing in ..... insanity

There are many combinations of bags and pads that would work. In terms of the best, lightest gear likely to work, I would look at the Thermarest XTherm pad in the size you think you need and either Feathered Friends (they will make a custom down bag for you to fit that fits you well--I had 'em make a -30F rated bag for me a few years ago) or Western Mountaineering bag. These are probably the best, lightest, and most expensive options. However, there are many other options that would work, but they'll weigh more and be more bulky, guaranteed.

The biggest issue I find in many years of backcountry wilderness backpack hunting is the ability to warm up and dry off each evening so you can hunt hard the next day. A tent with a wood stove, in my humble opinion, is one of the key pieces of equipment to have to be able to hunt hard day after day. If you are assured of good weather where you hunt (who is), then the stove might not be as big of a deal.
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Old 03-16-2014, 12:55 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Jax Fl.
Posts: 478
Re: Packing in ..... insanity

Western Mountaineering Kodiak bag and an Exped ul Downmat 7 or Exped ul Synmat 9. If you buy any other bag other than Western Mountaineering or Feathered Friends you need to subtract at least 20F off their rating to get a true comfort rating and probably more. The two bags mentioned are as good as is made and will last decades if taken care of. The new thing in down is waterproof treatment. Watch out for this as the waterproof will degrade over time and the treatment makes the down perform at a higher rating. Your waterproof down rated at 850 fill power is really 650 down treated. As the waterproof fades so does the down power fade. Not only do you loose the waterproof over time but insulation power too ! Plain old down works great and has not been improved with waterproofing imo.
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Old 03-16-2014, 06:41 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Fairview Alfa, Louisiana
Posts: 193
Re: Packing in ..... insanity

Ok fellas I am picking my self up off the floor after seeing the prices of the mentioned ibrands of sleeping bags.(over Half my trip budget
After reading reviews and they appear to be nothing short of awesome .

I am willing to pack more weight to save some bucks, I would probably spring for one of those bags if I lived where it got cold enough to use such a bag with some regularity but I do not know if next year will be my last and it just does not get cold enough in Louisiana.
Has any body had experience with Wiggy's Brand?
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Old 03-17-2014, 04:43 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Colorado
Posts: 587
Re: Packing in ..... insanity

Here's my sleeping setup that is VERY warm and comfortable, and I am 6'4" 220 lbs so I understand how uncomfortable sleeping on the ground can be for bigger guys. This is the same setup I use every year including last year's 1st rifle elk season on the western slope in Colorado... it snowed every day and the only time I was warm was at night in my sleeping bag.

Marmot Limelite 3-person 3-season tent. Enough room for 2 guys and has dual vestibules which is great to keep boots/gear under cover, but not in the actual tent. Light enough to carry even when I hunt alone. has held up in some pretty big snow storms. holds in heat at night which is nice, but not as much heat as a 4-season.

Mountain Hardware Lamina 0` long sleeping bag. Heavier than down, but also less expensive. My dad is 6'4" 260 lbs, and he has had good luck with a northface goliath 0` bag... not sure if they make that bag anymore.

Exped Megamat 10 pad... crazy comfortable/warm with an R-value of 9.5, but very heavy/bulky (would like to upgrade to a thermarest neoair XTherm to save weight, but don't want to spend the money right now) I have used a standard thermarest in the past but sleep like crap on it so don't use it anymore.

And do your best to try and find another guy to hunt with. Not only is it safer but splitting up the gear really lowers the total weight you'll have to carry in.
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Old 03-17-2014, 10:04 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Los Lunas, NM
Posts: 134
Re: Packing in ..... insanity

This is going to sound weird but it fits me. Don't knock it until you try it. I buy one of those inflatable pools toys in the summer that have the head rest for floating in the pool. If you find a light cheap one you have a 4" air mattress with pillow to sleep on. If it only last a week I have only spent about $5 on it. Doesn't take much to air up and they usually hold air overnight so I am not on the ground. For really cold weather I have one of those old military goose down mummy bags that I don't even know if you can get anymore.

Make two x's out of limbs with a ridgepole and drape a lightweight plastic painters drop cloth and layer with pine boughs. I have slept very snug and dry down to about 15 degrees in about a 3" snow in this set up.

There are many options it just depends on what works for you. Also for size comparison I am 6' 3" and about 250 pounds.
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Old 03-19-2014, 06:10 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Fairview Alfa, Louisiana
Posts: 193
Re: Packing in ..... insanity

Thanks fellas. I am sendi ng in my app in a few days and have decided for first choice muzzleloader and second for 1st rifle .
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