Elk Hunting Gear List

Gear can make or break a hunt. In the backcountry, there are some essential items every mountain traveler should carry whether on a simple day hike or a multi-day adventure. September and October are the best month of the year in Montana with the color change of leaves and cool, crisp mornings. Extra caution should be taken as we move into winter.

Once we leave the trailhead bound for camp, get used to carrying your day essentials, daily clothing and your bow. September weather typically is very cool in the morning and hot during the day. Our camps reach elevation up to 8200ft. September storms could turn to blizzard real quick. Always carry in your backpack what you’ll need if you shoot an elk in the evening and expect it to take 2-3 hours to break down the elk and hang in tree. We are in grizzly country along with black bears, mountain lions, coyote, fox, etc… and you do not want to loose your hard earned harvest to predators or the heat.

Weather History in September
Average high temp 70 deg
Average low temp 29 deg
Average total precipitation 1 inch
Average snow fall .5 inch

Weather History in October
Average high temp 62 deg
Average low temp 29 deg
Average total precipitation 1 inch
Average snow fall .5 inch

Sunset/Sunrise – September 15
Sunrise 7:10am
Sunset 7:42pm


Sunset/Sunrise – October 15
Sunrise 7:48am
Sunset 6:46pm

What to Expect at Camp
In our hunting area, cell service does not exist. Weather changes can be great and powerful.  Below is a good gear list for your Montana wilderness hunt that llamas will pack into hunt camp. Each hunter is limited to 25lbs of gear llamas will carry to camp. Each hunter will always carry their own “day hunting essential gear” in your backpack. Our pack llamas will transport all other gear to camp.

We will provide tipi style tents made by Seek Outside with titanium wood stoves, roll-a-cots sleeping pads, camp pillow, and  boot dryer by Peet Dryer. In some instances, 3 people may share a sleeping tent. The wood stoves are used mostly in the morning waking up and getting dressed. They are not meant to keep you warm all night. The stoves require constant attention throughout the night. Please make sure you have the appropriate sleeping bag. If you get cold in the night, put on your layers. I usually sleep in a base layer top and bottom, fleece/insulated jacket or vest with a wool ski hat on and socks. You cal always take layers off if you get too hot. 

Shower is available with a small shelter and camp shower. Showers are nice on the third or forth day.

Toiletries and other personal equipment
Even though we have the trusty strong llamas to carry our gear, food and beverage into the mountains, it still is important for us to be as efficient as possible. This means keeping toiletries and other personal equipment to a minimum. Please use travel size toiletries.

Day Hunting Essentials

Mother Earth can unleash her fury with inches of snow and a temperature swing of more than 40 degrees! Or it can be warm and sunny. Either way, we must all be prepared with food, water, and weather protection. Plus we’ll need all our necessities and miscellaneous gear for a day of hunting.

  • Backpack approximately 2745 cu in/45 liters with ability to haul meat. We are fond of the Mystery Ranch Sawtooth 45.
    A backpack that can pack meat out is necessary. Especially for our self-guided hunters. Your backpack will carry your “day hunting essential gear”. Please note: when you have an animal down, our pack llamas may not be able to get right to kill spot. Therefore, as a team, you’ll have to pack your meat in your backpacks to a rendezvous spot accessible to the llamas. Checkout the Mystery Ranch Hunting Packs or similar.
  • Backpack Rain Cover.
    Fourth rule of our operation: protect the gear.
  • Headlamp.
    A must! Get one that’s waterproof, has RED led, strobe, and lock mode. Bring extra batteries or charging device. Keep in your backpack. Checkout Black Diamond headlamps or similar.
  • 2-3 L water bladder with drinking hose or 2 – 1 liter water bottles.
    Its very important to stay hydrated. If you bring a bladder, bring a water bottle. Makes it easy around camp to drink.
  • Lunch Box – we’ll provide a lunch box
  • Bow and quiver
  • Archery release
  • Bow tools & spare part box
    Broad heads, allen wrench, etc…
  • Rangefinder.
    Checkout Vortex Optics Rangefinders
  • Binoculars
    Recommend 10 x 42. Checkout Vortex Optics Binoculars or similar.
  • Elk Calls
    Mouth reeds, Hoochie mama, bugle
  • 4 Game bags – 20L each
    We’ll bone out elk meat and only need lightweight bags. Game bags should have loops that can be hung from a tree. We prefer game bags from Black Thunder Gear or Mystery Ranch.
  • 6-8mm rope with carabiner to hang meat in game bags. 4 sections of 25 feet. Needs to be hung 10 feet up and 4 feet our in tree away from grizzly bears, black bears, coyotes, and wolves.
  • Gutting/Caping knife with extra blades or sharpener
  • InReach Garmin Satellite communication device with backup battery pack. (self-guided, DIY hunts)
  • GPS unit with maps (self-guided, DIY hunts)

Daily Clothing and misc

  • Hiking boots. We prefer 9 inch tall boots. They are better on the ankles in down debris and rocky terrain. Plus they help with shallow creek crossings. For October hunts, consider insullated boots .Checkout Schness Boots
  • Waterproof rain jacket, lightweight. Checkout Sitka Gear, Kuiu, First Lite or similar.
  • Waterproof pants, lightweight. Great to have. May not carry everyday. This item can go in camp clothing stuff sack.
  • Camo softshell, windproof jacket with hood. Checkout Sitka Gear, Kuiu, First Lite or similar.
  • Softshell/nylon camo hiking pants with pockets. Reinforced knees and seat a bonus. We like knee pads too. Checkout Sitka Gear, Kuiu, First Lite or similar.
  • Fleece or lightweight vest. Checkout Sitka Gear, Kuiu, First Lite or similar.
  • Light weight wool base layer shirt and bottoms. Long and short sleeve shirts. No cotton. You’ll wear this daily. One extra in camp gear.
  • Quick drying socks. No cotton. We prefer Montana alpaca hiking socks or Darn Tough merino wool. Make sure they are the correct thickness to match your boots. Thicker socks for colder weather can cause circulation problems if there isn’t enough room in boots.
  • Belt
  • Pocket knife
  • Light weight pair gloves
  • Heavy weight waterproof pair of gloves or mittens (October hunts)
  • Billed or brimmed hat
  • Warm hat similar to ski hat.
  • Bandanna. They have many uses.
  • Sunglasses
  • Camera or smart phone

Gear to pack on llamas for hunt camp

You’ll be given a 35 liter stuff sack for all your extra clothing and miscellaneous gear with a limit of 20 lbs per person. The 20 lb limit does not include your sleeping kit. Only extra clothing and personal items. Keep in mind, you’ll carry a lot of your extra layers. The weather is changing and we could expect snow at any time. Once we leave the trailhead, expect to carry in your hunting backpack all your clothing layers, game bags, knife kit, etc…

Sleeping Kit


  • 1 – Wool/fleece/synthetic jacket. No cotton. This should fit under an outer shell.
  • 1 – Top medium weight wool base layer
  • 1- Bottom medium weight wool base layer
  • 2 – Top lightweight wool base layer. Two extra to change out. They can also be washed at camp.
  • 4-6 pair underwear/boxers. No cotton. Wool and/or quick drying.
  • 5-6 pairs of quick drying socks. No cotton. Don’t forget a thick comfy sock for camp. We prefer Montana alpaca hiking socks or merino wool. Make sure they are the correct thickness to match your boots. Thicker socks for colder weather can cause circulation problems if there isn’t enough room in boots.
  • Medium weight pair of gloves.
  • Ski hat, balaclava or similar
  • Light weight camp shoes. Something light weight that is good for wet muddy conditions around camp. Checkout Crocs, Muck Boots or LaCrosse.

Misc Gear

  • Extra arrows. Please store in protective case to avoid breaking during transport to camp.
  • Battery bank for charging devices. We like Goal Zero. Camp will have a small solar panel for charging. This is shared by everyone in camp.

Meds and Hygiene

  • Sunglasses/prescription glasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Deodorant – unscented
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Medication
  • Ointments – unscented
  • Chapstick – its dry out west.
  • Sunscreen – unscented
  • Bug Spray
  • Camp Towel and Cloth, quick Drying. No large cotton towels. Something compact and personal. Try these camp towels.