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Thread: What worked for me this sheep season..

  1. #1

    Default What worked for me this sheep season..

    I've been after sheep for 17 years now and figured I would do a short write up of what new things I used this year and how they did and what I use every year.

    Tent-new this year. Used a Big agnes copper spur sl 3 man. Excellent tent! It is a great tent for two big guys.
    Sleeping pad-new this year-Big agnes insulated core rectangular pad. EXCELLENT! Even better after my partner's thermarest went flat after night #1!!
    Boots-decided to leave my Lowa's at home and use a pair of Merrell's outbound mids leather. Overall very comfy. Figured they would take a beating and did, but I really liked them and the light weight. Only issues was I didn't treat them before leaving and they were wet, but dried quickly in the one hour of sun that we saw in 6 days.
    Streamlight Tac flashlight! Absolutely a given for the late night hike getting back to camp at 2:30 in the morning after leaving packs on the mountainside to get back to the tent. Really lights things up.
    Brunton stove with titanium pot and cup. Absolute $$. Jet boil will probably not go on anymore sheep hunts after using this.
    Sherpa rain coat. FABULOUS! Insanely light and stayed dry during the worse rain and walking through wet trees. Will get the pants for the next season.
    Can't say enough about my North Face cat's meow sleeping bag. This is year 16 with it and it performs every year. Not a night went by that I wasn't wet and stuffed my wet socks in the foot end and woke up warm and dry.
    Piranta knife. Excellent
    Platypus water bags. Excellent.
    Columbia shorts with paradox long johns underneath for hiking. EXCELLENT!
    Lorpen socks. Excellent.
    Barney's pack. Excellent but will be buying the largest bag for the next season!
    Of course the tikka .300 wsm with 165 grain barnes tipped tsx's=EXCELLENT!

    Those are pretty much the basics, you have this stuff and your food, and you will survive. Had the worse conditions we've ever met during a sheep hunt and stayed nice and warm. Brought my Sitka gear along but only wore the 90% jacket one day. Took up too much room in my pack, won't be going along on my next hunt.

  2. #2
    Member AK Wonderer's Avatar
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    Sherpa raincoat? Been looking for a new raincoat, will definitely check it out.

    I have a 90% jacket but it will stay home my sheep hunt. It's too hot to hike in, isn't waterproof in the rain, and takes up a lot of room in the pack.

    Thanks for the report.

  3. #3
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    Im ordering all that stuff tomorrow... Ok no I'm not but great write up on equipment! I'm just a broke gi no way I can afford half that stuff I can only dream. As Jesse said keep hope alive...

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    Why the Brunton over the Jetboil?

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    any pics to share? thanks for the write up...

  6. #6
    Member akiceman25's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskaGilles View Post
    Why the Brunton over the Jetboil?
    ...and which Brunton, please?

  7. #7
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    oh one last thing no pictures of the 3rd MEB hoodie on the mountain... Man you suck...

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    Thanks for taking time with the writeup. Its nice to get these independent reviews.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by 323 View Post
    oh one last thing no pictures of the 3rd MEB hoodie on the mountain... Man you suck...
    It was too small! I am a big boy! If it doesn't have two xx in front it won't fit! XXL!!!

  10. #10

    Default Sheep Gear Review of my own

    Since it rained every day we hunted and I had to hump an entire sheep on my back I figured my gear got pushed to the max and I can give some good insight into some great gear and some not so great gear....maybe for somewhere else, but not an AK sheep hunt.



    Outdoor Research (OR) Foray rain shell- gore-tex paclite fabric was lightweight and effective at keeping me dry. It did eventually get wet, but it dried quickly. Shell was very durable as I broke through brush and alders, low crawled up a creek a couple hundred yards and administered various other abuse with no issues.

    OR Transcendant Jacket- Great for layering, however it is down, I would have preferred a comparably weighted synthetic like Mountain Hardwear compressor jacket.

    Mystery Ranch Big Dana Special Blend (roughly equivalent to G7000 I believe)- Carried about 130lbs very well, due to losing 5lbs on the trip I could have used a smaller waistband as opposed to the medium I had. Although it carried the weight well the bag could not handle it, it had three good sided tears mostly where the frame met the edges of the pack. It will be getting returned for repair.

    Helley Hansen Impertech pants- Heavy, but durable and very good water-proofing. They do take a long time to dry when they get wet, and my waistband **** near fell off of the pants. They only had a crappy single stiching holding the elastic waistband onto the pants. Helley Hansen will be hearing from me soon about the pants.

    Jetboil- Efficient and outstanding at boiling water, which is all we used it for. A little on the heavy side, but boiled must better and more stable than my ultra-lightweight snopeak stove that I used the previous year.

    Lowa GTX boots- 3rd sheep hunt, showing wear for sure, but still going strong....I have yet to get a blister in them, even when I hiked for 7 hours in soaking wet boots down a fast moving and deep creek bed.

    Mountain Hardwear Skyledge- I think its the 2.1 version, definitely a two-man sheep tent, not much room inside, but vestibules are big enough to stash your pack and the think did not leak once despite rain the entire trip. Never had it in extreme winds so I can't speak to its ability to withstand high winds.

    Silnylon "drybags"- I forget the brand but I bought some and I made some homemade dry bags out of sil-nylon. Ultra-lightweight is a plus but ALL of them failed miserably in the waterproof department. Every single one was soaked through with sheep blood and water after our hike out. The only bag that kept my stuff dry was my Seal-Line dry-bag. It is heavier but I will ensure I put clothes and sleeping bag in Seal-Line or equivalent bags next time.

    Havalon knives- Outstanding for caping, I only brought 3 blades, 4 or 5 would have made caping easier.

    Sitka Gear- Traverse neck gaiter worked great, pulled it over my nose and mouth when cold or to hide my shiny face, wore this the entire time. Traverse mock zip long sleeve works great when its dry. A warmer layer that can get too hot to hike when the weather is warm, once it got wet it did NOT dry out and was very heavy. I will reconsidering bringing this in the future. Sitka jetstream jacket.....too heavy, doesn't keep you dry, and not a good heat to weight ratio, I will not drag it along on another sheep hunt, waste of money. Sitka ascent pants- only pair of pants I brought, this is their second sheep hunt and they are amazing. Dry fast, do not restrict movement and lots of pockets to stash gear...best piece of gear Sitka has.

    OR Polartec 200, windstopper fleece gloves- These were the surprise gear of the trip. Despite a blizzard and freezing winds these gloves got soaked and still kept my hands warm. I have cold hands and feet and I didn't even feel the need to curl my hands into a ball inside of my gloves like I usually do, these worked great.

    Kelty Lightyear 20 degree synthetic sleeping bag- Third sheep hunt, still going strong, only got a little chill in it one morning when there was frost on the ground. Otherwise kept me toasty warm, and its synthetic. A little on the heavy side, but worth the weight for the warmth and money savings in my opinion...think I paid $109 for it 3 years ago.

    That's the main gear, getting tired of typing....hope that helps some of you.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by swat8888 View Post
    Since it rained every day we hunted and I had to hump an entire sheep on my back I figured my gear got pushed to the max and I can give some good insight into some great gear and some not so great gear....maybe for somewhere else, but not an AK sheep hunt.



    Outdoor Research (OR) Foray rain shell- gore-tex paclite fabric was lightweight and effective at keeping me dry. It did eventually get wet, but it dried quickly. Shell was very durable as I broke through brush and alders, low crawled up a creek a couple hundred yards and administered various other abuse with no issues.

    OR Transcendant Jacket- Great for layering, however it is down, I would have preferred a comparably weighted synthetic like Mountain Hardwear compressor jacket.

    Mystery Ranch Big Dana Special Blend (roughly equivalent to G7000 I believe)- Carried about 130lbs very well, due to losing 5lbs on the trip I could have used a smaller waistband as opposed to the medium I had. Although it carried the weight well the bag could not handle it, it had three good sided tears mostly where the frame met the edges of the pack. It will be getting returned for repair.

    Helley Hansen Impertech pants- Heavy, but durable and very good water-proofing. They do take a long time to dry when they get wet, and my waistband **** near fell off of the pants. They only had a crappy single stiching holding the elastic waistband onto the pants. Helley Hansen will be hearing from me soon about the pants.

    Jetboil- Efficient and outstanding at boiling water, which is all we used it for. A little on the heavy side, but boiled must better and more stable than my ultra-lightweight snopeak stove that I used the previous year.

    Lowa GTX boots- 3rd sheep hunt, showing wear for sure, but still going strong....I have yet to get a blister in them, even when I hiked for 7 hours in soaking wet boots down a fast moving and deep creek bed.

    Mountain Hardwear Skyledge- I think its the 2.1 version, definitely a two-man sheep tent, not much room inside, but vestibules are big enough to stash your pack and the think did not leak once despite rain the entire trip. Never had it in extreme winds so I can't speak to its ability to withstand high winds.

    Silnylon "drybags"- I forget the brand but I bought some and I made some homemade dry bags out of sil-nylon. Ultra-lightweight is a plus but ALL of them failed miserably in the waterproof department. Every single one was soaked through with sheep blood and water after our hike out. The only bag that kept my stuff dry was my Seal-Line dry-bag. It is heavier but I will ensure I put clothes and sleeping bag in Seal-Line or equivalent bags next time.

    Havalon knives- Outstanding for caping, I only brought 3 blades, 4 or 5 would have made caping easier.

    Sitka Gear- Traverse neck gaiter worked great, pulled it over my nose and mouth when cold or to hide my shiny face, wore this the entire time. Traverse mock zip long sleeve works great when its dry. A warmer layer that can get too hot to hike when the weather is warm, once it got wet it did NOT dry out and was very heavy. I will reconsidering bringing this in the future. Sitka jetstream jacket.....too heavy, doesn't keep you dry, and not a good heat to weight ratio, I will not drag it along on another sheep hunt, waste of money. Sitka ascent pants- only pair of pants I brought, this is their second sheep hunt and they are amazing. Dry fast, do not restrict movement and lots of pockets to stash gear...best piece of gear Sitka has.

    OR Polartec 200, windstopper fleece gloves- These were the surprise gear of the trip. Despite a blizzard and freezing winds these gloves got soaked and still kept my hands warm. I have cold hands and feet and I didn't even feel the need to curl my hands into a ball inside of my gloves like I usually do, these worked great.

    Kelty Lightyear 20 degree synthetic sleeping bag- Third sheep hunt, still going strong, only got a little chill in it one morning when there was frost on the ground. Otherwise kept me toasty warm, and its synthetic. A little on the heavy side, but worth the weight for the warmth and money savings in my opinion...think I paid $109 for it 3 years ago.

    That's the main gear, getting tired of typing....hope that helps some of you.
    WOW...great report. I'm going to keep this for future use. Thanks!
    Alaska Outdoors Television ~ Outdoor Channel

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by northway View Post
    I've been after sheep for 17 years now and figured I would do a short write up of what new things I used this year and how they did and what I use every year.

    Tent-new this year. Used a Big agnes copper spur sl 3 man. Excellent tent! It is a great tent for two big guys.
    Sleeping pad-new this year-Big agnes insulated core rectangular pad. EXCELLENT! Even better after my partner's thermarest went flat after night #1!!
    Boots-decided to leave my Lowa's at home and use a pair of Merrell's outbound mids leather. Overall very comfy. Figured they would take a beating and did, but I really liked them and the light weight. Only issues was I didn't treat them before leaving and they were wet, but dried quickly in the one hour of sun that we saw in 6 days.
    Streamlight Tac flashlight! Absolutely a given for the late night hike getting back to camp at 2:30 in the morning after leaving packs on the mountainside to get back to the tent. Really lights things up.
    Brunton stove with titanium pot and cup. Absolute $$. Jet boil will probably not go on anymore sheep hunts after using this.
    Sherpa rain coat. FABULOUS! Insanely light and stayed dry during the worse rain and walking through wet trees. Will get the pants for the next season.
    Can't say enough about my North Face cat's meow sleeping bag. This is year 16 with it and it performs every year. Not a night went by that I wasn't wet and stuffed my wet socks in the foot end and woke up warm and dry.
    Piranta knife. Excellent
    Platypus water bags. Excellent.
    Columbia shorts with paradox long johns underneath for hiking. EXCELLENT!
    Lorpen socks. Excellent.
    Barney's pack. Excellent but will be buying the largest bag for the next season!
    Of course the tikka .300 wsm with 165 grain barnes tipped tsx's=EXCELLENT!

    Those are pretty much the basics, you have this stuff and your food, and you will survive. Had the worse conditions we've ever met during a sheep hunt and stayed nice and warm. Brought my Sitka gear along but only wore the 90% jacket one day. Took up too much room in my pack, won't be going along on my next hunt.
    I'm with you for the most part. But, my North Face Meow bag is done. I've never slept warm in it for the most part. Jetboil, done. It's too bulky for only boiling water, I like the MSR or Brunton. Not a Barney Pack fan either. I'll have to check out the Sherpa rain coat. Interesting take on the Sitka gear. Thanks for the write up!
    Alaska Outdoors Television ~ Outdoor Channel

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by tdelarm View Post
    I'm with you for the most part. But, my North Face Meow bag is done. I've never slept warm in it for the most part. Jetboil, done. It's too bulky for only boiling water, I like the MSR or Brunton. Not a Barney Pack fan either. I'll have to check out the Sherpa rain coat. Interesting take on the Sitka gear. Thanks for the write up!
    I got one of the original cat's meow and it has a "fleece like" liner inside and that makes a heck of a difference. I honestly have NEVER zipped up my bag on any sheep hunt. Mainly because I twist and roll and can't stand being in a mummy bag.

    My take on the sitka gear is it is great camo, but it is heavy and bulky. I really like it, but it will be more moose hunting gear than sheep hunting gear.

  14. #14
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    When I go sheep hunting all I need is my jock strap from high school and my army issue poncho liner...

  15. #15
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    Hilleberg Tarra Tent- I've spent about 60 nights in this tent in high wind, rain, mountain mist and it's a Bunker. Hilleberg says it's made for extreme mountain travel and I'd say they nailed it. No water gets in at all even in driving rain for days. Sheds the wind like crazy, 2 vestibules/entrances that can each hold a pack and gear. Great venting options, the inner tent is about 6 inches from the outer tent. You can sleep up against the side of the inner tent it it won't touch the outer tent. Great design. I just spent a week in it in the rain/wind and moist humid conditions, the tent was only in dry weather for about a day. I call it the Bunker. Warm too. Worth every penny.

    MSR Reactor Stove- I bought this thing last year. Stove and titanium pot weighs a 17 ozs. It will boil 32 ozs (1L) of COLD water in about 3 mins. Boils a liter in about 1 min. Totally windproof, more fuel efficient than the Jetboil. Works just as good with an almost empty canister as with a full one. Perfect water boiler for 2 guys.

    MSR Hyperflow water pump and MSR Dromlite water bag. What a great combo. I've had the filter for a few years and am on the 3rd year with the same bag. It pumps 1L in about 25 easy pumps, 30 seconds. It's light and like most MSR stuff it just plane works. If you don't pay attention to the directions you can vapor lock it when backflushing, but if you read and FOLLOW the directions it works great. The Dromlite bags are the bugs nuts. The 6L bag weighs less than a 1L Nalgene bottle and rolls up to nothing when empty. It has held up well, no leaks or punctures. It's great for gettng a supply of "camp" water. My buddy bought one this year and we could fill both 6L bags and our 3L drinking bladders in about 15 mins including all the shuffling around of stuff.

    Big Agnes Zirkel 20 bag- I've had the BA Insulated Air Core mummy pad for about 5 or 6 years. I love the thing. 2.5 inches of rock melting comfort. I bought the Zirkel cuz I wanted something warmer than my TNF Cat's Meow, one of the newr models without the fleece inside, I'm a cold sleeper and have always got cold in that bag when it got chilly, plus it's a little snug for me. Well, the zirkel it toasty warm, a little roomier but not so big as to have cold spots. I just used it in wet, humid moist conditions for a week, the kind of stuff where they say a down bag gets clammy, well, the 800 Goose down in the 2lb Zirkel kept me cozy and dry. As did my buddies 25 year old REI Goose down bag.

    Outdoor Research Cirque Pants- $100.00 retail, 80 bucks on sale right here in Fairbanks. I really liked these pants. I have some Sporthills I've worn on my last 3 or 4 sheep hunts, great pants in the wind and colder temps but pretty warm at times, belt loops are elastic which is a pain but all in all pretty good. I bought the Cirques cuz they had all the right features, lighter, very wind resistant (after using them I'd say as windproof as any fabric can be) excellent in the wind, stretchy, cordura cuffs, gusseted croch, boot lace hooks, velcro waist belt built in, regular belt loops and suspender loops, decent pockets, dry very fast. Not as warm as the sporthills but with a light or medium weight base layer very comfortable. They seem to be very tough. The stitching is all double stitch and the fabric held up well to sliding around in the rocks, etc. Time will tell but after a week they still look brand new. So far so good.

    Barneys Glacier Socks- I;ve used these a couple times with my Lowa Civetta Plastic boots. Excellent setup for crossing rivers.

  16. #16
    Member kahahawai's Avatar
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    KOFLACHS !!!......................... There's no other substitute, wore the Scarpa Omegas last year and the Koflachs this year, both are great boots if your foot can handle them. The bottom line: I will NEVER wear a leather boot on a sheep hunt in Alaska ever again !!!

    Barneys Super Cub Jacket ...............Super Warm and very light, and dries fast when wet.

    Mountain Hardwear Typhoon Jacket ........ Although our weather was Nice, Superb performance when we did get a little rain, very light weight, and a little more durable than the MH cohesion Jacket.

    Will use the above items again....unless something else better comes out...

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by kahahawai View Post
    ...The bottom line: I will NEVER wear a leather boot on a sheep hunt in Alaska ever again !!!
    Big ditto...

  18. #18

    Default Forgot one thing....

    How could I forget my other favorite new piece of gear.....After two years of sleeping on lumps with my effective, yet uncomfortable thermarest I upgraded to the Big Agnes Clearview Air Pad. It looks flimsy, and you should probably bring a small repair kit in case it does pop (something I did not do). However, this thing was only a couple more ounces more than my thermarest and I slept in comfort each night, no lumps at all. The extra ounces were well worth not having to toss and turn all night or have a sore back in the morning from sleeping on lumps.

    I also took the Clearview pillow because I like my sleep...but a bag of rolled up clothes is probably just as effective for most people. If a couple ounces is worth a great nights sleep then get both of 'em.

  19. #19
    Member kahahawai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whitepalm View Post
    I wear the snot out of my Koflach's when its super cold but I havnt been able to commit to them during sheep season. Do you guys think the effort saved while climbing around is worth the awkward walking during approach type terrain. My leather boots are really like gloves, my boots feel so good im not sure i'll ever get to the plastics during late summer/fall.

    There is no Awkward walking in a Koflach, this boot conforms with the intuition lace up liner, its just like almost wearing a leather boot, and way lighter than the Liskamms. Maybe their not made for you, every foot is different, and with plastics, your foot either accepts them or they Don't.....they are even better on flat ground walking in those swampy water tussoks too, feet stayed dry the whole time.....if you get the liner wet, they will dry within several hours.

  20. #20

    Default Koflach?

    What model Koflach's do you wear? What are the other tried and true plastic boots out there? I want something that is just as comfortable in the "flat" ground on the walk in as they are in the mountains.

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