I was wondering what folks use to rig their gear up for a spot and stalk. I found this older thread but was wondering if there were any additional opinions.
I plan on using this rig for a few different styles of trips:
- Spring bears: Working out of a well established base camp with easy road access.
- Fall caribou : Will be hiking on foot ~10-20 miles into base camp then working out of there.
- Bird & Rabbit Season: Usually just day trips with easy road access.
I've basically come up with these options on my own:
- External Frame Pack or Pack Frame: Essentially unlimited carrying capacity. Allows you to haul a full load of meat out from the kill site on the first trip. No need to lug extra gear into base camp -- just strip the pack you use on the hike in down to the essentials or take off the bag altogether. Downside: Hard to sling a rifle, probably the least agile setup.
- Robust Daypack: Something like the Badlands 2200. Robust system. The downside is that it is a lot of dead weight (~4 lbs) when hiking into base camp. Another downside is that while you could use it to pack out all the meat in theory, I think you'd probably want an external frame pack back at base camp anyways.
- Torso Pack w/ shoulder straps: Basically a fanny pack on steroids. Kelty makes one with 750 cu inches capacity and Badlands makes one with 1100 or so plus a hydration bladder. These seem just about weight unlimited and allow you to easily sling a rifle. I would have no problem loading up all the heavy, dense items (like salt) in one of these rigs. However, they are ~3 lbs of dead weight in your ruck on the way in to base camp. The problem is that you cannot take a full load of meat out on the first trip; you could possibly pack out hamburger or tenderloins and then get the external frame from camp for the next loads.
- Light Daypack: No hip belt. Good for bulky but light items like raingear, sack lunch, fleece, etc. If everything inside is squishy you can sling a gun just fine. I usually use this setup (maybe with a vest) for bird season day hikes. The downside is that it'd be hard to pack out much weight on the first load, so you'd be headed back to base camp to pick up the external frame.
- Light fanny pack + camelbak + vest: Probably only ~500 cu inches of storage space at the most and hard to carry much, but the least dead weight carrying in and out of base camp. Impossible to pack out meat on the first trip though.
Have I missed any obvious options? What do you use when spotting and stalking? This season is my first go at big game hunting and I'm trying to put some thought into the logistics. It is a little more complicated than small game day trips!