If you were going to ThruHike

Lando

WKR
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Jun 5, 2018
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350
Location
Arizona
With packs, you can get the Skurka designed Sierra Designs 60 liter Flex Capacitor at 2 lbs. 9 oz. that has a Y-shaped aluminum suspension that carries a lot of weight well for only a 6-7 ounce weight penalty vs. a slightly smaller Hyperlite pack. And the Sierra Designs pack can be purchased for $125 - 150 on clearance vs. the $400 Hyperlite pack. Skurka tested the prototype on Elk quarters and it worked so well that he left his Kifaru backup plan in the car.

I haven't used mine to pack out an elk, I have hunting packs that are a better fit for hunting, but I have loaded it up with my kids gear/water/food and it worked great.
 

Jbehredt

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Mar 4, 2017
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Colorado
I just wouldn’t. Circle walking, straight line walking… If I don’t have a fly rod, bow or gun in my hand I don’t want to walk around the woods. Let the transplants have that FUn.
 

Neckbone

Lil-Rokslider
Joined
Sep 21, 2022
Messages
125
If you were going to ThruHike a major trail such as the CDT, Co Trail, PCT or AT, would you convert to/invest in a typical thru hiker UL setup with a frameless cuben fiber pack and <25 lbs load out or would you just use your existing hunting pack?

Would you plan on eating how you eat on hunting trips with full dehydrated dinners or go more thru hiker style minimalist?

I realize the individual trail choice could make a difference here as the CDT is more complex with fewer resupply opportunities than the AT or CO Trail and the PCT isn’t awesome for single wall tents, but, in general, would you go with what you have and know or convert more towards what is the standard?
So I did this, but in reverse. Started backpacking on the AT thru hike scene with UL gear and have since started doing western backpack hunts. I quickly learned that backpack hunting is NOT UL backpacking. There is so much more necessary gear on a hunt (optics/tripod, kill kit, rifle, etc) which requires a larger and more robust pack. My hunting pack (SG 5900) weighs almost 4 pounds more than my UL pack!! (Z-packs). You need very little gear on a thru.

My advice to anyone considering a thru hike is to purchase the lightest gear you can afford...you will be toting it around for 5+ months. When you consider the expense of a thru hike and the 6 months of income loss, the gear isn't that expensive. That gear will see a lifetime's use in one season.
 

squid-freshprints

Lil-Rokslider
Joined
Nov 25, 2023
Messages
104
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CO
CDT. PCT, AT,... Trails of segments connected mostly by imagination and given a name. If I was doing one I would bring what I want and ride a BDR! Or better yet scout your own through hike and pack accordingly, you will see more cool stuff. This hunters feet are allergic to the tracks of others.
 
Joined
Dec 26, 2013
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3,790
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Edmond, OK
For a Thru hike….. I’d grab a Durston Gear Kakwa 55L and never look back. It’s $260, 2#, UL tubular frame that anchors to the belt, working load lifters, and rated to carry up to 50#. No reason to not use it for that style of hiking.


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Pdzoller

WKR
Joined
Feb 27, 2021
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339
Location
Oregon
Depends on the time of year for what gear I’d bring. Definitely going with a lighter pack.
 

Macintosh

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Feb 17, 2018
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2,364
Hunting gear is made for something completely different and a lot of it is definitely a square peg in a round hole as far as a long thru-hike is concerned. People have been thru hiking since long before there were dyneema packs, etc, but it’s always been dominated by gear thats significantly pared-down and lighter than “normal” backpacking stuff. No way in h&!! Id drag a heavy meat-hauling pack on a thru hike, just for example. Also depends a lot on the thru hike.
 

S.Clancy

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Jan 28, 2015
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Montana
Hmmm, my Terminus weighs under 4 lbs. I would change shelter/sleeping pad first. Prob wouldn't change much after that. Most of long hikes (hunts) is leaving the crap behind you don't need.
 

fngTony

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Jan 18, 2016
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While my hunting pack is a hair under 4lbs it’s not right for a thru hike. I also would want a minimal frame, not frameless. It’s not just about the weight but also efficiency. Ideally I’d want a roll top with a rear mesh and two large side pockets. A waist belt that gives some support but a fanny pack instead of belt pockets (if you know you know😉) oh can’t forget a shoulder pocket on each side for sunglasses and phone. Yes you can add or find a hunting pack with this but it’s still an unnecessary extra 3+pounds.

Definitely going with trail runners and those really minimal gaiters.

Food wise I don’t know. Cold soaking sounds like hell but really simplistic. Shelter would depend on what trail although I’m leaning towards a freestanding as it’s easier when tired and in unfamiliar dark places.
 

mtnwrunner(Trandy)

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Shoot2HuntU
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Oct 2, 2012
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Lowman, Idaho
A thru hike on the PCT is on my bucket list......maybe someday, I've done a shitload of research on it over the years and there is so much info on this subject on the internet, it's mind bongling.
Andrew Skurka, Darwinonthetrail, Homemade wanderlust, etc., are a wealth of information.
You can actually see the progression these guys and gals have gone through with their equipment over their years of doing the hikes.
And its all the same......heavier to lighter.
Hey!! Sounds like Rokslide!

Good luck!

Randy
 

SteveinMN

FNG
Joined
Aug 11, 2020
Messages
55
Cliff notes:
To immediately shed 5-7 lbs
  • get a lighter pack
  • get a lighter shelter (shelter, not tent)
  • after that shit gets expensive for weight savings
  • remember you are there to hike, not to camp...pack like it

I didn't thru hike it, but spent 8 weeks on the PCT a little over 20 years ago...gear has changed a lot since then, but not that much. You absolutely without a doubt want the lightest pack that's comfortable for carrying what you expect...around 30 pounds. There will be times when it's a long time till the next resupply and your pack will be heavier and uncomfortable but just deal with it for a couple days till it hits 'normal' pack weight. The rest of the gear you have for hunting may or may not be ok. Tent/shelter is an easy way to lose weight and your sleeping pad probably is too but beyond that you're better served by what you leave at home vs saving gear weight. As far as running shoes go I hiked about 250 in them and wasn't a fan. Switched to light hikers, essentially high-top running shoes, and was so much happier.

Food. Dehydrated meals are fine for a 3-7 day trip. Anything longer and your budget will hate it almost as much as your body will. Too much sodium, and for overall nutrition they are lacking. After 2 weeks I started tossing most of my home dehydrated stuff in supply boxes if I couldn't give it away. My mainstays were dehydrated beans, tortillas, a block of cheese, and whatever fresh veggies I could find at whatever store happened to be there. Green/red peppers packed well and were favorites. When I made the change to 'real' food my energy and enjoyment skyrocketed. Breakfasts were primarily a granola bar and jerky ate while walking, first stop I'd have granola with powdered milk. Lunch was tortilla with rehydrated beans on a tortilla with whatever veggies I had, dinner generally corn-pasta with peanut butter and maybe some summer sausage or jerky. I also fiendishly ate candy (not a big candy guy before or after, but craved it while hiking).

Last weight saver for those who enjoy an altered state of consciousness. A 1/2 oz of weed will last a lot longer than 16 oz of whiskey.
 

Luke S

Lil-Rokslider
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Jul 7, 2019
Messages
183
I did the Colorado Trail ultralight style in 2010 (I think). Basically hunting means shorter days, colder and lots of sitting around. Oh and off trail and bushwacking. Thru hiking is walking from sun up to sun down. The gear needs are different. You prioritize weight over durability in some areas. And you don't need as much clothing since you aren't sitting around glassing.

My suggestions

Get lighter footwear. Trail hiking doesn't require heavy boots. Breathable trail runners are great.

Get a lighter pack. There are lots of 2-3 pound packs that can comfortably carry all you need for a thru hike. You probably want a frame though.

Minimal shelter. You will be hiking a lot. No long fall nights like you have during hunting season. A simple pyramid tarp with a head net is usually enough.

If you are already a backcountry hunter I think the AT would feel tame. A wilder trail or taking a map and creating your own route would be cool.
 
Joined
Jan 27, 2024
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My hunting pack weighs like 8 lbs, so I'd probably choose something else lol. I love my Outdoorsmans pack but it is simply too heavy to carry across the country for weeks and weeks. I'd be looking at something from Hyperlite or Osprey. Superior Wilderness Design packs are really interesting to me but I've never seen one in person.

My hunting setup that I've put together is catered to the way I hunt, but hunting is different than just walking a really long ways, which is what thru hiking is.
 

otownskier

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Jan 29, 2024
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Loveland, CO
I hiked the Appalachian Trail. We would cut our toothbrush in half to save weight. Every ounce counted. Most important thing was to keep your feet healthy. Carry moleskin--blisters can ruin a trip real quick.
 

mtnwkr

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Feb 18, 2024
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Grams add up to ounces which add up to pounds. When your goal is thru-hiking, comfort on the trail is paramount. I've section hiked most of the PCT in Washington.
 
Joined
Feb 18, 2024
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I have section hiked parts of the PCT and did the entire Superior Hiking Trail with a Mystery Ranch Metcalf. I brought a stove and ate freeze dried meals which is not really the thru hiker way. At no point did I think I wish I would have gotten a different pack. I have worn my friends Mountainsmith Zerk 40 and a lighter backpack was nice but i really don’t feel the need to buy one. I have now since bought one of the new Sawtooth 45’s and am curious how this smaller bag will do on my backpacking adventures. I live on Oahu in Hawaii so I have some time before I move back to the mainland and find out.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jan 15, 2018
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Location
Weston, Colorado
My sleep system, stove/cook kit and tent(trekking pole tent or hammock) are the same for hiking vs. hunting. Everything else is different. Hiking with lighter pack, lighter shoes/boots, lighter clothes, no weapon, no kill kit, etc. Ounces add up to pounds and pounds add up to pain on long hikes.

https://thetrek.co/ does annual AT hiker surveys for gear in various categories(shelters, sleep systems, filters, stoves, footwear, etc.). Interesting reading.
 
Joined
Feb 18, 2024
Messages
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My sleep system, stove/cook kit and tent(trekking pole tent or hammock) are the same for hiking vs. hunting. Everything else is different. Hiking with lighter pack, lighter shoes/boots, lighter clothes, no weapon, no kill kit, etc. Ounces add up to pounds and pounds add up to pain on long hikes.

https://thetrek.co/ does annual AT hiker surveys for gear in various categories(shelters, sleep systems, filters, stoves, footwear, etc.). Interesting reading.
Thanks for the link. Got some reading to do
 
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