Elk hunting gear list for Colorado.
Fall is upon us in Colorado. The draw has come and gone, along with the secondary and now the leftover list. Which if you haven’t looked is picked over at this point. Now, with tags in hand, hunters typically start focusing on their elk hunting gear list.
Each elk hunting gear list may vary depending on the terrain, amount of available water and weapon / season your hunting. From hot, early season archery dates to late season rifle hunts. The clothing needed and weapon of choice will have a huge impact on the gear you decide to bring with you on your elk hunt.
Since we are a Colorado Outfitter, we are going to break down what we suggest our clients bring with them on hunts at Reverse 7L.
Breaking down your Colorado elk hunting gear list.
- Elk Hunting Pack
- Clothing / Boots
- Miscellaneous Gear
- Food / Water
Select the right hunting pack for elk hunting.
Making sure that you have a pack that fits you right is more important than the logo that’s embroidered on it. Make sure that you get a hunting pack that fits you correctly. While our clients are not packing out quarters on their backs, a good day pack or smaller internal frame packs are perfect for hunting in Western Colorado.
A great option to try on packs would be in store at Cabela’s, Sportsman’s or REI. You could also hop on a couple of hunting forums and find someone local with one you may want and try theirs on. Most, pack companies have good return policies and if unused, you should have no problem returning until you find the right fit. That may just be an expensive process.
Weapons for elk hunting Colorado.
Colorado offers hunters the opportunity to archery, muzzleloader and rifle hunt elk throughout a number of different seasons starting in September. Colorado has regulations regarding all three methods of take so make sure to study this before coming to hunt in Colorado.
No matter the season, we strongly suggest that you get comfortable shooting in awkward positions. Shot opportunities can come and go quick and if you are not comfortable and efficient with your weapon it can cause you to lose shot opportunities.
Clothing and boots for elk hunting gear list.
From the steep mountains that tower just above 10,000 feet to the river bottoms at 4,500 feet, you can have big temperature and weather swings hourly. You can experience 90 degrees one day in September and blowing snow the next, so you must be prepared with layers and quality hunting boots.
Base layering system.
A good layer system is a must for elk hunters in Colorado. When on the move you will want a lighter base layer like a merino wool (150 – 250 Weight) or a synthetic blend. Cotton is terrible for mountain hunting. Black Ovis has some good merino layers that you can wear from September into late season rifle hunts.
Fleece or Puffy?
A fleece vest or puffy jacket are great for cool mornings and evenings and pack down small so they take up no room or add significant weight to your pack. There are numerous hunting brands that offer different weight down or fleece jackets that are more than adequate, it’s just finding one that fits you best. None hunting brands may offer better options if you don’t mind solid colors.
A basic ball cap and beanie are enough to get most people by on our hunts. This is also dependent on the person.
Same as the ball caps and beanies. A personal preference as some people do and don’t shoot with gloves, let alone like using them. Handwarmers are also an option here.
Socks and boots.
When it comes to socks we can’t stress a wool or synthetic blend enough. You need your feet to be able to breath when hiking, especially if you are hiking around in leather boots in early September. Take a look at Darn Tough merino wool socks if you want some that will last a lifetime… They actually come with a lifetime warranty, and we can attest to using it.
Boots will depend on the season. Waterproof boots don’t breath as well as boots that aren’t so keep that in mind. The terrain is rocky and good ankle support is a must. Some archers choose to wear trail running shoes if it gets hot enough, but there are many “Hybrid” hiking boots out there that are basically a cross between a trail runner and lightweight hiking boot.
The biggest thing you can do is to break them in well before your hunt. There is nothing worse than calling a hunt short because of your feet and lack of breaking in a new pair of boots.
Optics for elk hunting in Colorado
One of the most highly debated gear topics amongst hunters. Optics play a major role in success in the field and having the right ones can make all the difference. While there are many different size binoculars and spotting scopes available at all price points. We suggest clients bring a good pair of 10×42 binoculars for spotting game. Whether your glassing a hillside or still hunting through dark timber, a good pair of 10×42 binoculars can help you tremendously in the field. Throw a pair of binoculars on a tripod and quickly be able to spot game at distance.
A good binocular harness can carry most of your important gear as well; Colorado hunting license, elk tag, wind checker, range finder, other small items you want to bring on your hunt.
Depending on your scope, binoculars and if you are archery hunting you may want to bring a range finder. Rifle hunters note that “Smart Rifles” are not allow by Colorado Parks and Wildlife. An example of this would be using a Burris Eliminator rifle scope that has a built in ballistics calculator vs a SIG BDX. For more on this please read here.
Miscellaneous gear for elk hunting.
From the backcountry to day hunts with lodging, the mountains are rocky and rough. Trekking poles or a single pole make navigating tough terrain a little easier. Headlamps and extra bullets are always nice and creature comforts can help you get through long days in the mountains. Things like handwarmers, chapstick, cameras, and glassing pads if applicable are always nice additions as well. Make sure to bring any medications needed as well.
Food and water for elk hunting.
There are a variety of different filtration systems for hunters these days. Sawyer minis have become a favorite among backcountry hunters because they work great and last long. We bring water for hunters on our hunts.
Snacks for your elk hunting pack.
Hunting hard all day takes it out of you. You need to stay fueled and energized so that you can hunt hard all day. Bring snacks that you enjoy and like to eat. You'll be burning a ton of calories daily so "healthy" snacks while always good, aren't quiet necessary. Again, you need energy, bring something you will enjoy eating.