Gear to bring on an Alaskan Hunting Trip
Bring the best quality gear you can afford. Alaska can be a very wet, cold, and outright dangerous experience without the proper gear. We have included examples of gear brands that have successfully performed well for us in the past. These are definitely not the only options, but some of the more popular and proven.
Quality gear could be the difference between a successful hunt and failure. The key is to dress in layers so that you can adjust to temperature to manage body heat and moisture. Being wet equates to being cold. To research the philosophy behind layering, visit the Arcteryx, Kuiu, or Sitka Gear websites. Research your gear and test it before the hunt.
~ Temperatures can be below freezing so plan accordingly ~
Gear Check List
- Hardshell Rain Jacket
- Hardshell Rain Pants
- Softshell Outer layer jacket
- Softshell Outer layer pants
- Synthetic Mid layers, top and bottom (1 or 2 layers)
- Synthetic or Merino wool Long underwear
- Stocking hat
- Athletic socks ( as many pair as you need for 10 day hunt)
- Wool socks (3-6 pair)
- Comfortable shoes for around camp
- Sleeping Bag
- Sleeping pad
- Small LED Headlamp and extra batteries
- Hunting kit -Small first aid kit, knife, lighter, duct tape, etc.
- Platypus or Water bottle
- Rifle and ammo, 40 rounds talk to Michael for recommended caliber
- Compact rifle cleaning kit
- Personal Hygiene items
- Reading material
Recommended Clothing List for Hunting Big Game with Unit 9 Bear Hunts in Alaska
Synthetic and Merino Wool are preferred
One set of long sleeve top and bottoms
One to two mid layers for cooler temperatures
Extra layers if you get cold easily
High loft layers
*** NO COTTON LAYERS
Brand Examples:Long underwear: Firstlite Wool, Cabela’s, Kuiu, , UnderArmour, Sitka, IceBreaker
Brand Examples:Mid Layer: Montbell, Rab, Kuiu, Sitka, Mountain Hardwear, Northface, Cabela’s
One Pants Medium weight, Synthetic
This will be used as your outer layer during most of the hunt. In windy or wet conditions your rain gear will be worn over the top.
Brand Examples: Mountain Hardwear, NorthFace, Sitka, Kuiu, Cabela’s, Mammut and many other outdoor companies using fabrics such as Gore Windstopper
Rain gear - Hard Shell
One Jacket, Hooded
This is going to be your best defense against weather, purchase the best quality you can afford. This layer needs to be a packable and 100% waterproof. We prefer un-insulated rain gear, just a shell. Pants should have side zips if possible so you can put them on without taking your boots off. Size the rain gear to fit over all of your layers.
Brand Examples: Helly Hansen Impertech, Marmot Pre-Cip, Kuiu Chugach, Sitka, Northface, Arcteryx using Gore-tex 3 layer fabric, Rab, Integral Designs using Event Fabric
Synthetic materials capable of keeping your hands warm to below freezing. A waterproof, windproof shell is preferable.
Brand Examples: Outdoor Research, REI, The NorthFace, and many more. Research what works for you
1 beanie or stocking hat, Wool or Synthetic
- 15 degree synthetic Sleeping bag (mummy, backpack style). Again, know your temperature tolerances. If you are a cold sleeper, purchase a warmer bag or wear your insulating layers while sleeping. Using a compression style stuff sack will also save you room in your pack. Use a garbage bag inside the stuff sack when you stuff and compress the bag to protect it from getting wet.
Brand Examples: Northface, Montbell, REI, Marmot, etc.
Moose and Bear Hunters
0 Degree Synthetic Sleeping bag (mummy, backpack style.) Again, know your temperature tolerances. If you are a cold sleeper, purchase a warmer bag or plan on wearing insulating layers while sleeping. Use a garbage bag inside the stuff sack when you stuff and compress the bag to protect it from getting wet.
Sleeping pads are rated in R value. An R-value of 2.2 – 3.5 would be considered a 3 season pad, generally good down to around freezing, early season sheep pad. An R-value of 3.5 and above generally better for colder temps, late season sheep and moose. This should be a backpacking pad shouldn’t weigh more than 3 pounds.
*** Packable, backpacking style Sleeping pad
Brand Examples: Thermarest, Big Agnes
A solid, waterproof, mountaineering style boot is required for the rugged terrain you will be hunting. Make sure your boots are properly broke in. Inadequate boots or showing up with new boots not broke-in have cost hunters their trips in the past, be prepared. Make sure you have many miles and days in the boots to ensure proper break-in and limited chance for blisters. Make sure to size the boots to wear at least two pairs of socks to reduce blisters, one pair of athletic and one or two pair of wool over.
Brand Examples: Lowa Sheephunter, Kenetrek, Scarpa, LaSportiva
Multiple pairs of socks should be worn, usually one pair of athletic style sock with one or two pairs of wool over. This layering system will reduce the chances of blisters. Quality socks are suggested such as those made by Smartwool, Thorlo, WriteSox, and many other companies.
Size should be a minimum of 6500 cubic inches, and all of your gear and spare clothes should fit easily inside with some spare room for food and/or meat. Two different styles of packs are listed, those made by hunting companies and those made by backpacking companies. A lightweight, sil-nylon rain cover for your pack is also suggested (Outdoor Research, Granite Gear, and many others.)
Brand Examples: Mystery Ranch, Kuiu, Barney’s, Eberlystock, Kifaru
Backpacking Packs (internal frame)
Brand Examples: Arcteryx, The Northface, REI, Osprey, etc.
You will need lightweight waders for crossing streams. There are several lightweight hip waders that are packable and can be worn over your boots, these are preferable. Barney’s Sports Chalet and Wiggy’s in Anchorage are the main suppliers of these waders.
Brand Example: Barney’s Glacier Socks, Wiggys Light Weight Waders
Moose and Bear Hunters
Insulated, contour, ankle fit hip waders or lace up hip boots
Brand Examples: Lacrosse, Tundra Hip Boots, Cabela’s
Packing Gear in Pack
When packing gear in your backpack, use syl-nylon, and/or small garbage bags, and zip-lock bags to compartmentalize your gear. Use a garbage bag inside your sleeping bag stuff sack to keep your bag dry. Pack your extra clothes in a garbage bag or syl-nylon stuff sack before loading them in your pack. Before arriving at camp, load your pack with your gear several times to find the most efficient place for each piece of gear. Maximize your pack space, you should have spare room for food and/or meat with all of your gear packed (approximately 20% of your pack volume.)
Airlines Travel Tips
- Keep your gear to under 50 lbs.
- All airlines have a two bag, 50 pound weight limit and one of your bags will be your gun case.
- You may also have one carry-on, use it to your advantage.
- It may be necessary to pack a few things in your gun case to bring it up to 50 lbs.
- Another option is to use a large duffel that your gun case will fit in, then you can pack lighter gear such as clothes around it to stay under the 2 bag, 50 pound each limit.
- Please pack your gear in medium and small stuff sacks inside a larger duffel bag. You must be able to separate the bags to put your gear into the bush plane.
- (Try to fit 2-3 sleeping bag size bags into one larger bag.