Personal Gear for Your Arctic Hunt

ryinucutAlaska is rugged and hard on equipment and it is important to have good quality gear that is made to take the abuse of a mountain sheep hunt. Ounces turn into pounds and there is a lot of truth in the sheep hunter’s adage of cut the handle off of your tooth brush to save on weight. An ounce saved on gear can be made up with water or food. The sheep hunters goal is to have a pack under 50lbs with enough stuff to stay out in the mountains for 4 or 5 days before needing a resupply or food drop. Quality should take precedence over weight. Most of the weight that is unnecessary in hunters pack is duplicated or unneeded stuff. For instance three hunting knives that weight 2lbs a piece, a thin insulated jacket and a case of AA batteries compared to piranha knife with interchangeable surgical blades and a super down poof ball jacket and two lithium batteries.

There are article after article written on gear in every hunting magazine on the latest and greatest and what not to bring to what will save your life. The gear is recommended by us to make your trip enjoyable and keep you comfortable taking into consideration weight, cost, dry ability, pack ability and overall quality. The classic thing on going through a gear list for an expedition style trip is supplementing off the list with pre-owned gear in the closet or bringing duplicates making up for quality. If you have any questions on gear as you go through please take the time to contact me, remember I deal with 16 hunters a year not a hundred and I want you to have what you need to make your trip successful and enjoyable. Sitting on the side of the mountain is not the place to be wishing you had brought other gear or spent another $500.

If there is gear you know you will need, I can, and I would be glad to purchase it for you and even have it at camp so you will not have to travel with it. BGBG can rent gear to you for your trip if needed. This will need to be planned ahead of time to make sure we have it and get it up there.

Sportsmen that take their hunting seriously take their gear seriously. Metaphorically speaking it is no different than a good mechanic with his tool box of Snap On tools. We are professionals hunting in a remote harsh environment and we depend on tools to get the job done safely. BGBG is passionate about gear. With proper gear we can travel comfortable through the arctic for extended periods of time safely and comfortably.

You may vary in preference and we will give a couple of options with our personal favorite listed first so you have an option of what you think works best for you. We are not financially indorsed by any of the companies we list. We just want you to be well equipped to make your trip more pleasurable and as safe and comfortable as you can be in the remote Arctic.

In April BGBG will order our bulk gear and we would be glad to order your gear that you may need at the same time. We can have it shipped directly to you or waiting for you in your spike camp when you get there. We will get you our best deal possible. We would also like to offer some of the gear for you to rent if you do not wish to purchase it. Rented gear will need to be prearranged to make sure of availability and shipping. Cost to rent is 30% of new. Some of the gear on the list is optional but still made the list.

Personal Gear Checklist:

Rifle

  • BGBG Can Purchase Item for You
  • Item may be Rented

Above everything we recommend a gun that you are familiar with, trust and like. We recommend a scoped light weight, Bolt Action Rifle that is stainless with a synthetic stock. The complete rifle with scope should weigh less than 8lbs. If you are looking for a good excuse to go buy a custom sheep rifle, have fun and research. There are many custom gun makers out there. The rifles that made the guide list were the Winchester model 70, Kimber Mountain rifle, Remington 700. I personally carry a Tikka Light 300 win mag. Your rifle should have a comfortable sling so you can have free hands to cross tough terrain. If you are concerned for the wellbeing of your rifle I recommend bringing a soft case dry bag for the field. This maybe bulky but up to you.

For calibers I recommend a 300 caliber but a 270 is very sufficient. If you choose to hunt a grizzly you may consider a little more caliber like a .338. There are many wild cats out there and if this is your choice bring extra ammo due to availability and know your ballistics.

Scopes have come a long ways lately with long range turrets that allow you to shoot a 1000yds accurately. To be consistent at long range you need a high quality barrel and an accurate range finder. Ranging can still be tough depending on terrain, lighting and ground cover.

We still recommend a 3x9 Leopold; it’s been solid and proven. Most shots are less than 250 yards laying prone using a pack or natural rock outcropping for a rest. Bipods are not needed. They are too bulky and an unneeded weight. There are many good natural rests in sheep country. The two biggest rams I have ever seen both book sheep were missed by hunters at less than 400yds. A very doable shot these days. Your guide will do the best he can to help get you where you need to be to make a clean kill with confidence.

Practice, Practice in multiple positions but preferably laying prone and have confidence in your personal ability, rifle and ballistics. Your rifle should be zeroed an inch high at a 100 yds. Also practice shooting silhouettes they will help you in focusing on a white sheep or dark bear.

Ammo 2 boxes

  • BGBG Can Purchase Item for You

There are a lot of choices in high quality ammo out there and this comes down to what shoots well in your barrel. I like a Barnes X 180 grain bullet.

Boots 1 pair

  • BGBG Can Purchase Item for You

Of all your gear your boots are your most important item. To keep healthy feet it requires not just a boot but a system for your feet and the boot is one part of the system. The other parts of the system are insoles, socks, gaiters and camp shoes. Your feet should have natural calluses left alone and trimmed nails. When selecting parts of this system go off of your personal history on other hunts. There is no need to experiment on a sheep hunt. If your feet easily get cold while hunting elk in Colorado adjust with warmer socks and insulation.

I recommend a plastic double boot by Koflach Degre or Scarpa Inverno. You can wear a glacier sock purchased at Barney Sports Chalet between your removable liners and keep your feet dry while crossing large streams. The glacier sock can roll down and be tucked into your gaiter when not needed. They are warm and stable with great support and no break in time. They reduce foot and ankle fatigue and at the end of the day your feet will be stronger than in a traditional leather boot. They do take some getting use to and have a unique purpose. They are clumsy at first while standing or walking on hard flat floor but are great wading in braided creeks, river crossings, climbing, traversing and tundra crossings.

My 2nd choice after the plastics is a Kenetrek or Zamberlin insulated leather boot. They should be 8”-10” high and that extra height will aid you in crossing streams, keeping your feet dryer. They should be broke in and well oiled. I recommend putting them on wet and wearing them dry and this will allow them to stretch and shrink to fit your foot.

Hip Boots

  • BGBG Can Purchase Item for You
  • Item is Optional

Hip boots are optional. They are needed more on Caribou and Grizzly hunts where the creeks are larger and more river crossings.

Socks 4 pairs

  • BGBG Can Purchase Item for You

Darn Tuff or Smart Wool Socks.

Sock Liners 3 pairs

  • BGBG Can Purchase Item for You
  • Item is Optional

Sock liners are optional. They reduce friction causing hot spots and blisters. They are light weight and fit in a sandwich Ziploc bag. Great insurance if you have had history with blisters and hot spots.

Neoprene Socks 1 pair

  • BGBG Can Purchase Item for You
  • Item is Optional

Neoprene socks are optional. When all else fails and your boots are wet or you’re going to spend the day walking or floating down river Neoprene socks over a dry pair of wool or by themselves can be a life saver. My favorite is wet suit pant with built in feet cut off below the knees.

Gaiters 1 pair

  • BGBG Can Purchase Item for You
  • Item may be Rented

Gaiters seal between your pants and boots keeping out unwanted water while crossing braided rivers and low wet vegetation with snow. We recommend Outdoor Research, Kenetrek or Kuiu Gaiters.

Camp Shoes 1 pair

  • BGBG Can Purchase Item for You

Remember you may where your camp shoes as much as you’re hunting boots. They will give your feet a break after hiking and be easy to slip on around camp. They may be used on river crossing or the as approach shoes on the stock. I recommend a light weight tennis shoe that is comfortable, drains water and dries quickly. Crocs or river sandals are nice to.

Frame Pack

  • BGBG Can Purchase Item for You
  • Item may be Rented

A quality pack is almost as important as your boots you pick and should be around the same financial investment. The pack should be large expedition style pack that offer great support when loaded and be quite comfortable with 50 lbs. of gear. Your pack should be at least a 6000 cubic inch allowing enough room to carry bulk light weight gear; sleeping pad, sleeping bag, clothes, food and a one man tent. There is some truth to the thinking of if I have a huge pack I will just end up carrying more stuff. One of the reasons you will need a bigger pack is when you shoot your sheep you will need to carry the all of your personal gear and some of your guides personal gear that is light and bulky to free up room in his pack so he can carry the sheep off the mountain.

The question when looking for a pack is internal frame or external frame packs. External frames offer great support with large bulky loads. There are some great internal frame packs out there and they are lighter and less bulky.

You can't beat a Barney’s pack from Barney’s sports chalet in Anchorage. It is expensive running close to $600 but very comfortable. 2nd choice is an internal frame pack like a Dana Design or Mountain Hardware BMG. If you go to buy a custom pack load it up with weight to see how it feels (50lbs). Most packs feel good less than 20lbs. Wear it for some time and see how your shoulders feel and try to adjust the shoulders and waist belt to transfer weight between hips and back and shoulders.

Sleeping Bag

  • BGBG Can Purchase Item for You
  • Item may be Rented

We recommend lightweight, compressible synthetic bag rated for 15F-20F. If you sleep cold and are coming in later August you might consider a colder rating. Your bag should weigh under 5lbs and be compressed in a small water proof compression bag (E-Vent). BGBG uses Mont bell spiral synthetic bag and Mountain Hardware.

Binoculars

  • BGBG Can Purchase Item for You

High quality binocular is well worth the investment and they will last a life time. I have and continue to use my 10x42 Leica for the last 12 years. BGBG recommends 10x40 Leica, Swarovski and Zeiss. A binocular harness is optional but they are nice for comfort and a shield from weather.

Rain Gear

  • BGBG Can Purchase Item for You
  • Item may be Rented

Notice I have the rain gear separated from the normal clothes with the important gear. Your rain gear should be light weight and packable. Your rain gear needs to be completely water proof not weather resistant. This is your shell layer and shouldn't be insulated and should be over sized to fit over other layers. BGBG recommends Kuiu Chugach jacket and pant or Helly Hanson Impertek. No insulated goretex coats.

Clothing

Your clothing will be worn in layers with rarely more than three layers worn at any one time. Each layer will increase in insulation and can be covered with a shell/waterproof layer. You should have one extra base layer to wear while one base layer can dry. There will be one layer of insulation that is kept handy on top of your pack to put on while glassing. This is also your survival gear and should be kept dry and on you at all times. BGBG will purchase or rent any article of clothing for your trip. Orders will be done in April and we will get the best deal we can. We can have your gear shipped to your mailing address or we can have it organized in a rubber maid tub with your spike camp gear waiting in Kavik.

Upper Body

Light weight Long John Top

  • BGBG Can Purchase Item for You

This is your base layer and you will wear it all the time. Kuiu Merino Wool 185.

Mid-weight Long John Top

  • BGBG Can Purchase Item for You

This layer fits over your lighter base layer and is a secondary base layer for colder temperatures. BGBG recommends Kuiu Merino Wool 240 or fleece pull over.

Heavy weight layer

  • BGBG Can Purchase Item for You
  • Item may be Rented at 30% of MSRP

Mountain Hardware fleece wind stopper jacket or Kuiu Guide Jacket. Should fit comfortable over two previous layers. A heavy wool shirt will work.

Insulating layer

  • BGBG Can Purchase Item for You
  • Item may be Rented at 30% of MSRP

Kuiu super down hooded jacket or Mountain Hardware synthetic down jacket or wool shirt/sweater.

T-shirt

  • Item is Optional

Nice to wear around camp or hiking on warm days. This should be your only article of cotton clothes.

Lower Body

Light weight long John Bottoms 1 pair

  • BGBG Can Purchase Item for You

This is your base layer and you will wear it all the time. Kuiu Merino wool 185.

Mid-weight layer 1 pair

  • BGBG Can Purchase Item for You

This is a secondary base layer used for colder temperatures to replace your light weight layer. Also used for sleeping or when your light layer gets wet. Kuiu Merino wool 240 or fleece pant.

Hiking Pants 1 pair

  • BGBG Can Purchase Item for You
  • Item may be Rented at 30% of MSRP

This layer is your basic pant that you will wear every day. This pant should be quick dry flexible fabric that breaths with pockets. I really like Kuiu Attack pant.

Shorts 1 pair

  • Item is Optional

Shorts are optional. Your shorts should be a quick dry swim trunk material. These shorts weigh little and take up little room. There nice on warm days walking up river valleys and around camp while drying gear. I like to wear them even over my base layer when climbing elevation or pack rafting.

Insulating pants 1 pair

  • BGBG Can Purchase Item for You

This pant should have full length leg zippers to put on over your boots. I like Kuiu super down pant light weight and very warm. This layer could be a thick wool pant but they aren’t as packable.

Underwear 3 pair

Smart wool or merino wool.

Head & Hands

Lightweight Gloves 1 pair

  • BGBG Can Purchase Item for You

Wind stopper fleece or wool.

Heavy weight Gloves 1 pair

  • BGBG Can Purchase Item for You

Gore-Tex insulated ski glove.

Stocking Cap

  • BGBG Can Purchase Item for You

Wind stopper North Face/Mountain Hardware/Outdoor Research/Wool blend.

Head Lamp & Extra Batteries

Petzel Tikka XP

Miscellaneous

Trekking Pole

  • BGBG Can Purchase Item for You
  • Item may be Rented at 30% of MSRP
  • Item is Optional

I like to use one pole allowing one free hand for climbing. They are nice for crossing creeks and steading yourself on the mountain. I recommend a carbon fiber high quality pole.

Over Whites

  • BGBG Can Purchase Item for You
  • Item is Optional

Over-whites are optional. They are used to put on over your clothes while on a stalk with little cover. Allot of times if spotted a ram will pay little attention and think you are other sheep. They are also used for snow Camoes if needed. Over-whites should be light weight and very large to fit over everything. I recommend just a white hooded pull over.

Water Bottle

Nalgene wide mouths are easy to fill. They can be filled with hot water and have the lid screwed down tight to sleep with.

Camera-w/extra battery

Battery life is short in cold weather and it is well worth carrying an extra battery. I would recommend a small pelican case for your camera that is water proof but a Ziploc will work.

Snacks

  • Item is Optional

2-4lbs of favorite snacks. Little comfort goes a long way.

Pocket Knife

  • Item is Optional

Hunting Knife

This knife should be light weight. There is no reason to have more than one skinning knife. BGBG recommends a Piranha with surgical blades or Victornox paring knife.

Light Weight Dry Bags 2 bags

  • BGBG Can Purchase Item for You
  • Item may be Rented at 30% of MSRP
  • Item is Optional

Nice to keep clothes organized and dry. I recommend E-vent or Sea to Summit.

Book 1

  • Item is Optional

Nice for weather days or while waiting on planes. You can always trade with your guide if you finish your book early.

Extra eyeglasses (contacts)

  • Item is Optional

Medications

  • Item is Optional

Bring extra medication if needed to allow for extra days due to weather. I also recommend bringing extra Ibuprofen/Tylenol.

Drinks

  • Item is Optional

If you like certain drink for instance coffee/hot chocolate/tea/energy or alcohol. Small comforts go a long way in the field. Just don’t bring a heavy glass jug as shown.

Cash

Extra cash for traveling, trophy fees and guide gratuities. Kavik does except credit cards.

Trip Insurance

Booked through SCI (Safari Club International) off of their webpage and will insure your entire trip plane tickets and all.

Global Rescue

  • Item is Optional

 

Suite cases and gun cases may be left in Kavik. From there your baggage should be packed in small soft duffle bags. This helps when loading in small airplanes.

For the latest in the best hunting gear for your hunt contact Kuiu.com & Barneys Sports Chalet at (907) 561-5242

Another good source is Campmor.com

Got Questions? Let us help. Contact Us Now!

A vote is like a rifle; its usefulness depends upon the character of the user.

Theodore Roosevelt