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  1. #26


    I echo the thoughts on not needing the GPS...except you mentioned Inreach. If texting your friends and loved ones back home is important to you then I understand. But I would not buy it for the GPS function over the OnX app on your phone. I have both and never use the GPS. You didn't mention boots, but mountain boots (elk hunts) are different than flatlander boots. I would stress quality mountain boots and Schnees Women's Beartooth are on sale right now and IMO those are at the top of the best boot list.

    With regards to coolers.....we bought an old freezer from Menards for $19 and take a generator. Might not work as well on a backpacking hunt when you are not there to run the generator, but it sure does work well for us. Plus you have a generator for other things.

    Mystery Ranch are the best, but I wonder if you could get by with a much cheaper pack frame to get your gear in and then use your daypack for hunting? Packframe doubles as a meat hauler. Just a thought with your budget in mind.

    You probably know this, but smartwool socks are essential in my book. A quality, warm puffy vest packs small and is insurance against cold weather. How about cooking? Do you have a small, packable stove like a MSR or Jetboil?

  2. #27


    Thanks for the input everyone! I (and my friends) really appreciate all of the input and advice. Also, huge shout out to the fellow Kansans out here! My friends and I hail from the Wichita area, so if anyone would ever want to get together for dinner/drinks and talk strategies or hunting stories, feel free to shoot me a message.

    One of the gals currently got her forest fire certification and was able to use a Mystery Ranch pack during her exam - she said she loved it! We've talked about heading up to KC to check out the Mystery Ranch packs there. I'm fortunate enough I get to head to Denver to meet up with work friends this summer and will check out the gear in stores there as well.

    I threw out the idea of renting optics to them as an alternative for future trips and it was a hit as well. We all have decent binoculars, scopes, and range finders, we just weren't too sure on spotting scopes and the pros/and cons of them (aside from adding weight to carry in).

    The InReach is definitely on the list because of keeping in contact with family and loved ones. Also, I've got Sprint for my cell service, so service can be spotty at times. I know that onX now has some awesome features to download maps to your phone and plan on testing it out thoroughly this year. Would any of you reccomend just trying to find a used Delorme instead? I know that Garmin bought them out in order to better integrate the messaging software with their GPS units.

    Also, definitely love GoHunt. I heard about it on one of Randy's podcasts last year, checked it out, and purchased a subscription the same day. My friends are happy when I share information with them for our group hunts and application deadlines.

    I currently do not have a small packable stove but can easily get one in town (thanks big box stores!). Does anyone carry in a smaller caliber firearm or anything to help fill the pot while hunting bigger game?

    Also, as a disclaimer: I'm an accountant which is why I threw out the budget idea in the first place. I definitely have dreams and can save up for them but wanted to get a better understanding from more experienced hunters as to what's really worth paying for and what needs to be passed up on.

    Again, I really appreciate all of the input everyone has provided and welcome whatever else you have to add that we haven't listed or thought of.

  3. #28
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    New Jersey


    welcome to the forum! being on a limited budget, for now skip the spotting scope, and invest, ( if you haven't already), in a good pair of binoculars, I know Leupold make an adaptor for their binoculars to mount on a tripod, which gives them a whole new value, ( other brands probably do the same and make adaptors), as for packs, there are many choices out there, just make sure whichever brand you choose, it fits properly. As for trekking poles, for the last 3 years I've been using a relatively inexpensive pair by Hiker Hunger, that I got off Amazon, for around $40. They've held up well, even when put to heavy use. Good luck, and looking forward to you posting some of your adventures!

  4. #29


    Quote Originally Posted by BrentD View Post
    Osprey makes some very good quality packs specifically for women. Check out REI as a source. Depending on where you are in Kansas, a short road trip to a store (call ahead) might be a good idea. There is an REI in Kansas City, I think. Finding someone that knows how to fit you for a pack is probably more important that exactly which brand of pack you end up with.

    The core of your backpacking gear is your boots, pack, sleeping bag, and tent, probably in that order. Spend your money carefully on those.

    Tripods and spotting scopes are pretty distant options, not just because of cost, but also weight and space issues when backpacking.

    FWIW, since there seem to be 3 of you, you might consider two 2-person tents to give you a bit more flexibility and some storage space. A 4-person tent is nice, but if only two people are going on a particular trip, weight becomes an issue.

    Good luck!
    Exactly what I was going to say. A lot of people insist on pushing for "hunting" backpacks, and they do have a few extra bells and whistles but you'll do just fine using an earthy colored REI pack. Head in there and just try a few on. Usually there's someone that really knows their stuff and will be able to walk you through finding the correct fit. They'll also all have womens packs, which I would highly recommend as dudes and chicks are obviously different shapes. My wife enjoys her Gregory, but an Osprey, REI, Kelty, etc. would be just as good.
    Old Milwaukee Pro Staff

  5. #30
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Sterling, VA


    I will caution you that elk hunting is highly addictive...but so is most hunting in the Rocky Mountains to me. Good luck on the new adventure and I hoe you enjoy the journey. For me, gear is in constant flux. After each year I evaluate what works and what needs to be tweaked. I have settled on a Marmot down sleeping bag, Swarovski optionals (spotter and Bino), Sitka or firstlite for clothes, Merrell boots, Garmin GPS, Mathews Bows, Howa rifles and leupold scopes.

    I have a good fitting pack frame but carry a small badlands pack for most hunts. I cover a lot of ground and like to stay as lightweight as possible.

    I seem to like finding and perfecting my gear. Every year I refine less and less. I really thank no my biggest purchas items (optics, bow, rifle, clothes, etc) have been hard. They are large investments up front but have made my time way more enjoyable. If I could get back all the money I spent on cheap glass and cheap gear I would be way ahead now...but that was not practical when I was young and going through school.

    Good luck and post some good hunting photos when you go.

    Stay safe and have fun.

  6. #31


    New hunter here, but I'm going through the process of obtaining everything needed except for camping gear.

    The items you listed that could possibly be in your 1K budget were:
    - packs (thinking Mystery Ranch or Stone Glacier)
    - tripods (for binos and spotting scopes)
    - spotting scopes
    - GPS
    - tents / shelters (to replace the "family" style tents we all grew up with)
    - cooler upgrades
    - Montana decoys (i.e. big red cow)
    - trekking poles
    - meat bags

    If it were me I'd go for the tent and pack, possibly meat bags (you're determined to down an animal, right!?) The others things you can make do without for now it seems to me. If you want to see the spreadsheet I'm working through send me a PM.

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by courtks92 View Post
    Thanks for the advice Hunting Wife!

    On pack size, I'm truly interested in doing some backcountry hunts and wasn't sure exactly how large of a pack is needed. I definitely wouldn't be soloing for those, mainly due to a lack of experience. I wondered about the pack design and how differently it would fit being a woman. I'm making a trip out to Denver this summer to visit some work friends and should have the opportunity to hit up some outdoor stores there that carry several brands to try on.

    The cow idea is from my friend who really wants us to try archery antelope in Kansas this year. I've got a bit more budget than my friends (one is still in college and the other works for USFWS) but threw out the $1,000 as I figured that would be the maximum they can spend/save up over a year or two.
    Back country hunts huh? Do yourself a favor and hire a guide with horse's. You have any idea how much a big deer weight's? That's not to mention a small ekl!

    I have never done a pack in hunt to the back country but I have had to move some med size deer quite a ways, it's a chore! If I had done it when I was a lot younger, even then I would not have carried a rifle but rather a camera. Now bear in mind I have never been a trophy hunter. I have always been a meat hunter that just like's to shoot, I'm a shooter. I strongly suggest you check into guide's if you do something like a back country hunt. I still hunt elk, get a cow tag every year! But I also hunt where I can get my 4WD in or this year a 4 wheeler! Load up your back pack with about 100# and take a hike several miles carrying it. Do that say 5 or 6 times and be about like packing out and elk and you still have to go back for your camp! I think a lot of guy's go in every year. I also think the smart one's use an outfitter to get them into a drop camp then leave them several days then go back in and get them out and carry game out also. Don't know what it would cost you but 50 bucks won't do it. Still it's less expensive than a guided trip. Of course money might not matter!

  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by squirrel View Post
    Wow it is fascinating to see what are the "needs" of the modern nimrod.

    When watching the circle jerk at the truck/trailhead in the dark as guys checked every pocket for numerous items either there, or forgotten, my Grand dad always would say gun/license/shells, everything else is just extra... (I would throw in a knife, sometimes you use one of those "shell things"!)

    Cause of today's laws add orange but nothing else has really changed since 1960, except the hunters perception of "needs".

    TREKKING POLES??? Really? We used to call them sticks and they were available wherever a bush could grow.

    What you do "need" is a burning desire to make it happen, and you cannot purchase this at any store.

    As you have adventure they will lead to what some refer to as "suffering", suffering will lead to a "need", a trip to Cabelas will alleviate this "suffering" with a plethora of choices.

    There is no need to beg to suffer and some things are obvious, if you are going on a backpack style of hunt you might consider a back pack -preemptively for instance... and a tent and bag and bic lighter too, but when anything goes wrong nothing will pull you through like that burning desire thing that was free.

    Take your funds and make the adventure happen, and then again, and again, in no time your garage will runneth over and the "free meat" line will make you laugh.
    Good post! These days I take my rifle, hand full of extra shells and a knife. Last year I started carrying along a set of 8x bino's. As I get older I'm thinking GPS. They aren't all that heavy, fit into a pocket and pretty easy to get lost in new country! I have found my way out a couple time's with the GPS collar system I have for my dogs. Records the dog and the man, just follow it backwards!

  9. #34
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Far West Texas


    Don't hunt without binoculars

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tradewind View Post
    I'd put a good pair of boots at the top
    then the pack
    trekking poles
    I'm guessing you already have bino's most use 8 or 10 power. I use 12 power and steady them on my trekking poles.

    skip the rest unless you start packing in and camping out
    I used to bring a spotting scope along, extra weight, now it sits in the safe.
    Seem's that everybody has forgot to mention a knife! I have several different knives for hunting. Some folding knives, sheath knives ect. My favorite brand is Schrade. Got a bunch of them laying around. Old Timer' are made from carbon steel. Don't take care of them and they will rust. Uncle Henry x Schrade Knives are stainless, very nice knifes and don't rust. Now there are a lot of goo knives out there. Hard steel for the blade is really nice but I have no idea how you would check it! For sheath knives I look for full tang knives. You can see the steel stock going all the way through the handle. Best if you can find hollow ground blades too, they take and hold a better edge.

  11. #36


    Thank you for asking your questions and sharing your information. When I moved to Kansas 5 years ago it dawned on me how close we are to so many different hunting opportunities. Your information is has been helpful to me as I gear up to hopfully go ealk hunting this fall or next year. Keep up with updates as you find more information. Also share your hunts.

  12. #37



    Hey guys, thanks for all of the input! I really appreciate you all taking time to give me your two cents worth.....I think I almost have a whole dollar now!

    Joking aside, I have gone ahead and tried out some gear. I found a premium outdoor gear shop to visit while I was down in San Antonio (Good Sports Outdoors) that carried Kenetreck, Sitka, MSR, Benchmade, and Mystery Ranch. I tried on the Kenetreck boots and laughed at how stiff the soles were. Being from Kansas, I haven't needed a stiff sole boot and at first thought they would just really need to be broken in. I didn't end up buying them because I wanted to try on a few other brands before making the significant investment in my feet. I also checked out the Mystery Ranch packs and was pretty impressed. After getting some help from the store manager, I ended up deciding a Metcalf would be the best starting point, as most of the other packs use the same frame. The manager taught me how to fit the pack to myself, threw in some sandbag weights and......I kept waiting for him to put in the weights until I realized the pack does that good of a job distributing weight away from the back muscles. Needless to say, I now own one of these awesome packs and have convinced the boyfriend that he will need one in the future as well.

    Other apps/services I previously had (and still use):
    - GoHunt: What's not to love about this resource?! Especially with the rolling out of California information (where my boyfriend is currently stationed for the Navy) along with cow draw odds, I don't see how this isn't as popular with my hunting buddies. Granted, part of this may be due to the fact I'm an accountant and I love looking at numbers, statistics, etc.
    - OnX: I've got this app on my phone and still think it's a great resource. I actually ended up submitting an update for the map, as my friend's property was not listed under their name (the property had sold within the last 2 years).

    I am curious to see what people think of the turret upgrades that have become popular on rifle scopes. I personally don't have them but haven't had a need for them, given that most shots in Kansas are 200 yards or less. However, I could definitely see the benefit in them as I continue to grow as a hunter and improve my accuracy to take longer shots (thinking 400 yards maximum) on out of state hunts.

    Hunting updates: As expected, unexpected things came up for my friends and I this year, so the two year elk/antelope plan ended up being the better option for us. We're still going to chase whitetails here in Kansas but will also put an increased effort to improve as waterfowlers. Time spent at the range shooting sporting clays has drastically increased from last year in preparation for this fall.

    Obviously feel free to keep posting your own thoughts on equipment that may be useful, may be not necessary, or that you just think is cool. If you're more comfortable shooting me an inbox message to give advice or ask questions, feel free to do so!

  13. #38
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    New Mexico


    Class that you replied to the guys giving advice. Right thing to do.

    Just observing. Did not give any advice.

  14. #39
    Join Date
    Jul 2014


    Buy a bow. You are in one of the greatest archery whitetail states around. Start the fall off hunting elk in the rut with a bow. Good luck.

  15. #40


    Welcome and take notes of the advice already given. I lived in Kansas most of my life before moving to Wyoming, even though I live in a wonderful state now, I still travel back home to hunt (south of Wichita) for turkeys, deer and hit western KS up every year for birds. One thing that I think a lot of Kansas residents miss out on is the pronghorn hunting that's available, OTC for archery. There's some really decent pronghorn in the western half and stellar mule deer hunting as well. You can also hunt elk in Kansas, when I lived there I put in for it yearly but never drew. The best investment I made that I use in multiple states is onX Maps, good boots and a good pack. You can access some overlooked public property on foot or by canoe/boat with onX and get into some great hunting in KS. I encourage you to step out of the comfort zone and try some new hunting styles with your new gear in your home state that'll prep you for those out of state hunting trips that you want to do. Get prepared, get your gear broke in, get motivated and get out and enjoy what's available as you live in a place that was an abundance of opportunity. Good luck!
    "It's true hard work never killed anybody, but I figure, why take a chance?" -Ronald Reagan

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