Terramar merino wool base layers bottoms – it was mind-blowing how warm these 150 weight bottoms would get after just 15 or 20 minutes of hiking in 30 degree early morning temperatures. It didn’t take long to shed these every day, but their insulating capabilities and moisture wicking properties made them a lightweight winner.

C9 Target golf pants – I literally wore these every day for 14 days in a row with only two washings interspersed. They are durable and incredibly lightweight, just don’t get them close to flying campfire embers. Ha!

Core4Element merino wool boxers – Love them! Sorry…no pictures.

Stoic 1/4 zip pullover – this was my go-to outer layer. Notice the theme as I work through my clothing selections. Not much (actually hardly any) camo. Elk don’t care and neither should you. Backpacking gear/clothing is higher grade and can be found for better deals than the best hunting gear companies. It’s a fact!
See outer layer in above photo.

Puffy – Stoic Hadron – Wow! Read Pete’s ode to the puffy!

Sitka 90 Jacket – Why did I take that?!?! Even at 25-30 degrees, the Sitka 90 was mostly useless because the puffy underneath the 1/4 zip pullover was an oven and those 2 layers combined weighed the exact same as the Sitka 90 alone. Next September elk hunting trip, it will stay at home.

Short sleeve Stoic merino t-shirt – This was the other article of clothing that I wore everyday, sun-up to sun-down for 2 straight weeks. I’m telling you that merino wool is the miracle fabric and that no Western hunter should overlook it. It WILL change the way you dress and let you hunt much lighter and more efficiently.

Salomon GTX4 Cosmic Boots – Though heinous in appearance, these high dollar boots were worth every penny. No twisted ankle, no blisters, no leaking, no significant wear and tear. If somebody stole my Cosmics and then told me that they had doubled in price to $500, I would drop that money without thinking twice to replace them. Just under 3 pounds in weight for the pair. Try matching that weight with ANY pair of Goretex high ankle boots made by a reputable hunting company.

The take home message for guys building their gear lists is don’t get tunnel vision only looking at hunting brands and companies. Yes, there are some good products out there that are also camo, BUT, you can consistently find better, more technical, higher quality, and CHEAPER gear made by backpacking companies. And the elk…they don’t care!