Ultralight, Hunting & Bushcraft - Compromises

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Ultralight, Hunting & Bushcraft - Compromises

#1 Post by atlas_melbourne » Sat Aug 29, 2020 9:22 pm

Hi all,
I'm putting together some kit with the intention of bow hunting feral game, and camping off a dirtbike/walking to the areas I can camp/hunt etc.
End game is to be hunting wild pigs/goats. Anything that I can legally kill and harvest from.
One thing that i'm really struggling with is this idea of keeping the kit light while still having enough tools to bushcraft and hunt effectively.

E.g. - Bushcraft would dictate that you put the weight and the money into GOOD tools. Seems fine, but a good hand hatchet, a field dressing knife/knives, a good bushcraft knife, a leatherman plus everything else is putting me at 20Kgs + pack base weight. this is really undesirable if I'm intending to haul meat back a few hours off the trail.

At the moment I am pairing everything back but I am really struggling to get the base weight down to under 15kgs, let alone an "Ultralight" sub 10kgs
Can I ask what you guys are doing? how are you finding this balance? Where are you making sacrifices?
Do you ditch the tent completely and sleep in a bivvy sack? No tools and just one sharp knife? Carry less water and only hunt between water sources? One set of clothes and no cold/wet gear? Lightweight shoes instead of proper boots?

I understand it's a little different as I am "motorcycle camping" but I want to be able to get that bike into some very tight difficult places, and I want to give myself as much extra payload as possible so If I am hauling meat the ride is not dangerous. I would argue it's a little worse as I cannot skimp on motorcycle gear. Big heavy boots, armour, kevlar pants, helmet etc etc. Yes i can leave all this gear on the bike when i go hunt but I still have to carry all of my hunting clothes/gear as well!!!! I expect to be walking with gear/meat hauling for several hours but not for several days.

Any advice from Ultralight or Bushcrafters out there who are hunting would be very much appreciated.

I have written up a proposed gear list in a google docs spreadsheet. If anyone wishes to have a look im more than happy to PM the link.

Cheers and best of health you all,


:auto-dirtbike: :Pack :Bow Camping7 :Sleep

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Re: Ultralight, Hunting & Bushcraft - Compromises

#2 Post by B.Hill » Sun Aug 30, 2020 6:58 am

Hi Atlas

i am fairly new to backpack hunting, as most of the time i am lucky enough to hunt from home or from places where a vehicle can go.
but from a few backpacking trips i have done the only thing that will lighten your pack will be experience.
the first couple of trips you will carry everything but the kitchen sink for those what if moments, and only experience and bushcraft skill will dictate what you dont really need.

as far as ultralight gear, i am no expert but i have listened to a lot of people that are very experienced and there opinions seem to be to find that balance between durability and weight,
also if a little extra weight will make it the difference between staying out or going home is that 2-300 grams lighter sleeping bag going to be worth the weight cut in cold weather, or not taking that camp chair and getting a wet bum.

the other problem with Backpacking i find is that unless money is no object, when you start out your gear is generally heavier and not as comfortable and as you get more experienced the gear upgrades and better packs mean heavier loads can be carried more comfortably.

as far as clothing i did a few days done in Victoria chasing sambar and i just had the clothes i was hunting in, i also had a rain jacket, as well as a change of socks and a change of jocks, i also had a pair of thermals that i kept dry to sleep in. i live in central Australia so i had warm clothing, my pack was around 20Kg going in then once i set up camp a lot was dumped to go hunting.
for boots i have worn moccasins every day for about twelve months and after my feet got used to the flatness i dont wear any other shoes anything else hurts my feet, they are super light and quiet and flexible. as far as foot wear goes you need to wear what is comfortable for you, and something that will hold up.

Cheers Bodie

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Re: Ultralight, Hunting & Bushcraft - Compromises

#3 Post by Wightamus » Sun Aug 30, 2020 9:18 am

What area or time of year are you hoping to be going on trips? This will be a pretty big influence on what you can get away with gear wise.

Ultralight is often a transition of comfort to survival. I think a naked pack weight (no food or water or bow) should be pretty feasible at around the 10-12kg. Add 750g-1kg of food per day and 1-4L of water depending on where you are going. I've got mates that have naked packs at the 8kg mark but for me thats a bit too much suffering.

Folding saw may be a better option than hatchet, if you have a stout knife (or tough steel) you should be able to split with it if need be. Have a second small/UL knife for game.

Shelter wise I think a tarp would be the lightest option 3 X 2 poly/sil nylon, this would not be great for alpine areas in winter. Tarp tent would also work but bring your check book. Winter weight sleeping mat for comfort, this would allow you to go lighter for your bag.

Its a broad subject and there are lots of options for all the gear. UL Backpacking forums are a great place to get info. The most important point as Bodie mentioned is to get some stuff (as little as possible) and get out there. You learn pretty quick what does/doesn't work for you. UL gear is pretty personal.

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Re: Ultralight, Hunting & Bushcraft - Compromises

#4 Post by B.Hill » Sun Aug 30, 2020 10:15 am

as far as ultralight goes matt is pretty good iv been on hunts where he packs so light he doesnt even take food :biggrin:

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Re: Ultralight, Hunting & Bushcraft - Compromises

#5 Post by discord » Sun Nov 08, 2020 10:01 am

Have a look into hammocks. I have a Hennessy Explorer Ultralight and absolutely love it. It only weighs about a kilo and packs down to nothing. They are cut asymmetrically so you can lie in them at an angle and end up flat instead of bent like a banana. It's great not having to find a clear, level patch of ground, too. They're not for everyone and can get chilly in some conditions - best to try a night in one before you buy if possible.

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