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What's In Your Kit?

Posted by David Billinghurst on

Here in Ketchum, Idaho my day starts at about 7000 ft--and like a true glutton for punishment--I ignore all of the deer down low and look towards the heavens.  That means on a typical day hunt I'll run anywhere from 2 - 3,000 vertical feet,  with most of the uphill being covered in the pre dawn hours.  Our morning temps have been in the low twenties but can be as high as forty degrees by mid morning.  This is my go-to kit for mountain hunting this time of year:


This is a lightweight system that delivers comfort and protection through a major range of temperatures.  Let us know what your system is this time of year or give us a shout if you have any questions.

1. Llano QZ - the Quarter Zip on this lightweight base layer is invaluable for a little extra temperature regulation.  This layer will be perfect for 60+ degee temps as a standalone piece.  I will layer with the Springer Vest and Uncompahgre when spotting.
2. Springer Vest - The Springer layered over the llano QZ is plenty of wind protection for the low twenties.  Narrow canyons, with a solid layer of frost in them, feel like an icebox at 5:30 am.  This is also when your pack is at it's heaviest.  This is the most common time of the day to overdress and wind up on the ridge top praying for the sun to come out and dry the sweat from your layers.  I can overheat easily, so despite the freezing temps, a ball cap and a light glove is all I will need until it's glassing time.
3. Gloves - The Lighweight Merino Gloves sz LG - In my mind this is the maximum thickness for aerobic excercise.  Lighweight and thin enough to breathe, this glove is also warm enough to keep your hands protected while on the go.  Softshell Shooters Glove sz XL - I use the size Lg liner gloves then throw the softshells in an XL over the top for added wind protection and insulation while glassing.
4. Red Desert Boxers - These are the best things i've found in a long long time.  I wear these everday and experience no chaffing and enjoy maximum comfort.  The Red Desert eliminates the need for long underwear until the serious cold comes into play.
5. Kanab Lightweight Pant - What can I say?  Lightweight and incredibly comfortable, this is easily the only pant that performs through a huge range of temperatures.
6. Uncompahgre Puffy - The puffy only comes out when it's time to stop and wait for the lights to turn on.  The ability of this jacket to break the wind and provide incredible insulation makes this a must-have.
7.  Brimmed Beanie - This was my first piece of First Lite equipment and it only comes out when it's time to glass.
8.  Socks - I have skinny little lady-feet so I wear the Mountain Athlete Compression sock and the Mountain Athlete Cold Weather sock in tandem.  I try for enough wiggle room in my toes with no additional space in my boots other than that.  I think more cushion on the bottom of the foot gives me a couple of extra miles at the end of the day, especially when the pack is heavier on the way out.

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