Article by Andrew from SD Outfitters
Elk hunting is a thrilling pastime that requires the right gear for both success and enjoyable experiences. Having the appropriate equipment is essential for ensuring a successful hunt and avoiding any frustrations. To help you make your hunting experience as fruitful as possible, here’s a look at some of the best elk hunting gear on the market including rifles, optics, hunting clothing, footwear, and other hunting accessories.
Elk hunting is an exciting and rewarding pursuit, but it also requires an experienced hunter to come prepared with the right gear. Having the proper tools in your arsenal can make all the difference between a successful hunt and a miserable one. Having waterproof, durable, and comfortable hunting clothing and footwear will help you stay comfortable in any weather. A good hunting pack can help you carry your gear while making the load feel lighter than it really is. And hunting accessories, such as a reliable GPS, can help keep you safe while you are out in the woods.
A high-quality rifle is essential for making sure you are accurate when it comes down to taking your shot at an elk and a sharp knife can help the field dressing process go much quicker. A quality scope and rangefinder are essential for elk hunting, as they will help you to identify and track the elk from a distance. Rangefinders can also be helpful when sighting your rifle or spotting and stalking an elk.
Having the proper equipment is paramount for ensuring both success and a pleasant time during your elk hunt. To ensure you make the most of your hunt, here's a look at some of the best elk hunting gear that we've found.
ELK HUNTING RIFLES
When it comes to elk hunting, having the power, accuracy, and reliability of a .270 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield or .300 Winchester Magnum could be the difference between bagging an elk and coming back empty-handed. These rifles each come with a list of pros and cons - as does everything
The .270 Winchester is a great all-around choice for elk hunting due to its flat trajectory, lightweight construction, and accuracy. It is the perfect choice for hunters that need a rifle that is easy to maneuver while hiking through rough terrain. This versatile round is ideal for both long-range and short-range shooting, making it an excellent elk hunting option.
The .30-06 Springfield is a classic, time-tested cartridge that has been relied upon by hunters for generations. Known for its long-range accuracy and power, the .30-06 has proven itself to be an effective tool for taking down large-game such as elk in open country. This cartridge is well suited to those hunting in open country, as it is powerful enough to take down an elk even at long distances.
.300 Winchester Magnum
The .300 Winchester Magnum is a powerful and accurate choice for elk hunters looking to take long-range shots. With its high velocity, flat trajectory, and heavier bullet weight, this cartridge is perfect for mountainous regions with longer shots. The .300 Win Mag produces more recoil but is still a great choice for hunters who can manage the recoil for the power factor.
When it comes to elk hunting, selecting the right rifle is essential for success. Depending on your individual needs and preferences, there is a range of quality rifles available that can help you take down an elk. The models mentioned above are great options, but ultimately the choice comes down to your needs and hunting style.
BEST ELK HUNTING OPTICS
Elk are elusive creatures and you have to be able to spot them from a distance. Having quality optics is critical for spotting and stalking during your elk hunt. Three common pieces of gear you need when it comes to hunting optics are binoculars, a range finder, and a rifle scope.
Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12*40 Second Focal P
lane Rifle Scope
The Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12x40 Second Focal Plane Riflescope is an ideal rifle scope for elk hunting. Its rugged construction, shockproof design, fog proof coating, and waterproof design make it highly durable and reliable. This scope can take a beating such as recoil, impacts, and extreme temperatures - all while maintaining its accuracy.
With its wide field of view and various reticle options, this scope allows elk hunters to quickly acquire their targets with incredible precision. Its second focal plane reticle allows the reticle size to remain constant even as magnification is increased or decreased. This allows the reticle to stay in proportion to the target. With this scope, you’ll be able to make accurate shots with ease, even in low-light conditions.
Vortex Optics Diamondback HD 10x42 Binoculars
The Vortex Optics Diamondback HD 10x42 binoculars are essential for any elk hunter. The Diamondback HD binoculars feature an advanced optical system with fully multi-coated lenses which provide superior image quality and clarity. They provide a wide field of vision while the 10x magnification allows for enough magnification to help hunters easily spot and track elk in any type of terrain.
Vortex Optics Crossfire HD 1400 Rangefinder
The Vortex Crossfire HD 1400 Rangefinder is the perfect choice for hunters looking for high-precision distance measurements. With its superior optics, you can easily spot and track elk from far away, giving you a distinct edge while hunting. The Diamondback HD binoculars also provide you with impressive clarity, allowing you to get a clear view of your target before taking the shot. With this rangefinder in your arsenal, you can feel confident knowing that you’ll be able to accurately track and shoot that elk from far away. This lightweight and compact device can accurately measure long-range distances, ensuring you get a precise shot every time. This device offers superior optics with a wide field of view and high magnification, making it easy to spot and track elk in any terrain.
Together, the Diamondback HD binoculars and The Crossfire HD 1400 Rangefinder are the perfect tools for hunters looking to take their hunting experience to the next level.
HUNTING CLOTHING AND FOOTWEAR
Elk hunting requires the right clothing and footwear for a successful outing. Skre Gear’s Elk Bundle and Kenetrek Mountain Guide Insulated Hunting Boot are two excellent choices that guarantee comfort, breathability, and durability in any condition. These hunting clothes are sure to help keep you comfortable no matter the conditions, allowing you to stay focused on your end goal instead of backing out of your elk hunt early.
Skre Gear’s Elk Bundle
The Skre Gear Elk Bundle is the best elk hunting clothing due to its durable construction and advanced features. The bundle is crafted from high-quality, water-resistant, abrasion-resistant fabrics that not only withstand the rugged terrain of elk hunting but also keep you protected from harsh environmental conditions such as wind, rain, and snow.
Additionally, the fabric has been designed to be lightweight and breathable so that you stay comfortable in the field. With the Solace or Summit camo pattern, you can find the perfect blend for any environment you are hunting for excellent concealment. The bundle also features a variety of pockets to store your gear and essentials, as well as adjustable cuffs for a perfect fit.
Kenetrek Mountain Guide Insulated Hunting Boot
The Kenetrek Mountain Guide Insulated Hunting Boot is an ideal choice for elk hunting and other outdoor activities that require protection from cold or wet conditions. Crafted from a combination of leather and nylon, the boot provides a durable yet lightweight design that is waterproof and breathable for maximum comfort. The Vibram sole offers excellent traction in even the most rugged terrain.
ELK HUNTING PACKS
Being able to pack all the gear necessary for elk hunting is important, but finding a hunting pack that makes your gear feel light on your back is critical. That's why we recommend the Badlands Superday Pack and Ebelerstock X2 Pack.
Badlands Superday Pack
The Badlands Superday Pack is made from durable, waterproof material and features a built-in hydration system to ensure you stay hydrated out in the hills. It also has a variety of compartments and pockets to hold all your hunting essentials, making it an extremely versatile hunting pack. And with all that gear, they didn't forget about comfort. The straps and back panel were designed to help you be able to carry all your elk hunting gear with less hassle.
Eberlestock X2 Pack
If you are looking for a more heavy-duty option, you will want to consider the Eberlestock X2 Pack. While it still has a lot of the same features as the Badlands Superday Pack, such as durable and waterproof fabric, the X2 is designed to be able to handle more weight. This is ideal for those deep backcountry elk hunting expeditions that require even more elk hunting gear than usual.
Both options are excellent choices. It all comes down to what exactly your needs are. If you are looking for a versatile and lightweight pack to hold your gear, then the Badlands Superday Pack may be a better choice. For longer hunts that require more durability, consider the Eberlestock X2 Pack. But either way, we recommend investing in a high-quality hunting pack to ensure you can carry all your necessary gear.
OTHER ESSENTIAL ELK HUNTING GEAR
Other pieces of elk hunting gear you want to look at are a knife, GPS, and other safety devices. While they don't get as much glamour as a rifle or your boots, they are critical for ensuring a safe hunt.
Havalon Piranta-Edge 2-Blade Folding Fillet Knife
When thinking about a successful elk hunt, you need to have a knife on hand to properly field dress your trophy. We recommend the Havalon Piranta-Edge 2-Blade Folding Fillet Knife. The handle has an ergonomic design to not only help with comfort but to help keep a secure grip in wet conditions. The 2.75-inch stainless steel blade is sharp and durable, making it a great option for processing your elk. And if your blade gets damaged or dull, the blade is replaceable. The Havalong Piranta-Edge 2-Bland Folding Fillet Knife should make any elk hunter's gear list.
Garmin eTrex 20x Handheld GPS
A GPS is an essential tool for any hunter to have to keep themselves safe.
The Garmin eTrex 20x Handheld GPS is easy-to-use and extremely reliable. The eTrex has a built-in memory that can store up to 2.5 million acres of topo maps, making it the perfect tool even in areas without any service. The battery is waterproof and has a long battery life, so you know you won't get stranded with a dead battery. It has a receiver that is highly sensitive and provides the most accurate and reliable navigation for any terrain, allowing you to be able to plan your route, ensure you keep on track and help you get back to camp safely.
Hunter Safety System X-1 Treestand Safety Harness
Some elk hunters choose to hunt elk from a tree stand. If you are taking this approach then we recommend that you have the proper treestand safety gear. The Hunter Safety System X-1 Treestand Safety Harness has a full-body design to ensure maximum coverage and keep you secure while in the tree. It also has a built-in suspension relief system to help reduce unnecessary pressure on your body if you do happen to fall, which can help prevent any additional injury. And the best part is that it is very user-friendly.
First Aid Kit
Elk hunting often takes place in remote areas and no matter how careful of an elk hunter you are, hunting accidents can happen anytime.
Items that you should include in your first aid kit are:
- antiseptic wipes
- pain relievers
- personal medication (EpiPen, inhaler, medication for medical conditions, etc.)
THE BEST ELK HUNTING GEAR
Whether you are a seasoned elk hunter or preparing for your first time out in the elk hunting woods, keep in mind that elk hunting is a rewarding, yet challenging hunt. Investing in the right gear can help ease some of the challenges you may face and help ensure that you have a positive experience.
While all the gear mentioned in this blog post, are high-quality and durable options for elk hunting, you must choose gear that fits your hunting style and needs. That way you ensure that you are comfortable and able to focus on the task at hand.
You need to be prepared to handle any situation that may arise while you are hunting, but don't let one of those situations be an equipment failure or having the wrong gear for the environment or weather conditions.
In our opinion, the gear listed in this article, including the 270 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, and .300 Winchester Magnum rifles, Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12*40 Second Focal Plane Riflescope, Badlands Superday Pack, SKRE Elk hunting bundle, Kenetrek Mountain Guide Insulated Hunting Boot, Vortex Optics Diamondback HD 10×42 binoculars, Vortex Optics Crossfire HD 1400 Rangefinder, Havalon Piranta-Edge 2-Blade Folding Fillet Knife, Eberlestock X2 Pack, Garmin eTrex 20x Handheld GPS, and Hunter Safety System X-1 Treestand Safety Harness, is the best elk hunting gear on the market.
If you invest in high-quality gear, you can make the most of your elk hunt and have a safe and memorable experience.
ELK HUNTING GEAR CHECKLIST
- Hunting Rifle chambered for a cartridge that can deliver a heavy bullet with a high ballistic coefficient (e.g. .270 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, .300 Winchester Magnum)
- Rifle Scope: high magnification and wide field of view (e.g. Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12*40 Second Focal Plane Riflescope)
- Hunting Backpack: spacious, durable, with good ventilation, hydration system, and built-in rifle scabbard (e.g. Badlands Superday Pack)
- Hunting Clothing: durable, breathable, scent-free, camouflage (e.g. Skre Gear’s Elk Bundle)
- Hunting Boots: waterproof, durable, insulated, good traction (e.g. Kenetrek Mountain Guide Insulated Hunting Boot)
- Binoculars: for spotting elk from a distance (e.g. Vortex Optics Diamondback HD 10×42 binoculars)
- Rangefinder: for determining the distance to your target (e.g. Vortex Optics Crossfire HD 1400 Rangefinder)
- Hunting Knife: for field dressing (e.g. Havalon Piranta-Edge 2-Blade Folding Fillet Knife)
- Hunting Daypack: for carrying food, water, and other essentials (e.g. Eberlestock X2 Pack)
- GPS device: for navigation and marking hunting spots (e.g. Garmin eTrex 20x Handheld GPS)
- Safety harness: for staying connected to a tree while hunting and maximizing safety (e.g Hunter Safety System X-1 Treestand Safety Harness)
- First Aid Kit
- Extra ammunition
- Scent elimination products
- Game calls
- Safety whistle
- Personal hygiene essentials (wet wipes, hand sanitizer)
- Water purification tablets or filter
- Emergency shelter or bivy bag
- Matches/fire starter
- Knife sharpener
- Maps and compass
- Insect repellent
- Additional batteries or charger
- Comfortable seat and a sturdy platform to rest your rifle on (e.g. Summit Treestands Summit Viper SD Climbing Treestand)
- Blind or tree stand