Useful Tips on Choosing the Best Elk Hunting Gear -

Useful Tips on Choosing the Best Elk Hunting Gear

If you are planning to go elk hunting, equipment is undoubtedly one of the main priorities. Many people have a habit of using the same set of equipment for all types of big game hunting, and doing so is perfectly reasonable. However, opting for gear designed specifically for each animal has more benefits than one might expect. Having specialized elk hunting gear can help increase your chances of success and make your hunt more enjoyable. In this article, we will explore some of the essential elk hunting equipment pieces you might want to have with you during the next elk hunting trip.

Apparel (Layering, Camo)

Elk often dwell in mountainous regions where the weather can be unpredictable and change quickly. To address this issue, you need to dress for the conditions you may encounter throughout the day, be it cold or warmth. Layering your hunting clothing allows you to adjust your outfit depending on the temperature and activity level. You should also consider wearing camo clothing if you plan on shooting elk from closer distances.

Some types of hunting, spot and stalk in particular, require a lot of walking and hiking, so it's important to wear comfortable and lightweight clothing that won't restrict your movement or cause fatigue. Breathable fabrics are ideal for keeping you cool during strenuous activities. Insulated garments will provide warmth when temperatures drop. Look for moisture-wicking materials that will keep sweat away from your body and help regulate your body temperature in any weather condition.

In addition to comfort and breathability, it's important to choose apparel that offers protection from the elements such as wind, rain, snow, and sun exposure. Windproof and waterproof hunting jackets are always a valid choice. The first makes sure no wind can bite you, while the latter is great for keeping you dry whether it is drizzling or raining cats and dogs. If you expect the sun to be a problem, hats with brims can provide the needed shade and protection from its harmful rays.

Blaze Orange Elements

Blaze orange, also known as hunter orange, is a color that saved many a hunter’s life. In some states, wearing blaze orange elements is obligatory for big game hunters, while in others it is only recommended. This minor precaution prevents false identification from fellow hunters. Given that ungulates don't see the color the way we do, it never hurt anyone to wear blaze orange. In those states where wearing blaze orange during elk hunting with firearms is obligatory, hunters are required to cover at least 400 square inches of their body above the waist with it. A single hunter orange vest is usually enough.


Spot and stalk hunters often need to walk miles before coming across an elk, and doing so is a challenge in itself. Having a suitable pair of hunting boots can make the journey easier, and ill-fitting footwear will make every step a torment. As a matter of fact, foot issues are among the most common reasons for premature returns from elk hunts. If you choose your footwear carefully, it will become a great helper instead of being a hindrance.

When selecting boots for elk hunting, there are certain qualities that should be taken into consideration. The challenges of mountainous terrain require boots to be ultimately rugged. It's also important that they have good traction on various surfaces such as rock, mud and snow. In addition to this, they should also be waterproof, breathable and insulated for warmth in cold weather conditions. Furthermore, they should fit comfortably without being too tight or too loose - this is key to preventing blisters and other foot problems during long days of hiking in the mountains. If you want to play it safe, you can take a package of anti-blister tape and tape your heels before setting off for your hunting trip.

Hunting Style-Specific Gear

Spot and stalk elk hunting is a style of hunting that requires the hunter to be on the move, searching for elk in their natural habitat. It requires a great deal of skill, patience, and knowledge of the terrain, in addition to gear, of course. Essential gear for spot and stalk hunting includes quality optics such as binoculars or spotting scopes/monoculars to help identify and track elk from a distance without spooking them with your presence. Clothing should be lightweight and breathable, allowing hunters to move quickly and quietly while remaining concealed. As we’ve already mentioned, a good pair of boots is essential to ensure comfort when covering long distances.

Stand hunting is an effective way to hunt elk from a fixed location. Stand hunters often settle along the trails or near feeding and drinking sites. Ground blinds or tree stands (depending on your preferences) are essential for staying hidden while waiting for elk to pass by your location. Quality optics are important here as well, but for stand hunting, you may want spotting scopes over binoculars as you don’t need their compactness while remaining in one place. Camouflage clothing is also key when stand hunting - it helps keep you concealed from wary animals like elk who may otherwise pick up on your presence before you even know they're there.

Handheld GPS

Elk hunters can benefit greatly from using handheld GPS. With this handy device, you can easily track your location and plan routes to your destination. It also allows for marking waypoints and storing important information such as the location of water sources, campsites, and potential hunting spots. Handheld GPS units are designed to be rugged and waterproof, making them a much better alternative to regular smartphones. Additionally, many handheld GPS units come with features such as topographic maps, satellite imagery, and even tracking capabilities that allow hunters to monitor their progress throughout the day. If you think any of these features might be of value to you, then handheld GPS will make for a fine addition to your set of elk hunting equipment.


An ergonomic design and organized storage space are key features to look for when selecting a pack for your elk hunting trip. Ergonomics ensure that the weight of your gear is distributed evenly across your body, reducing fatigue and allowing you to stay out in the field longer. Organized storage space helps you keep track of all your equipment so you can quickly access what you need without wasting time rummaging through your bag. The plenitude of pockets and compartments ensures there is enough storage space for everything you might want to take, as there is no such thing as “overprepared”. The list of little comfort features modern backpacks can offer is quite long, so there will definitely be something that catches your eye.

Dressing Knives

Landing a bullseye shot is always thrilling, but it’s only half the job done. Once an elk is shot, the hunter needs to dress it as soon as possible. Elk are not small animals and carrying them over your shoulder is not an option. This is why dressing the animal in the field is often the only choice left.

Having a good knife for field dressing may become a make-or-break factor. There are several types of knives that can be used for this purpose, such as folding skinners, fixed-blade skinners, and butchering knives. Folding skinners are great for easy storage and portability, while fixed-blade skinners provide more control when cutting through tough materials like hide or bone. Butchering knives are perfect for deboning and quartering large game animals, which elk certainly is. No matter what type of knife you choose, make sure it’s sharp and reliable enough to get the job done quickly and efficiently. Investing in a quality instrument is bound to pay off!


The list might seem “Captain Obvious” to some, especially experienced hunters, but it should do the job of giving the idea of what to look for when preparing for an elk hunt. With these items packed up and ready, the chance of you being taken aback by nature’s mischief is much lower than without them.


What kind of equipment do I need to hunt elk?

The basic set of elk hunting gear includes your weapon of choice, be it a firearm or a bow, a set of suitable apparel and footwear, a backpack for storing pieces of hunting equipment, optics, navigation devices, food and water, anti-blister tape, flashlight, dressing knife, cell phone and whatever equipment you need for your chosen style of hunting.

What are the best optics for elk hunting?

If we talk about hunting optics, then a riflescope with Low and Medium Power ranges should do the job of showing you your prey from a significant distance. In case you are more interested in spotting optics, binoculars are a great option. They offer sufficient magnification while being relatively compact. If you are a stand hunter, you will benefit from using a spotting scope, as they offer even more magnification and more detailed images, but are too bulky to set up every time you might want to take a look.

What are the best boots for elk hunting?

The best elk hunting boots should be waterproof, have good insulation, and provide traction on rugged terrain. Such brands as Northside, Kenetrek, and Viktos have some very worthy models that would be a great choice for elk hunting.

What are the best clothes for elk hunting?

Since you are more likely to hunt in mountainous terrain than not, it’s important to be prepared for the challenges this landscape can pose. The weather in the mountains is even less predictable than usual, so layering is your best option. You’ll need clothing that is wind- and waterproof, or at least resistant. You’ll need an insulation layer that will retain your warmth and a base layer that will wick sweat and perspiration away from your body.

Mar 8th 2023 Gritr Outdoors

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