Getting all your gear ready to go on a hunt can be a tedious process if you’re unsure of everything you need to bring.
There are essentials that you should be aware of, and thanks to us we’re not only going to tell you what they are, but also show our favorite gear products for you to check out.
Below are examples of what we think are the main gear items that you need to nail for a successful hunt, as well as write ups of why we chose them to include the pros and cons of each product.
We have chosen our top hiking/outdoorsman boots and our top elk call, ear protection, hunting tent, and scope to complement each other and give your hunt the best chance at success.
We’ve also included a buyers’ guide that covers some of what you need to know about these products, such as what makes them ideal.
This can help you to learn about the product areas so that you can swap some out with ones that’ll better fit the hunt you have planned.
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Due to the nature of this article, we won’t suggest the best product since there’s five different products below. Instead we put forward the kind of gear we think is most important to get right for your consideration.
This was our scope, the Vortex Optics Crossfire II, since most elk hunters will want to use a rifle, and a scope will help you to nail those shots at longer ranges.
See why we chose this scope below:
- The scope is made from aircraft-grade aluminum construction, which is durable and shockproof, and also weatherproofed against fog and water.
- Reticle choice of BDC or Illuminated reticles for longer-range or shorter-range, brightened sniping with an adjustable objective that reduces parallax interference.
- Multi-coated lenses are anti-reflective and brighten colors to better see prey.
Elk Hunting Gear List - Comparison Table
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Elk Hunting Gear List - Reviews
Of course, a good scope is usually central to your hunting experience. Some hunters use the bow and arrow to take their game the old fashioned way, but big game like elk can be harder to take down with arrows and besides, if you’re an expert bowhunter you’re probably versed enough in hunting that we have nothing new to tell you about the sport.
So, for those of you out there who prefer their trusty rifles, we think a good scope that could accompany your firearm is the Vortex Optics Crossfire II. Coming from a brand with a reputation for making expensive scopes, the Crossfire II can be thought of as their budget option.
The tube of the scope itself is made from aircraft-grade aluminum, which is shockproof and durable. They’re also o-ring sealed, meaning that they’re functionally weatherproof since water and fog won’t stop it from delivering shots, perfect for mountainous, inclement elk territory weather.
This scope comes in a few types, though we think the BDC reticle is best for hunting elk since it’s a reticle designed to perform at longer ranges. However, if you need more illumination and less range there’s the V-Brite Illuminated variant that we’d recommend.
Don’t be scared away from the longer-range BDC reticle as this scope includes an adjustable objective which eliminates parallax so that you can make those longshots with confidence.
The lenses on this scope are multi-coated in anti-reflective material which also brighten the view through the lens, enhancing the spectrum of light to allow you to better distinguish prey from their surroundings. With that said, the BDC reticle scope in particular still has problems performing in low-light conditions.
Whether you need a tent depends on the duration and nature of your hunt. Some people combine camping with hunting for a hunting trip, whereas if you’re hunting in what is essentially your backyard you won’t want to pitch up a tent.
If you are hunting over a certain period or just want to get a home base setup, we think the Texsport Willowbend Trail Tent is an affordable option.
The first thing you should notice about it is that it has a camouflage pattern, which makes it an obvious choice for a hunter that wants to err on the side of subtlety instead of pitching a luminescent orange tent in a green field.
It’s made with durable polyurethane-coated polyester taffeta along with a zippered, breathable mesh window which includes a storm flap, all of this made to meet CPAI-84 specifications.
It fits two people, or just one plus all of your gear if you’re on a camping-style hunting trip that’s particularly heavy with gear. Speaking of heavy, this tent is lightweight at just four pounds.
A keen ear is a very valuable asset to a hunter, so it only makes sense that reducing any damage to them should be a priority if hunting using a firearm. If using a bow with broadheads, ear protection obviously wouldn’t be necessary.
We chose the ClearArmor Safety Earmuffs for a variety of reasons, some of those being the very high NRR rating at 31dB in order to protect against loud rifle shots.
Their large shells surrounding the ears are called the SoundBlocker Shells. They reflect sound away whilst their exclusive SonicSeal rings isolate vibrations that get absorbed by the shell, keeping your eardrums unharmed and the protectors firmly secured on your head.
The earmuffs use layers of LRPu (Low Resilience Polyurethane) foam which was developed by NASA to insulate against and combat low and mid-frequency sound waves, as well as assist the SonicSeal technology to dampen any recoil vibrations from the shots you take.
For all the tech involved in their construction, the earmuffs are comfortable since the foam is super soft, and the cups tilt to fit all head shapes and sizes. The headband that connects the two shell earpieces is also adjustable for maximum compatibility with your head.
You should be aware that some find these muffs too bulky, even by ear protector standards, but we think that’s a small cost to pay for the safety of your ears.
We think these are the best boots, but we won’t take it personally if you already have a favorite pair.
Trekking shoes that have a subtle aesthetic to them, these Salomon X Ultra 3 Wide Mid GTX are unlikely to catch the eye of onlookers, including elk. We’d recommend the black or green color variants for maximum subtlety.
Salomon are known for their running sneakers, so it’s no surprise that these aren’t weighty boots, instead being lightweight and having the stylish mesh construction that running shoes often have.
That’s Gore-Tex techno fabric which, combined with SensiFit technology for a snug fit, keep your feet dry and protected from the elements.
They’re built with an advanced lightweight chassis for as much stability as possible, and waterproof polyurethane-coated leather is used to make sure water stays out.
However, the star of the show of any outdoorsman boots are the soles, since they’re what will anchor you to the ground through the mud and the steep descents and unsteady ground you may tread upon when hunting elk, especially if you’re doing so in mountainous areas.
If you’re familiar with Salomon and other brands of the like, you probably know that their products aren’t very friendly with wider feet, so that’s something for you to consider.
Our preferred elk calls to suggest to hunters, especially those who are new to hunting and/or elk calling, are the Primos Hoochie Pack Calls.
These are a two-set of calls that mimic the sound of elk cows and calves, which are the likeliest sounds to get bull elk interested.
They’re light on the wallet compared to other calls out there, being cheaper than if you were to buy both of them individually. They’re also able to be held in one hand, freeing up your hand for other things.
You can even dual-wield these calls to simulate herd calling, which can make your calls even more authentic.
Elk calls are here on the list because they’re nonessential, it’s possible to harvest an elk without using one. If you do use one, and are in the know when it comes to the intricacies of elk calling, you probably won’t be interested in these models, especially if you’re versed in diaphragm calling and tone changing, something these calls struggle with.
Elk Hunting Gear List- Buyers Guide
What makes the best elk hunting scopes
With hunting scopes there’s a lot of factors that are preference-based, or dependent on the type of hunt you’re engaging in, such as magnification.
There are also choices to make such as whether you want a fixed or variable scope, with fixed scopes being more durable but unable to switch between magnification levels for a more variable shot, which allows for more shorter and longer ranges with the same scope.
Having multi-coating on your scope is also a handy thing to have for anti-reflective purposes, as well as enhancing colors. As for the turrets on the scope, tactical turrets allow for adjustments that allow for quicker follow-up shots, great for if you need several shots to take down sturdy elk.
A zero-stop function is also handy, as they lock your zeroing in place so that recoil or other external knocks don’t move the dials in any way.
An important part of your scope to consider is also the reticle and the focal planes those reticles are etched on. Reticle choice is pretty subjective, but as discussed BDC-style scopes work better for longer-ranges whereas illuminated reticles are better for those who may want more visible reticles that stand out better against forested environments.
The width of the reticle is also something to consider, as some are thinner to take up less space in the scope, but some people dislike thinner reticles as they can be harder to see.
What makes the best hunting tent
Any performance tent, like the kind you should want for hunting, must have weather resilience. You need a tent that can stand up to adverse conditions like rain, wind, and preferably the heat too.
This means you’ll want a tent with a tent fly made of good, weather-resistant material and mesh windows for ventilation.
For the wind-resistance, having a tent whose poles are made of a durable but preferably lightweight material like fiberglass or aluminum is best. For hunting tents specifically, having camouflage and a quiet entrance zipper are best for not alerting any of the nearby animals that you’re trying to hunt.
Like with any tent, you should also shop for comfort. This means considering the space inside your tent so that there’s ample for you and any gear that you have brought with you.
Floor quality is a good indicator of how comfortable a tent can be, such as how it’s connected to the walls to avoid water seepage and any critters from getting inside the tent. The thickness and material of the tent floor, such as durable polyester taffeta.
What makes the best ear protection
Ear protection is rated by the NRR, the Noise Reduction Rating, which is the standardized measurement of how effective earmuffs and other forms of protection are at defending your ears. NRR is measured in decibels, with a rifle averaging 140dB and the limit of safe human hearing being 85Db, with the higher NRR numbers offering more protection for those, so go for those.
Since they’re heavily padded headwear, comfort is something to look for in ear protective earmuffs. The ear cups themselves must fit completely over the ears so that they offer their full protection, but they can be heavy and the hard plastic they’re made from can get uncomfortable against the ears.
This is especially a problem if your hunt is going to last for a prolonged period of time, so it’s important to get earmuffs with extra cushioning.
Some ear protectors have MP3 compatibility too, so you can listen to music or other audible entertainment like podcasts whilst hunting. If you go for these types, they’ll have volume dials for easy deactivation for when you need to use your ears, so don’t worry about having to fumble around for their controls.
What makes the best hunting boots
Good hunting boots are made from durable material, usually good quality leather or durable but breathable mesh as is the case with our favorite boot-sneaker option. They should be able to take a lot of punishment from your hunting adventures.
The soles should be up to tackling multiple terrains, since elk are wandering creatures that cross a variety of surface textures. The soles should have thick lugs, preferably multi-directional ones, so that you can grip on slippery mud and even ice and compacted snow.
When it comes to shoe construction, the more materials used for the soles, the better as the different materials are used for a variety of tread patterns and frictional grip.
Cold weather conditions are almost guaranteed if you’re chasing elk, so you need to find sneakers that strike a balance between insulation and breathability so that your feet can stay warm without getting too cold, all whilst allowing your feet to breathe.
Elk have very sensitive hearing, so you also need to find boots that have the above qualities whilst remaining quiet to walk in.
What makes the best elk call
The elk calls above are handheld diaphragms, so discussing the myriad of types of elk call isn’t so pertinent now. Handheld, reed calls create a specific noise when air gets passed through them in order to imitate elk sounds to calm and attract other elk for hunting.
Elk calls should be sturdy to be carried out into the wild and subjected to some environmental punishment.
Because of this they’re usually made with metal frames, usually aluminum since it’s lightweight but durable, with plastic and rubber used for the outer shell to make them more pleasant to hold. These materials help elk calls to be freeze-proofed in the hilly climates that elk are often found in.